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Old 01-12-2013, 01:27 AM   #1 
FishCat13
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Cycling question

Ok, here's the issue: I got a 10-gallon tank last weekend to prepare for a betta sorority tank. It took a couple of days for the dechlorinator to work and the water stopped smelling like a swimming pool (it was terrible). Then I thought I would try the fishless cycle by adding the flake food that came with my start-up kit (which I wouldn't be feeding betta anyway). I added a small handful of crushed flakes on Wednesday and another small handful on Thursday. I don't have a water test kit (I forgot to get it with the tank and I have to drive a good ways to any perstore). The water is now cloudy and smells. Is this normal? Is this a sign that the cycling is beginning or ammonia has formed? I've never cycled a tank before.

Also, another question: has anyone here ever used Tetra SafeStart? Would it be ok to add it now, after I've added food, and then add the fish or do I need to do a water change first? I'm not a patient person, so the whole cycling process is just killing me.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:09 AM   #2 
shellieca
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Yes cloudy, smelly from fish food that is rotting in the tank would be normal. Did you put the food into a mesh bag or something so its less messy & easier to clean out? IMO, from all that I've read a raw shrimp builds up ammonia faster than fish food if you can't find pure ammonia. The tetra safe start won't hurt anything BUT is not a guarantee your tank will cycle faster, some have had success & others not. Until you have a liquid test kit to see exactly what your ammonia, nitrites, nitrates & Ph are I would NOT add any fish. Even if you do a water change you still need to make sure the water is safe, unless you do 100% & pretty much start from scratch. If you go fish IN you would definitely need that liquid test kit.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:22 PM   #3 
Hallyx
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If your water smells of chlorine, you definitely want to check your sourcewater from the tap. A test kit won't help here. Check with your water authority. Prime or other quality water conditioners will detoxify chlorine/chloramine.

Rotting food smells. The cloudiness is probably from a bacterial bloom, not an indication that your cycle has started. Rotting shrimp smells even worse.The smell is why we recommend pure ammonia for cycling.

Whether you go fish-in or fishless you'll need a test kit to judge your progress. You'll need one to check your water, anyway, as long as you're keeping fish. Best price is here:
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358114223&sr=8-1&keywords=API+test+kit"]Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies[/ame]
Add some Prime or cycle helper to get a $25 order for free shipping.

Tetra Safestart contains the type of bacteria you want for the nitrogen cycle. Check the freshness date to make sure it's fresh. I consider Dr Tim's One-and-only a better product. It's shipped fresh in an insulated container. [ame="http://www.amazon.com/DrTims-Aquatics-Nitrifying-Bacteria-Cycling/dp/B001LULBXI/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1358114872&sr=1-2&keywords=Dr+Tim%27s+One+and+Only"]Amazon.com: DrTim's Aquatics One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria for Cycling Aquaria, Fresh Water, 2-Ounce: Pet Supplies[/ame]


Keep your water ~82*, your ammonia level <5.0ppm, nitrite <5.0ppm and nitrate <40ppm. Provide plenty of aeration from a sponge filter, airstone or waterfall. Darkness helps of you don't have plants. But I recommend lots of live plants.

Read the cycling stickies at the top of the "Bowls and Habitats" section of this forum.

Cycling can take over a month even in the best of circumstances. Patience is the best cycling technique.

Last edited by Hallyx; 01-13-2013 at 04:29 PM.
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