Originally Posted by Devanta
Can you explain cycling to me? I keep coming across the term, and looked up what it is and now Im just...confused. :l Its kind of scaring me to be honest
No worries. Cycling isn't something you often come across in betta-keeping.
Fish produce ammonia as a waste product (all living things make waste products). Ammonia is toxic to fish, but luckily they have developed a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that make ammonia into nitrIte (still toxic) and then into nitrAte (the least toxic).
When we "cycle'' a tank we are building up populations of these good bacteria to detoxify our fish's waste so we don't have to make bi-weekly water changes. I highly recommend getting an aquarium test kit to cycle a tank and test your tank daily while cycling it. First, you will see a spike in ammonia. When you see this come down, it means the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrIte have formed a strong colony. Then you will see a spike in nitrIte. As this comes down, you know the bacteria that convert nitrIte to nitrAte are present in your aquarium. Once you begin to see a rise in nitrAtes, then you know your aquarium has cycled.
These good bacteria will easily survive a water changed provided you don't let the entire tank dry out. These good bacteria live on all hard surfaces in aquariums. Rocks, walls, decor, and plants. Those "bacteria in a bottle" products at pet stores may sound like a blessing, but they're mostly a waste of money.
Feel free to let us know if you have any more questions. We're here to help you and your fishies!