So I have read EVERY thread on cycling I could find, and I am still confused. Yesterday was the first day I even heard anything about it, so now I'm panicking. I got my Betta three days ago, he's in a ten gallon tank with a heater and filter, and the only live plant is a Marimo Ball. Should I do a water change? If so, how much? I'm just really confused about what to do and worried that I'm messing everything up!
Kay, calm down. Cycling is relatively easy to grasp when you get the idea of it.
So, the whole concept of cycling is this, beneficial bacteria is what you want to achieve. These bacteria will help with ammonia and nitrIte levels, and makes it easier on you so you don't have to do so many water changes.
First off you'll need liquid testing kit, tests for ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte. Second you'll need an ammonia source since you're doing a fish-in cycle, your Betta will be an ammonia source.
Since you can't test your water I can't help you any further.
Ok, I get the general idea now. So, I go get a testing kit and test my water. I saw on other threads the appropriate levels of all the stuff, but I didn't see how much water should be changed specifically for a ten gallon. And also, how long will cycling typically take?
Any time your ammonia or nitrIte is 0.25ppm or over do a 50% water change and only water. Cycling takes a few weeks for some people it takes longer while others get it done right away. You'll know when it's done when you have no more ammonia or nitrIte spikes and your nitrAte is around 5ppm ~ 10ppm.
Im in the process of doing a fish in cycle myself and I test every other day. Ammonia will be the 1st to spike so you want to keep an eye on the ammonia levels and do water changes when the ammonia gets to .25 or above. The bacteria live in the substrate, walls and decorations and not really in the water, so changing the water will not destroy them. The next to come are the NitrItes. At some point the nitrItes will spike so you want to be testing for them and doing water changes when it starts to rise. Eventually the nirtItes will drop off and then comes nirtAte. The nirtAtes are the last step. After they drop off, you are done.
Basically just keep testing for ammonia, nirtite and nitrate. when the reading get unsafe, change the water. I have been doing 50% and then i retest to make sure the water is safe.
Thank you SO much! That helps me a lot, and I am no longer going to have a panic attack. :) I know this is probably going to be the dumbest question ever, but do I remove and re-acclimate my fish each time I do a water change, or leave him in the tank?
Oh ok. I heard from a few people to cup him each time, but this makes more sense. I don't have a siphon, I was actually planning on using a type of measuring cup to be as exact as possible about the amount of water I'm changing. Although if a siphon is better/safer/less stressful I can always get one. Is that what you would suggest?