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Old 05-21-2010, 07:13 AM   #1 
a123andpoof
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How do you cycle?

Sorry for yet another post, but I am not finding anything helpful on cycling I basically need to know how to do it. So any links would be great.
How long it will take, and the quickest way to do it?
I am dividing the tank. Should I put the homade dividers in right away? Or later. I do remember reading that decorations should be put in before cycling. Should I do that?
Should i put the conditioner in while cycling or wait? Or I have some of that cycle stuff do I put that in to?
How often should I change the water once it is cycled? I plan on having three male bettas in the tank. And in general how should i clean it?
I have a filter not sure what kind it is though...but it looked like it was used in a ten gallon. Got it at a garage sale. Do I need to put a heater in while cycling? I would really like not to. I am buying one to put in with one fish I have, but he will be going in the 10g once its set up and so would the heater...
Oh and I do have a test kit. Its just the strip ones though. I am not getting another one yet so please don't tell me to get the api. I will be getting that now that I have this tank, and since i hope to get a nice large one by the end of summer. But for now its the test strips.
Sorry for all the questains, but would like to get it started.
So any help you can give me would be wonderful!
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:29 AM   #2 
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Can anyone help me?
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:40 AM   #3 
dramaqueen
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You change the water according to your water parameters. If your nitrates are at 40 ppm then you change 50% of the water to get it to 20 ppm. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:23 PM   #4 
McAttack
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http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm explains cycling.
My 30gal tank, I cycled for one week using Hagen's Cycle product and was successful. I have a water test kit though and made sure to check my water params daily and logged them. after a week, all the parameters were good, so i put in 3 danios to see, and kept testing. Barely any movement in the tests so I started stocking, still slowly.

The product I used is this. http://www.aquahobby.com/products/e_cycle.php
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:10 PM   #5 
a123andpoof
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Okay. I might see about getting that stuff. The link doesn't work. And I will probally start cycling in a day or so. Should I have all the plants, rocks, and other things in the tank when I cycle? I was reading somewhere that if you don't it will start cycling again.
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:49 PM   #6 
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IMO the products sold to cycle are a waste of time and money....
To cycle it can take 4-8 weeks
IMO the only chemical you need if you are on city water supply is a good dechlorinator to be added with any water added to the tank
Chlorine/chloramines can kill the good bacteria needed to start and keep the cycle and the fish....

Nitrifying bacteria (NB) are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank, like the the walls, decorations, plants both real and fake, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media, very little is in the water column itself so water change will not hurt the cycling process....but over vacuuming the substrate and over cleaning or killing the NB in the filter media can slow the cycling process or cause a mini-cycle

You can cycle a tank with fish safely but only if you are dedicated and make the needed water changes to keep the fish safe.
Ammonia can build up within 3 days and burn the fish and long term scar tissue can make life/breathing difficult
Nitrite can bind with the blood making it hard for the oxygen transport and the fish can suffocate
Nitrate at high levels can affect the immune response
pH can vary and most fish adapt as long as it is stable

You know you are cycled when your water prams read:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm

In 10g, substrate, filter, decoration, heater, lights and a fish.....
Cycling can take 4-8 weeks
Since you don't have the reagent type water pram test you can make 50% water changes every 2-3 days starting on day 3, vacuum the substrate every 7 days and only in the areas that you can reach without moving anything (decoration) or disruption of plant roots if planted (floating plants can help with ammonia uptake)

Filter media-only give it a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change if the water flow has slowed to get the big pieces of gunk off, you want the filter media to look dirty.

With the strip you have check the water daily and if you get readings of ammonia or nitrite 0.25ppm or greater make a 50% water change (water only) even if you just did a water change
Take you water to the LFS at least weekly and get the numbers and write them down
If you fish ever looks or acts odds...make a water change

It is a good idea to start a log book and keep everything written down (I still have log books from the 70's...lol...kinda yellow now) and I still refer to them at times...log books are a great tool.....

IMO-investment in a good quality liquid reagent master test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH is a great tool for any level hobbyist......
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:03 PM   #7 
a123andpoof
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Okay, thanks this was very helpful. Hopefully I can start the cycle soon. But I will get the plants, and other little things I am going to put in there first. But I guess I will do a fish in cycle. How can I tell the exact levels of the stuff? The strips I have go by color and not numbers...
and I will be getting the liquid test kit. Hopefully not to long, but it will have to wait a couple weeks.
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:18 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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On the strips-any color reading that shows up for ammonia and nitrite make a water change........

I use both the strips and liq reagent and I know most people feel that the strip are not accurate, but IME-they are pretty close and if you check most of the big aquariums in Zoo they use the strips for quick checks.....
That said, I do feel that hobbyist should get the master test kits and use them, this help you learn about water quality and its affect between the water and fish and a good habit to form...plus fun to use......
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:26 PM   #9 
a123andpoof
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Yeah, I was going to buy the master kit, but the people at the petsmart said the strips were fine, and thats what they use. and I didn't have a ton of money. I bought then when I got my 3g. But thanks so much for all the help. I really appreciate it. You made it nice and simple for me lol hopefully I can start cycling soon. But since I will divide it and get all the stuff in there first it will have to wait a little longer.
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