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New Cycle - Fishless (& Plantless)

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  • New Cycle - Fishless (& Plantless)

    I'm about to cycle a new (freshwater) tank and trying out a fishless cycle.....using Stability and Ammonium Chloride (Dr. Tim's). Does it matter whether I start with the gravel within, or add gravel after tank chemistry is complete? Also, I imagine that I should run the heater regardless of whether there are fish within?

  • #2
    Good day Hilarion,

    It doesn't matter if you have the substrate in the tank or not during a fishless cycle; however, having it in there will give the beneficial bacteria even more surface area to grow on and will give you an established substrate ecosystem when you add the fish. In addition to the Stability and ammonium chloride, I would highly suggest getting some Flourish Tabs and Envy to go along with it. By crunching up the Flourish Tabs into small bits and sprinkling it evenly on the glass before adding substrate you'll give the bacteria a source of nutrients they require in addition to the ammonia. Likewise with Envy for the waterborne/filter bacteria. Just like humans, bacteria require a wide variety of nutrients, which Flourish Tabs and Envy provide in a form the bacteria are able to take up whole and immediately use for growth. A heater isn't necessary for this step, but it wouldn't hurt as warmer water stimulates bacterial metabolism and will encourage them to colonize faster.

    Kind regards,


    • #3
      Thank you so much for your detailed response. I already have the Flourish root tabs and will incorporate them into the process.

      On another note, this Summer I will attempt to start up a new tank in my unheated basement .....experiment is to establish a tank without heater ....this past winter, the temp reached down to 51F ....and prior Summer, reached 75F (spoiled the bottles of red wine). I don't believe the basement has had any abrupt temp changes. IF I cycle the tank during the Summer, do I need to anticipate any special additives? .....sponge/ceramic rings filtration only. Thanks, in advance.


      • #4
        Good morning,

        I thought of something that may help you with the Flourish Tabs. If you can crunch them up small enough you can use a salt grinder meant for sea salt to get a fine powder for an even coat. As far as temperature goes, your range doesn't sound like it will have an effect on cycling with Seed and Envy. I'd recommend using Matrix as your bio media rather than ceramic rings to maximize surface area for the bacteria.

        Kind regards


        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestion.

          There are small compartments under my sponge filters in which I can add Matrix or Renew. Do I need to use micron bags or just fill them raw?


          • #6
            A bag will help a lot with removing it for cleaning. Our small zip bag would be perfect for this:zip-bag-small.php. I use it on our smaller Tidal filters and just fold up the unfilled portion.