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Old 12-01-2010, 01:51 PM   #1 
jessiepbg
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Cycling Questions

I'm about to start a 10 gallon tank with my Betta + 4 Cories and wanted all my ducks in a row before I started. I'd never even heard of cycling tanks before I started reading here, so I've really got no idea what to expect. I was wondering if I could use a combo of seeding bacteria from another tank and using live plants to get my tank started. My heater and thermometer from my 1.5 gallon will be moving into the new tank for sure. If I were to also temporarily move my gravel and the two fake plants into the new tank, would that be an acceptable way to start cycling a tank if I also had 2-3 live plants started in there? Also, how long should I leave it sit and what parameters am I looking for to know I've been successful?
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:24 PM   #2 
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The nitrogen cycle is going to happen as long as you have a filter...I am assuming you plan a fish in cycle.....this can safely be done provide that you are willing to make the needed water changes...be aware that by adding plants it may change things some this is also dependent on how many and what type too...but I highly recommend that you add them

If you have a water pram test kit and by your post it sounds like you do

Get a base line test of your source water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH

Set the tank up, plant, fill with dechlorinated water, add the new or established filter and dirty filter media if you have any, a hand full of dirty gravel in a nylon stocking under the filter over flow...acclimate the fish and add....get water pram readings now and daily

Make a 50% water changes with substrate vacuuming weekly and a 50% water only change with readings of ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater

Give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water if the water flow slows and a couple of times a month to get the big pieces of gunk off to maintain good water flow

It can take a week to 8 weeks to cycle depending on seeded, bioload, filtration, water temp, pH, plants to name a few......

The nitrifying bacteria for the nitrogen cycle are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants both real and fake, in the top layer of substrate and in the filter media-very little are in the water column so water only changes will not hurt/slow the cycling process-over cleaning can-so don't clean all the walls or vacuum more than weekly-you still need to vacuum or the good bacteria can die off due to lack of oxygen-you don't want to over clean the filter media or change it out during the process either...that dirty filter media has lots of good bacteria colonizing on it-but again they can suffocate and die if the water flow is not good enough or it gets too dirty, also, chlorinated water will kill good bacteria

You know you are cycled when water prams read:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm
pH-varies
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:43 PM   #3 
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Thanks for the info. Would I be better off keeping my fish in his old tank while I get this new one set up though? I could easily leave the heater and thermometer in with him and just steal some of his gravel, one of his columns and one of his fake plants to get the new one started. He'd be fine without them. That way he wouldn't have already claimed the 10 gallon as his territory when I add the Cories. I kind of like the idea of having him and the Cories in separate bags so they can acclimate to the tank at the same time and I can watch him for flaring before I even move him to the big tank. Or should I just let him hang out in the new tank while it cycles so he'll be all settled in when I start throwing new fish at him?
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:42 PM   #4 
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Sorry to double post, I didn't get here before the edit button disappeared. My water is extremely alkaline. I'm using my garden water for him right now, since my indoor water runs through a water softener. I read somewhere that Bettas and Cories like soft water, but I'm not sure if my softener just takes out the Mg+/Ca+ or if it adds other chemicals. Would household softened water be good for them or am I better off using a pH adjuster on my garden water?
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:50 AM   #5 
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What is your pH, KH, GH on your garden water

What kind of filter do you plan to use

The home water softener usually only exchange one ION for another that is worse on the fish/livestock

I would not mess with my water and change it with chemical additives unless you know what you are doing-otherwise-you can make thing worse for both you and your fish....most fish with adapt to your pH and hardness and most have never seen their habitat water anyway due to being farm raised

You can safely cycle with the fish, however, it is up to you on what you want to do-the fishless cycle you will need an ammonia source to maintain 3ppm ammonia levels even with seeding or the good bacteria will starve to death
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:00 AM   #6 
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I've only got test strips right now, so these may not be as accurate as they could. On the strips, I've been consistently finding a pH of over 8.4, KH of 300, and GH of 300. I'm going to pick up a nice liquid test after lab today when I start getting my tank set up to cycle.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #7 
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That is almost as hard as my water...lol.....but I still have you beat...laffs.....I call my well water liquid rock...its that hard......and my fish do fine with it...I do change it when I am spawning tetras but not for the Bettas

I wouldn't worry about your water or try to change it for the fish...they will adapt and be fine and it is much easier and safer....the less chemical additives the better.....

Make sure your master test kit test for-ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH....you can get a kit for GH/KH but honestly you don't need it unless you plan to breed fish that require special water.....cory cats and Bettas don't.....
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:27 PM   #8 
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That makes me feel a lot better. That's some pretty impressive well water, hehe. I'm going to check, but I think those tests are all included in the "Freshwater Master Test Kit" that I'm planning on buying.

I'm not planning on breeding anything anyway, I just want them all to be healthy. Speaking of breeding, are all the Cory Cats they sell the same sex or do they just not tend to spawn under normal circumstances? I don't remember if they had them labeled as a specific gender at the store.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:52 PM   #9 
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Most of the more common cory cats are really easy to spawn....some are a bit harder to trigger than others....usually they are mixed sex-the females are often more round or rotund and the male a bit slimmer.......once the tank is mature make a big water change and make your replacement water about 10-20 degrees cooler to mimic rain and watch them spawn......it is that easy with some of them like the Bronze, green, albino and many others....some of the dwarf can be a bit tricky.....but not all....
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:56 AM   #10 
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Hehe, I was kind of hoping to keep them from spawning, but unfortunately that routine sounds a little like what happens when I clean my little tank right now. I'll make sure to get the new water up to the main tank temp before I put it in.

I got my tank started, I've got about an inch of "Floramax" substrate covering the bottom and I just sort of stuck the bottom of a really long hornwort plant in it. I don't really know much about aquarium plants, so I'm hoping it's got all the nutrients/hormones it needs to root. I couldn't find any sites that suggest doing anything but sticking it in the substrate and hoping for the best. I've also got some anachris in bunches of 3-4 stuck into the substrate. I think I got them all right-side-up.

I'm keeping my fish in his original tank until Saturday. I'm not going to be home at all tomorrow and I want to be able to keep an eye on him when I put him in the new tank. I "fed" the planted tank 3-4 bloodworms, so I'm hoping that will generate enough ammonia to keep the plants happy.

Also, the tank came with this Aqueon "quietflow" filter that's ungodly loud. Is that what filter baffles are for or am I reading that wrong?
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