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Old 03-04-2014, 08:56 PM   #1 
Cari
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Flareon's Cycling Adventures




Flareon'sCycling Adventures





I am starting the nitrogen cycle in Flareon's tank this week, and to encourage myself not to miss any water tests or changes, I decided to make this log where I will detail each day of the cycle process until it is completely in place. (Also, this way in case something terrible goes wrong and I need to make a post in the emergency forum, I can direct people here to see my most recent notes).

In this first post I will include the steps of the process, any reminders to myself, and quotes from other users around the site who have helped me understand how to get the cycle going.




The Tank




1. Azoo Palm Filter
2. Eheim Jager 25w heater
3. Seachem Prime
4. 3 gal Tetra Cube
5. Gravel vac
6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit




The Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rana View Post
Basically, your tank will cycle itself- your job is to make sure the levels of ammonia and nitrites stay in the safe range. The Beneficial Bacteria already live in the water naturally, just not in large enough numbers to be useful unless you have a filter.

I'll write it out in numbered steps, hopefully that will be somewhat useful:
1. Since you have Prime, add in two-three drops per gallon daily to keep everything safe for your fish.
2. Every other day check ammonia levels, if it rises above 0.25ppm do a 50% water change.
2.a- You can use a gravel vacuum during these changes or not, so long as you clean your gravel at least 2-3 times a month.
3. After a week, start testing for nitrites as well and do a 50% water change if either is above 0.25ppm
4. After about two-three weeks your ammonia levels should start dropping, your nitrites will probably skyrocket, and you should be getting nitrates if you test for them. You're almost there!
5. You cycle is complete when you get zero ammonia and zero nitrites a few days after your last water change, this can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks from the day you set up your filter.
6. You can stop adding the extra Prime once you reach this stage, since nitrates are only harmful in high concentrations.

Once your cycle is finished, you won't need to do as frequent water changes or testing anymore. For a 3g, twice a week ~30% changes should be more than enough. A stable cycle is just one that's been going for a few months, so if you stay on top of water changes and test every so often it'll take care of itself. In a 3g you might have problems with it since there's not a lot of water to dilute problems, so test your water every so often. You shouldn't see any ammonia or nitrites, just nitrates.

Clean off your filter pad every week or two with old tank water, and only replace it when it's absolutely falling apart. If/when you replace it, first stuff the new one inside the filter for a week or two so the BB can grow on it before getting rid of the old one.

I personally don't clean my decor at all really, but you can if you feel better about it. There will be BB living on them, so I suggest you rotate which ones you clean to avoid hurting your cycle.

Gravel needs to be cleaned a few times a month, I usually just vacuum with every water change since it's just as easy for me. If you don't have a gravel vacuum, stir up the gravel with each water change and try to catch as much floating gunk as you can.

Some people make logs of their tank's cycles and such but I don't have any specific links, you want the Journal section at the bottom of the forum. :3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
I agree with 2muttz suggestion to cycle your tank. I think any tank over2g should be cycled. It provides better water quality for your fish and, less important, it makes less work for you.

You've read the cycling stickies? So you have an idea how it works. Here's my one-sentence cycling tutorial:

Change half the water whenever the ammonia or nitrite rises to 0.25ppm, or weekly, whichever comes first, using Prime @2-drops/gal of tank capacity and 1-drop/gal daily during the cycle.


Reminders

Current format for daily log:

Date:
Ammonia:
Nitrites:
Nitrates:
Drops of Prime added:
Water change:
Ammonia after water change:
Nitrites after water change:
Additional notes:

("~" before a number denotes that I can't say exactly what the test is reading, because it's somewhere in between two colors on the chart.)

