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Old 01-13-2011, 03:07 AM   #1 
c4talys7
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Question Some cycling confusion...

Okay, so I plan on getting a Betta ASAP. I understand to have a healthy environment you need a cycled tank. I'm a tad confused on how to go about it. I read the sticky thread and still don't quite understand.

I would like to use the pure ammonia method but I can work with the shrimp one. I am getting a 10gal tank and hopefully a filtration system a heater, ect.

First thing: I want live plants. When do I add those? Can/should they be in the cycling tank? I don't want a cycling tank to tank months (as I have read on a couple sites).

Second: How often does a tank need to be cycled? Don't you need to change out the carbon bag or whatever goes in the filter?

Third: How would you go about changing the water and how often would you have to do this? Would you need to re-cycle after?

I understand how to cycle the tank I just don't understand what to do after the fact.

I really wanted a Betta this weekend but if I get a filter I can see I'll have to wait.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:54 AM   #2 
demonr6
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  1. Plants - right away
  2. Cycling - after the initial, never unless you are doing a 100% water change but even then using your old filter and some gravel etc from your tank would effectively bring over the beneficial bacteria from your mature tank. Granted you rinse all of that down and that went out the window
  3. Water change depends on the size of the tank really. You would not need to cycle again though although there are additives you can use when you perform water changes.

Each time I think I understand it, I read someone else's take on it and it can vary from person to person.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:00 PM   #3 
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I am going to get a 10-15gal tank. At most I'll have two fish in it a divide with a 2 betta). Thank you for your help!
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:54 PM   #4 
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After the tank is cycled, I'd just change about 10-20% of the water once a week, vacuum every two weeks, or more if the bottom looks especially dirty. Once a month, move stuff around and vacuum under, rinse your filter cartridge out in tank water (need to make sure the bacteria stays alive when you do this - so do NOT use tap water). Also make sure the impeller of your filter isn't clogged.

As long as your bacteria stays stable (never replace filter cartridges or foam in filter, etc), you will not have to recycle. If carbon is important to you (it's not -necessary-), you can slip a mesh bag of carbon into your filter and replace the carbon as often as needed.

You can get away with more on a cycled tank if life calls and you can't get to your weekly water change.

You can always just test for nitrates and change the water when you see them creeping up above 20-30 ppm.

Plants are important for keeping a cycled tank stable. Adding them right away could help contribute bacteria to the tank to kick start your cycle further. As long as you seed your tank somehow, your cycle shouldn't take too long, especially if you don't have to worry about keeping a fish alive with good water conditions in a cycling tank.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #5 
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or get some bottom feeders/scavengers to help with cleaning the waste. I enjoy watching the ghost shrimp, they are amusing at times.. except for the big one, he has teamed up with one of the smaller ones and I think they beat up on #3.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:13 PM   #6 
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I've just read your other thread. Not sure what you've decided, but cycling fish-in is not a bad option. I've done it personally, and had no adverse side effects. It did take 8 weeks, however, because I was very strict with water changes to keep ammonia levels down (50-75% once every 5 days in a 5g). I also didn't seed the tank at all.

If you have an established tank to take filter media (a bit of foam) from, your tank will cycle more quickly. But it's really not that big of a deal. Your tank will cycle eventually, with minimal effort besides water changes. It's really not as hard as people make it sound. You don't have to do much of anything!

You said you'll be moving the tank at the end of the semester - if you try to preserve as much of the filter media and substrate from your tank as possible, you may not even have to recycle after the move (or it will take a VERY short time for the tank to recycle). The water isn't important, it's the bacteria in the filter and on the substrate that is (which would need to stay wet in tank water during the move).

I don't know how you plan to do your water changes, but I know you are on a budget... if you don't already have a gravel vacuum, a regular bubble tube will serve you well as a siphon. It's like $2 for ten feet of tube. All you need is that and a bucket!

Last edited by kfish; 01-13-2011 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonr6 View Post
or get some bottom feeders/scavengers to help with cleaning the waste. I enjoy watching the ghost shrimp, they are amusing at times.. except for the big one, he has teamed up with one of the smaller ones and I think they beat up on #3.
Shrimp are so cute! I'm really tempted to get some for my tank, but I think my betta would eat them, haha.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:09 PM   #8 
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Yeah I'm going to try putting plants in right away and maybe a cocktail shrimp to help it along (I heard plants like ammonia) I totally do not want to put the fish in right away.

Thank you guys for your help, I'll be getting everything Saturday so I'll look at gravel vacuums and stuff like that.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:50 PM   #9 
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Ghost shrimp.. .38 cents at PetSmart and loads of fun to watch. The females tend to be the larger ones and bully this smaller males around to my wife's sheer enjoyment.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:21 AM   #10 
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Another option for you may be the Walstad method... I am thinking of cancelling my cycle and taking this route as fish can go in almost immediately and there is very little maintenance as far as water changes etc. I read that 2 water changes per 'year' is quite acceptable.

http://theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method

Check it out n see what you think
Dan
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