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Old 08-02-2011, 03:44 PM   #1 
lemonpebbles
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Advice on cycling a 10 gallon?

I've decided to do a fishless cycle with fish food while my betta is recovering from fin rot in a QT and I need some advice! Like, when I get readings for nitrites, do I keep feeding the tank? When I finally get nitrate readings, do I do a water change? And if so, how much and should I use dechlorinated or aged water? Afterwards, do I add my fish in right away?
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:33 PM   #2 
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You can cycle with fish food, however, I don't recommend it....the bacteria that is produced from the fish food can be toxic and other problems....raw shrimp or pure ammonia is better for the fishless cycle...

You need to use dechlorinator when fishless cycling.....the nitrifying bacteria are alive and chlorine/chloramine will kill it.....think of the nitrifying bacteria kinda like a fish.....it needs surface area, food and oxygen to live/colonize.....since they are sticky the nitrifying bacteria will adhere to all the surface areas in the tank, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media...very little are in the water column itself....it also needs a food source...byproducts, ammonia...etc....and oxygen...... without an oxygen source the aerobic nitrifying bacteria will die and you can end up with an anaerobic or dead spots....rotten egg smell......never fun.....lol.....

You know the tank has an established nitrogen cycle when water prams read: for several days without ammonia, nitrite spikes....
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:47 PM   #3 
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Okie dokie, so I'll be sure to use dechlorinator. Aw fudge, so should I siphon out all of the food I've left out for an ammonia source and replace the water? We're going grocery shopping tomorrow so I can pick up some shrimp... Also, I read that an ammonia spike in a cycling tank is considered 3 or 4 ppm, is that when I should take out the shrimp?
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:27 PM   #4 
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You want to leave the shrimp in until you get a nitrate reading of at least 5ppm

What are your stocking plans once cycled, do you plan any live plants.....
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:43 PM   #5 
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No live plants or anything, just my betta at first because I'm still pretty nervous with all this fish business, but I may get a snail once I get the hang of things lol. Is there anything else I could use to help speed up the ammonia spike? Like dirty tank water from another tank?
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:48 AM   #6 
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I think dirty tank water can help because it contains ammonia but I would wait for OFL to confirm. And, personally, I stay away from snails because I here they multiply quickly and when you start getting live plants (hint hint) you'll probably get one or two snails with them.

And from what OFL said nitrifying bacteria convert there foods to nitrite, but this byproduct is still pretty detrimental to your fish's health from what I've read. I think that live plants are what ultimately convert nitrite to nitrate which is what you want. But again, wait to here for certain from OFL, she helped me a lot when I first started as well :)

Sean
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:59 AM   #7 
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Why not do a fish-in cycle......you can safely cycle the tank with the Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes to keep him safe......

In 10gal filtered tank-water changes of 50% with substrate vacuuming weekly and a second 50% water only weekly based on water prams of ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater until you established nitrogen cycle......
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:30 AM   #8 
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The reason why I haven't tried doing a fish-in cycle is because I've heard people saying that it isn't the best for fish and takes longer than a fishless cycle. So as long as I keep up with the water changes, my fish should be fine? Do I do a 50% even if I get a ammonia reading below 1 ppm? And one last thing, before I start the fish in cycle, should I completely drain my tank and start over?
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:37 AM   #9 
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Do you have a test kit and if so what kind is it.....how many days has the tank been running with the fish food, what kind of filter are you using...
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:54 PM   #10 
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I have an API fresh water master test kit and the tanks been running for about a week now with the food. I forget the name of the filter I'm using but it had the word whisper in its name. The filter is only supposed to be used for tank 1-3 gallons, but I don't have enough money to buy a filter more suited for the tank....
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