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Old 12-20-2010, 06:38 AM   #1 
FallenMessiah
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Aquarium Cycle

I really dont understand the cycling of the tank. =/ i've read the post on it over and over again and i just dont get it. My tank was running with a filter weeks before the fish came along and i wasnt 'feeding' it or anything else cause i didnt even know about cycling in the first place. It only had the heater on low and the filter on and fake plants.

This is a photo of my thermometer so something is growing...
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:28 AM   #2 
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To cycle a tank you need a source of ammonia, be it a fish-in cycle with a fish providing the ammonia, or doing a fishless cycle with using shrimp or pure ammonia. The tank will NOT cycle without a source of ammonia, so you need to make a decision on if you want to do a fish-in or fishless cycle. What size is the tank? If its under 5 gallons its going to be hard to cycle and not really worth it.

You can do a fish-in cycle but that just means daily or every other day water changes to make sure the ammonia doesn't build up. Also if you have a friend or family member that has an already cycled tank, get some of their gravel or filter media and put it in your tank to help speed up the process. Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #3 
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Well the only option I have is a fish in cycle cause I have no where else to put him. And it's a 3 gallon tank. I tested for ammonia yesterday an it was at 0 but nitrite was at 0.5 mg/l
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:48 PM   #4 
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Just keep testing diligently and changing the water as necessary.

It is really very simple. Basically, you need two basic types of bacteria in order for the tank to undergo the nitrogen cycle. One type of bacteria eats ammonia--it needs ammonia, heat, water, and oxygen to thrive. This bacteria excretes nitrite as waste after it consumes the ammonia as food. Another bacteria eats nitrite, and it also needs nitrite, heat, water, and oxygen to thrive. This bacteria excretes nitrate as waste after it consumes the nitrite as food. Luckily, even though there are no bacteria that consume nitrate, it is much less dangerous than ammonia or nitrite and can be tolerated at much higher levels. This greatly minimizes the need for water changes.

In order to cultivate a colony of these types of bacteria you have to give it what it needs. Your job is to nurture the minuscule amount of bacteria floating dormant in the water until it is a full blown colony, capable of instantly converting ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate the moment it becomes available. Remember that with no food, it will starve; with no heat it will not grow; without water it will dry out; without oxygen it will suffocate. The bacteria must have all of these things all the time.

It is easiest to nurture bacteria when you do the fishless method, because you can crank up the heat, add lots of aeration, and pour pure ammonia straight into the water without worrying about the consequences that would cause the fish. However, since you have elected to do the fishless option, you will just have to test diligently until the colony is large enough to immediately convert all ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. So when your ammonia level and nitrite level both consistently read 0, and you are left with nitrate only, your cycle is completed.

Last edited by Adastra; 12-20-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:34 PM   #5 
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I could do it in my other tank, just need to by another heater? My Betta's tank now has an air stone, that would help right? how do you know when a colony is established?
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