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Old 11-05-2011, 04:59 PM   #1 
revolutionrocknroll
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Do I need to cycle? (A lot of questions)

I have two fish tanks, one is a 2.5 gallon tank and one is a 5 gallon tank. They both have one betta each. Only the 2.5 gal has a filter, which I honestly don't use very often since it has a fairly strong current. I change the water for my 2.5 gallon either 50% twice a week or 100% once a week depending on how clean it is. I just got the 5 gallon today, so I haven't done anything besides fill it up for the first time.

I have read the cycling sticky several times and I still don't really understand it. I don't want to know about the nitrogen cycle, I understand that as best as I'm going to. The scientific background info in a lot of cycling how-to's detracts from the actual "how-to" and I have trouble understanding that.
I just want to know if I have to cycle, if the tank does it on its own, and if it's bad for the fish if I don't cycle. And, if I decide to cycle, what do I need? Filter, live plants, etc. And I think the 2.5 won't cycle because it's too small? What about the 5 gal?

Besides these questions, is there anything else I need to know?

Thank you so much. I know I have a lot of questions and any info you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:37 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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By understanding the nitrogen cycle will help you understand how to establish it....but it can be overwhelming......I understand.....

The nitrifying bacteria that establishes the biological filter responsible for the nitrogen cycle are dependent on three main things-oxygen-food-surface area....this process will happen on its own in a filtered tank with something organic (the Betta)..this is the food source-everything in the tank, top layer of the substrate and the filter media are the surface area and the filter is what drive the oxygen source by disruption of the water surface....I know...I probably confused you even more......

The 2.5gal will establish a nitrogen cycle, however, due to limited surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize it may not be stable and by turning the filter off-you may be suffocating the BB and every time you turn it back on are flooding the tank with ammonia.....So-either leave it on all the time or remove it.....
In 2.5gal tanks you really don't need a filter IMO-it only changes one of the two needed water changes anyway....
That being-twice weekly-1-50% and 1-100% should maintain the water quality for a single Betta in a 2.5gal unfiltered tank....Filtered is twice weekly 50%.....

The 5gal-if this is filtered-you can establish a stable nitrogen cycle with a single Betta in about 4-8 weeks...this can be done safely with the Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes....the nitrogen cycle will happen on its own when its needs are met-oxygen, surface area and food source......

To cycle the 5gal-add a filter and leave it on all the time-properly acclimate the Betta to the new tank and add him/her-
On day 3 make a 50% water only water change-
On day 7 make a 50% water change with vacuum....
Repeat for 4-8 weeks....unless you have a test kit...this will make the process much easier and take the guess work out....

Do you have a water test kit that test for-ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH...if so what kind is it

Several things can change this process-pH, KH/GH, temp, live plants to name a few...

Although I highly recommend test kits-you don't have to have one to successfully keep Bettas...but they sure help take the guess work out of the game...but you can also use the pet shop for Free test if they offer them-since test kits can be expensive

Are you a new keeper or do you understand how to properly make water changes...we can help if you don't......we were all new at one point and had to ask......so ask all the questions you need......
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:36 PM   #3 
revolutionrocknroll
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Okay, that's a little easier to understand. Thanks.
I've had fish for a while, but I've never had them in anything bigger than a 2.5 gallon tank, and I hadn't heard of cycling until I joined this forum (A couple months ago maybe).
So, should I just move the filter from the 2.5 gallon to the 5 gallon then, and it will cycle on its own?
Is it ok if I don't cycle it?
Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:32 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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As long as you make the needed water changes you don't have to keep Bettas in a cycled tanks-I would move the filter to the 5gal and go ahead and cycle it-if you want a cycled tank....just make your water changes and it should happen on its own...watch the Bettas for change in behavior and make added water changes to the regular water changes as a general rule.....The fish are the best water testers along with your observation.....

Sometimes with this species.....the filter needed to help establish the nitrogen cycle can do more harm than good-the long heavy fins can be sensitive to the water movement...this varies from Betta to Betta...not all have fin issues with the water movement....
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