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Old 06-21-2010, 06:46 PM   #11 
JKfish
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from what I've heard, fishless cycling is the quickest and easiest, and using pure ammonia is the most percise. I'm acutally in the process of cycling my tank, and it's gotten to the nitrite spike, so I'm guessing I'll be done soon (hopefully)

anyways, here is a link that is really, really helpful: http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Also, apparently, live plants help cycling, and some like java ferns and anubias are really hardy.

And, also, the API Master Test kit is a great and reliable water tester, and has exactly what you need to moniter the cycling tank's water :)

btw: I love your bettas and their names. :D
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:18 AM   #12 
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Originally Posted by vaygirl View Post
I think I know the video they're talking about. The guy used and old sponge from a sponge filter in an established tank and squeezed the dirty sponge water into a cup of clean dechlorinated water. I didn't watch the whole thing but I think that's the gist of it.
Yes, I think that's exactly what I saw. Wacky.

Hm. I think I'll try the fish-in cycle. I'm living with my family for the summer, this is the first time in years they've had to deal with fish in the house... so they're real impatient. I think I'd rather do the 2 water changes every day, then have to deal with their whining about wanting to see the fish in the new tank they just bought for me.... long story....
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:27 AM   #13 
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Whoever told you that a fish-in cycle was faster than fishless was an idiot. It just doesn't even make sense. With fish in, the ammonia level is constantly very low, about .25--which places stress on the fish and doesn't give the bacteria much food to live on. If you used the fishless method, you could add up to 4ppm of ammonia, jack up the heat, add extra aeration and speed up the process immensely while your fish remain perfectly healthy and don't have to be exposed to ammonia. You also get a much better bacterial colony out of it. I don't mean to sound rude, but the fish in cycle is all about laziness, self-satisfaction and disregard for your fish--I simply fail to understand why people do it unless they are forced. And with a betta, you're never really forced--you could always put something as small as a betta in a temporary bin.

If you want to speed up the process you can do so during a fishless cycle even easier than if you had fish in. Simply take media from an established tank and put it in the filter. If you don't have friends with tanks, go to a pet store and ask for some pieces of gravel or a piece of filter floss--make sure the piece stays wet but not submerged. Some types of bacteria can drown without aeration.

You can also buy bacterial supplements, but not all work. Nutrafin Cycle is the worst culprit--it is garbage. Dr. Tim's One and Only and Tetra SafeStart are fairly reliable, I would also trust Seachem Stability. Any others are probably just hogwash, I wouldn't trust them.

Last edited by Adastra; 06-22-2010 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:05 AM   #14 
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Originally Posted by LMac54 View Post
Thanks so much 1077, that was all really helpful!! ^-^

So... if I do a fish-in cycle, I do two water changes every day for 3-4 weeks? I think that might be doable.
If I do a fishless cycle with betta food, do I still have to do that many water changes?

How often do I have to check ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels with the fish-in method? What kind of levels am I looking for and when?

With fish food method it is not necessary to perform water changes. You simply sprinkle a pinch of fish food into the tank once a day and wait. The food will decay =ammonia, and feed the good bacteria. At the end of three to four weeks,there should be some detectable nitrAtes and ammonia and nitrites should read zero or very close to zero. Then perform the 60 to 70 percent water change to lower the NitrAte levels before placing the fish in the tank.
With fish in method and the bioload you have in ten gallon tank, I would not worry bout testing the water if you perform the water changes as described and feed the fish tiny amount of food once each day, there should be little to measure with respect to ammonia and or nitrites. The fish eats the food and creates waste that is processed by bacteria, Process will take three to four weeks but will happen so long as the filter is not disturbed. Filter is where the majority of the bacteria will be found and so long as fish aren't overfed, the filter should not need cleaning .
You can test the water each day before water change if you like but I would not get too wrapped up with test results. With the water change regiment I described, along with feeding sparingly,and the relatively small bioload ,there should be no dangerous levels of ammonia and or nitrites.
Cannot stress how important I feel a good dechlorinator such as PRIME or AMQUEL+ is during the maturing process of new tanks.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:59 PM   #15 
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*sigh* I've decided to just say the heck with it" to my family and do a fishless cycle. It's easier on me and my fish. I'm going to feed my empty tank fish food until I can find some pure ammonia... which is really difficult to find, as there aren't any Ace Hardware stores in my immediate area.

But yeah, I've decided to go with a fishless cycle with fish flakes. Meanwhile, I'm looking for live plants to put in the tank...

Last edited by dramaqueen; 06-23-2010 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:43 AM   #16 
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I am a cycling noob as well, I was SO FRUSTRATED when my tank wasn't cycling. I was using distilled water and NOTHING was happening. A week after I switched to dechlorinated tap water and stopped changing my filter I started getting nitrite readings.

and API makes a great little "master test kit" I'd definitely recommend investing in one of those. It was the best $30 I spent.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:56 PM   #17 
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I vote for live plants. They help w/ water quality & the fish like them & I think my tank (6 gal eclipse) cycled faster.

I used pellets & frozen blood worms to cycle my tank. I couldn't find pure ammonia.

I just always put them in the same place in the tank then when I did my water change before I put the fish in I vacuumed that area really well.

I have flourite gravel & plants so it's not like I could see the stuff anyway!

Good luck!
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:41 AM   #18 
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So, an update on my cycling antics. And some questions.

I've gotten just a few live plants. 2 Marimo balls, 2 coconut huts w/moss on them, 1 java fern and 1 anubias. I think I'll be doing a mix of live and silk plants.

I've tried making a sponge baffle for my too-strong-current Aqueon Quiet Flow 10 filter. The sponges just make the water overflow in the filter. Might take them out and just do the water bottle method.


After searching FOREVER and EVERYWHERE for pure ammonia, I finally found some, but on Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday I used fish food, but since I got ammonia, I switched over to using ammonia instead. Is that okay to do so early? I'm considering Wednesday as DAY 1 of the cycling.

Everyday, I've been using about 10drops of ammonia to get to about 5ppm. Just today I think I've been getting nitrite readings. I can't read colors worth a d*mn (it doesn't quite look like that blue 0 reading, but not quite the .25 reading) so I'm just considering it about .15 on nitrites.

When should I start testing for nitrates?

Now that I see nitrites, should I be lowering the amount of ammonia drops in the tank? Or should I continue to use my 10drops to get to ~5ppm?
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:49 AM   #19 
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Sponge baffle... what i did was get a sponge with a scratchy/rough side and a spongy side. I CUT the scratchy side off(you can get that kinda side at a dollor store. look at my "sponge baffle" thread for info) and cut it in half. i put it behind the filter cartridge and a full on at the end of the outflow slide. In the pictures on my "baffle sponge" thread thoguh, i put a sponge, i took that out because i'm nervous about it having mildew resistant chemicals and all that.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:56 AM   #20 
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Sponge baffle... what i did was get a sponge with a scratchy/rough side and a spongy side. I CUT the scratchy side off(you can get that kinda side at a dollor store. look at my "sponge baffle" thread for info) and cut it in half. i put it behind the filter cartridge and a full on at the end of the outflow slide. In the pictures on my "baffle sponge" thread thoguh, i put a sponge, i took that out because i'm nervous about it having mildew resistant chemicals and all that.
Yeah, I don't want to use any household sponge. I bought one of those sponge filter inserts at the pet store. Unfortunately, it's not as "spongey" as the spongey side of a sponge is. It's more like the stratchy side.
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