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Old 04-09-2013, 08:13 AM   #1 
mbenton89
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how to do a lifeless cycle

Hi my name is matt. my girlfriend and i recently went to petco to get our first betta:) came home with a beautiful elephant ear male he is wonderful. we are currently keeping him in a 1.5 gal bowl with heater and gravel on bottom. one live plant and some bamboo chutes. yesterday i did my first water change ( the water was three days old) followed all advice on websites it was aged tap water at room temp with the water conditioner in it. i did approximately a 50% water change and my betta got real lazy and not moving like he was when we first got him help me please i love this guy. also i am going to be getting a bigger tank with filter and making him a better home i would like to cycle the tank with no fish in it. is there a specific way i should do this for the betta? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thank you.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:37 AM   #2 
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It might have to do with the temperature difference. What temperature is your betta's water? If his tank was 80 and the water you added was only 75 he might have suffered some temperature shock.
Did you take the betta out for the change. For my smaller tanks I catch the betta in its petstore cup and let it chill out while I do the change. Once I've changed the water I let them float for a half hour to make sure that they acclimate to any temperature difference. It will also give your heater time to work.
As for the fishless cycle I have no clue. I do know it tends to work better in larger tanks, so 5+ gallons. My 6 gallon planted tank went through a silent cycle. I do know that if you are planning to cycle you should purchase a water test kit. The master test kit by API is really good. It helped me figure out where I was in the cycling process.

Last edited by Fin Fancier; 04-09-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:13 AM   #3 
tekkguy
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I keep a digital meat thermometer around to double check water temps ... I use it on the tap water when I turn it on to match it to the tank's temp before water change. No temperature acclimation needed!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:03 PM   #4 
mbenton89
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i think it was shock from the cold water i added it was room temp but my tank was warmer. i have the so called "betta bowl heater" but cant seem to get my bowl past 76 deg i dont think it works to well. i didnt take him out for the water change but def will next time thanks for that tip. i hope to be gettin him a much bigger and better tank soon and i have read a lot online about cycling your tank and how to do it properly.i am lookin for ways to do it without fish. any special things i should do to the tank for maximum betta pleasure lol. i know some of the basics just lookin to hear from all the betta enthusiast out there seeing as i am new to this. tekkguy that is also a good idea and will def try that i wasnt sure if adjustin water temp at the faucet was a good idea. also what do you mean a silent cycle would you please explain? i will be gettin a six to ten gallon tank not sure yet
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:43 PM   #5 
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I honestly doubt it makes any sense to cycle a tank that has no filter media. It may never cycle. You have to do water changes so often anyway in a tank that small it wouldn't make any difference.

If you get a larger tank like a 2.5g, 5g, 10g, etc. that has a filter, a fishless cycle would mean to add a bit of ammonia, and maybe some bacteria booster. The bacteria will eat the ammonia and reproduce eventually in sufficient numbers to keep any ammonia to a safe level or none at all. How a cycle is done has been a big debate, and no one can decide on the best method and will argue religiously for the method they use even if it has no basis in science. I personally just prefer to not cycle the tank and be sure to add a sufficient amount of plants. I've never had a problem that way.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:44 PM   #6 
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This is taken from Oldfishlady's sticky in the natural planted tank section.

"Nitrogen cycle-in properly setup soil based tank with lots of plants you don't need to worry about the nitrogen cycle or do anything special-It happens on its own. The silent cycle.
Often with heavy planted tanks-it will take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we normally look for that tells us cycling stage/completeness-But the nitrogen cycle is happening-its silent."
Aka I had no clue I had enough plants in my tank to help it cycle on its own. I just did 50% changes weekly for a couple months. I tested my water before a change one day and saw I had no ammonia, so I tested for nitrites and found them. A couple weeks later I had no nitrites and 5 - 10 nitrates showing. I had read the articles on cycling and didn't want to do it, but my tank decided to do it on its own. :P
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:29 PM   #7 
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Okay, it is entirely possible to do a fishless cycle. Basically, what you'll need to do is set up your bigger tank (most people agree that a 5g is the minimum for easy cycling), set up your heater and your filter and all that good stuff, and put in your conditioned tap water.

