Originally Posted by wake49
I'm sorry. I tend to be long-winded to drive home simple points.
I am not saying you should use sand. The bigger point was that everything in your tank has bacteria in it, and the smaller the objects (like gravel) the greater the potential for beneficial bacteria.
I just realized a good point. Gravel, in abundance, has more surface area than a cave decoration. They both have bacteria on them, but the gravel covers more square inches and therefore has the potential for more bacteria.
Filters are generally a good place for bacteria to form because of all the nutrient trapping that goes on in them. Fish waste and uneaten food essentially are being trapped by the media and breaking down allowing for a good place to cultivate bacteria.
Are you seeing Ammonia or NitrItes in your aquarium? The beneficial bacteria that is already present will be eliminating these and converting them into nitrates, which you alleviate through water changes. (this is where the Deep Sand Beds we use in the saltwater hobby come in beneficial, as they actually convert nitrates to nitrogen gas, so I essentially don't have to do water changes, and can maintain next to 0ppm nitrates...).
If you see zero Ammonia and NitrItes, then you have beneficial bacteria.
Ok. I definitely wouldnt have tried to cycle without gravel or a filter. I knew the bacteria needed a a lot of surface area to grow.
I am still seeing some ammonia and nitrites in the 2.5g. Or I was until I did the water change. Im just going to cycle the 5g and get it over with. lol