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Old 03-25-2013, 03:47 PM   #1 
shymarienez
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Cycling for dummies

I bought my little guy a 2.5 gallon aquarium initially. He's been happy and content for a little over a month now with a filter and heater. But now that I've read more up on it, I'd really like to get him a 5 gallon aquarium. My only dilemma is that "cycling" and checking chemical levels really intimidates me. I'm more comfortable with doing 100% changes weekly in his 2.5 gallon tank than I am at the thought of cycling a tank. If someone could maybe dumb down the process, maybe I could feel more confident with that decision. I'd really appreciate it. It's either that or do 100% changes weekly in his 5 gallon? Also, can you have real plants in the aquarium if you end up doing 100% changes? Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to figure all this out!
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:39 PM   #2 
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people really make it sound harder than it really is, you can do it! It takes a month or more, so patience is required.

Will you be buying the liquid test kit? It isn't required but it is good to see exactly what you are dealing with in the water chemistry.

I have only cycled my original 5 gallon, after that it was easier to "seed" my other tanks with bacteria from the original tank which makes everything much faster.

If I were to do it all over again I would not hesitate to use a few snails to start the cycle. As soon as you get readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and just a little nitrate, you're good to go with fish.

I like this post about cycling:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=47838

also check my sig link for more bettafish.com articles.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:42 PM   #3 
kyle89
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Cycling is very easy with a liquid test kit. You check the levels daily and when the nitrites ammonia go above 0 you do a 25-50 percent water change. Its not hard at all. The test kit has a chart and you match the color of your test to the chart to get your reading
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:06 PM   #4 
Bombalurina
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Alternatively, you can cycle fishlessly, which is quicker and safer for the fish.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #5 
ollief9
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I haven't had good experiences with fishless cycling. The one time I tried it was really frustrating. I usually do fish-in cycling and it works for me; all I need to do is check the every other day and perform water changes accordingly. After about a month the bacteria in the filter will establish and the tank will balance.
I wouldn't recommend fish-in cycling for particularly fragile fish but, from my experiences, it works fine in most cases as long as you are diligent with water quality.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #6 
shymarienez
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Originally Posted by registereduser View Post
people really make it sound harder than it really is, you can do it! It takes a month or more, so patience is required.

Will you be buying the liquid test kit? It isn't required but it is good to see exactly what you are dealing with in the water chemistry.

I have only cycled my original 5 gallon, after that it was easier to "seed" my other tanks with bacteria from the original tank which makes everything much faster.

If I were to do it all over again I would not hesitate to use a few snails to start the cycle. As soon as you get readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and just a little nitrate, you're good to go with fish.

I like this post about cycling:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=47838

also check my sig link for more bettafish.com articles.
Can I just do 100% water changes weekly in a 5 gal versus cycling?
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:32 PM   #7 
ollief9
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Can I just do 100% water changes weekly in a 5 gal versus cycling?
I wouldn't recommend this. The water chemistry will fluctuate too much, causing stress for the fish. It is also frustrating and tiresome doing 100% water changes in a 5 gallon. Once the cycle is complete, it is much easier to maintain the tank versus 100% water changes.
Besides, even if you didn't properly cycle the tank and instead did, say, 50% water changes weekly, the tank would still eventually achieve a cycle. A 100% water change would break this cycle and cause the ammonia levels to spike, which is dangerous for the fish.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #8 
shymarienez
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I wouldn't recommend this. The water levels will fluctuate too much causing stress for the fish. It is also frustrating and tiresome doing 100% water changes in a 5 gallon. Once the cycle is complete, it is much easier to maintain the tank versus 100% water changes.
How do I know the cycling is complete? Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I do this all correctly.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:37 PM   #9 
ollief9
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The cycling will have completed after about a month. Since bettas do not emit much waste or ammonia, you could do 2 50% water changes per week for the first month (whilst feeding your betta only a small amount of food every other day) then phase them out to 1 50% water change a week (and resume regular feeding). I would recommend that you buy an aquarium test kit just to make sure the water is safe for your Betta.

Edit: This is all assuming your tank is filtered (which it should be)

Last edited by ollief9; 03-25-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #10 
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How do I know the cycling is complete? Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I do this all correctly.
buy the liquid test kit (not strips). Take a test every few days. First the ammonia will appear. Then the nirites will grow and start eating the ammonia. Then nitrates will grow and eat the nitrites. When you get 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and just a little nitrates (20-40) then you can go shopping for fish!
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