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I had a question on this (thanks so much for this BTW)

In a 1gal-4gal filtered tank-without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly 50%...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month
*The long term care and established cycle care will be the same on 1-4gal filtered tanks.
What do the two types of water change do? What difference do the water only change and the substrate vacuum have on the chemistry of the water?

I'm trying to get the whole cycling thing down, and just really read this post and noticed the difference. I tend to vacuum every time I do a water change - is that removing too much stuff to get the cycle started?

Thanks so much for any explanations!
 

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I'm trying to get the whole cycling thing down, and just really read this post and noticed the difference. I tend to vacuum every time I do a water change - is that removing too much stuff to get the cycle started?

Thanks so much for any explanations!
A lot of the beneficial bacteria are in the substrate and you only need to vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything one time a week...You can vacuuming half- twice a week will also be fine or a 1/3- 3 times a week...etc....
Sometimes its a bit of a balance with low stocking levels and/or small tanks....You don't want to remove too much BB at one time and cause a spike or leave too much mulm/debris that will suffocate or limit food delivery to the BB....Its all about balance....

The information I provide is just general guidelines or starting point for you-Aquariums are rarely the same and we will need to tweak things as we go to maintain that balance.....
 

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Very good explanation on cycling thank you! I will keep this link for other people. Or if I will ever decide to do it. I don’t cycle my 3 gall and 5 gall because it pain for me to clean filter and do gravel vacuuming. I just do 100% and 50% water changes a week for all my tanks with betta acclimation. Sometimes I do just 100% water changes only .
I have 4 betta . Look like they all healthy for almost 3 years now.
 

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I'm trying to cycle my 5 gallon, but I have no clue what I'm doing. I've read all the stickies, but it is still confusing. The filter I have in my 5 gallon ran in my cycled 10 gallon for about 3 days (not long enough, I know) and I have some gravel from the 10 gallon sitting by the filter intake. I also tore some of the cartridge off the one in the 10 gallon and put it in the filter in the 5 gallon. There is no ammonia source though. There are no fish in it. Do I put fish food in? How much? How often should I test the water? Do I change the water? How much?
 

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This helps me out soo much thank you I can put my betta in there in a week or so. Because I want to make sure his new 10 gallon tank is clean and healthy for him to go in!
 

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I'm sure this question has been asked before but what is the general opinion on air powered sponge filters with betta? Im thinking of going with only sponge filters like this. I'm new and trying to learn as much as possible.

 

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I'm trying to cycle my 5 gallon, but I have no clue what I'm doing. I've read all the stickies, but it is still confusing. The filter I have in my 5 gallon ran in my cycled 10 gallon for about 3 days (not long enough, I know) and I have some gravel from the 10 gallon sitting by the filter intake. I also tore some of the cartridge off the one in the 10 gallon and put it in the filter in the 5 gallon. There is no ammonia source though. There are no fish in it. Do I put fish food in? How much? How often should I test the water? Do I change the water? How much?
you need an ammonia source, or whatever BB you have obtained on your new filter will die of starvation. it's fine to do a fish in cycle. do make sure to test the water frequently. and make water changes as necessary
 

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you need an ammonia source, or whatever BB you have obtained on your new filter will die of starvation. it's fine to do a fish in cycle. do make sure to test the water frequently. and make water changes as necessary
It's always best to do a fishless cycle when possible - ANY detectable amount of ammonia is harmful. I realize that sometimes people get in a situation where they have no choice but to do a cycle using fish, but I see no reason to encourage this outdated practice, especially with a betta.
 

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I'm sorry if this question has already been asked, I will admit I did not read this entire thread. I am cycling a 5 gallon tank that was set up on Sunday. I just did a 30% water change today - water only. My question is, should I wait to vacuum the gravel until my tank is fully cycled or is it okay to go ahead and do that with every water change?

I'm also not sure if I should wait until I am getting ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings to do water changes? I used the strips to test today (that's all I have) and everything came back 0...but I did a water change anyway because I figured the fish would like it.

Edit:

Nevermind, I just read the original posting and all of my questions were answered. LOL. Sorry, and thanks OFL for the info :)
 

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It's always best to do a fishless cycle when possible - ANY detectable amount of ammonia is harmful. I realize that sometimes people get in a situation where they have no choice but to do a cycle using fish, but I see no reason to encourage this outdated practice, especially with a betta.
No matter what you have your Betta in....It will produce byproducts and water changes will be needed. The hobby grade test products only test at a PPM level and so you will always have some level of Ammonia in the system.
Fish in general have natural protection from the slime coat and can tolerate much higher levels of ammonia than given credit.
The amount of ammonia exposed during the cycling process shouldn't be anymore than what they are exposed to on a regular bases between water changes and/or the time line of the BB consuming it.

