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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have kept fish for a long time but never had to do this without fish. My first tank came from a local store that was closing so I got everything , fish included on day one. Whenever I upgraded tanks I just transferred the media so I never needed to cycle another tank despite upgrading 4 times. Having decided to keep fish again after a few years without being able to have a tank I bought myself a tank and all the associated items. I got a few bottles of "live bacteria" thrown in with it.So I googled fishless cycling and watched a load of youtube videoson it set the tank up washed everything etc. Then I got a empty water bottle and poked a load of holes in each side with a metal skewer and filled it with a 150gram pack of washed prawns before putting the lid back on and chucked the bottle into the tank. I have no idea exactly how much "live bacteria" was poured into the tank but I estimate that it was around 500-600ml at least. I have been logging my test results and they are listed below do they look weird or is this normal? the tests have been done with a NT labs liquid test kit I have tested the kh and gh each day but the results with those don't seem to be very reliable. I am thinking of getting a diffrent test kit but the main four are always identical if I double check them.

date amonia nitrite nitrate ph comments
20/07/19 0 0 0-0.25 8 tap water
27/07/19 0.25-0.5 0 0-0.25 8 Tank day 1
28/07/19 02.5-0.5 0.25 2.5 8 tank day 2
29/07/19 0.2-0.5 0.5 20 8 tank day 3
30/07/19 0.5 0.5 40 8 tank day 4
 

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I would remove the prawns. Not sure how the cycle should progress with bottled bacteria, check with the manufacturer. I have only cycled with ammonia and it takes an average of six weeks.
 

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WOW. Even from a chemical supply?

Do you need ammonia with bottled bacteria? Check with the manufacturer. As far as I know they do not all work the same.
 

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These are dead prawns, right? I have shrimp, not only cichlids. Just a few dead cherry shrimp can wipe out a tank. A live prawn or two might produce ammonia and create the nitrogen cycle, but dead ones would encourage all the wrong kinds of microorganisms. Here in the US many pets shops sell ghost or grass shrimp as feeders. You can put some in a tank to cycle it naturally without bottled ammonia. Then they are a live food for the new cichlid residents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
they were dead prawns I have removed them form the tank and will put in fish food to rot down instead I have had a spike in ammonia levels today so when they drop down a bit I will put more food in and continue using food until the nitrite levels go down to zero and stay at that level. I may get another couple of bottles of bacteria and drop them in as it can't hurt. at what level is nitrate a problem for the filter bacteria? at the moment im reading 40ppm I know that's too much for the fish but I don't want to change tank water unless I need to if theres no live fish in there.
I don't really want to put live shrimp in just for them to get eaten or poisoned. if I had another tank to put them in I would consider it but I have no room for another permanent tank setup at the moment.
 

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Too much bacteria is a problem. Follow the manufacturers instructions.
 

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quick cycles are very difficult, even with the bottled stuff sold online and in stores. 6 weeks is about right, regardless of what method you use. you know you are cycled when your nitrates spike to 20+ and climb back there, even after water changes. I have tried the cycle in a bottle solutions with little luck. The only instant cycles I have experienced is with fresh live rock from Ocean to Aquarium inside of 10 hours, like that offered by Tampa Bay Saltwater. But for freshwater, unless transferring fresh bio filtration from old tank to new tank, you need a solid 6 weeks to establish a bio filtration bed.
 
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