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Old 03-19-2011, 08:09 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Should I cycke my tank?

Alright, so the answer may be a simple yes... but I am a bit confused.

I looked online and did a bunch of research, but only learned what cycling was.

My question is... firstly, how quick does ammonia build up? It seems like smaller 1-3 gallon bowls could go without cycling, as long as the water is changed/vacuum constantly. I have a 10 gallon, but only put 5 gallons in. I have live plants and leaves as well as aged water. Is it plausible to clean my water enough that I wouldn't need to cycle it?

When I was looking into it, it seemed like cycling was used for big tanks with which little water change would be done. I however have time pretty much everyday for a quick water change, if absolutely needed.

So again, is cycling water necessary if I can change the water often? How often? How much water change? More plants help? Now I know how to cycle, and I understand the process, but I'm not entirely sure on when or if it's totally needed.

P.S. I have had multiple bettas live 4-5 years without ever cycling water. This was way back in middle school when I didn't have really have the means of doing in-depth research.

Thanks for any help. :)
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:35 AM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
In my opinion...there is no simple yes or no answer when it comes to fish keeping...too many things can vary that make each system unique......

You don't have to establish the nitrogen cycle, however, in filtered tanks they will cycle regardless unless you are making lots of 100% water changes.....

With live active growing plants of the right species and numbers...they will help to filter the water

On smaller tanks less than 5gal....cycling is moot in my opinion due to the number of water changes that are needed to maintain water quality in the first place.....

The build up of ammonia with one Betta usually start by day 3 and increases daily....but you also have other things that are going on in the tank that we don't test for and the nitrogen cycle doesn't have any impact dissolved organics that also can be harmful to the fish-live plants can help to a degree but generally a water change is needed......
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:50 AM   #3 
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How the nitrogen cycle works: The nitrification cycle is actually pretty simple. It can seem hard because of a couple terms that are not familiar in our everyday language. But basically this is a simple three-step process.
  1. Step One The first thing that happens when you put fish in the tank is ammonia is produced. This is from the fish waste or excess foods that are decomposing.
  2. Step Two As the amount of ammonia starts to increase, a bacteria forms called nitrosomonas. This bacteria begins to convert the ammonia into nitrite. As the ammonia is converted to nitrite, the amount of ammonia will begin to drop and now the nitrites will begin to rise. Soon your ammonia test will show no more ammonia in your tank. This usually happens within the first week and a half of a normal cycle. Nitrite is also very toxic to fish, though not as hazardous as ammonia.
  3. Step Three As the nitrite levels increase, another bacteria forms, called nitrobacter. This second bacteria begins to convert the nitrite into nitrate. As it is converted to nitrate, the amount of nitrite will drop and the nitrates will begin to rise. Soon your nitrite test will show no more nitrite in your tank. This happens between three to six weeks in a normal cycle. Nitrate is harmless to fish but is one of the nutrients that plants and algae need and is the final product produced in the nitrification cycle. One of the reasons that water changes are recommended is to keep nitrates at lower levels.
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