In a newly cycled tank how long can I go before fish need to be added

BaldAndBeard

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Greetings,

I've been searching on this topic for a bit, and I have found a few rough answers, but looking for a bit more guidance/advice. Situation is I am about to start cycling my new tank. I know the process for this, so I think I'm well prepared in that regard. However, I have some family things coming up and then it will take a couple of weeks to get a couple clownfish as well once I'm ready for them. So, I just have no idea when I'll be able to actually get the fish and add them to my tank. Say I have my tank cycled, how long can I wait before I need to start adding fish, and what are the steps to fill that gap to simulate the bio load the new fish would create in the meantime?

So, it is a bit of a different question than usual, I'm not looking to add things as quickly as possible, rather how slow I can go, lol.

Appreciate any advice here. Just don't want to go through the whole cycle process and then screw something up because I waited too long to add any livestock.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Agreed. If you cycle a tank, then leave it fishless for five years it's still cycled and you can put fish in when you want. Water bacteria cannot be starved in an open topped home tank, feed is always getting in via trace means 24x7
 

ErikVR

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The best advise I can give you is, patience is key in this hobby.
In my experience... If you find yourself asking how fast you can do this or that, you need to take 3 steps back ;)

Just follow the steps on the starter bottle you use.
Your answer to how long it takes: when ammonia and nitrite is gone.

No need to worry about bacteria staying alive for a couple of weeks without additional bio load.
 

tomtheturkey

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Greetings,

I've been searching on this topic for a bit, and I have found a few rough answers, but looking for a bit more guidance/advice. Situation is I am about to start cycling my new tank. I know the process for this, so I think I'm well prepared in that regard. However, I have some family things coming up and then it will take a couple of weeks to get a couple clownfish as well once I'm ready for them. So, I just have no idea when I'll be able to actually get the fish and add them to my tank. Say I have my tank cycled, how long can I wait before I need to start adding fish, and what are the steps to fill that gap to simulate the bio load the new fish would create in the meantime?

Appreciate any advice here. Just don't want to go through the whole cycle process and then screw something up because I waited too long to add any livestock.
So depending on if you used live or dry rock will be a little different on the answer.

If live rock it has bacteria on it and bacteria is already there and you can feed a small amount of fish food to the tank that will break down to ammonia and feed the bacteria.

If its dry rock I would feed the tank once or twice a week and just start testing the water.

If you are using the bacteria in the bottle Like Fritz turbo or Dr Tims combination of the above will be more than ready for a couple of clownfish whenever you are ready. Just add the bottle the day of fish addition

But I agree with others it will always be there I just add fish food to keep the bacteria growing and building for peace of mind so a little feeding here and there isnt going to hurt
 

jda

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It is well publicized and researched fact that Ammonia Oxidizing and Nitrite Oxidizing heterotrophic Bacteria do indeed die off from lack of things to process, but they also quickly multiply once needed. A few weeks is likely nothing to worry about in any case.

In a new tank, AOB and NOB are likely all that you have. In a more established reef, there are more types of consumers for fish waste that are less likely to die back. Most folks don't even understand that processing fish waste shifts from AOB/NOB to more direct consumers over time.

I have a small 10g QT for fish if I ever need to treat them. It has a HOB filter and sponge filter. I can run at 0.00 or 0.01 ppm of nh4 on Hannah digital for months while fallow. If I put a fish in there, the ammonia can get to 0.15 or 0.20 while the bacteria multiply. These numbers are not a concern to me and I can change some water if I care. In a day or two, the numbers are back down again.

Here is all that you need to know about the starting a tank. First, any method or technique to start a tank will work if you are smart and go slow enough - any method can be safe but also any method can harm the first inhabitants if you are too hasty. Second, the cycle never ends - it is cyclical like the name cycle implies and the tank will always be expanding and contracting certain things as things change. You can enjoy your tank and have fun with it as it matures and continues to develop over time, just know where you are at in the process and know that nothing is ever truly done.
 

twentyleagues

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It is well publicized and researched fact that Ammonia Oxidizing and Nitrite Oxidizing heterotrophic Bacteria do indeed die off from lack of things to process, but they also quickly multiply once needed. A few weeks is likely nothing to worry about in any case.

In a new tank, AOB and NOB are likely all that you have. In a more established reef, there are more types of consumers for fish waste that are less likely to die back. Most folks don't even understand that processing fish waste shifts from AOB/NOB to more direct consumers over time.

I have a small 10g QT for fish if I ever need to treat them. It has a HOB filter and sponge filter. I can run at 0.00 or 0.01 ppm of nh4 on Hannah digital for months while fallow. If I put a fish in there, the ammonia can get to 0.15 or 0.20 while the bacteria multiply. These numbers are not a concern to me and I can change some water if I care. In a day or two, the numbers are back down again.

Here is all that you need to know about the starting a tank. First, any method or technique to start a tank will work if you are smart and go slow enough - any method can be safe but also any method can harm the first inhabitants if you are too hasty. Second, the cycle never ends - it is cyclical like the name cycle implies and the tank will always be expanding and contracting certain things as things change. You can enjoy your tank and have fun with it as it matures and continues to develop over time, just know where you are at in the process and know that nothing is ever truly done.
I'm glad someone besides me said this. I have just returned to the hobby 1 yr and have read stuff here that is so far off of what I knew/know that I'm astounded. I get it things change but how does something that is/was 99.9% true and known do a complete 180 in 14yrs? Bacteria dont die off, lol they sure do! The bacteria population will expand and contract according to bio load. If you completely cycle a tank with 2.0ppm of ammonia the bacteria will be able to handle 2.0ppm of ammonia in a given time frame if you load in 4.0 ppm of ammonia you are going to have 2ppm leftover until the bacteria population grows. Which could be detrimental/deadly to those producing the ammonia. ( I just put numbers in dont quote them its not that simple)
OP you will still have a cycled tank for weeks but add your fish slowly dont go get 2ppm worth of ammonia producers as soon as you get back. (that'd be quite a lot of fish and again numbers added for effect)
 
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