Originally Posted by Phether
How young should I aim for?
After some research, I found that I could do some fishless cycling. How do I do this? If I am not mistaken, I'm supposed to add regular amounts of ammonia daily until the ammonia and nitrate levels balance out. Am I correct?
Yes, you'll need ammonia, a dropper of some sort, and a liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte. You add enough ammonia at first to bring the level to around 3-5 ppm, then wait for ammonia to start going down. Once it gets to about .25 nitrItes should start showing up. At this point you should also start adding ammonia daily (about 1 drop per 2-3 gallons should do). You will then see ammonia and nitrIte dropping down to 0 and nitrAtes will show up. Now the cycle is complete and all you need to do is a water change (how much depends on the nitrAte level), but make sure not to touch the gravel or filter material as this is where your good bacteria live and the cycle is going to be fragile for a while, and add fish. Once you add fish you will still want to monitor the parameters frequently so you can be sure it's not mini-cycling.
As for weekly cleaning, you should buy a gravel vaccuum. That way you can clean the gravel and take out dirty water at the same time. 25% weekly water changes should be good. You can use your tap water but make sure to condition it first.
Hope this helps