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Hello!
I got my betta about a month and a half ago, and didn't know anything about tank cycling at the time. He's living in a marineland eclipse-3 tank. I've been testing the water parameters, and there hadn't been any nitrite or nitrate. Yesterday I tested the water, and there was both nitrite and nitrate! (I don't have exact numbers yet, but I can post them later.) I haven't been trying to cycle the tank, and my betta is doing fine in the water now. My question is, at this point, is it possible to complete a fish-in cycle of my 3-gallon tank? If so, what do I have to do differently than I've been doing before? And is a cycled 3-gallon tank difficult to maintain?
Thanks!
-Sam
 

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Normally you don't cycle anything under 5 gals, as it is very hard to keep it stable. Usually they cycle on their own in their time, you just have to keep an eye on it and do regular water changes.
I'd suggest just doing 1 40-50% water change per week, with full dose of water conditioner for the 3 gallons. That should be plenty enough to keep most of the harmfuls minimal.
 

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I am currently doing an experiment where I am trying to cycle a 2 gallon. Generally anything in the 2-4 gallon range doesn't provide enough surface space for the good bacteria to establish, so don't be too surprised when your tank experiences "mini-cycles" where it seems cycled and then loses it.

However, a heavily planted tank might be able to cycle. That is what I am trying to do. I am not attempting to use the bacteria cycle to maintain water quality, but instead I am having plants filter out and use fish waste in order to grow. Right now I am about a month in, and you need at least 3 months to really establish plant growth.
 

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Sorry to hijack, but what would happen if you cycled a filter in an existing, larger, established tank, then moved it to a tank smaller than 5 gallons? Would it hold the cycle?
 

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Sorry to hijack, but what would happen if you cycled a filter in an existing, larger, established tank, then moved it to a tank smaller than 5 gallons? Would it hold the cycle?
My guess ( and please feel free to disagree or test yourself!) is that the cycle wouldn't hold because the bacteria wouldn't have enough food. That and the fact that the filter would probably be too strong for most fish (especially bettas).
 

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I've actually found a way that this particular filter is perfect for bettas without even baffling it (ok, I suppose it is technically baffled...). It has a spray bar attachment. When that is only a centimetre or so above the water and aimed at the wall of the tank, it makes the most gentle current imaginable. I've tested it in my tanks with bettas and it seems really good. :)
http://theaquariumshop.com.au/shopexd.asp?id=1702&name=Elite+Jet-Flo+Internal+Aquarium+Filter+50
This is the one. :)
 

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Sorry to hijack, but what would happen if you cycled a filter in an existing, larger, established tank, then moved it to a tank smaller than 5 gallons? Would it hold the cycle?
you can do this .. what you would do is not use the whole filter .. you cut off a piece of the filter sponge thing (like 1/3 or 1/4th of it) and put it in the 5g .. so the bacteria grow to the food that's available .. instead of the bacteria starving and not having enough food

this will also jump start a 3g's cycle .. but as myates already said .. it's very unstable
 
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