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I've been doing some research on cycling but so far have only found conflicting info on what size a tank has to be to establish a cycle. For example, I have read that tanks smaller than 2 gallons cannot cycle even if they are filtered, but I also have read that 5 gallons and smaller can't cycle.

What's the smallest size filtered tank that can be cycled?

Also, can the cycle be established if there is no filter involved?
 

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All tanks can cycle with or without a filter. The determining factor here is if it is SAFE and STABLE for fish to live in.

The larger the tank, the safer and more stable; the smaller the tank the less safe and less stable. Adding a filter adds more stability because it gives premium housing for bacteria.

If you were to fishless cycle say a 1 gallon with a filter, it would work. However water changes would have to be very carefully monitored to keep it in both a safe zone for fish and a safe zone for the bacteria without starving them of the nutrients required.

I believe OFL uses plants to keep ammonia/nitrite/nitrate in check. A lot of her tanks are very heavily planted and create a natural closed ecosystem that only requires top ups from evaporation.
 

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That is correct.....any container of water can establish the nitrogen cycle as long as you meet the needs of the bacteria you are colonizing....they need surface area, oxygen and a food source...

The stability of the nitrogen cycle is what can vary based on those factors as well as it is self limiting......meaning that you can only establish a colony based on- food source, oxygen and surface area..
 
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