Once your tank can reduce 2.0ppm ammonia to 0.0ppm in a day, you're cycled and can add shrimp, fish, anything within reason.
From then on, one 50% change per week with light vacuuming is all you need to reduce DOCs (dissolved organic compounds that slip through your filter); to keep your nitrates down and to replenish minerals that your fish uses up.
Swish/rinse your filter foam in old tank water during a pwc every month or so to keep it from getting gummed up.
Enjoy your fish, knowing he and his friends are living in the purest water you can provide.
How do YOU guys do PWC's...? I'm supposed to turn off all the appliances first, right...? Or would that stall the cycle... hmmm. Fish keeping is HARD. Never expected this from my long journey of my Bubba impulse buy... :)
SO. Maybe I'm an idiot, but here it goes:
My "FISHLESS" cycle isn't too fishless, because as of today, there are now a betta fish & 2 Amano shrimp residing in it.
Please don't yell at me! The tank has been cycling for over 3 weeks now, but it isn't fully cycled. I don't think the SECOND type of beneficial bacteria EVER showed up, because although the nitrAtes are coming up in tests, the nitrites never go down!
I am running out of time as I am leaving in two days, so I had to add in my fish a tad earlier than planned so I could see how things were going & monitor the progress of their health & the tank.
I added in the 2 Amano shrimp yesterday, acclimated them like usual, & set them free to explore & scurry around a bit before they would meet their new friend...
The next day (currently today) I acclimated Bubba & he is still swimming around calmly, probably enjoying the new warmth of his 80 degrees F home.......
I am worried about the water parameters while I am gone. Here it goes:
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrites - 2.0ppm
NitrAtes - 40ppm (YIKES, I know... I don't know what happened)
pH - 7.6
HELP!!! What do I do? I don't need to keep adding ammonia, right? My betta fish & shrimp can keep the cycling going?
& I keep doing PWCs but the Nitrites refuse to go anywhere & the NitrAtes are soaring! Like a random spike!