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Old 06-30-2012, 12:54 PM   #1 
Freyja
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Cycling a 2.5 gallon

So I've read in this forum about using a sponge filter to cycle a 3 gallon tank. I found at my LFS a 5-10 gallon filter with a sponge prefilter to develop beneficial bacteria. My tank currently has one betta girl, an unnamed moss ball, and two anacharis stems. My question is if I could use this filter to cycle my tank? I'd really like to hear from people who are undertaking this experiment.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:12 PM   #2 
FishyFishy89
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a 5-10 gallon filter maybe too powerful for your 2.5 gallon. it may also be too big.
do you have a petco near you? their running a $1 per gallon(with petco card)sale on aquariums. you could purchase a 10 gallon.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #3 
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Yes - I just bought a 10 gallon and I have no reason to, but it was only $10 with your Petco card and I would like to have more fish eventually.

BUT- I too want to cycle my 2.5 gallon tank. I am trying but it's my first tank cycling experiment so I may not be doing it right. I used a filter with some biological media from an established tank, some sand, plants, and added 2 of my platies (Is it platies or platys?).

I read it's hard to cycle the small tanks but I want to try anyway. Is it a total wasted effort to do this? What about a 5.5 gallon?
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:54 PM   #4 
Canuck Fins
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It is pretty tough to cycle a 2.5G, but a 5G is pretty easy to cycle. If you can bump up the size that little bit, it makes a big difference.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:24 AM   #5 
Hallyx
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Hi Freyja,

You don't need a large filter for a small tank. Too much current will blow your Betta around, even if she's a tough girl. But you do need a filter. You can go with a sponge filter, but by the time you buy the filter and the pump and the airline and the air adjuster and the check valve you'd be over $20. Besides, it can raise your pH---not good (unles you have low pH).

I have a lot of luck with these:
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Hagen-Elite-Underwater-Filter-Listed/dp/B0009YD7D4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341033092&sr=8-1&keywords=Hagen+elite+mini"]Amazon.com: Hagen Elite Underwater Mini Filter, UL Listed: Pet Supplies[/ame]

It has an air intake tube which is useful for aerating the bacteria for a quick secure cycle and the flow is adjustable. What it doesn't have (none of those kinds of filters have) is sufficient foam to house enough Beneficial Bacteria (BB---nitrifying bacteria).

Take a 4inch by 8inch piece of 1/2 in thick filter foam, roll it into a 4in long tube and sew it up, also on one end. Slip this over the outlet of the filter to provide a home for the BB. It also reduces the current while still allowing enough flow to feed your BB.

You'll have to closely monitor your ammonia, nitrItes and nitrAtes. I recommend you get one of these test kits, especially now, while they're on sale::
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-FRESHWATER-MASTER-TEST-KIT/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341033189&sr=8-1&keywords=API+test+kit"]Amazon.com: API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT: Pet Supplies[/ame]

(You can combine those items for free shipping)

Here comes the fun part: You leave your fish in her tank and (following BlueFish’s suggestion)
cycle the filter in a bucket!

1 or 2 gal will do.

If you have access to filter foam or gravel from a cycled tank, that's a plus. A quarter cup will do. Put it in your filter. The seeded media will accelerate your cycle. It's OK if you don't have it; it just takes longer ------ a lot longer.

You'll need ammonia to feed the BB. Some keepers use raw shrimp or fish food which rots to provide the ammonia. That's smelly, messy and can grow dangerous mold. Find “pure” ammonia that does NOT foam when you shake it.

BB like air, food and warmth (don't we all?) so:

---Open the air tube

---Run your filter full-blast

---keep it warm, up to 90* is OK

---keep it dark; the BB like that

--- add enough ammonia to get a reading of 3.0/4.0ppm on your test kit.

Maintain this reading. Monitor your parameters. When the ammonia goes down, the nitrites should go up. It may take weeks or longer. Keep the ammonia at 3.0/4.0ppm. When the nitrItes go down, the nitrAtes should go up. When the ammonia = 0.0ppm and the nitrites = 0.0ppm, you should see a high reading for nitrates (~40ppm is not unusual).

Then dump out the water and refill it. Don’t let the filter get dry. Bring the ammonia up to 3.0ppm again. If ammonia, and nitrites both drop to 0.0ppm in less that 24 hours, your filter is cycled.

Place the filter in your show tank with your fish, and monitor it carefully for the first few days. Basically you're running a cycled tank from then on.

I just read this over. It doesn't sound too complicated to me. But, if this is the first time you're seeing all this information in one piece, it might be a little intimidating. Read it slowly again; read other things about cycling including the sticky in the "fish care" section. Let me know if this makes sense to you. Ask any questions you feel like.

Last edited by Hallyx; 07-01-2012 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:25 AM   #6 
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Fishy,

You're well on your way. Having seeded media is 90% of the solution. Just keep monitoring you ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. You'd get faster results if those Platy (I think that's the plural) were not in there. You could then power-feed your bacteria with high ammonia levels.

Canuck Fins is right: Larger tanks are easier to cycle---because they provide more area for the nitrifying bacteria more substrate, more wall decor and plant area and, especially, larger filters with more foam/media.

You can add foam to your smaller filter to achieve the same results.

As always, frequent water tests provide security for any size tank.

Last edited by Hallyx; 07-01-2012 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:17 AM   #7 
ao
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A tank with a decent amount of happily growing plants will hold a cycle quite well. I wish you all the best :)
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:33 PM   #8 
FishyFishy89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
Fishy,

You're well on your way. Having seeded media is 90% of the solution. Just keep monitoring you ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. You'd get faster results if those Platy (I think that's the plural) were not in there. You could then power-feed your bacteria with high ammonia levels.
I haven't got any platys in my cycling tank
Just Spike and anacharis.
in a 5.5 gallon with an aggressive fishy, id rather not add anymore fishys.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:41 PM   #9 
Olympia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
Here comes the fun part: You leave your fish in her tank and (following BlueFish’s suggestion)
cycle the filter in a bucket!

1 or 2 gal will do.

If you have access to filter foam or gravel from a cycled tank, that's a plus. A quarter cup will do. Put it in your filter. The seeded media will accelerate your cycle. It's OK if you don't have it; it just takes longer ------ a lot longer.

You'll need ammonia to feed the BB. Some keepers use raw shrimp or fish food which rots to provide the ammonia. That's smelly, messy and can grow dangerous mold. Find “pure” ammonia that does NOT foam when you shake it.

BB like air, food and warmth (don't we all?) so:

---Open the air tube

---Run your filter full-blast

---keep it warm, up to 90* is OK

---keep it dark; the BB like that

--- add enough ammonia to get a reading of 3.0/4.0ppm on your test kit.

Maintain this reading. Monitor your parameters. When the ammonia goes down, the nitrites should go up. It may take weeks or longer. Keep the ammonia at 3.0/4.0ppm. When the nitrItes go down, the nitrAtes should go up. When the ammonia = 0.0ppm and the nitrites = 0.0ppm, you should see a high reading for nitrates (~40ppm is not unusual).

Then dump out the water and refill it. Don’t let the filter get dry. Bring the ammonia up to 3.0ppm again. If ammonia, and nitrites both drop to 0.0ppm in less that 24 hours, your filter is cycled.

Place the filter in your show tank with your fish, and monitor it carefully for the first few days. Basically you're running a cycled tank from then on.
That's great, Hal.
You've learned much, grasshopper.

~The 90F is fine, of course you can do it at room temperature if you don't have an extra heater around, it may just take slightly longer.
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