All the time I see members on here who think their tank is cycled when it's not or who really don't understand what it means to go through a cycle.
So I figured since I have a few tanks I've been meaning to cycle I'd post a journal so y'all could follow the process. I'll list my readings and water change schedule, etc here daily or every other day along the way so you can see step by step how I cycle a tank.
I'm a stickler for water changes. To me the health of the fish is more important than subjecting it to ammonia poisoning so you'll be seeing almost daily water changes, depending on the ammonia levels of the tanks.
Since I've cut way back on my fish and aquariums I will be doing two fish-in cycles since I don't have enough heaters and separate containers to house the fish while doing a fishless cycle. I'll be doing both cycles from scratch, instead of using media from my other tanks so you can see how it goes without aid.
The two tanks I'll be cycling are:
An Eclipse 12 gallon used tank with 1 giant male betta (so for the sake of bio-load we'll consider him 2 bettas) as well as 1 gold mystery snail.
-Filter will be an Aqua clear 20 (because the tank did not come with the stock filtration).
-Heater is a 150 w aqueon pro set at 80*
-No live plants, Oak leaf tanned, regular gravel substrate, one piece of driftwood
A standard 10 gallon divided 4 ways with 1 male betta in each section. Along with several MTS and Ramshorn snails (removed as I see them).
-Filtration to be determined. It previously had 4 Penn Plaxx Small World Filters on it but even with gang valves I was unable to get them to slow the bubbling and it is too loud since the tank is in my bedroom.
-Used heater of unknown brand and wattage. I'm assuming its 50-75 watts and keeps the tank at a stable 80*
-Mostly silk plants with a few small java fern babies.
-2 whole IAL leaves in the tank (1 half per section).
Starting tomorrow I'll do huge water changes on the tanks and add the filtration. I'll get base readings of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, gH, and kH without the tannins and re-add the oak and IAL leaf so that you can also see the effects of those on water chemistry. I'll be sure to add some pictures as well.