The advice you have been given in your other thread---to NOT cycle your 5gal right away---is good advice. You'll want to get used to your fish and how to feed and care for him properly. You don't need to be confused or stressed out by cycling right now.
You don't have to remove your fish when doing water changes; do a 50% and a 90% change every week. You can dip out the water with a cup while leaving your fish in the tank. Or you can get a small siphon from the pet store and suck the water out. Be careful not to suck up the fish.
Do a 50% and a 90% change every week. Make sure the refill water is nearly the same temperature as the tank water was. You'll want to have a thermometer for this. You should have one anyway, to make sure his water temperature is kept around 78*/82*. Put the dechlorinator/conditioner in the refill water first.
Running a filter will make your tank try to cycle. You don't want that right now, so leave the filter out. By the way, the most important reason to cycle your tank is not for your convenience, but to provide cleaner, more pure water for your fish.
When you're ready to cycle (and if you want to do a fishless cycle), here's what I suggest:
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]
Here comes the fun part: You leave your fish in the show tank and cycle the filter in a small tank or 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 bacteria. 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.
The bacteria you'll want to encourage like air, food and warmth (don't we all?) so:
---Run an airstone or sponge filter (bubbler).
---Run your filter full-blast.
—Keep it warm if you can; up to 90* is OK.
—Keep it dark; the bacteria like that.
--- add enough ammonia to get a reading >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.
If this sounds too complicated, ask again in a few weeks or more, and we can guide you through a fish-in cycle. A fishless cycle and a fish-in cycle take about the same amount of time.
But I suggest you take your time; test your water with a test kit; make your two changes a week; keep his water warm; feed him quality food twice per day; and enjoy your fish stress-free until you have the experience to perform a cycle.
Last edited by Hallyx; 08-08-2012 at 04:47 AM.