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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi There! I have read the sticky on this forum about cycling an aquarium, but still have some questions.

I purchased a Betta a Wednesday, and then a 5 gallon Mini Bow desktop aquarium on Friday. Right now I am try to cycle my aquarium. I am doing the fishless cycle using fish flakes that came with the aquarium kit. I've read many different articles about the cycle and how long it could take, but it really seems to vary. Right now I have Petey (my Betta) in a .75 gallon bowl until the aquarium cycle is completed. With this fish less cycle, how often and how much % water changes do I need to be doing, if any?

I have kept Bettas before with much success, but this is my first actual aquarium and I want to get it right :)

The aquarium has gravel and marbles for substrate, a filter, a heater&thermometer, an overhead light that does not heat the tank, 1 plastic plant, and one decoration for hiding. I plan on getting more plants/decor in the future. I also plan on adding a zebra snail in the future as well, but that is further down the line after Petey has some time to adjust to his new home.

I posed this question on another website and had the following responses that I'm not sure I agree with and would like to get your thoughts on them:
1. "At this moment, you might want to just put your betta into your 5 gallon and cycle with it. By having your betta stay in the 0.75 gallon, it is much harder on your betta than cycle your 5 gallon with betta. "
2. "GIVE UP -Seriously give up - the tank is that small that the betta will not be effected. Betta are hardy fish and have tolerance to a cycle - not the best but like I say it will be for such a small time that it will not even flintch - "

Petey already didn't like being moved from his original pet store cup to the .75 gallon, but I did acclimate him to the temperature and water. So what do you all think I should do?

Any detailed suggestions would be appreciated :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, I am considering doing live plants in the future. What beginner plants do you recommend for my set-up?
 

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First off, welcome to the forums! Now let's get to it.

First off, flake/fish-food being used as an ammonia source. It's a bit messy, and there's a risk for fungus to happen in your tank, fish food and raw shrimp being used as a method of cycling has a risk for fungus. Here's a snip bit:

"The only risk of the fish food method is the possibility of Saprolegnia (mold) growing on rotting fish food which can become pathogenic to new fish that will be introduced later.
This is easily avoided with a fish flake food by powdering it between fingers before introduction to the aquarium (shaking fish flake food in a cup of water can also accomplish this). This risk is relatively small and basically non-existent when you use an easily “liquefied” fish flake food."

I also agree with the first user from the other site, while fish-in cycling is a bit risky and might hurt your Betta, upgrading him to a 5 gallon from a .75g would do him very well. With a fish-in cycle, you'll have to test the water parameters more religiously, and do more frequent water changes. Bettas are hardier fish, they can withstand better than most fish.

As for live plants, low-light plants are the easiest way to start, plants like, Crypts, Java Fern, any type of moss, or Marimo moss balls will be easy for you to maintain.
 

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While I agree with Micho on most things and defer to her experience, I differ in my opinion of fishless vs. fish-in cycling. I would not subject a fish, even one as hardy as a Betta, to the high ammonia required of a fish-in cycle. Even 0.25ppm is too high when a fish-in cycle can take months.

If you can get some substrate or filter material from a cycled tank. You can get cycled in less than two weeks. Ask at your pet store or ask a friend. You only need 1/2 cup. Put it under your filter intake. This is the key to a rapid cycle. You might find nitrifying bacteria in a bottle; make sure it's the refrigerated kind.

Get the ammonia up to 4ppm. You don't need to do any water changes until the end, to get rid of high nitrates. A few plants will keep them down. I assume you're using a API liquid water test kit or equivalent.

Having said all that (phew), keepers successfully cycle tanks fish-in all the time. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the replies, any other suggestions? I really don't want to do a fish-in cycle.
 

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If you don't want to do a fish-in cycle there's really nothing else. Try to get some gravel, some sort of decor, or filter media from an established tank so you can seed your tank and make the cycle go faster.

Other than that you'll just have to wait till your tank is cycled which may take weeks, so good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Will Petco or a local fish store allow me to have or purchase something to seed with?
 

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There is also no harm in adding the live plants now, these will help the uptake of Ammonia and Nitrite immensely and if you planned on them anyway, add them now.
 

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Will Petco or a local fish store allow me to have or purchase something to seed with?
Petco perhaps not, asking a local fish store would be better.

It really only takes a tiny amount, they may even give it for free..offer a buck and chances are they will take it. :)
 

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There is also no harm in adding the live plants now, these will help the uptake of Ammonia and Nitrite immensely and if you planned on them anyway, add them now.
I would plant them now, but funds are tight and I have some other things taking priority. I didnt originally plan on live plants but did some research and changed my mind :)
 

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I would only recommend AGAINST taking gravel from a LPS/LFS (petstore/fishstore) because they MAY contain parasites.

@OP: Your betta may just be skittish from initially moving him from his cup. He should calm down a bit and you should be able to do 100% water changes in his current bowl while his 5 gallon is cycling. You could also perhaps throw the bowl water into the 5 gallon as an ammonia source.

If you're doing a fishless-cycle, I personally jack the ammonia up to something like 4ppm, and just don't do water changes but I test it everyday. Since it's an empty tank, you're not harming anybody. It would be like a nice buffet for the beneficial bacteria and they will populate fairly rapidly.

The only time I do a water-change while fishless cycling is when it's done to get rid of the nitrates. It took my 5 gallon about 3.5 weeks to cycle. (27 days)
 

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I would only recommend AGAINST taking gravel from a LPS/LFS (petstore/fishstore) because they MAY contain parasites.
Do you think, after two or three weeks in a 4ppm ammonia solution, that parasites would survive?

I was astounded that those little pond snails that were in the plants in my cycling tank actually flourished. Bred like snails, they did. Got most of them when I did my nitrate water change.

At 85* with two filters going full blast (one a bubbler) and lots of filter foam around (tip from Thunderloon), my first 5g took 12 days. My current 5g, started last Monday is already peaking nitrites. Potent BB from my pond dealer friend.

Bahamut, do you know anything about 'bacteria in a bottle?' They used something on "Tanked" they called nitrifying bacteria. It came in a gallon bottle; looked like room temperature liquid. They made it sound as though the tank would be instantly cycled.
 

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Do you think, after two or three weeks in a 4ppm ammonia solution, that parasites would survive?
I cannot say. I personally wouldn't risk it when you could easily cycle it yourself (patiently and safely)without the needless help from the petstore. I would prefer to borrow from a friend's established aquarium

Bahamut, do you know anything about 'bacteria in a bottle?' They used something on "Tanked" they called nitrifying bacteria. It came in a gallon bottle; looked like room temperature liquid. They made it sound as though the tank would be instantly cycled.
Yes I've seen those bottles, they also come with new tanks with API products in them. API StressZyme allegedly contains nitrifying bacteria, but I have also heard that it is a huge hoax.

Some people say it contains dormant spores of nitrifying bacteria, others say that it is the WRONG kind of bacteria, others say that it is the non-aquatic version of the bacteria (or something to that effect).

I personally think it may HELP, but I would by no means trust it to be completely cycled without testing it vigorously everyday over the course of a few weeks. I haven't done an experiment with it because I don't have any stress zyme :p
 
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