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JT79

My Bluegills all died.

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I find it interesting that most texts out there advocate cycling with fish but I hear nothing but problems with this method. Obviously it can be done but apparently lot of people flub it up.

I have always been an advocate of using nondetergent ammonia to cycle a system (if you shake the bottle and it doesn't foam you have the right stuff), and don't believe it gets any simpler than that. I have an ras in the basement right now where I sold all the fish, but I want to keep the bacteria active in the mbbr (moving bed bioreator) until I move it outside for an aquaponics system. I add a cap full of ammonia every other day or two days. Upon adding the ammonia it goes up to 4 to 5 mg/l ammonia but by the next day is back to zero.

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Did you ever remove a large amount of plants? Dr Wilson Lennard once mentioned that a system he was managing (raft) had a fish die off before he worked with it because they did not have a separate biofilter and that the plants were removing ammonia directly. They harvested all the plants and the fish had a die off.

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I waited until the ammonia and nitrites were back in balance. One of the things that helped that was using FT water in my wicking beds. That forced me to do regular top ups to the Fish Tank. Water where I live is heavily chlorinated and our new place doesn't have gutters yet so I can't collect rainwater. I keep 5-7 5 gallon buckets of water that I let sit for a minimum of 48 hours to naturally dechlorinate. I treated the system as if it was brand new. When the balance came, I added goldfish to cycle it again. I am not about to risk expensive Tilapia, catfish or bluegill anymore. For ever more, I will use a half dozen or so feeder goldfish as my cycling assistants. Anyway, the system is running perfectly now. I have a about 15 catfish in the 150 gallon tank.

I too use goldfish. I get the large size comet goldfish 10 at a time from the petsmart. About $.20 -$.25 each. I tell them they are not for feeding but for a pond and they pick out some nice looking ones for me. I think some of mine are two years old now and have grown a lot. Very nice long tails. Even if I loose a few when I add a batch the healthy ones that make it probably live longer then any of their store tank mates would have.

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Here is a little update on my system. Been doing a fishless cycle for the last 4 weeks and everything looks good. Been adding some ammonia and putting some maxicrop on the plants and the plants are doing quite well. I have some peppers that are ready to pick, tomatoes are coming out, and my cucs look like they are going to have a big crop, lots of little ones started. So I decided to put fish in today and wanted to clean out any solids that were in the tank and while in the process one of the little Bluegills goes darting across the front of the tank, couldn't believe my eyes. This guy has been in there for 4 weeks with me dumping ammonia in, air stones were off and no food. What a tough little guy. lol I put 5 more bluegills in that are 4-5 inches long and I am going to roll with that for a while. Here is a pic of my system. post-8311-13795791519624_thumb.jpg

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