Last edited by Cari; 03-04-2014 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:59 PM   #2 
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This is a wonderful idea! I'm very new to the fish world, so hopefully this can give me an idea on what to expect when it comes to cycling!
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:02 PM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Railyn View Post
This is a wonderful idea! I'm very new to the fish world, so hopefully this can give me an idea on what to expect when it comes to cycling!
I hope it's able to help! I wish there were others out there that we could reference. It would have helped me understand the cycling process a lot better, seeing a log for it with all these details. I know how it works now but I still don't fully know what to expect! Hence, an adventure
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:11 PM   #4 
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Anyway, here are my first logs. I started out writing them in a journal, so the process actually started yesterday, so there's two in a row.

To clarify, "~" before a number denotes that I can't say exactly what the test is reading because it's somewhere in between two colors on the chart.

Date: 3-3-14 (Day 1)
Ammonia: .25
Nitrites: ~.10
Nitrates: x
Drops of Prime added: 2 per gal (included in new water)
Water change: 50%
Ammonia after water change: ~.5
Nitrites after water change: ~.5
Additional notes: I still haven't gone out to buy a gravel vac, but will have it for the next change.


Date: 3-4-14 (Day 2)
Ammonia: ~.10
Nitrites: ~.10
Nitrates: x
Drops of Prime added: 2
Water change: No
Ammonia after water change: x
Nitrites after water change: x
Additional notes: Funny and totally unrelated story. Flareon was sleeping on top his tree when I got home, so close to the surface that I thought he'd become trapped. So I reached in with my finger to dislodge him. Well, turns out he was fine, he darted right away and scared me half to death (though I probably scared him more!)
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:31 PM   #5 
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Great idea! I wish you a smooth cycle. I used Tetra Safe Start in my tanks and have had no ammonia issues at all so far. One tank is planted the other is not.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:56 PM   #6 
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I heard that it is hit or miss with Safe Start. How long did it take for you to cycle your tank with it?
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:58 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Railyn View Post
This is a wonderful idea! I'm very new to the fish world, so hopefully this can give me an idea on what to expect when it comes to cycling!
I'm sure this thread will help many beginners. It will also be of interest to experienced keepers like myself. Nothing like following a tank in real time to gain a deeper understanding of the process. Its a beautiful thing.
Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:26 AM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cari View Post
I heard that it is hit or miss with Safe Start. How long did it take for you to cycle your tank with it?
My 29 gallon has been running for 9 weeks. I never had ammonia spike or nitrites and started seeing nitrates at about 2weeks. The 10 gallon has be running almost 2 weeks. No ammonia, no nitrite, trace nitrates.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:45 PM   #9 
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I wonder, is it too late now to add safe start to my tank?

Today's readings:

Date: 3-5-14 (Day 3)
Ammonia: ~.25
Nitrites: ~.15
Nitrates: x
Drops of Prime added: 2
Water change: Yes, but in a few hours.
Ammonia after water change: x (will update later)
Nitrites after water change: x (will update later)
Additional notes: It's hard to tell with these readings sometimes. Nitrites are obviously still in an acceptable range but Ammonia is hard to tell. The picture below was my reading. I'm stopping by the pet store later to get a gravel vacuum...getting up all the poops that have been accumulating on the bottom for a week will probably help with ammonia levels. Anyway, I can't do any of that until after my class, which I'm leaving for now. I'll be home around 5pm with the gravel vac so expect me to post a new update after that.

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Old 03-05-2014, 05:22 PM   #10 
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Date: 3-5-14 (Day 3 part 2)
Ammonia: ~.25
Nitrites: ~.15
Nitrates: x
Drops of Prime added: 4 (with new water)
Water change: 50% water change with gravel vacuum
Ammonia after water change: 0
Nitrites after water change: 0
Additional notes: Well that's much better. The only thing that sucks (pun not intended) is that the smallest gravel vac I could find (1 inch) is way too big, it sucked out half the water in under 40 seconds, way too fast for me. It did get up a lot of gunk at the bottom but probably not nearly enough if it had been a smaller hose. Anyway, I will worry about that later. Flareon has started glass surfing again. He did it for a few days a couple of weeks ago (when I first got him), but then he stopped, so I don't know if this is just another phase he's going through or if it has something to do with the cycle. No way to tell, really, but thought I'd add it to the log just in case.
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