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Old 06-09-2010, 04:30 AM   #11 
Mizzle
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Originally Posted by smallvle View Post
So my question is, what is the reason for cycling a tank? I thought it cuts down on water changes, but it apparently doesn't. Does a tank need to be cycled? I'm not trying to be rude, nor would I like rude answers, I just honestly want to know the reasons for cycling. What's the point if it doesn't cut down on water changes, or make them any easier?
From the way you have worded your question, you act as if cycling your aquarium is something you chose to do or not to do. This "cycle" is something that occurs in all aquariums as long as a source of ammonia is present (your fish).

If your tank has a biological filter, it will eventually naturally cycle or your fish will perish. Unless you are doing 100% water changes every few days, but theres no point in this if you have filtration. an aquarium that is fully cycled will require less water changes to keep your fish alive and healthy than an aquarium that is uncycled or in process of cycling. the only reason you change the water in a cycled aquarium is to remove nitrates (NO3), which is the end product of process. Again, if your aquarium doesn't cycle you will be struggling to keep your water levels under control and your fish alive.

Cycling isn't difficult, it's a natural process that occurs in every successful aquarium. You either let your aquarium cycle *OR* you do large water changes on a frequent basis, which would make no sense if you are using a filter.

Last edited by Mizzle; 06-09-2010 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:35 PM   #12 
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Cycling isn't difficult, it's a natural process that occurs in every successful aquarium. You either let your aquarium cycle *OR* you do large water changes on a frequent basis, which would make no sense if you are using a filter.
Wait, Mizzle, now i'm really confused... Right now, with my 2.5 gal, I do a 50% water change (and gravel vaccume,) once a week. I have a TOM internal mini filter (it uses "Poly fiber foam media, carbon and a biological media") for a 3-stage filtration. I guess, i'm wondering, would that mean my tank is not cycled *fully* because of my larger water changes? If I got a 5 gal and seeded (I think that's the word,) it with the gravel from my 2.5 gal tank, and did fewer water changes would it be cycled?

I know you didn't mean to, but I was just starting to understand this whole "cycling" thing, and now i'm all confused again. : ( Plz understand, I hadn't even heard of cycling untill maybe 6 months ago, so this is ALL new to me.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:19 AM   #13 
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If you cycle a filter without fish in the tank, you don't need to do water changes while it's cycling, and it'll be done in about a month without being seeded. If you seed it, it should go faster.

After that you do a big water change, add the fish, and only do enough water changes to keep the nitrate levels at an acceptable level. For Bettas, I think it's maximum 5-10ppm. Anything more than that, and it's just needlessly stressing the fish, IMO.

Get a nitrate test, and it's easy.
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #14 
Mizzle
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Originally Posted by smallvle View Post
Wait, Mizzle, now i'm really confused... Right now, with my 2.5 gal, I do a 50% water change (and gravel vaccume,) once a week. I have a TOM internal mini filter (it uses "Poly fiber foam media, carbon and a biological media") for a 3-stage filtration. I guess, i'm wondering, would that mean my tank is not cycled *fully* because of my larger water changes? If I got a 5 gal and seeded (I think that's the word,) it with the gravel from my 2.5 gal tank, and did fewer water changes would it be cycled?

I know you didn't mean to, but I was just starting to understand this whole "cycling" thing, and now i'm all confused again. : ( Plz understand, I hadn't even heard of cycling untill maybe 6 months ago, so this is ALL new to me.

Basically, if your aquarium has been running for a while with a fish in it & you haven't completely been changing filter media or removing gravel from the tank theres a good chance it's cycled. by a while I mean a few months.

Do you have any liquid test kits? API freshwater master kit? anything that will measure ammonia, nitrites (NO2), or nitrates (NO3)? Check for ammonia today and then check for ammonia in like 5-7 days just before you do your weekly water change. It should read 0. If your tank isn't cycled the ammonia will be higher on the 5th-7th day than on the 1st day. If it's lower or at 0, then things are going smooth.

I do a 50% water change once weekly in my cycled aquarium. the beneficial bacteria lives mainly in your biological filter and some in your substrate (gravel). The only part of the water change that would affect your cycle is that it will remove ammonia, and nitrites (NO2) from your water, which is the food for your bacteria. If your bacteria don't eat, they die. though a 50% water change most definitely isn't enough to kill them off.

