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How would I cycle this small aquarium?

laurenb252

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Joined
13 Dec 2021
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17
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United Kingdom
I’m currently setting up a small aquarium for the desk in my uni room, using a 18cm tall by 14cm wide IKEA vase. I reckon it holds about 2L of water. The plan is to just plant it with some stem plants like Limnophila Sessiliflora, Bacopa Compact and epiphytes.

I’d like to put a few small ramshorn snails in here once it’s set up, but obviously I’d need to make sure the water chemistry is suitable.

How would I go about cycling an aquarium this small? Can I just use a drop of liquid ammonia, or shall I forget this altogether, plant as densely as I can and just add the snails in? I’ve attached a photo of the vase with just the hardscape inside, just so you can get a better idea of its size.

All advice is appreciated!
 

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Nice! This is going to be lovely. Yep, I’d just plant up heavily then you’re good to go (I’ve done this then left it 4-6 weeks before adding cherry shrimp - I’m not a snail keeper). Floating plants are also a good option - shout if you want any.
 
I’m currently setting up a small aquarium for the desk in my uni room, using a 18cm tall by 14cm wide IKEA vase. I reckon it holds about 2L of water. The plan is to just plant it with some stem plants like Limnophila Sessiliflora, Bacopa Compact and epiphytes.

I’d like to put a few small ramshorn snails in here once it’s set up, but obviously I’d need to make sure the water chemistry is suitable.

How would I go about cycling an aquarium this small? Can I just use a drop of liquid ammonia, or shall I forget this altogether, plant as densely as I can and just add the snails in? I’ve attached a photo of the vase with just the hardscape inside, just so you can get a better idea of its size.

All advice is appreciated!
Hi @laurenb252 Do you have another tank setup by any chance (or know someone with an established planted tank)? If so, you could just grab a fistful of gravel and add some of the water from there, plant it up and you would be good to go virtually right away.

Cheers,
Michael
 
Hi @laurenb252 Do you have another tank setup by any chance (or know someone with an established planted tank)? If so, you could just grab a fistful of gravel and add some of the water from there, plant it up and you would be good to go virtually right away.

Cheers,
Michael
Hi Michael, yes I do have other tanks at home, that’s a great idea! I was wondering though, if I put some of the substrate in a bag and keep it damp, will the beneficial bacteria survive? I’ve got to bring some materials with me when I go back to uni on Monday so that means transporting everything.
 
I was wondering though, if I put some of the substrate in a bag and keep it damp, will the beneficial bacteria survive?
Hi @laurenb252 That all depends on how long you plan to keep them in that bag... A day or two in a wet bag kept at a decent temperature? definitely shouldn't be a problem... Nitrifying bacteria wont go dormant and can survive a pretty wide temperature span, but should be kept at least 10 C. They can go without food (Ammonia) for quite a while... Just make sure the bag dont dry up!

Cheers,
Michael
 
Hi @laurenb252 That all depends on how long you plan to keep them in that bag... A day or two in a wet bag kept at a decent temperature? definitely shouldn't be a problem... Nitrifying bacteria wont go dormant and can survive a pretty wide temperature span, but should be kept at least 10 C. They can go without food (Ammonia) for quite a while... Just make sure the bag dont dry up!

Cheers,
Michael
Hi @MichaelJ,

The substrate will only be in the bag for a couple of hours so that should be fine! I’ll spray the inside of the plastic bag before I tie it up to help it stay damp. As for the temperature, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, I’ll try to keep the bag insulated as much as possible.

Thanks!
 
Rinsed soil capped with gravel stuffed full of fast stem plants. Should only take a month to cycle with no additional ammonia. The soil will leach nutrients at first. You can remove with 50% water changes daily for the first week then every other day moving once a week after 3-4 weeks.
I added snails to mine after 2 weeks.

No filter or heater. Desk lamp lighting. 12l
 

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