Betta Fish Care  
Go Back   Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care > Betta Fish Bowls, Habitats, and Accessories
Check out the eBook Betta Fish Care Made Easy
betta fish
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-07-2015, 01:32 PM   #1 
Hallyx
Reference Team
 
Hallyx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

Change half the water when either ammonia or nitrite approach 0.50ppm, or weekly, whichever comes first. Add Prime at 2-drops per gallon of tank size every day until cycled.

That’s all you have to do. You can stop reading now. But there’s a lot of information packed into those sentences. So let’s go over it again –- slowly.

Change half the water...

Removing water is most easily done with a siphon, also known as a gravel vacuum. Although a clean, new turkey baster will also work. Suck up as much old food, plant debris and feces as you can conveniently. Replace with water of the same temperature (within a few degrees either way). Add Prime to the tank just before refilling. You don’t have to “age” the water except in special conditions. See pH matching – below.

when either ammonia or nitrite approach 0.50ppm...

You need a water test kit to get these readings. Liquid tests are considered more consistently accurate than test strips, and they are cheaper per test. Most fish-keepers use the API master test kit ( [ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/"][/ame] [ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/"]Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies)[/ame]
which contains the tests you need. Test every day until you learn how fast ammonia builds up in your tank. (ppm is parts per million.)

You also need a filter to cycle a tank. Cycling bacteria need oxygen and water flow. A filter is the best and easiest way to provide both. Do not rinse or replace the filter during the cycle.

Some keepers prefer to change 25% of the water when ammonia approaches 0.25ppm. A 25% water change is more appropriate for tanks larger than 8-gallons.

or weekly, whichever comes first.

A weekly 50% water change with vacuuming is part of recommended tank maintenance. If ammonia and nitrite stay below 0.50ppm the tank goes onto the weekly water-change schedule.

Add Prime at 2-drops per gallon of tank size every day...

This is IMPORTANT: Prime water conditioner (by Seachem) detoxifies ammonia and nitrite in the tank so it will not endanger your fish. This protection goes away within 48 hours, so it is necessary to add more Prime. Seachem recommends 2-drops/gal of tank size with water changes. A further dose of 2-drops/gal every day keeps the protection fresh.

Other water conditioners that detoxify ammonia include API AmmoLock and Kordon Amquel+. Water conditioners must clearly state they detoxify or otherwise deal with ammonia. If you're not sure, check with us before you buy.

until cycled.

The tank is cycled when ammonia reads 0.0ppm, nitrite reads 0.0ppm and nitrate increases slightly between water changes. Afterwards, you only have to add Prime during weekly water changes.

Maintenance

A weekly 50% water change is a good habit to get into. While you’re at it, vacuum the substrate to remove solid waste, rotting food, etc. A weekly partial water change also dilutes nitrate, removes dissolved waste and replaces minerals used up by your fish and plants. Every few weeks, rinse the filter media in the water removed from the tank during the water change -- not in untreated tapwater.

Why cycle?

Fish and other aquatic animals produce ammonia as a by-product of living. Rotting food, plant debris, feces and other organics also produce ammonia. Ammonia is harmful or deadly if allowed to build-up in the tank. Cycling bacteria remove ammonia, providing the healthiest, safest water conditions for your fish. Creating a 'nitrogen cycle' in the tank is how you build bacteria colonies big enough to 'eat' all the ammonia.

The nitrogen cycle can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to complete.

Fish-in? Fishless?


The above instructions are for a “fish-in” cycle which uses the ammonia produced by your fish to feed the cycling bacteria and to grow the bacteria colonies. Since Betta produce so little ammonia (low-bioload), smaller colonies are enough. You need only enough bacteria to eat all the ammonia. In fact, that’s what get with fish-in cycling – just the right amount of bacteria.

“Fishless” cycling means that you provide the ammonia to feed the growing colonies. You can raise very large bacteria colonies using this method. If you’re planning to stock large fish or many fish at once this may be the way to go.

Tank size

Any size tank from 2-gallons on up can be cycled using this method. The smaller 2- and 3- gallon tanks do require extra care and close monitoring, as ammonia can build up pretty fast, sometimes. Test every day, and always be ready to do a 50% water change with Prime if ammonia rises above 0.50ppm.

Bacteria

Two types of bacteria are involved in the “nitrogen cycle.” One kind (Nitrosomonas) oxidizes harmful ammonia and turns it into nitrite. The other (Nitrospira) oxidizes nitrite and turns it into nitrate. After a tank is cycled the weekly water change removes nitrate.

Filter media (sponges, cartridges, pads) and substrate that contain live cycling bacteria can also be used to “seed” the cycle and make it faster. These bacteria quickly grow throughout the tank if you place them in the filter or in the filter flow. Bacteria stick to surfaces; not much lives in the water, so using old tank-water does nothing for the cycle. Be careful to use only seeded media from a clean, healthy tank.

