getting a used fish tank, do I need to cycle?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by bock, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Hello everyone! Later today, we are going to go check out a used 55 gallon tank, I am pretty sure we are getting this one. The tank comes with one Zebra fish, one Pleco, another bottom feeder she forgot the name of, and an "eel/frog thing" (?). I have no idea what kind of fish the last two are, and I am not a big fan of plecos. I was really hoping to have a planted tank, and I have read that plecos are very messy, eat plants, and are probably too big for a 55 gal. I am also not sure about the "eel/ frog thing", I was looking at the Petsmart website and came across a Fire Eel. I hope that's not what it is, since they eat feeder fish, and will probably devour all the little fish I was going to put in there.

    Anyway, she says she hasn't cleaned the tank in a very long time, but the filter keeps the water clear. I am guessing the ammonia and nitrates are very high. I am really not very experienced with cycling. I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 common goldfish in it, I have never tested the water and they are fine. I do clean it often though. My question is, do I still need to cycle the tank? If I do need too, I am worried that the fish that come with it won't make it. Any advice? Also, the nearest pet store that does free water samples is 40 minutes away, so not very convenient. Thank you!
     
  2. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    If the tank has been running for a while, it's already cycled. But you will have to transport the filter media in water or the filter bacteria will die. Keep the gravel wet as well, because there is a lot of beneficial bacteria in the gravel. Fill the tank with dechlorinated water....chlorine will kill off the filter bacteria. Get a good test kit....Tetra Laborette is a nice one that's less than $16. Its the one I use for my koi pond. Cleaning the tank should take care of the ammonia and nitrite problems, if there are any problems. With that light of a fish load, I'd be surprised if the ammonia levels were elevated. If they are, just clean thing up good and keep an eye on it. The filter bacteria will be knocked back a little by the move, but if you transport it wet and get it running again soon (like within 24 hours), it should be fine.
     
  3. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    If you get everything I would keep the rocks an filter medium wet with as much of the water from the tank as you can save(20+%). If you can keep the water on them moving its a plus. When you get it back set up it should be ready to go
     
  4. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It has been a long time since I had fish but I do not think you will need to cycle. It is already an established tank. If the water is not right, you only want to change about 2/3 of it at a time so you don't shock your system. As far as the eel/frog, some eels don't eat small fish some do. Frogs will eat small fish if they are big enough, and by that I mean the size of a nickle to a quarter. I don't know what a Pleco is tho sorry.
     
  5. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's great news! I will put the gravel in a bucket with some of the water, and I will figure something out for the filter. I will also be sure to invest in a good test kit. [​IMG]
     
  6. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awesome! Thanks everyone! [​IMG]
     
  7. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    Quote:Also make sure when you clean that gravel you use dechlorinated water and try to gently agitate it in the bucket every so often to get some oxygen to the beneficial bacteria.
     
  8. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern CA
    Quote:Also make sure when you clean that gravel you use dechlorinated water and try to gently agitate it in the bucket every so often to get some oxygen to the beneficial bacteria.

    We have well water, so don't have to worry about dechlorinatating. I will be sure to do that when I clean the gravel. Also, should I put a new pad in the filter, or leave the used one? Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  9. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    I'd use the same pad if you can clean it lightly to get the gunk out of it. Does the filter have multiple pads? If so, it's always a good practice to leave one old one to help reseed the news pads.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    The valuable N-converting bacteria are all over all the surfaces in the tank, not just in the filter. So, take the old gravel too, if you can (in a separate bucket, NOT in the tank -- trying to move tanks with gravel in them, especially larger tanks, is a good recipe for leaking tanks and floor damage). Don't scrub the tank itself clean, unless the walls are really green/scummy (and really, you can always clean them next month, after the tank has re-stabilized at your house).

    If the existing filter pad/medium/etc is filthy, I'd suggest just rinsing it reasonably well in clean dechlorinated water (ideally some of the old water before you move the aquarium, then discard that water). If the filter is structured such that there is a fiber prefilter that's a separate unit (not one of these prefab combo all-in-one pak things), it can be useful to put in new fiber b/c when you reset the tank there will be a lot of old mulm kicked up if you are reusing gravel; but if the filter only takes those combo all-in-one dealies, just swish some nonchlorinated water thru it til the water runs clearish and call it good for now.

    Be nice to the filter material and the gravel when you're moving it, e.g. don't let it sit in a closed car in the sun for a half hour before taking it into the house. you want the bacteria alive [​IMG]

    Beyond that, it sounds like a low fish load for that size tank (which is great), I would not add any MORE fish to it for at least a month but you should be totally fine with the ones that are coming with the tank.

    I look forward to hearing what an "eel/frog thing" turns out to be LOL (the best I can think of that actually fits the description would be an axolotl but I seriously doubt it's that... maybe an african clawed frog? You gotta tell us when you find out [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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