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Old 01-31-2012, 06:25 PM   #1 
agent89201
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Cycling Question - Whats the difference?

Hello all! I just got a 5 gallon for my betta. He is in his 2 gallon KK right now. I do 30-40% water changes every other day, and one 100% change once a week. I've been linked to the cycling thread and I've read it. At the moment, I am using fish food to do the cycling because that's all I have.

My question IS:
What is the difference between gaining the good bacteria before you put the fish in and gaining good bacteria while the fish is in there? I know ammonia and nitrite spike at one point, but what if I just did water changes similar to the ones I currently do? Would that slow down the process of cycling the tank?
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:19 PM   #2 
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You can safely cycle a filtered tank with a healthy Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes and while I strongly recommend them-you can do this without a water test kit on hand...

The beneficial bacteria are sticky and adhere to everything inside 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 will not hurt/stall the cycling process, however, over cleaning can.....

To cycling a 5gal filtered tank-without live plants-with a single Betta-without a water test kit on hand....
Water changes twice weekly-1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate vacuuming in all places you can reach without moving anything, cleaning only the viewing wall for 4-8 weeks...

If you have a water test kit on hand-base the 50% water only on test results of ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater until you have reading of nitrate 5-10ppm without any ammonia, nitrite spikes for at least 7-10 days...

You will always do the 50% with vacuum weekly for the life of the system

Filter media needs a swish/rinse in the bucket of old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month to maintain good water flow-
Best not to start this until week 6 unless the water flow is compromised.

While you can establish the nitrogen cycle using fish food or raw shrimp-I don't recommend it-due to the bad bacteria it can create and the difficulty in maintaining the proper ammonia level for the fishless cycle.

Look forward to pic.....
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:16 PM   #3 
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Awesome! The two tanks are taking up much needed dorm space! I'll post a picture when he's all moved in.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:01 AM   #4 
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Update: I cleaned out the entire tank: washed gravel, plants, the tank itself, etc. I filled it back up with conditioner and put the filter back in (I also baffled it). I let it sit for about 1 1/2 hrs. I tested the ammonia before putting Beau in and it was about 1.0ppm! Why? Did I not let it sit long enough? Did I not clean the gravel well enough (there were a lot of food flakes from when I was trying to cycle the tank with food)? Should I take clean everything again or just wait it out? I'm putting him back in his 2 gallon for now. RA!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:28 AM   #5 
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What kind of dechlorinator are you using.....some can cause a false positive on the ammonia.....

Have you tested your source water to make sure that isn't the source....test it both without and with the dechlorinator and compare numbers....

What kind of test product are you using.....
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:14 AM   #6 
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I'm using Betta Bowl Plus. I just tested the 5 gallon twice and the tap water the I use without the BBP, and this is crazy! All three results are giving me 1.0ppm! I've used this water all of last semester and I've tested it before. Is it something I am doing? Is something wrong with the test kit?
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:33 AM   #7 
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If you are using a liquid reagent test product-make sure you are following the direction to the "T" and double check the expiration date and shake the reagent bottles really good.....then re-test your source water....you may have ammonia in the source water and this isn't uncommon-sometimes chloramine will test positive for ammonia since that is what it kinda is.....you can also go to your city water supply web-site and get more information.....

I don't know much about the dechlorinator that you are using-so check out the web-site and see if it covers ammonia-if not-you may need to get Prime or one like it that will cover ammonia, however, when the product covers ammonia it will still test positive but what you are seeing is ammonium not ammonia since the test product can't tell the difference and once the biological filter is established-you should test 0ppm on the ammonia....

Do you have a full test kit to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH...if so do a full test on-source water without and with dechlorinator and compare numbers and post them.....
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #8 
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The bottles don't have any kind of expiration date or anything.

The 5 gallon tank w/ conditioner:
ammonia: 1.0ppm
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 8.2

From tap without conditioner:
ammonia: between .5 and 1.0ppm
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 8.4

Something is seriously wrong... Should I go to my pet store and ask them to test it to see if the tests come out any differently?
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:33 PM   #9 
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What kind of testing products are you using and did you check your city water web-site and your dechlorinator to see if it neutralizes ammonia......
About all you can do is use a product that neutralizes the ammonia....like Prime....however, since the ammonia is in the source water-you have been using it with your Betta already...how is the Betta tolerating it.....
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:00 PM   #10 
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I found the website but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be looking for. The only thing I found was a chart of elements in the water. They only have nitrate/ite grouped together (no ammonia, pH). It has a chart but I'm not really sure how to read it and it's sideways. http://www.batonrougewater.com/indexfrhome.htm

My betta bowl Plus bottle says that it "neutralizes harmful chlorine, chloramines, ammonia and heavy metals."

I got the API Freshwater Master Test kit from Petsmart.

Beau seems perfectly fine it in as far as I can tell. He's been making bubble nests around his plants. When my friend had him for the first month, she never used conditioner and used the same water as I do.
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