So I have a new 10gal that I was going to start cycling today. I have a big bowl full of gravel/rocks from the aquarium the fish are living in now. Is that enough to start the cycling process? Or should I use the substrate and do the fish food method as well?
I don't have any PH testing equipment and won't be able to get any till this weekend. (Not planning on putting the Bettas in until next week.)
I use Water from other cycled aged tanks to jump start new ones. 50/50 old to fresh water.. I also use the typical beneficial bacteria adds as well though...
Dont usually use Substrate but I dont see why that would hurt.. as long as tank its coming from is healthy...
Note: I use water from a 55 Gallon Tank, to jump start My Nano tanks so stealing 1 to 3 gallons isnt a real big deal... If I were trying to jump start a 3 gallon to 3 gallon I would only do a 25% / 75% Old to new....
Last edited by lordadamar; 08-25-2011 at 04:16 PM.
The substrate will help seed the bacteria needed for the nitrogen cycle, but if there won't be any fish in the tank until next week then you will need another source of ammonia in there to keep the bacteria alive. I'm not sure if using fish food will work in such a short amount of time though because it has to start to decay first before it will start giving off ammonia. Your best bet would probably be using pure ammonia, or just waiting on starting the cycle and adding the old substrate until after you put the fish in the tank.
Be sure the ammonia you purchase is pure and doesn't contain any other cleaning agents, ie. soaps or cleaning agents. If you shake the bottle and it foams up, then it contains additives. Personally, I looked everywhere for pure ammonia. I couldn't find any in my area, certainly not in the cleaning area of my local supermarket. However, I've heard that the best source is a pharmacy. Also, in regards to your current gravel/rocks: make sure they stay wet in dechlorinated water. If they dry out, any beneficial bacteria on them will die and be rendered useless. That is a great source to help jump start your cycle. One last important comment: make sure the Freshwater Testing Kit you buy is liquid vs. the strips. The strips are not accurate. You'll be doing lots of testing during the cycling process and you'll need a good test kit. Especially if the fish are in the tank while you cycle. Any readings of ammonia or nitrites over 0 will require immediate water changes for the health of your fish. Good luck and keep us posted!
I personally used the shrimp method. I brought a raw shrimp from the grocery store, tied it up in stockings to prevent messes, dropped it in a completely set up tank, and waited. Since no fish were involved I only needed to replace evaporated water. One 5 gallon tank cycled in about 4 weeks and the other 5 gallon tank cycled in about 6 1/2 weeks. I think it's 1 medium shrimp for any tank 20gallons and smaller.
It's slower than pure ammonia, but I figured I would mention it just incase your pet store doesn't have any pure ammonia. It's also cheap since two medium raw shrimp only cost me 59 cents. Raw shrimp give off ammonia more steadily and for longer than fish food, so that's the fishless method I wanted to go with. But in the end, you need patiences more than anything. Even pure ammonia takes a while to cycle a tank because nitrATE growth is the time limiting factor.