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Discussion Starter #1
So I am debating whether or not, I want to do a fishless cycle on my new tank and also looking for tips on fish-in cycling. I tried asking on r/Bettafish, but they said it was animal abuse.
Is fish-in cycling really bad?
Also what should my ideal nitrate level be? Someone said as long as it was below 25ppm I would be fine, but according to Reddit that is also incorrect.
 

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First I don't know who the experts are on r/bettafish but they are so full of crap. There is nothing wrong with a fish in cycle start up. Most of us on here have always recommended doing both. There are stickies posted on this site about cycling both fish in and fishless cycling. I've been keeping betta for over 45 years and have done e fish less cycles. all the rest have been fish in cycle. There is absolutely no abuse involved in this process. There are water changes and water test that need to be done . read the stickies and follow the directions and everything will be fine.

As far as Nitrate levels are concerned If the tank is a heavily planted tank your parameters for Nitrate should be between 5 and 20 PPM. If the tank is not planted then the Nitrate should always be 0 PPM. Nitrate helps in the feeding of the plants. It doesn't completely do for plant food but does help supplement some of the fertilizer and supplements being used.
For the most part Reddit is correct even though I think their parameters are on the very top of the parameters scale.
 

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Sadly, there are too many people out there giving opinions based on what they think instead of what they know. These "fish-in cycling is cruel, animal abuse," etc., are in that category.

Once Ammonia and Nitrite neutralizers like SeaChem Prime were developed, the above arguments should have been put to rest. Following the instructions in the forum's tutorial I linked will keep your fish perfectly safe. Among the directions is, to paraphrase, "use two drops per gallon of SeaChem Prime every day." This neutralizes any Ammonia or Nitrite; you may get an Ammonia reading but it is not the harmful, toxic Ammonia (NH3] but harmless Ammonium (NH4). Perhaps the naysayers aren't aware of this fact so believe fish are still being exposed to NH3?

https://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fish-care/507585-cycling-two-sentence-tutorial.html

Anyhow, I've never killed nor harmed a Betta or any other fish doing a fish-in cycle. Using both Prime and SeaChem Stability my tanks have all cycled in 10-20 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for responding. I understand how to cycle better now, but there are still some things that are unclear.
Am I supposed to test the water every day, for example?
And how much of a water change should I do when the ammonia or nitrites levels get too high?
 

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As suggested in the tutorial, 25% if either Ammonia or Nitrites reaches .25ppm or 50% of they reach .50ppm. Once a week if neither number is reached. Also, test daily until you have established how quickly Ammonia or Nitrites rise.
 

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I know for me when I set up a new tank and start the cycle I check the water parameters every day for about a week, and change the water every other day at 25%. By that time I can tell how much ammonia is being put into the tank and can adjust my changes and testing. It never hurts to do either one if you have doubts. If you change the water after testing because the levels are high then you must wait at least 24 hours until you test again. If the water is changed more often and at a greater quantity you can run the risk of stalling the cycle.

Also remember that when testing, weather it is with strips or liquid test . When the test reads ammonia it reads both NH3 and NH4 ammonia's. (total ammonia) Really the best thing to do to help your testing, and give you more accurate readings is to put a SeaChem ammonia alert in the tank. This alert works for a yea,r and only reads NH3 (toxic ammonia) not total ammonia.
 

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I set my tank up last Friday. And put my betta in the next day. He's fine and very happy. I'm testing the water daily. Until its cycled. My ammonia went up a bit. So I put ammo lock in it and I'm still testing daily. Making sure everything is OK. Not putting anymore fish in till its cycled though. But test water daily
 

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I set my tank up last Friday. And put my betta in the next day. He's fine and very happy. I'm testing the water daily. Until its cycled. My ammonia went up a bit. So I put ammo lock in it and I'm still testing daily. Making sure everything is OK. Not putting anymore fish in till its cycled though. But test water daily
I am sure you know this, but for others: Even with products like AmmoLock and Prime you still need to do at least once weekly water change to restore depleted minerals that that fish need for optimum health.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I know for me when I set up a new tank and start the cycle I check the water parameters every day for about a week, and change the water every other day at 25%. By that time I can tell how much ammonia is being put into the tank and can adjust my changes and testing. It never hurts to do either one if you have doubts. If you change the water after testing because the levels are high then you must wait at least 24 hours until you test again. If the water is changed more often and at a greater quantity you can run the risk of stalling the cycle.

Also remember that when testing, weather it is with strips or liquid test . When the test reads ammonia it reads both NH3 and NH4 ammonia's. (total ammonia) Really the best thing to do to help your testing, and give you more accurate readings is to put a SeaChem ammonia alert in the tank. This alert works for a yea,r and only reads NH3 (toxic ammonia) not total ammonia.
I'm not sure if I'd be able to figure out how much ammonia is being put into the tank even if I did do water changes every other day. I'm pretty terrible at math.

Also I've heard nothing but bad things about the testing strips. Definitely doing the liquid test kit.
 

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People fish-in (and fish-less) cycle in a variety of ways. In fact, the previous fish-in tutorials had made an easy task complicated. Betta Fish Reference Team member Hallyx asked if he could simplify. So the current tutorial was developed by Hallyx and the entire Betta Fish team to simplify the process. Just follow it and you will be fine:

Change 25% of the water if Ammonia or Nitrites reach 0.25 ppm and use two drops of Prime per gallon seven days a week. That's all it takes to cycle an aquarium. Easy peasy.