The only difference in cycling and not...is the bacteria you are colonizing. Its a natural process that occurs in a tank when the bacteria needs are met. These bacteria are self limiting to the-food source, oxygen and surface area. By understanding the bacteria involved in the cycling process-will help you understand how cycling with a Betta can be safe.

With that said, it is best to fish-less cycle for community tanks-due to the limiting factors of the BB.
 

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What if there is ammonia in the tap water?
 

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You can use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime, which will detoxify the ammonia. If your tank is cycled, your bacteria should be able to use the now detoxified ammonia.

I'm not sure what you would do if not, as I believe Seachem only binds ammonia for around a 24-48 hour or so period. After that I don't know what happens as to whether you would then have toxic ammonia floating around in your tank.
 

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That's why I was asking in this thread. Because I wanted to know what to do if you are cycling and have ammonia in your tap water.
 

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Depending on the ammonia level of the source water-Prime will neutralize the ammonia and then the BB will take care of the ammonium just like it will ammonia. Depending on the starting ammonia level, how mature the tank...etc.... you may need to add the ammonia neutralizer to the tank every 48h until the BB can take care of it.
 

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I have heard of bettas living years in ammonia. Would not surprise me if they can survive using fish for cycling. I have done it twice but never want to do it again.
 

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No matter what you have your Betta in....It will produce byproducts and water changes will be needed. The hobby grade test products only test at a PPM level and so you will always have some level of Ammonia in the system.
Fish in general have natural protection from the slime coat and can tolerate much higher levels of ammonia than given credit.
The amount of ammonia exposed during the cycling process shouldn't be anymore than what they are exposed to on a regular bases between water changes and/or the time line of the BB consuming it.

The only difference in cycling and not...is the bacteria you are colonizing. Its a natural process that occurs in a tank when the bacteria needs are met. These bacteria are self limiting to the-food source, oxygen and surface area. By understanding the bacteria involved in the cycling process-will help you understand how cycling with a Betta can be safe.

With that said, it is best to fish-less cycle for community tanks-due to the limiting factors of the BB
I understand exactly how the nitrogen cycle works - I've cycled quite a few tanks over my lifetime, both large and small. And I agree with you that there will always be trace amounts of ammonia in the tank. But I stand by what I said regarding exposing the fish, especially a betta, to the amount of ammonia that can be detected by a standard Nessler test AND exposing it to nitrite. Using Prime helps, but unless a more sophisticated test system is used (and they are available for around the same price as a Nessler test), there is no way for the average hobbyist doing a cycle for the first time to understand how much of that total ammonia reading is harmful and how much isn't, especially when you throw Ph into the mix. And as far as I know, all nitrite is harmful.

It's well established that exposure to toxic ammonia as well as nitrite can cause stress and both short term and long term health issues in fish. And with their long, flowing fins, bettas are especially susceptible to problems such as fin rot which is often a direct result of poor water quality and stress. For this reason I just don't see a reason to encourage fish-in cycles when fishless cycles are so easy to do (especially these days when there are products available that contain the correct species of bacteria to get the job done quickly) during which time the betta can be safely housed in another container getting frequent water changes to keep the ammonia at 0 and keep nitrite completely out of the equation.
 

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I understand exactly how the nitrogen cycle works - I've cycled quite a few tanks over my lifetime, both large and small. And I agree with you that there will always be trace amounts of ammonia in the tank. But I stand by what I said regarding exposing the fish, especially a betta, to the amount of ammonia that can be detected by a standard Nessler test AND exposing it to nitrite. Using Prime helps, but unless a more sophisticated test system is used (and they are available for around the same price as a Nessler test), there is no way for the average hobbyist doing a cycle for the first time to understand how much of that total ammonia reading is harmful and how much isn't, especially when you throw Ph into the mix. And as far as I know, all nitrite is harmful.

It's well established that exposure to toxic ammonia as well as nitrite can cause stress and both short term and long term health issues in fish. And with their long, flowing fins, bettas are especially susceptible to problems such as fin rot which is often a direct result of poor water quality and stress. For this reason I just don't see a reason to encourage fish-in cycles when fishless cycles are so easy to do (especially these days when there are products available that contain the correct species of bacteria to get the job done quickly) during which time the betta can be safely housed in another container getting frequent water changes to keep the ammonia at 0 and keep nitrite completely out of the equation.
But in very tiny amounts it is safe. Nitrate is toxic to fish in large amounts.
 
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