Originally Posted by Bettafish
Im seeting up my first ten gallon tank.
First of all.
I have filters food and cleaning stuff. and accesorys.
First question: I have this bottle of stuff that speeds up the cycling process. imma use it. but how long should i let the tank cycle before i know the waters okay. and should i have all the gravel and accesorys in while it cycles? or just water? and when its done cycling should i replace the filter? and how often should i replace the filter.
Second. How shold i "clean" it? and how often
Thanks peeps :)
One thing that you're going to need is a water testing kit. The one that is most used and, IMO, best is the API Freshwater Testing Kit. It is a liquid testing kit, which is far more accurate than any strips.
I never use that bottle stuff. Some people say that it works, but for the majority it doesn't. If you want to use it then go ahead. I would also add in a dead shrimp or some ammonia source.
Here are the steps to a fishless cycle that you are trying to do:
1. Set everything up in the tank, the filter, the heater, the plants, the gravel the accessories, everything but the fish.
2. Turn on the filter and the heater. Turn the heater up to the high 80s, the bacteria love it there.
3. Get out your water kit and your ammonia source. If your using pure ammonia make sure that it is just ammonia with nothing else in it, put a little bit in there. Test the water for ammonia. You want it around the 4.0PPM. If it less, add a little more. If it is more, as long as it's not 8.0PPM+ you're fine, however if it is more than 8.0PPM do a PWC. If you are using a shrimp, just drop it in you do not have to test it.
4. I like to wait a few days before I test again, there won't be too much change in the beginning. But after about the 3rd or 4th day test the water to see if the ammonia has went down. If it has, check the nitrItes. There may be some there. You might want to write this down so you'll see where your cycle is. Dose your tank up to 4.0PPM ammonia again.
5. Check the water everyday. You want to keep your ammonia around the 4.0PPM. You also want to check everything else. Here's the order in which you'll see things:
Ammonia-> NitrIte-> Nitrate
That's the cycle.
6. After about 4-5 weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less) you'll start to see ALL of your ammonia and nitrIte gone. This is the final step. Dose your tank up to 4.0PPM of ammonia. Wait 24 hours. Then come back and see if you have any ammonia or nitrIte left. If you don't then go to 6a., if you do go to 6b.
6a. You're done! Yes, all that work is over! Do a PWC (partial water change) to get your nitrates down to >5PPM. Add your fish and be happy:)
6b. You're still not there. Keep doing what your doing. If you think your finally done in a few days do the 24 hour test again.
That is the fishless cycle. It won't be quick. But if you do have some left over filter media from another tank, take it and add some of it to the new filter. It'll speed up the process.
Now to your next questions:
DO NOT REPLACE YOUR FILTER- EVER!
If you do then all that cycling that you went through will be gone. There will be bacteria on some other things, but main part of it will be in the filter media. You'll want to clean out the filter, but ever replace it. I'll explain it in just a bit.
You wanted to know how to clean the tank. You'll want to do PWCs about once a week at about 20% of the water. This will help keep the nitrate levels down. With the water that you took out, you will clean our filter media in there. Just swish it around a few times to get all of the ick-ness out of it. You will also want to clean off all algae, if you don't have snails or shrimp. You'll also want to vacuum your gravel. You'll need a gravel vac for that, which can be bought at most pet stores and WalMarts. Just drag that through the gravel and you'll get all the junk from there.
Just one more quick note: ALWAYS USE WATER CONDITION WHEN CHANGING ANY WATER. The best is Prime, but that's just me.
I hope this helps!!!
Edit: Wow that took me long to type. There was only the question when I first started writing!