So for a while now, I have been seriously tossing around the idea of getting a 5 gal tank for Seuss. (Right now he is in a 2.5 gal.) I thought at some point in the future i'd be able to either divide it and get another male, or get Seuss some buddies (not sure yet what, that'd still be a ways away.) And I know that it's not neccisary to cycle a 2.5 gal, nor do I have plans to, but I should cycle a 5 gal.
So my question is, what is the reason for cycling a tank? I thought it cuts down on water changes, but it apparently doesn't. Does a tank need to be cycled? I'm not trying to be rude, nor would I like rude answers, I just honestly want to know the reasons for cycling. What's the point if it doesn't cut down on water changes, or make them any easier?
Thanks for any info, you guys are my betta resouce. : )
When you cycle a tank your making a colony if beneficial bacteria in the tank and filter media which will break down the harmful chemicals that build up in the water from your fishes waste and left over food etc. This cuts down the amount of times and volume of water you would need to change. So say you were having to do a 50% water change every 2 days with a cycled tank you could probably do a 25% water change maybe 2 times a week. Ofc its all dependant on the size of your tank and how much its stocked etc
Oh, see that's what I thought at first, but then I kept reading on here that; say you did a 50% water change every 2 days, that after cycling you would still have to do a 50% water change every 2 days. So i'm a little confuzzled. : (
I probably wouldn't get a 5 gal till later in the summer, but I'd like to know how often/ how much water would I have to change in a 5 gal (uncycled) compared to a cycled. Would it be worth all the trouble of cycling a tank? (I work close to 30 hours a week now, and am very likely going to be getting a second job in the next couple of weeks, plus all the things I do in my small amount of free time; so I just can't see me testing the water and changing it every day and doing all these other things to cycle it unless I had to to keep my fish healthy and make life easier for me.)
Plus, would there be any live plants or buddies I could put in a 5 gal with a betta wheter cycled or not, to help the bioload?
I'd do a cycled tank with some plants (hygrophilia cabomba, java moss/fern all easy to grow imo), it might be a little work in the beginning but once its up and running it would be much less labour intensive to keep clean. As to how often you clean it out, well that all depends on how many fish you keep in it and how often you feed them. Larger bio-load and extra food waste = more frequent water changes.
Ive just set up a 7g tank myself but I dont have a betta in there yet just 3 cherry shrimp atm. Ive been doing 50% water change once a week. (tank was cycled using substrate from my big community tank). When I add my betta Im just going to keep an eye on the water param's for a week and decide how often I have to change water from there.
Also, in a cycled tank you don't have to clean anything in it (unless you have an algae or diatom problem). I just vaccum the water out into a bucket and dump fresh water back in reusing gallon spring water jugs. Everything in the tank stays put.
I'd hate to have to pull a tank apart and rinse all the decor. That would drive me bonkers. In my five gallon hex (planted) I do 50% once a week. It takes probably 5-10 minutes to vacuum the water out and fill it back up.
Thanx guys! Right now, vaygirl, during my once-a-week 50% water changes, I take everything out and gently rinse it with a toothbrush under hot water. (Had a fin-rot incedent from a rip in Seuss's fin and he still keeps getting pinholes in his fins though there is nothing sharp left in his whole tank.) So I'm a little paranoid about getting fin-rot again, but I like the idea of not having to take out and scrub everything! : )
I've re-arranged my room and I now have enough room for a 5 gal, but I'm waiting on a prospective job to call back and figure out my already crazy schedule before I can take the time to find a 5 gal (just a tank with a glass cover or screen cover or hood, any of those, nothing else,) and a 5 gal like that apparently is impossible to find around me. All the 5 gals I can find around me are expensive kits, but both my filter and heater will work for a 5 gal.
So once my life settles down a bit more later this summer, i'm hoping i'll be able to get a 5 gal, cycle it and either get Seuss another male betta (divided of course,) or some tank buddies.
And thank you Magzmoir, i'll keep those plants in mind. Not enough room in my 2.5 gal right now for live plants, but i'd definitly like to get some live ones in a bigger tank. : )
Hi! =] I actually just got a 5 gallon kit from Walmart and I'm gonna clean it out and begin my cycle tomorrow! =]
What it sounds like you were talking about earlier was a fish-in cycle. Those are really hard because you have to keep a sharp eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels (like checking and water twice a day and changing when needed). Tha'ts WAAAAAAAAAY too much work! It's also not the best for your fish! The best and most often reccomendeded way to cycle a tank is to do a fishless cycle! =] Here's a link that tells more about it.
If you have SafeStart Use it! Use the whole bottle. I've heard if you don't use the whole bottle that you get it doesn't work.
I However will be going with the piece of fish method! =]
Thanx! I'm really hoping to get a 5 gal within the next couple of months, but it all depends on money and time. : ( But i'm lazy, so I just couldn't see the point of all those water changes and testing to cycle a tank if it wasn't going to make a difference in my water changes; but now that I know it WILL lessen my water changes, i'm much more motivated! : )
With a cycled tank (filtered,) you only "need" to do enough changes to keep your nitrates down to an acceptable level. If you had a planted, maybe filtered, 55 gallon tank with one betta, for example, you'd only have to change water infrequently, more to balance minerals and for the plants than anything else.
So fishless-cycle your tank, get a nitrate test kit, and you will be able to figure out generally how often you need to change your water. Smaller, more-frequent changes are better than larger, infrequent changes (remember, I'm talking about cycled/filtered tanks, and it's even better with live plants.) For tropical community tanks, the general knowledge is 20-25% of the water every 2 weeks, but still keep an eye on nitrates. For Bettas, it should be more often, though, like other people mentioned.