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Old 11-03-2013, 06:18 AM   #1 
summersea
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Question on first time doing fish-less cycle ...

I am in the process of doing a fish-less cycle in a 5g tank. I have been working in it for a week and have used my regular tap water and fish food as an ammonia source (my tap water has 1ppm of ammonia). I seeded the tank by using some of the sponge filter I use to baffle my cycled 10g to fill the intake portion of the filter (so my future Betta won't have his fins sucked up since the slots are large).

Everything I have read says to watch the ammonia level and keep it between 1-2ppm. If it goes up do a water change and if it goes low add more of the ammonia source.

My question revolves around the nitrite and nitrate levels. My water test has my ammonia at just slightly darker than 1ppm, nitrite at .5ppm, and nitrate at 40ppm. Do I need to do a water change for the high nitrite and nitrate levels? That is where my confusion lies...would appreciate any and all help as this is my first time doing a fish-less cycle.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:04 AM   #2 
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Unless your nitrite and nitrate readings are off the charts you don't need to do a water change. Just do a big one at the end of your cycle to get nitrates below 20ppm before adding your fish.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:55 AM   #3 
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Okay, thanks!

One other question - if I keep adding ammonia to keep it between 1-2ppm how will I know the cycle is complete? I have read posts that say when it hits 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites but if I am constantly adding the ammonia source doesn't that ALWAYS keep the ammonia from zero?

One day I will have figured out all this cycling stuff lol
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:00 AM   #4 
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When the bacteria can process the ammonia down to 0 in 24hr.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:10 AM   #5 
jaysee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersea View Post
Okay, thanks!

One other question - if I keep adding ammonia to keep it between 1-2ppm how will I know the cycle is complete? I have read posts that say when it hits 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites but if I am constantly adding the ammonia source doesn't that ALWAYS keep the ammonia from zero?

One day I will have figured out all this cycling stuff lol
Like was said, eventually the ammonia will be 0 ppm despite you adding it every day. That's when the first half of the cycle is complete. Then you will do it all over again with the nitrites. One little thing to mention - if your nitrites are really high once the ammonia portion is complete, then do a water change to drop the ppm. Many a cycle have been stalled out due to really high nitrite readings. You will STILL have to continue adding ammonia every day though, so don't stop just because the ammonia part is done. Then the nitrites will rise (because the ammonia you are adding is being consumed and converted to nitrite), and then it will fall to 0. At that point you still have to continue to add ammonia, because you are feeding and growing the ammonia bacteria and the nitrite bacteria. The final product is nitrate, which is either consumed by plants and/or removed with a water change.

So from here, you will know your cycle is in tact because you will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites when you test. Your nitrates will be steadily increasing because you are feeding ammonia every day. This is the time to add fish.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:47 AM   #6 
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Ahhh gotcha!! That makes sense! Thank you for taking the time to explain it! I wanted to make sure I did everything right this time since my current Bettas have all been with me in my learning curve
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:08 AM   #7 
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You're welcome. Yes, we've all been there, and are still there - it's a big curve But it does get a lot easier once you have a solid foundation from which to work. "Right" is relative to ones position - right now for you it means keeping the fish alive. However, once you get past that stage you can start arguing over what's more "right" if you want I'm half joking - my point is that there are many roads to the same end. Some roads are smoother than others though. I think you are on the road to success - your asking questions.

Last edited by jaysee; 11-03-2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:17 AM   #8 
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LOL I have noticed there are many different opinions on everything as I have been reading the forum but you are right - I just want my Bettas to live an be healthy! It has been a pretty bumpy road since I started this obsession in June. I would like to think/hope it get easier. I would like one more betta and then just maintain everyone at a healthy state ... Not much to ask for but SOOO much harder than I thought lol
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