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Old 09-11-2011, 01:04 AM   #1 
hhchun
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Cycling Question for 5 Gallon Tank

I've purchased a new 5 gallon tank and plan to cycle it using either the shrimp or fish food method.
I only plan to have 1 betta living in the tank, would I use 1/2 a small sized shrimp in order to start off the cycle or does it need to be cycled at all if I dedicate 100% water changes?
Also, I read that a 5 gallon tank can be very sporadic when it comes to cycling and does water conditioner need to be added to the tap water while cycling?

Sorry I am so full of questions, I am a silly newbie when it comes to tank maintenance!
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:29 AM   #2 
HatsuneMiku
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hi there (^_^) /)" *waves*

and it's ok to ask a lot of questions .. that's what this forum is for

first off are you planning to have a filter running 24/7 ..? .. if you do not plan on having a filter with media .. you won't establish a full cycle .. as good bacteria grows on the filter media which maintains cycle ..

i haven't heard of using shrimp to start a fishless cycle .. you could do an in fish cycle .. and then remove ur betta to a qt tank when the ammonia levels become too high .. before the nitrates grow enough to take them out .. but you'll need a test kit to monitor the process more closely so you can know exactly when to do a water change that won't cause the cycle to start over again ..

and yes it is very sporadic in a 5g tank .. examples as
if good bacteria dies off from ur filter being turned off .. then your cycle will start again ..
if you change too much water .. your cycle will start again ..
if your tank gets too much ammonia before you do a w/c and the bacteria can't turn the ammonia into nitrate fast enough ... your cycle will start again ..
if your nitrites have not grown enough and are not taking care of ur nitrates fast enough .. your cycle will start again ..

i think u get the point .. you'll have to be more careful in a 5g cycled tank and there is less room for errors ..

i know since i have a cycled 5g and a cycled 20g .. and my 5g has already re-ccycled itself twice ... D= .. on accident of course .. and this time it'll take me a full cycle to get it back on track .. since this time i can't use water from my cycled 20g .. since i aq salted it and treating the whole tank for fin rot .. SO .. yea .. i'm up to my ears bacteria blooms .. and it's driving me nuts .. @_@ ..

but now i've went off track hehe .. anywhos good luck!! .. and if u have more questions just ask =)
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #3 
Draug Isilme
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I'm trying to cycle my 5g as well.... Started a few days ago. Would it be okay to have two different filters? I've got a sponge filter in it right now, and a regular one that came with the tank. I've read it's good to have one of each as one filter can compensate what the other is lacking (I know it's not necessary, but I like the idea of it none the less). Is it possible to turn one off and it not start the cycle over? I was assuming not, but seeing as how I've never experienced cycling and no one's asked/answered this question.. >.> I figured I'd ask ^.^
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:13 PM   #4 
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To understand the nitrogen cycle you need to understand the nitrifying bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle and the many things that can change the process.....

Nitrifying bacteria (NB) are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas in the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants-both fake and real, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media...very little are in the water column itself.....so water only changes should not stall or hurt the process, however, over cleaning can....like-cleaning the filter media before the nitrogen cycle has established, vacuuming the substrate more than every 7 days, removing everything in the tank and cleaning it and the non-viewing walls, changing the filter media......
The filter media will need a swish/rinse in old tank water or dechlorinated water a couple of times a month once the nitrogen cycle has established in tanks 5gal and larger.

The substrate needs to be vacuumed in un-planted tanks at least weekly during and after the nitrogen cycle has established....vacuuming is important.....failure to vacuum in unplanted tanks can result in death of NB due to lack of oxygen.....

NB-are somewhat like fish....they need surface area to colonize, food source and oxygen, chlorine/chloramine will kill NB just like it will kill fish, if the NB dry out they will die, lack of oxygen and the NB will die, lack of food and the NB will die....

You will only have enough NB in the tank to support the stocking..anything extra will die and they will eat each other.....so if you cycle the tank for 5 fish and you only add 1.....you may see ammonia spike for a day or two as the tank balances itself.....

Other things that can change the process...water temp, pH, dissolved oxygen in the water, CO2 to name a few.....

You can safely establish the nitrogen cycle with the Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes.....
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:21 PM   #5 
hhchun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistress View Post
hi there (^_^) /)" *waves*

and it's ok to ask a lot of questions .. that's what this forum is for

first off are you planning to have a filter running 24/7 ..? .. if you do not plan on having a filter with media .. you won't establish a full cycle .. as good bacteria grows on the filter media which maintains cycle ..

i haven't heard of using shrimp to start a fishless cycle .. you could do an in fish cycle .. and then remove ur betta to a qt tank when the ammonia levels become too high .. before the nitrates grow enough to take them out .. but you'll need a test kit to monitor the process more closely so you can know exactly when to do a water change that won't cause the cycle to start over again ..

and yes it is very sporadic in a 5g tank .. examples as
if good bacteria dies off from ur filter being turned off .. then your cycle will start again ..
if you change too much water .. your cycle will start again ..
if your tank gets too much ammonia before you do a w/c and the bacteria can't turn the ammonia into nitrate fast enough ... your cycle will start again ..
if your nitrites have not grown enough and are not taking care of ur nitrates fast enough .. your cycle will start again ..

i think u get the point .. you'll have to be more careful in a 5g cycled tank and there is less room for errors ..

i know since i have a cycled 5g and a cycled 20g .. and my 5g has already re-ccycled itself twice ... D= .. on accident of course .. and this time it'll take me a full cycle to get it back on track .. since this time i can't use water from my cycled 20g .. since i aq salted it and treating the whole tank for fin rot .. SO .. yea .. i'm up to my ears bacteria blooms .. and it's driving me nuts .. @_@ ..

but now i've went off track hehe .. anywhos good luck!! .. and if u have more questions just ask =)
Hi! Thanks so much for the info.
I definitely plan to have a filter running 24-7. I use a Tetra Whisper 10i with a bio-media filter bag.

