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Old 07-26-2011, 04:51 PM   #1 
tlyons01
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Help with fishless cycling please!

I have a 3 gal that I want to set up for one of my bettas. I purchased Tom's mini filter, and a hang on the lip type of heater. The reason for the heater was so that I could accurately increase the temp during the cycling process, and this heater will be going into my 10 gallon once the process is complete and I have a mini heater currently in another betta tank that will be used in this 3 gal. OK, so I found the ammonia, said on the bottle it was pure and there are no ingredients listed. I found an instructional on Facebook that I was following. I started the process last Sunday, 7/17. I got the ammonia up to 4-5 ppm. I stopped adding ammonia, left it for a day or two and then started testing the ammonia levels. The instruction I am following did not state to add anymore of the ammonia, rather that I am waiting for the level to start dropping so that I need to test for nitrites. I have been, for about 5 days now. My ammonia seems to be hovering around 2 ppm and I have 0 nitrites. I also have a bubbler in there to add the extra oxygen and I added seed using gravel from my established 55 gal. I have read so many different instructions on when to add the seeded gravel and I added mine the first day. Again, the instructions I am following do not indicate that I should have been adding more ammonia daily. I have read the Cycling sticky here and it differs from what I have. I added a pinch of food to the water for the last 2 nights. Today it smelled in there pretty strong. I netted as much of the flakes as I could get. So I do not know what I should do. Should I start over or just keep waiting? Also, is the filter that I chose to use too small to cycle? I read good reviews about it in smaller tanks. Thanks in advance anyone!!!

PS. I changed out the seed gravel today, thinking that maybe the bacteria did not make it through getting the ammonia level up.. Was not sure what to do. I have it sitting on the bottom in tulle fabric (had not been washed) since I do not have any pantyhose to use..

Last edited by tlyons01; 07-26-2011 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Forgot to add something
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Filtered tanks under 5gal can establish the nitrogen cycle, however, due to the limited surface area for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize the nitrogen cycle is not very stable.......and twice weekly water changes are still needed to control spikes and water quality.....

What I would do....empty the tank and start over-add the Betta and make the needed twice weekly 50% water changes....1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method...giving the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water a couple of times a month with a water change.....

Hope to see some pic....
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:14 PM   #3 
tlyons01
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Thank you so much for your response. I have been wondering if my tank would be too small to establish. What a shame I wasted a week on that, not to mention all the wasted testing drops I used!! Good thing the bottles have many tests.. lol. I will take your advice and I will start from scratch. So I will be allowing the fish to cycle the tank? Or will it just not happen in this size tank, ever? I just finished dividing a 10 gal and I am going to get it started cycling soon, so there will be other home options for my little guy. I wanted to get a new rescue after I got it set up, since the one I am moving seems pretty calm and stable in a smaller tank. He was very sick when I got him. Thanks again, and I will be sure to follow the guidelines in this forum for my next cycling tank, and hope that I will not have as many questions next go around...And I will definitely post some pics :)
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:07 AM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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Small filtered tank will cycle...you will get a nitrate reading...but due to limited surface area.....its not stable and you need to make twice weekly water changes....

And you didn't waste your time...look at it as practice.....
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:34 PM   #5 
tlyons01
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Yes ma'am you are right, got quite a bit of practice!! I think that I am going to look into getting a 5 gal for him, but I guess since I have not yet cycled my ten gallon I should not be looking at any new rescues. Thanks for your great advice, it is really appreciated. Pic to come soon as the little guy gets used to his tall tank...
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