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Old 07-15-2011, 02:23 PM   #1 
fishcurl
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Newbie questions about cycling etc.

Please forgive me in advance for any dumb questions I might ask. I'm a newbie when it comes to keeping fish properly and would really appreciate any tips and advice anyone can give me.

I have on order a Marineland Eclipse Hex 5 gallon in addition to other things like a heater and so on. I have additive-free ammonia which I will be using to do a fish-less cycle before putting my future betta buddy in.

With this in mind, here comes my questions

1. To jump start the bacteria growing, I plan on using an air stone but removing it before putting a betta in. Would there be any problems with this approach?

2. All the substrate, plants, and decorations etc., should go in before I start cycling correct? Basically everything but the fish?

3. If I want to use real plants at some point down the road, how much of an impact would it be to the cycle?

4. I really like the look of sand but would I be asking for trouble using it in such a small tank?

I have many more questions but I'll hold off for now, hehe. I don't want to scare anyone away from answering
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....

The nitrogen cycle can be established in the 5gal filtered tank with a healthy Betta...this can be done safely provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes........

The fishless cycle you will need a water test kit on hand to monitor the water prams daily to maintain ammonia level of 3-4ppm-water changes are not generally needed with the fishless cycle.

The fish-in cycle-you don't have to have a test kit, however, I do recommend them and it will make the cycling process easier with less guessing...... most fish shops will test your water for free

You can speed the process by seeding the tank with healthy established filter media and/or some substrate from another cycled tank

It can take-4 to 8 weeks to cycle the tank....oxygen level, surface area, pH, temp, live plants are a few things that can change the time line...

The bacteria that cycle the tank are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas in the tank, in the upper layer of the substrate and in the filter media....very little are in the water column....so water only changes will not hurt or stall the cycle, however, over cleaning can especially in the first 2 months......

With the fish-in method-without a test kit on hand-make twice weekly water changes...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate vacuuming in all areas that can be reached without moving anything in the tank or disruption of live plant roots and wiping the viewing wall if needed

If you have test kit-base the 50% water only change on water prams of ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater....You may or may not need to make this water only change, but you do however, need to make the 50% with vacuum weekly for the life of the setup.

You know the tank is most likely cycled when your numbers read:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm
pH varies


Filter media-its best to not rinse or change the filter media until the nitrogen cycle has established- unless the water flow has slowed-then give the filter media a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change....you will do this a couple of times a month once the nitrogen cycle has established-Its important that the filter run all the time since the nitrifying bacteria need oxygen to colonize along with surface area and food source.
If you plan to use carbon (not needed) change this per package direction

Once the nitrogen cycle has established-make 50% weekly water changes with vacuum....

Adding live plants from the start can skew water pram reading due to the active plant growth using ammonia for food before conversion-this depends on the number and species of live plants and growth state.....


Look forward to seeing pic once you get it setup.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 07-15-2011 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:47 PM   #3 
fishcurl
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Thank you so much, OFL! That really cleared up a few things for me.

I have a master test kit on the way so that I can monitor the different chemicals, too. I will be sure to post a pic of my setup when I get it going :)

EDIT: Doh! I hit the wrong button and posted before finishing my response :p

I am doing the fishless cycling so that I can hopefully keep the water changes down to once a week - I have a toddler daughter who I love dearly but takes a lot of my time, hehe. That's not to say that I won't do additional water changes - I absolutely will the moment my tank needs it.

I picked up additional supplies today at my local Petsmart - gravel, gravel cleaner, thermometer, and some decorations. I really hope my aquarium gets here soon!

Last edited by fishcurl; 07-16-2011 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:09 AM   #4 
Pitluvs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishcurl View Post
Thank you so much, OFL! That really cleared up a few things for me.

I have a master test kit on the way so that I can monitor the different chemicals, too. I will be sure to post a pic of my setup when I get it going :)

EDIT: Doh! I hit the wrong button and posted before finishing my response :p

I am doing the fishless cycling so that I can hopefully keep the water changes down to once a week - I have a toddler daughter who I love dearly but takes a lot of my time, hehe. That's not to say that I won't do additional water changes - I absolutely will the moment my tank needs it.

I picked up additional supplies today at my local Petsmart - gravel, gravel cleaner, thermometer, and some decorations. I really hope my aquarium gets here soon!

Oh I hear ya, I did a fish in cycle with my 29g every 2 days and I have a 3 yr old and a 17m old running around. Not to mention the rest of the pets!! If you can do fishless and less changes, do it haha
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