If you seeded the 5 gallon aquarium with the filter media and or gravel from your 2.5 gallon it could help. If your 2.5 gallon aquarium hasn't grown the beneficial bacteria (cycled) then it probably won't do anything.

edit: when I said in my previous post that you would have to do a large frequent water change to an uncycled aquarium. While my 20 gallon was cycling I was sometimes changing 5-10 gallons per day to keep the ammonia in check (I cycled with all 3 of my bettas on board). After my aquarium finished cycling I change about 10 gallons once per week.

edit 2: also, keep in mind that in order to cycle your aquarium there has to be some ammonia present in your water. It's your job to make sure the ammonia doesn't get too high for your fish and that it doesn't drop too low to stall your cycle... the bacteria need their food to grow =D

Last edited by Mizzle; 06-11-2010 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:41 AM   #15 
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Thanks for being so patient and explaining everything guys! Like I said, I had never even HEARD of cycling untill a few months ago, so this is all totally new to me. I used to just think that everyone did water changes once a week. : )

mfskarphedin, you make cycling sound so easy compared to all the posts i've ever read on this site about cycling. Even in a fishless cycle, everyone made it sound like you had to do daily water changes, and I think I even remember someone vaccuming their gravel too. I feel like i'm almost never home, there's no way in the precious free time I do get, that I wanted to be constantly changing fish water when there's not even a fish in it! lol! But it IS starting to make more sense now, and it sounds like less work than I orignally thought it was.

And Mizzle, no, I don't have any test kits of any kind. : ( I've never tested my water, because I always assumed (I realize lately that I should be testing regulaly,) that you just changed your water and that was that. My filter cartridge lasts about a month before I have to replace it, but it is a little internal filter, and you basically just take the whole cartridge with all the media off the small section with the impeller, toss the old cartridge and put in the new. So tha bactera that might build up in there would only last a month or so. I was planning on using this same filter in a 5 gal (it says it filters 2-5 gal.s,) but would I need a different kind? I really like the one I have. : ( (There is no way to save any of the media either, to put it in a new cartridge.)

Any more info, advice, tips anything you guys can give me would be great! I don't have a 5 gal yet, and probably won't be able to buy one till closer to fall, but i'd like to learn all I can before I buy a bigger tank. Thank you guys so much!
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:30 AM   #16 
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And Mizzle, no, I don't have any test kits of any kind. : ( I've never tested my water, because I always assumed (I realize lately that I should be testing regulaly,) that you just changed your water and that was that. My filter cartridge lasts about a month before I have to replace it, but it is a little internal filter, and you basically just take the whole cartridge with all the media off the small section with the impeller, toss the old cartridge and put in the new. So tha bactera that might build up in there would only last a month or so. I was planning on using this same filter in a 5 gal (it says it filters 2-5 gal.s,) but would I need a different kind? I really like the one I have. : ( (There is no way to save any of the media either, to put it in a new cartridge.)
when you go to change your filter cartridge > instead of just taking the old cartridge out and putting the new one in. put the new one in and leave the old one in your tank for a couple of days. give the bacteria a chance to move to the new media.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:47 AM   #17 
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Ok, yeah, big point! You're throwing out a lot of your bacterial colony with the filter media and making the cycle start over every time you do that, as you surmised. What exact model of filter is it? I can take a look at it and see if there's a work-around. Any crappy filter design can be fixed up with a little DIY. :)

BTW, fishless cycling is easy! That's why I always recommend it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:36 PM   #18 
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I have a 10gal divided with sand and live plants, no filter. I take out half the water once a week. I don't need to do more because the tank is understocked, not over fed and the plants help keep the water clean. The sand also acts as a biological filter. Though, once I get enough money, I would get this tank a filter.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:28 PM   #19 
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I have a TOM Mini internal filter Mfskarphedin. And I just changed the cartridge like, a week ago Mizzle, but it needs to be changed about once a month, so the next time I change it, i'll leave the old cartridge in for a couple of days! Thanx for that advice! Do I need to test the water at all? Seuss seems to do perfectly fine with what i'm doing, but if it in any way makes life easier for me, i'm all for it! ; ) (Right now he's in a 2.5 gal, btw.)

Now i'm actually excited about upgrading and cycling, not dreading it! : )
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