You can test every day or every other day during the entire cycling process. The tests will show you how much Ammonia and Nitrites are in the tank; you don't need to figure it out. ;-)

As far as strips vs. liquid: I have used both on the same water to see if the strips are less accurate. Got the same reading each time with the strips as I did with the liquid. Both give you a "range" value. However, the liquid tests are more cost efficient than strips so I would buy those; an API Master Test Kit works well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
People fish-in (and fish-less) cycle in a variety of ways. In fact, the previous fish-in tutorials had made an easy task complicated. Betta Fish Reference Team member Hallyx asked if he could simplify. So the current tutorial was developed by Hallyx and the entire Betta Fish team to simplify the process. Just follow it and you will be fine:

Change 25% of the water if Ammonia or Nitrites reach 0.25 ppm and use two drops of Prime per gallon seven days a week. That's all it takes to cycle an aquarium. Easy peasy.

You can test every day or every other day during the entire cycling process. The tests will show you how much Ammonia and Nitrites are in the tank; you don't need to figure it out. <img style="max-width:100%;" src="http://www.bettafish.com/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" class="inlineimg" />

As far as strips vs. liquid: I have used both on the same water to see if the strips are less accurate. Got the same reading each time with the strips as I did with the liquid. Both give you a "range" value. However, the liquid tests are more cost efficient than strips so I would buy those; an API Master Test Kit works well.
Yes, your cycling tutorial is definitely a lot easier to comprehend than the one on Reddit.

I will definitely be getting the API Master Test Kit as well.
 

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This is one reason I and so many others on here recommend the SeaChem ammonia alert. With the alert and it reading only the NH3 (Toxic or free ammonia) along with testing (Liquid test kit by API) I have a better idea and understanding of just how much NH3 is being produced by one single betta. When I look at the alert and it shows me I have between 0 and .25 Toxic ammonia my worries are reduced 10 fold. When I tested with the Strips and Liquid test for ammonia the readings were off scale because the ammonia readings were for total ammonia and not just toxic NH3 For a new person just starting a tank and seeing the readings that are off scale and doing large water changes to reduce this reading and trying to save their fish from being ammonia burned, they don't look at the whole picture of the readings and it scares the crap out of them. So with the alert and other testing you know how much of those readings are NH3 and NH4. This reduces the stress on the fish and the owner.

As we all know water changes are necessary to replenish nutrients in the water that are filtered away with time. Also reducing the ammonia, Nitrite, and nitrate, and bring the PH balance back in to play.
So your testing daily when the tank is cycling is also a must. Until that cycle is complete and your getting readings of 0 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrite and 0 to 20 ppm (depending on if the tank is heavily planted) in nitrate doing water changes between 25 and 50% weekly (and again until the cycle ends, of water changes of 25% every couple of days.) It is so very important to know where your readings and parameters stand.

I know after the cycle is complete for me I don't do as much testing (maybe once every 2 weeks ) and this is only because I know the tank is protected with an ammonia alert. Believe me when that alert changes even the slightest, Water changes of 50% are done, and testing before changes is made necessary. If there is one thing that keeps our fish happy and healthy it is pristine water. This is the first line of defense against the mortality rate of our fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is one reason I and so many others on here recommend the SeaChem ammonia alert. With the alert and it reading only the NH3 (Toxic or free ammonia) along with testing (Liquid test kit by API) I have a better idea and understanding of just how much NH3 is being produced by one single betta. When I look at the alert and it shows me I have between 0 and .25 Toxic ammonia my worries are reduced 10 fold. When I tested with the Strips and Liquid test for ammonia the readings were off scale because the ammonia readings were for total ammonia and not just toxic NH3 For a new person just starting a tank and seeing the readings that are off scale and doing large water changes to reduce this reading and trying to save their fish from being ammonia burned, they don't look at the whole picture of the readings and it scares the crap out of them. So with the alert and other testing you know how much of those readings are NH3 and NH4. This reduces the stress on the fish and the owner.

As we all know water changes are necessary to replenish nutrients in the water that are filtered away with time. Also reducing the ammonia, Nitrite, and nitrate, and bring the PH balance back in to play.
So your testing daily when the tank is cycling is also a must. Until that cycle is complete and your getting readings of 0 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrite and 0 to 20 ppm (depending on if the tank is heavily planted) in nitrate doing water changes between 25 and 50% weekly (and again until the cycle ends, of water changes of 25% every couple of days.) It is so very important to know where your readings and parameters stand.

I know after the cycle is complete for me I don't do as much testing (maybe once every 2 weeks ) and this is only because I know the tank is protected with an ammonia alert. Believe me when that alert changes even the slightest, Water changes of 50% are done, and testing before changes is made necessary. If there is one thing that keeps our fish happy and healthy it is pristine water. This is the first line of defense against the mortality rate of our fish.
You have convinced me. I added the ammonia alert to my shopping cart on Chewy.

Also I will totally be sure to keep you guys updated on everything. It is only 5 days til I get paid, so hopefully I get to bring my betta buddy home soon! 😄
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ah, don't worry. I'm gonna take a TON of pictures of my cat and the betta. I can't wait to see their reaction once I get them out of that cup.
 

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Not at all >.<

She is, however, confined to a 600 sq foot apartment. We recently downsized. Part of the reason I'm getting the fish is to give the cat something to do. I know they like to watch them swim.
 

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