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Old 03-30-2013, 09:18 PM   #1 
Racoon293's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Side Crew!! ATL
Fish-in cycle advice

First off, I apologize in advance for the long post.
Second, a quick background info. One female betta in a heated but unfiltered 5.5 gallon tank. Tanks been set up for aprox. 10 weeks. Been doing 3 -50% and one 100% water changes per month as recommended in OldFishLady sticky water change recommendations. Gravel substrate and four silk plants.
My wife bought the fish for my son just befor last thanksgiving, I feel in love with fish,now trying to do best i can to care for fish.
So, after much time on this site I realize cycling is the way to go.
I got a sponge filter, air pump, airline, check valve, ect. Everything I need to run a sponge filter. I haven't put it in the tank yet. I just got a master test kit also. It will be probably another 3-4 weeks befor I put the filter in and start the cycle process. I'm trying to gather as much info as possible in that time. I got a notebook so I can jot down notes and details and test results.
A few questions I have:
1.) are any of those cycle jump-start products worth fooling with? Are they safe to add with the fish already in the tank?
2.)How long do you estimate a fish-in cycle takes to complete?
3.)what kind of water change scedule should I keep during the process? Or should it be based on water perameters?
I'm sure I'll think of more questions later. Any advice will be much appreciated. This forum and all its members are Awsome. My fish and myself are grateful for y'all.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:01 AM   #2 
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Location: south central PA
The two suggested ”cycle in a bottle" products are Dr Tims one and only being said to be the best and tetra safestart. With safestart you need to check the exportation date. And yes they are safe to add with fish. tank estumation is hard to say depending on a lot of factors. I cycled a 5 gallon with afew plants and one Betta in 3 weeks. Others have done it over 3 weeks. Whenever you see .25 ppm of either ammonia or nitrites is when you change your water so your relying on the water parameters for water changes. Hope this helps
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:55 AM   #3 
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I added API Quick Start when I first set up my tanks (30L) and then added some Stress Zyme for the first few weeks once a week when I did a water change.They worked very well.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:10 AM   #4 
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Location: Ontario, CA
Welcome & congrats on your new addiction. Cycling a tank varies, I've had a 10g take 8 wks & a 46g take 5-6. I currently have a 10g with a sponge filter I set up mid Feb that is still cycling, can't get the nitrites to go away. The bacteria starters are hit & miss but don't hurt anything. I've only used Seachem Stabilty which I recently started adding to my 10g currently cycling to help speed up the process because I'm tired of daily water changes. I also have a 5g with a sponge filter I set up on March 2nd that's cycling. I have been doing daily water changes on both because of nitrites .25 -.5. I let my water test results dictate when I do a water change & I always do at least a 50% water change. Good luck.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:29 AM   #5 
Fishy Mom
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Awwww, you remind me of when my Dad & I when we got our first betta. He did all the research & showed me how to take care of him. I never forgot our fish time together & now my daughter & I share a love of bettas!

I've never used the quick start stuff for cycling so I'm not sure how they work. The water changes are based on the water parameters & keeping the ammonia & nitrites low so it doesn't harm the fish. I actually like to put lots wisteria & anacharis plants in a tank too if I'm cycling a tank with fish in. It could take anywhere between 4-8 weeks to fully cycle a tank.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:08 AM   #6 
Blue Fish
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I've used the API Quick Start, and it's worked well for me in several tanks from 10g to 30g. But, two notes about it.

One, only buy what you need immediately. Once the bottle has been open for 24-48 hours, it looses it's effectiveness and won't be any good. So, wait to open the bottle until you're ready to use it, add it for a day or two, then just toss the rest.

Two, let your fish be in the tank for a few days, or until you get an ammonia reading of 0.25. THEN add in the Quick Start. This way the bacteria have something to "eat" immediately, so they hit the ground running so to speak. :)

A master test kit is a must, if you don't have one already. The strips are awful in my opinion. I'm as cheap as they come...and I tried the strips, they are worthless. The strips said my ammonia was at 0, when I tested with a water kit, it was at 0.5...that is just WAY too inaccurate. Anyway, after you've added the quick start or whatever cycling product you choose to get, test the water every few days afterwards to make sure that it's working. :)
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:10 PM   #7 
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Thanks for the help y'all.
Blue Fish, if I let the ammonia hit .25ppm before I add the quick start, can I also add some Prime to detox the ammonia so it won't harm the fish? Then do a water change a day or two later? That way the bacteria have a good feast. Prime converts the ammonia to something else that's safe for fish but the bacteria can still eat it I've heard.
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