Originally Posted by chargers505
I'm sure a bunch of morons bring their betta fish home and throw it into a bigger bowl with added tap water and....voila!
So why is it imperative for me to cycle a new tank? Is it completely necessary?
Chargers, I'm still a newbie, but have been researching on the web. Here's the scoop on cycling in brief:
Fish give off ammonia, which is toxic to them and will kill them if it's not controlled very quickly. So you need to develop a colony of nitrogen-fixing bacteria which converts the ammonia first to nitrites (also poisonous to them) and then to nitrates, which are relatively harmless, and can be controlled with weekly (50%) water changes. If you put your fish in an un-cycled tank, the bacteria will eventually settle in -- but it may take weeks. Meanwhile, your fish will suffer -- and may die. You can keep this under control with daily water changes, but this is a lot of work....
Bettas are said to be quite tough, so yours might survive, but may be permanently injured as a result....
Hope this helps!
By the way, you can dramatically speed up the cycle if you can get some filter media (sponges, etc) from a cycled tank and put it in your filter (I trust you have one?).