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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

You experience fish keepers have probably heard this a thousand times before and please no comments on needing a billion litre tank (cichlids snobs)

I have a 200 lite tank on order and want to stock it with Mbuna

The fish I personally like are below, would 4 to 5 of each work..?

Yellow Labs
Maingano
Jalo Reef
Chewere
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

A 209 liter tank is a great tank for mbuna, as long as it is 48" long.

You could do 3 species with 5 of each (1m:4f) very well in a 48" tank.

But I would skip the maingano (they are a little more aggressive and need a little more room).

And I would choose between the Jalo Reef and the Chewere because they are closely related (both Cynotilapia zebroides) and look too much alike (both blue barred fish).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick response DJ,

So if I go yellow labs, and chewere could my third group be cobalt blue zebra..?
and I know I'm probably breaking all rules but could I put a single OB peacock in as well (16 fish total)
 

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Is it a 48" long tank?

Yes to the zebra (Metriaclima callainos).

When you add the OB peacock, it would be an experiment. If it gets picked on or if it picks on others (OB peacock is a hybrid) then you may have to rehome when everyone starts spawning.

AND if you add him, don't save fry from anyone in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Evening DJ,

Another quick question, again apologies it's probably in the wrong category but I've heard so many different ways people say to cycle the tank.
I have purchased some Fluval Cycle bio enhancer that KG Tropicals recommends.
It says to dose the tank with it over three days which is fine but not sure if I need to buy ammonia to add as well..?
Please could you clarify..?
 

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I don't trust the bottled bacteria and would cycle only with ammonia. But you can check with the manufacturer if you want to try the Fluval product...I find manufacturers pretty responsive to individual questions.

I always allow six weeks. Take any claims you get from a manufacturer about duration with a grain of salt, but they should be able to tell you the steps and what to expect from your test results.

No matter what they say, I would not consider the tank cycled until your ammonia and nitrite are zero for several days and your nitrates are increasing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey DJ, hope you are well..

So I filled the new tank on Sat night and dosed with Prime. Temperature I set to 28, filter and wave maker turned on.

Sunday morning I dosed with Fluval Bio cycle and repeated this on Monday and Tuesday morning as the instructions said.
There is no mention of when to introduce fish and I appreciate you mentioned that a full cycle could take 4-5 weeks to complete properly using Ammonia.

As you suggested I called Fluval and spoke to them about the Bio cycle. The chap said 'I should be introducing the fish after the third dose (third day) so the bacteria have something to feed off'
he mentioned if I left it any longer then Id have dead bacteria in the tank. I proceeded to ask how many fish to introduce and he said start with 5 labs.

The problem is I wanted to put all 16 ish fish in together which seems to be the correct process for Mbuna - however how would I know any cycle has taken place which could lead to dead fish and £90 pounds up in smoke.
Would I be best to add ammonia now and do a proper fishless cycle and keep a track of results...?

Currently Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0

PH 7.6 but with high range result is 7.4, do I need to add chemicals to increase PH..? - substrate is fine coral sand (aragonite)
 

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Seems if you want to take advantage of the product you have already used you should add the 5 labs. The fish themselves will add the ammonia. Then you will need to wait a month and add another group of 5, etc.

If you don't mind losing the $$ you could drain and start over with ammonia...no bottled stuff.

Test KH to verify that you do not need additives for pH. Sounds like you might be OK.
 

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shiftyfox said:
Hey DJ, hope you are well..

So I filled the new tank on Sat night and dosed with Prime. Temperature I set to 28, filter and wave maker turned on.

Sunday morning I dosed with Fluval Bio cycle and repeated this on Monday and Tuesday morning as the instructions said.
There is no mention of when to introduce fish and I appreciate you mentioned that a full cycle could take 4-5 weeks to complete properly using Ammonia.

As you suggested I called Fluval and spoke to them about the Bio cycle. The chap said 'I should be introducing the fish after the third dose (third day) so the bacteria have something to feed off'
he mentioned if I left it any longer then Id have dead bacteria in the tank. I proceeded to ask how many fish to introduce and he said start with 5 labs.