Cycling bacteria is available in bottles from your local pet store. Tetra SafeStart is often used, although there are a few other products containing the bacteria listed above.

pH matching


Betta can tolerate a wide range of pH – from below 7.0 pH to above 8.0 pH – as long as it does not change quickly. If your tapwater pH matches your tank pH within + 0.3 points a 50% water change is no problem. If the pH difference is outside of that range, letting the refill water sit and "age" for 24-hours should bring it into range. Or you can do smaller water changes more often.

This sticky...

...is an open sticky. Questions and comments are encouraged. In order to keep the thread from expanding beyond convenient reading length, some comments, questions and answers may be folded into the body of the sticky and the original post might be deleted. This is for efficiency only and not a reflection on the poster. I'm sure you'll understand.


Hallyx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 07:57 AM   #2 
Polkadot
Member
 
Polkadot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Australia
Polkadot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:23 AM   #3 
Overprotective Fish Lover
Member
 
Overprotective Fish Lover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Here's something I've wondered about...do products like Tetra Safestart, Cycle, and Colony actually speed up cycling as considerably as they're advertised to? I've used Colony and Prime in my 5 gal and never had an ammonia problem yet...but my betta might just not produce a lot of waste.
Overprotective Fish Lover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 07:06 PM   #4 
Hallyx
Reference Team
 
Hallyx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
Not all of those "cycle helper" products are the same. Only a few contain the actual cycling bacteria (Nitrosomonas ans Nitrospira) that directly cause the nitrogen cycle. These include Tetra Safestart, Dr Tim's One-and-Only, MicrobeLift NiteOut, ATM Colony and very few others.

Most of the rest products contain bacteria that consume organics reduce sludge and help with the biofilm where the bacteria live. They do not cycle the tank/filter and can, in fact inhibit the the nitrogen cycle. Nutrafin Cycle is one of these. So is Stress-zyme and most others.

A product that contains the right bacteria will brag about it by name. It isn't cheap or easy to manufacture. They should be proud of it --and charge accordingly.
Hallyx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2015, 11:05 AM   #5 
Tangeh
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Quote:
The above instructions are for a “fish-in” cycle which uses the ammonia produced by your fish to feed the cycling bacteria and to grow the bacteria colonies. Since Betta produce so little ammonia (low-bioload), smaller colonies are enough. You need only enough bacteria to eat all the ammonia. In fact, that’s what get with fish-in cycling – just the right amount of bacteria.

“Fishless” cycling means that you provide the ammonia to feed the growing colonies. You can raise very large bacteria colonies using this method. If you’re planning to stock large fish or many fish at once this may be the way to go.
Question: say you bought a fish tank and put one betta in to do a fish-in cycle. You cycle the tank, ammonia and nitrites read 0ppm, everything's good. What if you went and added more fish to the tank? Would you essentially be starting a fish-in cycle over again because there wouldn't be enough bacteria? If you were adding fish sensitive to water parameters would you have to remove your betta and do a fishless cycle??
Tangeh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2015, 05:57 PM   #6 
Hallyx
Reference Team
 
Hallyx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
That's right. Adding more livestock increases the bioload which then needs more bacteria to oxidize the increased ammonia. The slight ammonia spike that sometimes happens is called a "mini-cycle." Adding Prime @ 2-drops/gal daily keeps the ammonia safely locked until the bacteria colonies grow to balance the new bioload.

Alternatively, you can fishless cycle a filter in a separate container, then install it in the display tank, which would then be effectively cycled. This is called a "bucket cycle."
Hallyx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2015, 06:11 PM   #7 
Tangeh
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Thank you for the information!
Tangeh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2015, 11:30 PM   #8 
RussellTheShihTzu
TFK Moderator
 
RussellTheShihTzu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tennessee
For this tutorial!

I have had 100% success using Seachem Stability to cycle my last seven tanks in 10-14 days. Another advantage? It aids in "feeding" established bacteria when you add new fish. Since I order online-only, I sometimes add 15-20 fish at one time. Have never had a cycle crash or "mini-cycle."
RussellTheShihTzu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2015, 10:42 AM   #9 
Galilea
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Michigan
I'm doing a fishless cycle for my planted 10 gallon tank by adding ammonia. I've gotten to the part where 4ppm of ammonia will disappear in 24 hours, but my nitrites are still staying a steady 5ppm. I'm not exactly sure how long I've been cycling my tank (I think this might be the second week), but the ammonia has disappeared in 24 hours for the last 3 days. How long before I start to see a drop in the nitrites?

I haven't done a water change since there are no fish that could be harmed. It's my first time cycling a tank so I just want to be sure I'm on the right track.
Galilea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2015, 07:24 AM   #10 
Hallyx
Reference Team
 
Hallyx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
Unless you're planning on highly-stocking that 10g, you can cut the ammonia back to 2.0ppm now and let the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria catch up. (Be sure to use dechlorinator for this small water change.) This should take just a few days and your nitrate should start to rise. NOB are kind of finicky; they can be overloaded.

Anyway, you're almost cycled.
Hallyx is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial Hallyx Betta Fish Bowls, Habitats, and Accessories 31 06-22-2015 05:50 PM
CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial SeaHorse Betta Fish Care 0 01-20-2015 06:59 PM
CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial Hallyx Betta Fish Care 0 01-19-2015 08:47 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.