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Old 08-18-2009, 12:02 PM   #1 
ltshinthebetta
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Questions about Cycling Tanks

I'm going to put my two betta fish in an unfiltered/unheated 10 gallon tank.
I will eventually, hopefully get a heater and a filter, my dad is a huge saftey freak and worries about it starting a fire.

I've never cycled a tank before, and I'm not really sure how to do it.
I've heard of two ways, cycling when fish are in there, and when they are out.
I'm currently treating my fish William for torn fins and possible fin rot, so would it be easier to do a fishless cycle?
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:50 PM   #2 
Kim
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Definitely easier to do a fishless cycle. Plus it would be terrible on a recovering fish to go through a cycle.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:01 PM   #3 
ltshinthebetta
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Yeah, I was thinking it would be a lot easier to cycle it without the fish in there while he was recovering.

I'm still not sure how to cycle a tank, can someone please explain?
and do you HAVE to cycle a tank?
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:43 PM   #4 
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Easier to do a cycle without the fish but not recommended by many fish experts I've talked to. The enzymes and bacteria in the betta's digestive system (its poop) are a neccesary part of the cycling process for it to complete properly.

You always want to use the type of fish you are going to house in a tank during the cycling process. I have had many tanks in my lifetime (new to bettas tho) and have always put fish in them during the cycling process to make sure it completes properly. Just make sure your test levels are safe to add the fish. It is ok if nitrate levels are slightly above normal during this time.

It may stress the fish a little at first, but it will help your tank cycle properly and lead to happier fish in the long run.

If bettas are different for some reason, someone please let me know. But, I just finished cycling a small tank and had a betta in it about 2 days after I put it together. Cycling finished in about a week for a 1 gallon desk tank.

I am concerned about the no-filter, no-heating in a 10 gallon tank tho... you may end up with dead fish.

http://www.firsttankguide.net/cycle.php
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:58 PM   #5 
dramaqueen
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You CAN cycle with fish but you have to do more water changes and feed fish very sparingly.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:07 PM   #6 
BabblingFish
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In my book, it is recommended to do cycling with fish in the water. I will always stand by this. A tank will never "finish" cycling until you add the fish. Even if the water clears up, etc.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:30 AM   #7 
RoseyD
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I tried doing a fishless cycle on my 12 gal and failed. First, I tried finding ammonia without 'surficant' and THATS impossible to find. I went to about 6 grocery stores, Walmart, CVS - all of them carried their 'name' product only and it was the 'surficant' type. UGH!

I tried doing the fishfood method and couldn't seem to get the ammonia levels going.

Finally, I gave up - did a water change and added fish... It took more than 4 weeks - but the tank is finally cycled.

I've had mixed advice - some fish store workers say - don't do water changes - others say - it's fine to do partials - that it isn't the water that you're building the 'bacteria growth' on - it's the filter media.

that being said - can one 'cycle' a filterless tank? The bacteria needs to grow with access to the water, but can't be completely 'submerged' in water -because it needs air to breathe/survive. (I learned this from the webmedia site - in regards to a question I'd asked regarding the moving of a 30 gallon tank and how to 'transport' the media and keep the bacteria alive.)

I'm sure I probably would have more to say, but I'm still pre-coffee - and that's a rough state to be in...
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:33 AM   #8 
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Babbling... did you write a book? :)

Interesting how phrases like that are used. :)
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:22 AM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseyD View Post

that being said - can one 'cycle' a filterless tank? The bacteria needs to grow with access to the water, but can't be completely 'submerged' in water -because it needs air to breathe/survive. (I learned this from the webmedia site - in regards to a question I'd asked regarding the moving of a 30 gallon tank and how to 'transport' the media and keep the bacteria alive.)

No, no you can not, you need a filter to cycle. Otherwise it is just a glass or acrylic tank filled with water.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:21 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltshinthebetta View Post
Yeah, I was thinking it would be a lot easier to cycle it without the fish in there while he was recovering.

I'm still not sure how to cycle a tank, can someone please explain?
and do you HAVE to cycle a tank?
If it's a 10 gal you are going to want to cycle it because doing 100% water changes on a tank that large would be terrible!

Here's what I did to fishless cycle my tanks - Get some pure ammonia (I got mine at hannaford) and a dropper. Add 1 drop per 2-3 gallons of water, wait, and test ammonia levels. Continue adding ammonia until the level registers at around 3 ppm for a betta tank (low bioload tank). Here's the really hard part...wait. Keep testing daily until ammonia levels begin to drop. Now begin testing nitrites daily as well. Once nitrItes show up you will need to start adding ammonia again so that you do not starve your bacteria colony. However, if your ammonia levels get to .25 before nitrItes show up you will need to begin adding ammonia right away. Add one drop per 2-3 gallons daily until the cycle completes. Once nitrItes start going down begin testing for nitrAtes daily. When ammonia and nitrites are 0 and nitrates register on your test kit the cycle is complete. Depending on the level of nitrAtes do a 25-50% water change. Important- do not touch the gravel or filter media at this time as this is where the bacteria colonize. Taking out water does not matter so long as the new water has the same parameters as the old water.

Then add fish!

Hope this helps...this method has always worked for me. Oh, it also helps if you can get some filter media from an established tank but this is not necessary.
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