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Old 03-25-2013, 05:43 PM   #11 
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Originally Posted by registereduser View Post
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!
Do you do water changes while waiting for it to cycle?
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:46 PM   #12 
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You do water changes whenever the parameters go out of hand and before you buy your fish.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #13 
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Originally Posted by shymarienez View Post
Do you do water changes while waiting for it to cycle?
if you are doing a "fish-in" method, yes. Read the link in my first post to you.

There is no reason to worry as long as you test the water frequently
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:05 PM   #14 
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I'm following this thread because I'm trying to learn too! I just put my betta in a tetra cube 3 gallon, an upgrade from his 1 gallon bowl. What do you do with the betta during the water change. Do you have to vacuum the tank out? If so, how often? Thanks! --Kim
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:16 PM   #15 
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:21 PM   #16 
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Test strips are fine to get you by, but you are throwing money away. A 25 pack of strips cost like $15. You can get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit for $20 on Amazon.

Clean your gravel: DO THIS! Want an easier time? Get sand. Easy to vacuum, and left over food and poop is EASY to spot. You can use the straw trick to get out poop and food. I take out food and poop EVERYDAY.

Want to do a FISH IN cycle? You best have live plants in there and do 20% water changes. And be prepared to go through a 25 pack of strips in a month.

Know your water: Make sure you know your water source. It's average PH, KH, and GH. If you have to, and your tank is small enough, get a gallon of spring water. Not distilled. Keep this filled with properly and properly treated on hand 24 hours a head of time.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #17 
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Here's another link that helped me finally understand cycling. It gives really, really step-by-step clear, exact how-to instructions:

And, if you don't want to do a cycle, you can purchase some of the "cycle in a bottle" products. These get mixed reviews, but I've had really good luck in all my tanks with the API Quick Start, and I've read that the Dr. Tim's product is good as well.

If you use the Quick Start, just leave the fish in for a few days/a week, until the ammonia gets to 0.25 (when you'd normally do a water change). At that point, put in the Quick Start following the package directions, and test every day to make sure that the ammonia is going down, and that nitrates are going up.

One note about the Quick Start, buy whatever size bottle you need for immediate use. Open it, use it, then toss it. For whatever reason after the bottle has been open for about 24-48 hours, the BB's inside have died...or something, because it's no longer effective and won't cycle your tank. So keeping it around after opening is pointless as it won't do anything for you. :)

I hope that helps!! :D
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