This is what I have read about cycling and I hope it is how it works:
1. Ammonia will rise high
2. Nitrosomonas will cause conversion of ammonia into nitrites - ammonia levels will drop and nitrites will rise
3. Nitrobacter converts nitrites into nitrates - nitrites level drop and nitrates rise

Does the cycle finish when nitrate levels are high while ammonia and nitrite is at 0ppm? Also, at the end I have read that you do a water change, but I can't find information saying how much of a water change to do.

Also, is water conditioner something you use when starting cycling?
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:33 PM   #6 
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Chlorine/chloramine will kill the good bacteria you are trying to colonize...yes, you must use dechlorinator during the cycling process.....
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:26 PM   #7 
Draug Isilme
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That's why it's always a good idea to have a few jugs and/or buckets on hand ^.^ You can add the conditioner to the water, if need be let it sit for a while to get to room temperature, and then you can poor it in without having to worry the bacteria will die from it...
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:01 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhchun View Post

Does the cycle finish when nitrate levels are high while ammonia and nitrite is at 0ppm? Also, at the end I have read that you do a water change, but I can't find information saying how much of a water change to do.

Also, is water conditioner something you use when starting cycling?
the cycle is complete when ammonia and nitrATE are both 0ppm .. nitrITE (i've capitalized the ends to emphasis there is a difference) can be a little above 0 but not too much .. if it is very high reading of nitrITE .. then you need to do a wc .. since even though nitrITE is the good bacteria and taking care of ur nitrATE's which then take care of ur ammonia .. it can still be toxic to ur fish at very high levels ..

so it's not imperative to do a wc after the cycle completes .. if you have a safe level of nitrITE's ... then you will be able to add in ur betta at this time ^_^

usually for water changes after an established cycle is 20-25% a week .. and 50% a month (as needed)

but i will recommend to test your water before doing so .. and then testing again after the w/c .. till u get a feel for how your tank is reacting and stabilizing to w/c's .. then you can determine when to do w/c's after testing and knowing about how long it will take for levels to increase in ur tank to need a w/c .. too many un-needed w/c in a short amount of time could cause you to take out too much good bacteria's and not allow them to re-establish in ur tank fast enough .. which is why you might notice when u get a bacteria bloom (the fuzzy looking white stuff) .. and your tank will fall back into the the 1st or 2nd stage of cycling (a re-cycle) ..

always always always always always add water conditioner to any water you will use with fish .. i even add water conditioner to the bucket of water i use to wash/rinse my fish decorations ..

as to using water conditioner to start a cycle (if i interpreting ur question correctly) .. water conditioner will not start a cycle .. you will need a source of ammonia to jump start the cycling process ..

i have heard that using the chemicals you buy in the store is not a good way to start a fishless cycle .. and from my experience i haven't been able to get a fishless cycle to start >.< .. i always used in fish cycling

some methods i have used since the cycling process is very rough for a betta
1. get a feeder fish (cost 10-13 cents) and let it swim around in ur tank for a while till it produces enough ammonia for the cycle to begin ..

my 2 feeder fish that i got to start my cycle made it through the cycle process and are now have grown and is living healthy and happily .. so only use this method if you have a home for the little guy .. or are able to return fish friends back to the store or have LFS's willing to take in fishies .. or since it is a feeder fish you can find someone that has a pet that would like some food .. but that's sad @_@


2. drop food in the tank and let it soak and sink and dissolve and then repeat this a few days so that ammonia can come from the uneaten food .. this is a slower method to starting .. but it does work

3. or you can use ur betta to start producing ammonia in the tank .. it will be very stressful for him .. when the cycle starts .. he will swim around like he's drunk and hide and have clamp fins (which is why using feeder fish is my most recommended method) .. even though bettas are heartly(hardly?) fish this will still be hard on him .. and will need extra tlc during the whole process


=D good luck !! and keep us posted on ur progress

Last edited by HatsuneMiku; 09-11-2011 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:22 PM   #9 
Oldfishlady
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The aquarium water prams should be-

Ammonia 0ppm
NitrIte-0ppm
NitrAte-5-10ppm

You want to keep the nitrAte under 20-30ppm...higher nitrAte can cause immune response issues, sudden change with high nitrate to low nitrate can shock the fish-often killing it, high nitrate is a sign of a neglected tank due to lack of proper water changes and/or filter media issues....with high nitrate and neglected tank the water will become more acidic as well-causing other issues in regards to health and immune response....

You also have DOC'S (dissolved organic compounds) that we don't test for that are also harmful to the fish and water change is the only way to take care of it....

You can safely establish the nitrogen cycle in a filtered tank with the Betta-provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 09-11-2011 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:24 PM   #10 
Draug Isilme
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I was wondering about that, I thought it was nitrate that was supposed to have low ppm readings, and then I got mixed up, again x.x
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