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Old 05-06-2011, 04:49 AM   #1 
Blaze54
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Question Do I have to? :-)

I'm getting ready to start most likely a 5 gallon tank and I've seen all of this info about cycling. Now I'm not good with like chemicals and stuff and every "walk-through" is waaayyy over my head. Like keeping up with all the ph and stuff. What does that mean?? Please help thx
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:50 AM   #2 
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Oh and could you give me an easy (and cheap) way to "cycle" or whatever ?? Thx
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:21 AM   #3 
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I'm in the process of doing it right now myself so I can only tell you a bit about what I know or have read. There are many other more experienced cyclers who can tell you more than I can. Most of my info comes from:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=47838

Either way, you'll want to get a water test kit that can test Ph, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. Its a must to have for cycling (and fish keeping in general). Get a liquid test kit if at all possible as the test strip kits aren't very reliable and thus will potentially miss-inform you of the cycling progress or lack there of.

There are about 5 methods of cycling and I won't mention them all here but the above link has all the info. Cycling your tank is pretty important, especially if you don't want to do a lot of big water changes all the time. There is a "fish-in" method where fish are in the tank while its cycling. This method does have the downside that it can be stressful and even deadly to the fish if your not on top of things at all times! I don't personally think this is a great method.

I'm using the "fishless cycle using shrimp" method. Its pretty easy to do. All you need is a raw shrimp from your supermarket, you put it in the tank (preferably in a mess bag) and wait for it to rot. You keep testing the water until the values are right and the cycle is done.

Note that cycling a tank can take between 4 and 8 weeks so you have to be patient. There are also "bacteria starter" kits which have mixed reviews on this forum. The general feeling is they're aren't overly effective unless the bacteria is still alive, and it isn't. You can get powdered drops and some liquids which claim to help bacteria in your tank which is an important part of cycling your tank.

Good luck. You don't have to be a chemist to do it (I'm certainly not!) but the more you read and the more you test, the better off you'll be. Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:44 AM   #4 
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If you have a filter running 24/7 the tank will cycle regardless......

You have two beneficial bacteria at work...one-changes ammonia to nitrite and the other changes nitrite to nitrate-both are sticky and adhere to everything inside the tank, on the walls, decorations, plants both live and fake, in the top layer of substrate and in the filter media.....very little are in the water column itself.....so water only changes will not stall or hurt the cycling process.....but over cleaning the tank can stall the nitrogen cycle.....

Although I do recommend that everyone get a liquid test kit to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH....not every one can afford one and some people can get really confused or not know what to do with the results.......you can still cycle the aquarium without a test kit...but it will be a guessing game unless you can take some water to a fish shop to test it a couple of times....

You can safely establish the nitrogen cycle with the fish without a test kit provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes to keep the fish safe....

In a 5gal filtered tank with one healthy Betta-during the cycling process (4-8wks) make twice weekly water changes...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate vacuuming........once the nitrogen cycle has established...water changes of 50% with vacuum weekly should maintain water quality......

If you don't have a test kit-take your water to the pet shop to have it tested....once you have 0ppm ammonia and nitrite and 5-10ppm nitrate for several days you are most likely cycled.......

Live active growing plants change the whole ball game so-to speak....but this also depends on the number and species of plants as well as growth state......
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:24 AM   #5 
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So all I have to do is(I'm gonna do the shrimp method) put the shrimp in there for about 4-8 weeks and test the water and when it's ok put the fish in??? Sorry i like know nothing about this. After that are you good for like forever(you know what I mean)? WIll ammonia build back up again??
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:29 AM   #6 
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Ohhh wait a sec. oldfishlady. So if I went ahead and put the fish in,for about 4-8 weeks change the water 50% just water then 50% while cleaning the rocks and stuff every week that would cycle the tank? How often do you have to cycle a tank??
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:32 AM   #7 
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Wait I never noticed this. How do live plants change the ball game?? What effect do they have??
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:42 AM   #8 
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Lots of live active growing plants..not a few...will use the ammonia for food before conversion and it can skew test results...or sometimes you may not see nitrate..the sign that the nitrogen cycle is complete.....lots of live active growing plants function as filtration of sorts that can keep the water fish safe.......

Usually you only have to cycle once...unless something happened to the good bacteria like...lack of oxygen, some antibiotic and other products that can kill the good bacteria, over cleaning are a few things that can kill the nitrogen cycle.....

Do you have a test kit.......
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:01 AM   #9 
Blaze54
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Nope :( but the house we are moving into has a pet store like 2 miles away so maybe they could test it(?).
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:43 PM   #10 
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Cycling a tank is basically setting up a natural ecosystem in the tank. As OFL said, unless the beneficial bacteria die due to lack of oxygen or using antibiotic medication, they should live in your tank for a long time. Cycling is helping bacteria get proper food to live in your tank healthily.

I wrote a guide about basic water chemistry. For cycling you only need to read about Ammonia, NitrATE and NitrITE: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=66595 post back here or on that thread if you have any questions!

If you want to put in your fish right away, it's fine, but it is hazardous because they can die if you don't test your water frequently. It will take a similar amount of time to the shrimp method, which is why people recommend the shrimp method, so your fish won't be in any danger.

Last edited by bahamut285; 05-06-2011 at 05:47 PM.
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