The problem is I wanted to put all 16 ish fish in together which seems to be the correct process for Mbuna - however how would I know any cycle has taken place which could lead to dead fish and £90 pounds up in smoke.
Would I be best to add ammonia now and do a proper fishless cycle and keep a track of results...?

Currently Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0

PH 7.6 but with high range result is 7.4, do I need to add chemicals to increase PH..? - substrate is fine coral sand (aragonite)
You don't need fish in the tank to feed the bacteria. I would add 2 ppm ammonia to the tank and test to see if it is converted to nitrate within 24 hours; this way you are sure you have active bacteria and it is safe for fish. Bacteria in a bottle is not always reliable.
 

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But if it is not converted within 24 hours then you have to weigh continuing with the bottled bacteria in the tank or drain and start over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Morning DJ,

I introduced the 5 labs last night and tested the water this morning.
Temperature 26.5
PH 7.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 20

A little concerned about the Nitrite, should I test again tonight or add Seachem Prime or do water change..?
 

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I would do a 50% change, add enough Prime to treat the entire volume of the tank and continue to check the level daily doing water changes as necessary.
 

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The bottled bacteria product may advise not to change water, since you would then be removing the bacteria.

I think if you are using the product they will have to advise you.

Using the bottled product may be a little more like cycling with fish where you have to tolerate some toxins, IDK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys,

how about a compromise, do new readings tonight and maybe dose with prime to help nitrite levels and leave the water change in less nitrite reading increases too much

I realise nitrite reading should be 0 but how high before I should be doing a large water change - 0.50ppm
 

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Again...with bottled bacteria it may be that you have to tolerate a moderate nitrite reading. When you cycle with ammonia, if there is no nitrite the 2nd group of bacteria will not grow.

And does the bottle say to change water or not?

You can't apply the same logic as cycling with ammonia. That is not the design of the product. You can tell since the instructions are to add 5 fish...not all at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey DJ,

5 labs of about 1.5 inches have been in the new tank for 6 days now. As you know I dosed with the bottled bacteria for three days prior to adding the fish.

The first 5 days readings were
Temp 26
PH high range 7.4
Ammonia 0.25
Nitite 0.25
Nitrate 20

Today's reading (6th day)
Temp 26
PH high range 7.4
Ammonia 0.50
Nitite 0.25
Nitrate 20

Should I now do my first water change tomorrow (7th day) to bring levels down and clean up the bottom.
 

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I sound like a broken record. What does the manufacturer instruct?

You could ask them why you have nitrite and ammonia, just out of curiousity.

Your levels are not deadly as yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There are no other instructions on the bottle.

Would you expect more ammonia and nitrite if fish were added with no bacteria..?
 

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Yes but not after one week.

Cycling with ammonia you have no toxins. Ammonia and nitrite would be zero.

Cycling with fish the fish have to survive through the toxins and may survive or not and may have permanent damage.

It seems like cycling with bottled bacteria is better than cycling with fish but worse than cycling with ammonia.

I Googled Fluval (go to the fluval website, not the vendors) and found this in FAQ:

I've been cycling my aquarium for several weeks and have a high level of nitrite. How can I eliminate it ?
We recommend a double dose of Fluval Cycle Biological Enhancer after having performed 50% water changes. At this stage, one or two 50% water changes should dilute the nitrite sufficiently to ensure the bacteria introduced keeps the nitrite level down.

To me this means they EXPECT you to have high levels of nitrite after 2 or 3 weeks. What I don't know is what do they consider high? 1ppm? 2ppm? 5ppm?

Right under that FAQ is see this:
Can't Find an Answer?
Contact Us

So hit Contact Us and see what level you should get to before you do the water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My Conclusion on bottled bacteria (cycle) - Absolute waste of money

I have 5 yellow labs (1.5 inches each) in my new tank for 3 weeks now and have seen no improvement in ammonia levels and yes a cycled tank may take double this time but I believe I would have had same results with adding no bacteria from the start

Levels over the past week have been..

Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 20
Ph 7.4

Shall I now do a water change and is 1ppm of ammonia enough to start the cycle..?
 
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