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Old 10-08-2010, 05:26 PM   #1 
BettaMan
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Cycling A Tank?

What exactly does it mean to cycle a tank? Before I bought Fusion I let the tank sit for 24 hours.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:02 PM   #2 
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cycling happens when there is a source of ammonia, circulating water (your filter), and time. Basically, after a while benificial bacteria grows and converts ammonia to nitrItes to nitrAtes. of the three, nitrAtes are the least lethal to fish and can be around fish in higher concentrations. This is good because it reduces your water changes and keeps your water params very nice.

I suggest you read the link for a better idea of how it works and how to do it if you get curious. http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm (if you get curious and want to do it, I highly suggest fishless with either raw shrimp or pure ammonia)
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:03 PM   #3 
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Cycling a tank is about establishing a biological filter. Bacteria form which consume and convert ammonia and nitrite, into the less harmful nitrate. One way to tell a tank is cycled is that your ammonia and nitrite levels will measure 0 but that you will have some nitrate, since this is the end product of the cycle. You could allow a tank to sit for a year with no fish in it, and it still won't have cycled unless there is a source of ammonia for the bacteria.

Many people fishless cycle by adding pure ammonia to the tank to establish a good bacterial colony. This means that your fish isn't harmed by rising levels of ammonia and nitrite that are found in a non-cycled tank, and you don't need to perform the numerous large water changes that are necessary to keep those levels at a safer reading.

Basically what was said above
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Old 10-09-2010, 05:27 PM   #4 
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Is there any way of telling if you tank is cycled. I tested my water and my ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels were all 0.
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Old 10-09-2010, 06:29 PM   #5 
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your tank is not cycled. Water has to have 0 nitrItes and ammonia, but nitrAtes must be present, and these reading must stay the same for several days without a water change to know that it is truely cycled.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:52 PM   #6 
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So what's so great about having your tank cycled? Why not just have 0 nitrates?

Thanks
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:02 PM   #7 
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Having a cycled tank can give your aquarium a more stable environment and make your usual maintenance a little easier. Instead of having to change out 100% of the water, you could do weekly changes of 25%.

More sensitive things, such as shrimp and certain plants, can also benefit from having a cycled tank.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:05 PM   #8 
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Cycling your tank means that you have benificial bacteria growing in your filter. The bacteria converts lethal chemicals like ammonia and nitrItes into nitrAtes, which are less lethal easier for fish to stand and build up slowly. So by cycling you provide your fish with a stable enviornment that is good for his health, and also you reduce your ammount of water changes to one once a week to remove excess nitrAtes, and you don't ever have to worry about 100% water changes, scrubbing your tank down, etc.

0 of everything means you probably just did a water change with dechlorinator (which also gets rid of ammonia and stuff), and that your tank is not stable, and has no good bacteria in it. If you tested with an API Master test kit, make sure you shake the 2nd bottle that tests for nitrAtes REALLY well, because if not shaken up properly, it can lead to incorrect readings.

Over all, a cycled tank is less demanding on you, healthier for your fish, and more of a "small ecosytem" inside your tank, which is very good, and better for some species of fish and shrimps.

It isn't as hard as it seems either, and can actually be broken down into 5 or so steps at the most. If you want, I can break it down into a nut shell for you.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:51 AM   #9 
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Thanks! Could you break it down for me? Also, is it possible for a tank to be cycled while a fish is in it? EDIT: I just realized a Betta Fish is a source of ammonia so a tank can be cycled with a fish in it.

Last edited by BettaMan; 10-10-2010 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:53 AM   #10 
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Yes, it can, but you'd have to have your API test kit and test the water daily, and be ontop of the water changes so that your betta won't get sick from the ammonia. Because my little nutshell on cycling is rather brief and doesn't go into details, you'll want to look at this site for more info.

I'll give you fish- in cycling in a nut shell:

necessary supplies:
-a tank full of water
-a filter with some sort of sponge in it (no carbon cartridges necessary)
-a source of ammonia (in this case I guess it'll have to be your fish since you have nowhere to put him in the meantime)
-a water test kit (I HIGHLY recommend the API Master Test Kit- http://reviews.walmart.com/1336/3635493/freshwater-master-test-kit-reviews/reviews.htm)

1) set up tank and introduce your constant source of ammonia (your fish)
2) Do daily water checks with your tester on the ammonia, nitrItes, and nitrAtes. It is a good idea to log them so you can watch the patterns.
3)If you see the ammonia or nitrItes get over 0.25 ppms of ammonia or nitrItes, do a 50% water change this may be daily (or not depending on how many plants yo have), but chances are it'll be around once a week.
4) continue this until you notice that the ammonia is 0, the nitrItes are 0, and you have had nitrAtes 3-10 ppm for several days without water changes.
5) you're done

* Important: 1) Once you have done, you have to do once weekly water changes, the ammount of water depends on your tank size, ammount of fish, and ammounts of life plants. 2) never ever ever scrub down your tank, because that will be scrubbing the good beficial bacteria off. 3) Filter media is important. If you have a filter sponge in there, never remove it. When it gets dirty, rinse in a bucket of tank water. 4) The carbon pads you buy aren't necessary.
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