Alright well, i have Desmond in a 10 gal i got 2 days ago, im trying to cycle it. Ive read different things in different places, ive asked different store's and gotten different answers. When do i do the first water change? a week? 2 months? 1 month? 10%? 15%? 20-25%??? how often do i do that?! Gravel siphon!? I have one... but ive been told and told NOT to use it because it will suck up the good bacteria!
The tank is on day 2 and getting pretty cloudy!! ive been told that is a good thing though. Also ive been told to put some other little fish in it to speed up the cycling. The lady at one store suggested some catfish or ottos. What do you all think!?
Im planning on splitting the tank for Desmond and Smokey (my new DT).
They could i guess live with some ottos or corys, i hope. I have some places for those lil bottom dwellers to hid in, rocks and plants and stuff.
Please and THANK you! :) You all help me so much and have all got me VERY addicted! I coulda never imagined spending 100 bux on a few fish + there housing and furniture! God their adorable though :)
I can tell you a few things I knwo, but I'm not 100% sure on them.
First off, I think you need to do 10% water change every week. I'm not sure when exactly you need to start, though. Gravel siphons just stir the gravel so that the debris that gets stuck underneath gets sucked up, I don't think it will do anything to the bacteria.
Cloudy water means that bacteria is being established in the water, so that is a good thing.
I don't know about Corys, but Ottos are pretty frail and need to be put in a well established tank. I don't think they would survive cycling.
Do you have an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit? If not, I strongly recommend getting one, and using that to base your water change schedule on, every tank is different. When your tank begins to cycle, there will be a big spike in ammonia as the bacteria builds up to remove the ammonia, this can harm or kill your fish, so if you plan to cycle the tank with your betta in it, you will need to do water changes as often as necessary to keep the ammonia at very low levels.
After the ammonia drops the same thing will occur with Nitrite, which is also very toxic to fish, you will need to continue doing very frequent water changes until this drops. You will be left with Nitrate, which is much less toxic, and at that point you can lower your water change schedule to once a week or so.
During cycling it's important to do frequent small water changes instead of large ones, as large changes can disrupt the bacteria. It's also not suggested that you gravel vacuum as it can disturb the bacteria, which are very sensitive during the cycle period.
Hope this helps.
PS- Sorry for the wall of text, just wanted to make sure you have enough info to avoid any harm to your fishies :)
I'd suggest 10% every day - every other day, depending on your ammonia readings, and probably 25% at the spike, you may even want to do 25% daily once you hit the spike to keep it down. Once you start testing and can see when the ammonia is getting high you'll be able to figure out a schedule. I'd suggest testing before and after your water changes the first couple times, to get an idea of how much you're lowering it with the water changes. Don't forget to get a nitrite test kit too, as you'll need it for the next part of the cycle, i think it's actually cheaper to get the test kit that comes with all 3 of them.
hope this stuff is not expensive. Ive read alot of people dont even use test kits! and the lady at the fish store said i shouldnt even change the water for 4 weeks or so.... wth... People are so dumb! Thank for all your help elmo!
Last edited by dramaqueen; 09-07-2009 at 05:58 PM.
the test kits are expensive to buy but will last you a long,long, time, you can buy cheaper testing strips which are cheaper but not as good, but will do if your on a budget, they are handy to have in becaurse by testing you can spot any problems before your fish is affected, also,if your fish is ever unwell,testing water is the first thing you should do
yes there's lots of info out there and multiple views. I heard from one not to change the water becuase when you add new it disrupts the substrate.
that its better to be very light on your feedings and let the tank run the 5 weeks.
but I got other advise that I liked more. most bacteria grows in the filter media. dependent on the type off filter you have - biowheel, matrix, sponge... this means do your ammonia readings and change your water to keep the fishies alive. do not add to many fish to your tank because you will feed more and their will be more waste and not emough bacteria to deal with the ammonia buildup.
I noticed on my first several tanks that it took a while before I showed ammonia... and I did water changes when it tested at 1
50 percent change brings it down to .50 ... still high and hard on the fish but doing a 100 percent water change at that stage would be like restarting the whole process.
the next day ... the ammonia tested at 1 again. by the next day - if you skip- it's at 2.
I found myself doing daily water tests ... and every night was a minimum of 30 percent and usually the 50 percent ...
nitrites seemed to take forever to show. was it my constant water changes that delayed this part of the process? my fish survived so I cant be too upset by it.
I will tell you what helped most on my later tanks ... early in I thought that I would go the route of more gentle filtration so Id bought a couple of duettos. (not a great idea on High tanks) but even when I changed the tank filters to more powerful canisters I left the duettos on the tank so that the tank remained cycled.
a few weeks later when I bought another tank ... I took one of the fully cycled duettos and added it ... the new tank tested in 2 days low nitrates.
when I set up the 20 g long I attached 2 duettos to the tank ... and I havent checked the chemistry but I am hoping it will be fully cycled within this long weekend.
my 20 g high ... yesterday I put a new filter on it and my smallest duetto that I dont hold much faith in. It is fully cycled but was kept for the past 2 weeks on a 2 gallon betta bowl. the lack of a lot of fish on this filter may not have kept the bacteria richly going... especially with the new tank holding 16 fish. But it should still help... once the 20g long is cycled I may switch the duettos so that the 20 g high finishes sooner.
the delay on my 15 H set up is that I dont have an extra duetto to help me push start the process. the live plants will ease the process but I sure would love that additional filter help...
You should get Nutrafin Cycle, it adds beneficial bacteria to your tank, so you don't need to cycle it with fish. It's really handy.
I add it right to my filter and let it sit for a few hours, usually until I see the water go from a slightly cloudy colour to clear again. Then I test it to make sure it's okay and then put my fish in :)