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Old 10-16-2011, 10:47 AM   #31 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Cycling a tank is a straight-forward chemical and biological process that's up and running in 3-4 weeks. It's not difficult to do.

Fishless cycle (i.e. no fish in the water-filled set-up aquarium):
-Buy the API Master Test Kit (measures NH3, NO2, NO3, pH).
-Buy pure ammonia (super-cheap at any hardware store)
-Add several drops of pure NH3 (ammonia) to the tank until the NH3 reading in your API Master Test Kit is ~5ppm.
-Add that same amount of drops daily until you get a nitrite (NO2) spike on your test kit.
-Continue until NH3 drops daily and until NO2 is 0ppm causing nitrate (NO3) to peak on your test kit.
-When this happens, performs a ~50% water change.
-Done. Takes ~3-4 weeks.

Having a cycled tank is so much easier to take care of, it's less-stressful on your fish, and it's more eco-friendly since you're not wasting tons of water on water changes.

I think the problem is that people buy their fish FIRST and then want to try cycling down the road, at which point they try to cycle fish-in instead of fishless, which is tough on the fish and a more-difficult process in my opinion.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:56 AM   #32 
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Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
From this might I infer that the lights I use to encourage my plants: 3W/gal at 6500K (which is high in short-frequency blue) can actually discourage my cycle?

Is this the reason (I remember reading) that cycled tanks and naturally planted tanks are contraindicated?
A heavily-planted tank actually makes the cycling process really easy. See, when you buy aquarium plants they are usually from established stock tanks and therefore already coated in the cycling bacteria. Many heavily-planted tank people just load their new tank with fast-growing plants, wait ~1-4 weeks or so to make sure the plants survive, and then go. Note that the tank has to be planted heavily from day 1 and with fast-growers.

Fish-only tanks are a different story.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:57 PM   #33 
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Fluorescent, halide and LED lights won't hurt your cycle otherwise no one who uses them would have a cycled tank.

I silently cycled my sorority tank by heavily planting with fast-growing stems. There are 5 females living in about 5-6 gallons on water and I have never once had an ammonia reading. I did do partial daily water changes for the first week until my plants had established and started to grow. Then I just petered off to once a week.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:59 AM   #34 
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Originally Posted by Fermin View Post
Fish-only tanks are a different story.

Hope this helps!
Thank you, Fermin and LBF, that helps some.

I've done what I consider enough research reluctantly to decide against a natural planted tank. They're way too expensive in terms of dollars, knowledge, energy and attention. As much as I like the appearance and other advantages, it seems much simpler to go with cycled. But, because of the constant and annoying filter noise, I remain unfiltered at this time.

While thinking I might go NPT, I bought the lights and the timers. Now they just keep my anacharis and anubias happy. I'm not sure what fish-only means, but I'd be willing to toss my anacharis. Gotta keep that lovely anubias, though.

I've discovered the convenience and cleanliness of a bare-bottomed tank, though I don't care for the look. And I'd like to reduce the light exposure for my fish.

Besides the noise (I'm a serious music listener) I'm also concerned about power outages. We typically endure a few three to six hour blackouts every winter; sometimes more and longer.

Perhaps you can see my dilemma, and why it's so hard for me to make a choice.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:26 AM   #35 
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I think fish only means a tank with only fake plants. I gave my fish hiding places with a ceramic Urn and a few silk plants. So, I think that makes my tank fish only because the only thing alive in my tank is the bacteria in my filter, the algae that keeps coming back with a vengence, and my fishies. So, cycling my tank took longer than 4 weeks because I didn't have pure ammonia or plants from a stock cycled tank. I also never had a cycled tank before so I couldn't borrow bacteria from somewhere else. Cycling is a bit different when you start from scratch without any plants or seeding bacteria, but doable with a bit more patience.

If I am mistaken, Fermin can correct me later. XD
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