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Old 06-28-2013, 05:07 AM   #1 
stephend92
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Plans for Betta rehoming

So I have been looking around for a suitable space for my betta and have posted on here and had a nice chat with Lilnaugrim about a tank but when i was given my 125L tank it was already cycled etc so im new to that and dont really know much about the cycling process. I have been reading about and have gathered there is a few different ways of doing so and the stuff you need to do it. What would be the best way to cycle a new tank? What is the best master test kit for it? How long does cycling take?

I have been looking at a few different tanks and I like the all in one concealed filter etc so going down that route, theres a 13 litre nano tank and also a 19 litre tank so when pay day comes then it begins :) but want to research everything and have an idea of what it all entails to cycling his new home?
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:44 PM   #2 
Tikibirds
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This should tell you all you need to know
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Establishing the nitrogen cycle for the Betta in 1gal-10gal filtered tank can be safely completed with a healthy Betta with or without testing products.....provided that you make the needed water changes......

No matter what container you have your Betta in...You will need to make water changes due to the byproducts produced.....
The difference when cycling is that you are growing beneficial bacteria that can help keep the water safer with limited water changes once established.

Since the filtered tank is a closed system-you still have to make water changes.
Nothing leaves the tank until you remove it manually with the water change, however, once the nitrogen cycle is established-the BB can convert the most harmful byproduct (ammonia) to a less harmful byproduct(nitrate).....

You don't want to base water change needs on water test alone-due to the DOC's (dissolved organic compounds) that can be harmful when they buildup to high levels.

You can establish the nitrogen cycle in 1-4gal filtered tanks, however, due to limited surface area the cycle might not be stable and twice weekly water change will be needed to maintain water quality.

You don't have to have water test kit on hand to safely establish the nitrogen cycle for the Fish-in cycle method with a single Betta in a small filtered tank, however, having one can take the guess work out of the game...Plus, its a good idea to know how to properly run water prams test, understand what they mean, how they interact, what to do with test results and its really good overall to have this knowledge base for fish keeping in general and you can look cool and impress your friends....

Sadly, due to the cost of a freshwater master test kit-sometimes we can't always afford one and this is when you can take your water to the pet shop for a Free test-Just always get numbers-don't accept "Fine" or "Okay" and find out what type of test product they used too-watch them do it if you can.....


Understanding the beneficial bacteria:
The beneficial bacteria (BB) you are colonizing for the nitrogen cycle are self limiting. What this means-you can only grow a colony large enough based on-
Food source-byproducts from anything organic-like the Betta, fish food, live plants, shrimp, snails...etc....
Oxygen-when the water flow from the filter disrupts the surface you have gas exchange
Surface area-all areas inside the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants-both real and fake, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media.

The BB are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas within the tank-very little are in the water column itself.

The BB are alive..and many things can kill or slow the BB growth/colonizing.
Like dehydration, suffocation, chlorine/chloramines and some medications
If the BB dry up they die
If they are buried in mulm/debris that limits access to dissolved oxygen they can suffocate.
If the filter is turned off longer than 6 hours the BB will start to die
Both chlorine and chloramine will kill the BB
Many different medications will kill the BB
With pH 6 and less the BB can't colonize

It is important to vacuum the substrate in all areas that can be reached without moving anything or disruption of plant roots- at least weekly to keep the mulm/debris from suffocating the BB
It is important to rinse/swish the filter media in old tank water or fresh dechlorinated water a couple of times a month to maintain good water flow to the BB. The filter media should look dirty-this is normal and good.


The fishless cycle is intended for community tanks-this method was developed so that you could safely fully stock large tanks. Since we are only stocking our smaller filtered tanks with a single Betta and maybe some shrimp and/or snails. The Fishless method isn't always needed.

The Process:

Once you setup your tank and properly acclimate the Betta.

Your first water change should start on or about day 3 and schedule the second weekly from that point.....

In a 1gal-4gal filtered tank-without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly 50%...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month
*The long term care and established cycle care will be the same on 1-4gal filtered tanks.

In 5gal-10gal filtered without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly for the next 4-6 weeks
Of... 1-50% water only and 1-50% with vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots.
*The 50% with vacuum will be the water change schedule for the life of the system to maintain water quality once the nitrogen cycle has established.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month

*If you have water test kit-base the water only change on: ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater.
With a low bioload often you don't need the second water only-I always recommend it when you don't have test kit to err on the side of caution...its the safety net....

Live plants can change the cycling process as well, however, you have to have enough of the right species of plants that are actively growing.
Not all plants can use enough of the byproducts fast enough to help keep the water safe for the Betta.

Using lots of fast growing stem plants and floating plant you will have a silent cycle. The active plant growth can use the ammonia before conversion and it can take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we look for to tell us cycling stages/completeness.

With enough of the right species plants that are in active growth can also decrease water change needs in 1-4gal filtered tanks to 50% weekly.

*Remember-some additives can change or skew water prams results-
Like some dechlorinator products can change ammonia to ammonium so its not harmful to the Betta-but, live plants and BB can still use it as a food source to colonize.
Some plant foods can cause false readings in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Its not uncommon to have ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the source water
When using test kits-they test at a ppm level (parts per million) so you will always have some ammonia in the water at very low levels that can be used by the beneficial bacteria.

Once the nitrogen cycle has established your water prams should read:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm ideally...You want to keep this under 40ppm
pH-can vary- Betta can adapt to most source water pH without issue and use of chemical to altar the pH should be avoided-except in rare cases......
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:36 PM   #3 
stephend92
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Thanks very much :) so the fish-in cycle and frequent water changes would be a better way to go for a smaller tank?
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