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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, new to the site here, and I have this question. I saw another thread where someone is cycling their tank with the fish in it, and lots of people were saying that's not a good idea, with the ammonia and all.

And while I agree wholly that ammonia is not good at all for fish, how does one cycle a tank without the fish? Don't you need a source of ammonia for the bacteria to grow?

I've cycled tanks before with Goldfish and I've cycled ponds with Koi. Regular and frequent water changes are the way I've dealt with the ammonia and some salt to deal with the nitrite until it is fully cycled.

Are Betta just a lot more sensitive to ammonia? And if you cycle without the fish, how do you feed the bacteria? Do you add bottled ammonia? I'm not new to fish keeping, but am new to Bettas, so what's the low down on getting a new Betta tank cycled without the fish inside?

(btw, don't have a Betta now but I am considering one.)
 

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There must be a source of ammonia, if not it is just aging the water. There are multiple ways. Buying ammonia without additives, shrimp from a grocery store, or even fish food. There is a sticky posted, check it out for more details.
 

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Exactly you add either food or boiled shrimp. These can be messy so most people go with PURE ammonia in a bottle. I just recently tried to cycle two tanks with a Betta in each. Both were given the same treatment. I saw ill effects in both of the fish. One fish wasn't as sensitive to the ammonia as the other and only had split fins. The other fish almost died before stupid me realized that it just wasn't going to work. So it depends on the Betta in my experience as the sensitivity level goes. I don't know if the one with fin splits would have made it through the cycle but I set up a smaller tank for him anyways. Both are recovering good though the blue one is still coming around. The one that had fin splits is going to get one more salt treatment tomorrow then go to regular daily water changes. The one that almost died is going to get a full week of salt before I stop him. Sorry I tend to ramble about my fish.... It's just so fun to talk/write about them lol.

Here is a full write-up that is thrown around a lot....
http://www.tropical-fish-success.com/fishless-tank-cycling.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks, kfryman and freemike.

I did look for a sticky, but somehow missed it. What section would that be in? D'oh! I just found it! How did I miss that, duh.

Thanks for the link, that will be quite useful.

I guess bettas are a lot more sensitive to ammonia than goldfish or koi. Not that they do well with ammonia, just that they can handle small amounts for a short while. With the goldfish in the tank you do have to do a lot of water testing and water changes to keep on top of it. Fishless cycling seems a lot easier actually. Thanks!
 
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