Two things before we get started, one, ALWAYS condition your tap water before adding it to a cycling or cycled tank. Failing to do this will kill your cycle, or stop a cycle that is starting. Second, you're going to need a Master Liquid Test Kit. Strips are crap, don't waste your money. The kit is expensive, but to do this right, you're going to need it. And, they last for months and months and months, so it's not like something you're going to have to replace every three days. :)

Now, you're going to need to either add in fish food (which is going to rot and create ammonia), or you're going to need to add pure ammonia, which is apparently avail from most hardware stores.

From there, you are going to change the water ONLY when your ammonia readings come up to 0.25 to 0.5ppm. Then do a 50% change, and retest to make sure that the ammonia has come down. You still want SOME ammonia, the ammonia is what your good bacteria is going to eat.

After awhile, you'll notice that your ammonia starts to go down, and your nitrITE starts to go UP. This is good, you are getting there! :)

Continue to do your water changes to keep the nitrITE at reasonable levels, and eventually you'll start to see nitrATE. (this is the day you have a massive party. ;)

You are fully cycled when your tank hits 0 ammonia, 0 nitrITE, and between 5-20ppm of nitrATE. Once that holds stable for a few days or a week, you are good to add fishies. :)

Here is, by far, the best and easiest site I found about cycling a tank. I couldn't figure out how it all worked until I found this place, and then it clicked. :)
http://bettasplendid.weebly.com/cycl...r-dummies.html


And...then there's the cheater method. Some people say it works, some people say it doesn't...I've been successful with it.
To do the Cheater Method, you have your fish already in your tank, life is good, leave them in there about a week. Your ammonia is going to get to about 0.25 (so you should be doing a water change), but, DON'T change the water, you're going to NEED that ammonia.
Now, you're going to go out and buy some Bacteria in a Bottle. I've always used the API Quick Start, it's worked great for me, but I've also seen rec's for a Seachem brand, and for Dr. Tims One and Only. Follow the package directions.

I don't know how the Tims or the Seachem work, but the API should only need to be added once (you can add more for some days, it won't hurt anything, but my guys were good with just one dose). Just make sure you've got some ammonia in there for the BB's to live off of before you put it in. Also, just get a small bottle, unless you are starting several hundred gallons worth of fish tanks. ;) Once the bottle has been opened, for whatever reason, the bacteria in there are only viable for about 24-48 hours, after that, they die...or something, because it doesn't work any more. (I had multiple tanks I was cycling with this stuff, and the ones done immediately after opening cycled no problem, but the one I waited a week to start would not cycle until I bought a new bottle of Quick Start.)

So, there you go. Cycling in a nutshell. :)
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:10 AM   #8 
mbenton89
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Thank you a ton to everyone for your very informative post i am really glad i joined the forum everyone has helped a lot. i am definetly going to be doing the lifeless cycle soon while fiachra hangs in his bowl. we named him fiachra its Gaelic for battle king:) he doesnt seem to like his new home that much even though it is way better then his nasty petco home he had we rescued him from. i want him happier and off the bottom of this bowl and i dont know what to do. my heater wont get my water past 76 deg i am sure that has something to do with it. i have a hard time finding a good heater for such a small bowl its a 1.5 gal. should i ever be doing 100 percent water changes in his bowl or should i leave 25% of the water in there im not sure. some people say its good to leave some water in. i like the idea of a soil based tank with lots of plants im sure fiachra would too any one else out there have soil based tanks? how do you like em how do your fish like em? any suggestions on a good betta tank and where to get one? im in minnesota any other minnesotans know of a good place around here or am i stuck ordering one online? i am sure i can find all this on the forum somewhere but seems like we got a good thread going so why not!
Thanks again everyone!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #9 
ao
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I think you mean fishless cycle!
made me lol :3 so I had to comment ^___^

The best of luck to you and your fishie!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:11 AM   #10 
Xeek
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Yeah the lifeless cycle thing was approaching my pet peeve. It's fishless cycle. hehe. Lifeless cycle sounds so.... barbaric!
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