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Old 05-10-2012, 01:07 AM   #1 
finnfinnfriend
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I'm just gonna go ahead and ask....

I have a 5 gal tank with one betta. It is filtered, but I don't think it's cycled. I have been doing 30-50% water changes once a week with a gravel siphon.

Am I doing it right? In your opinion?
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:18 AM   #2 
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I think if you have a filter on it a cycle will start to happen whether you're trying or not? Maybe just be sure you're doing the "rinse/swish" to clean off the filter media unless you don't plan on cycling & completely replace the media on occasion.

Basically it sounds like what I do except I don't get overly aggressive with the gravel cleaning.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:42 AM   #3 
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I belive as long as you have a source of ammonia - which would be the betta - and the filter running, your tank will try and cycle. It would be easier to tell if you have the test kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. That way you will know exactly where you are with the cycle. I tested every 3-5 days for my 10 gallon.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:50 AM   #4 
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I belive as long as you have a source of ammonia - which would be the betta - and the filter running, your tank will try and cycle. It would be easier to tell if you have the test kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. That way you will know exactly where you are with the cycle. I tested every 3-5 days for my 10 gallon.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkyjoe View Post
I think if you have a filter on it a cycle will start to happen whether you're trying or not? Maybe just be sure you're doing the "rinse/swish" to clean off the filter media unless you don't plan on cycling & completely replace the media on occasion.

Basically it sounds like what I do except I don't get overly aggressive with the gravel cleaning.
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Well is it okay to just change the filter media every month instead?
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #6 
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In a small cycled tank you should never change the filter media. This is where the majority of the good bacteria live. All you need to do is rinse it off in old tank water. This will also save you a lot of money yearly in buying new filters.

As to your original question, depends on how long your tank has been set up. Cycling a tank usually takes about 2-3 months. Since you have not been doing 100% water changes your tank is cycling because you have an ammonia source (your betta). The only way to tell when it is done is by a test kit. This is also the only way to tell whether or not your water is harmful to your fish. Cycling with a fish in does do harm to your fish.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:08 PM   #7 
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In a small cycled tank you should never change the filter media. This is where the majority of the good bacteria live. All you need to do is rinse it off in old tank water. This will also save you a lot of money yearly in buying new filters.

As to your original question, depends on how long your tank has been set up. Cycling a tank usually takes about 2-3 months. Since you have not been doing 100% water changes your tank is cycling because you have an ammonia source (your betta). The only way to tell when it is done is by a test kit. This is also the only way to tell whether or not your water is harmful to your fish. Cycling with a fish in does do harm to your fish.
Well what if it isn't cycled?
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:00 PM   #8 
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Well what if it isn't cycled?
But it is cycling. You haven't been doing 100% water changes. With an ammonia source (your betta) the bacteria colony will grow whether or not you want them. I can pretty much guarantee your tank is in the cycling process unless you have enough live plants in there to offset the ammonia production by your fish.

If you don't want to cycle your tank, I suggest you bump up your water changes to twice a week and make them about 50% to 100% of your water volume. Even then, your tank will still try to hold a cycle. It's the ecology of the aquarium. Tanks with enough surface area to hold the bacteria cycle whether or not you want them to. The only thing you can attempt to change is the harmful effects on your fish.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:22 PM   #9 
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But it is cycling. You haven't been doing 100% water changes. With an ammonia source (your betta) the bacteria colony will grow whether or not you want them. I can pretty much guarantee your tank is in the cycling process unless you have enough live plants in there to offset the ammonia production by your fish.

If you don't want to cycle your tank, I suggest you bump up your water changes to twice a week and make them about 50% to 100% of your water volume. Even then, your tank will still try to hold a cycle. It's the ecology of the aquarium. Tanks with enough surface area to hold the bacteria cycle whether or not you want them to. The only thing you can attempt to change is the harmful effects on your fish.
Well then...I guess it would just be easier for me to let it do it's thing then....
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:29 PM   #10 
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Ya. You can only fight mother nature so much. Plus, having a cycled tank is a great thing. You don't have to worry about your fish getting ammonia poisoning when you go away for a while. I've left my tanks for up to 2 weeks with no ill effects.
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