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Old 02-26-2010, 12:55 AM   #1 
xgoingdownx
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Cycling

What is it? I feel pretty silly not knowing what it is- but I don't. Having never owned any tropical fish, I really have no idea!

If someone could explain this to me, that would really help, lol. I searched for it and the information I found didn't quite make sense... all it really told me was that goldfish aren't good for cycling tanks. [Which doesn't even matter to me since I only own my one betta]
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:22 AM   #2 
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Here is a sticky on cycling. I hope it answers some of your questions. I'm sure other members will be along to explain more of what it's all about and what to do.http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...ium-cycle-252/
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:08 AM   #3 
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Thanks for the referral... I'm still a little confused. It's just something that happens? It's not a real process that one has to do?
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #4 
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To cycle you have to introduce ammonia to your tank.. whether by fish waste or pure ammonia. Eventually your ammonia levels in the tank will spike after which you will start seeing nitrites... this is because a bacteria has started growing that eats ammonia and produces nitrites. Then you will see a spike in nitrites and start seeing nitrates.. another bacteria is growing that eats nitrites and produces nitrates. After your tank is reading 0 ammonia and nitrites and 5-10 nitrates your cycled.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:21 PM   #5 
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What do you mean by I will start seeing nitrites and nitrates? I don't have a water tester [1. I have nearly no money 2. I use bottled water and condition it, so I didn't know I'd need to test it]
Is it something physical I'll see? Like algae or something similar? I feel silly for not knowing, but I've never had a tropical fish, I've only ever owned goldfish.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:35 PM   #6 
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To cycle you need a test kit.. don't try to cycle without one. You really need a test kit even if you use bottled water because that has nothing to do with testing. Test kits show ammonia in your tank. You have ammonia in your tank because of fish poo and uneaten food.. thats why uncycled tanks HAVE TO HAVE weekly to biweekly 100% changes to remove the toxic ammonia in the water.

You cant see the ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates.. they are chemical molecules. Cycling produces bacteria called nitrifiying bacteria that are microscopic. These bacteria absorb the ammonia and nitrites and produce nitrates as waste. Nitrates are safe for fish at levels of 5-10ppm (parts per measure). After these bacteria have colonized in your gravel and your filter they start transforming the ammonia from fish waste.. making the water safer for the fish.. this is why cycling is sometimes referred to as "establishing the biological filter".. it is also why cycled tanks need less water changes.. because the bacteria makes it safer to do less frequent water changes.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:46 PM   #7 
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Hmm. Well, all I've ever done was 100% water changes every week because it would get all nasty looking. I went out a bought a siphon but I couldn't get it working right, so looks like I'll be doing another 100% just to get the stuff out of the bottom...
Is this an OK thing to do? I'll try to get out and get a test kit this weekend or next [we have spring break starting next weekend and he's going home with me anyways] I already bought some Ammo-lock because I was worried at one point the tank had too much ammonia but I can't tell, obviously. [and I never used it, I got it as a backup in case anything ever happened to where I'd need it]
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:59 PM   #8 
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How big is your tank? You should be fine doing a 100% change weekly on tanks bigger than 3 gallons. I would do at least two water changes on any tank 3 gallons and smaller.

The easiest way to get a siphon to work is to submerge one end in the water then suck on the other end until the flow starts.. just make sure to take it out of your mouth before the flow gets to the end of the hose.. getting a mouthful of tank water sucks (I know from experience LOL)
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:27 PM   #9 
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I have a 2.5 so I suppose I should work on that!! [I always heard that it was ok to only do weekly- I have a filter to help with some of the cleanup, although not much, obviously]
I think the hose on my siphon is too long- I tried all that and it wasn't working. I had to cute the plastic part of the siphon because it wouldn't fit in my tank all the way, lol. [ended up cutting myself with the scissors and it was just a mess of plastic..] I was thinking of trying to cut the hose just a little, because it's really long.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:42 PM   #10 
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If you get some air tubing (really cheap) and some rubber bands and some chopsticks you can make your own siphon that fits in smaller tanks. I have one I use for my 2.5 and 3 gallons. I even use it in my 10 gall when I just want to pick up some of the poo without doing a big water change. I can get pictures if you want.
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