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Old 07-29-2012, 02:30 PM   #1 
toad
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Question Fishless cycle - water change?

Hi all!

I'm cycling - I mean, attempting to cycle - my 20 gallon tank, before I put anyone in it. I've never tried to cycle a tank before. Right now, the only living thing in there is some wisteria and an anubias. I've been feeding it everyday, with the crappy flakes that came with Percy's tank.

I've been doing this since Thursday or Friday (I think...), and it's starting to smell icky. It's filtered, with a Tetra Whisper 20. None of my tanks with fish inside smell icky, so I assume it's those nasty flakes rotting in there.

Am I supposed to change the water before I put any fish in it? Or will the smell go away when the bacteria have colonized properly?

Sorry for all the n00b questions - I honestly only just learned about cycling, and since more than 1 fish is going into this tank, I want to colonize the bacteria before stocking, to make sure the ammonia won't spike and hurt the little guys.

The tank in question:


Last edited by toad; 07-29-2012 at 02:33 PM. Reason: forgot the pic!
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:57 PM   #2 
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That smell is the bacteria bloom. I had that, but once the water started circulating in the 10G tank with the 4 filters, the odor slowly dissipated.

  • The biggest mistake you can make right now is to CHANGE the water.

Turn off the lights, unless you want to take pictures. Light will only create unwanted algae growth.

Add a heater, turn it up to high 80's or 90 degrees. (My tank was 90 for 5-6 days.)

The key thing I did differently during my cycle, was the constant addition of MORE filter floss taken from my established bio-wheel.

I just jammed as much as much "Seeded" filter floss in the new filters.

I'm not sure if you're supposed to rinse the seeded media, but I did and it didn't seem to hurt anything.

I also did NOT fill the tank all the way. I only put in about 6 gallons of water. Over the course of the week I fed the bettas more and poured in the top half of their water into the tank in cycle.

The girls got to eat more, and it helped speed up the cycle as well. That's another reason I didn't put gravel in the temporary tanks. So I can monitor them for any chipmunking/bloat issues.


  • Basically leave the tank alone.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:03 PM   #3 
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Okay, thanks love :) So I'll just keep feeding it and let it do its thing, I guess!
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:25 PM   #4 
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I will have to setup the 20G because my girls won't stop fighting.

The alpha almost killed my purple betta Senetti because one of them hurdled the divider after I removed them to a recovery tank.

Senetti pretty much gave up and was hiding in the corner ready die when I walked by their tank.

Needless to say I didn't have any time to take pictures.

5 minutes later Senetti was back to her normal self even with all the injuries in the half gallon Marina tank.

http://www.petco.com/product/111197/...-Burgundy.aspx

Glad she didn't have one of her eyes ripped out or anything more permanent.

Missing a ton of scales and fins. Should take at least 2-3 weeks for her to heal up.

The others that were removed are fully healed now, so the little colorful girls are going to be reintroduced tonight.

  • Remember, I only fed my CYCLING tank with DIRTY water from the water changes from the betta tanks & additional filter media from the establish biowheel filter.
I didn't use the fish food flakes/ammonia.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:35 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
  • Remember, I only fed my CYCLING tank with DIRTY water from the water changes from the betta tanks & additional filter media from the establish biowheel filter.
I didn't use the fish food flakes/ammonia.

That is brilliant. I wish I had thought of that, but I filled it all with clean sparkly water, which is probably polluted now, so I'll just stick with it. It's still clear and beautiful looking, but it's starting to smell rancid... I will do the dirty water next time, I think.

I hope Senetti is okay :( Poor little girl. Sisters can be so mean!
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:48 PM   #6 
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You can still remove 5 gallons and slowly add dirty water from the betta tanks.

I'm still pretty sure I was able to cycle my tank in record time of 5-6 days.
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