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Is there such a thing as cycling a tank with a betta already present in it?

I'm working on trying to find a way to get filter squeezings to rapidly speed up the tank cycle so that he can get out of his 1 gallon bowl which he *hates* now that he's experienced the 10 gallon, but I was wondering if there was something else I could do in addition to/in place of? I'm down to calling fish stores to see if they'll give me some filter squeezings. :p

If I don't cycle the tank (because I'm an idiot and didn't realize that a 10 gallon would need to be cycled...I was ignorant) and now I've got high Ammonia (1.5ppm) and I put the ammonia clearing liquid in there to get rid of it and make it safe for the fish...Which now I'm thinking was probably the wrong thing to do...

Can I just change the water more/less frequently and treat the big tank like a *giant* fish bowl? I know that would be a lot of work, but I'm willing to do it to keep my fish safe and happy. At least for the time being, until I can figure out a way to cycle a tank and get this thing off the ground correctly without having a fish in it? (IE, where do you get the ammonia to get it started?)

He's been in there for about 2-3 weeks, so he's been in the tank with the filter running for some time, but yesterday I had a salt fiasco and had to do a 100% water change...(argghhh!) I stuck him back in after refilling the tank and treating the water, he was good for a day, then day 2 he's having trouble breathing and showing classic ammonia distress, so I took him *back* out, stuck him in a clean, small, quarantine tank, and tested his water. High ammonia 1.5ppm. So, I got some of the ammonia neutralizer...and now I'm afraid I'm back at ground zero. I really don't want to leave him in the small bowl, but I'm afraid to put him back into the big tank...

Any help would be wonderful, I've read up about filtering and cycling and starting, but these specific questions seem to be absent. Perhaps I'm the only moron to have done this? :( I'm feeling really terrible to have done this to my fish. And there are two tanks...so far only one has been having problems, but I'm afraid the other is going to start having issues any day now as well, as it was started later than the first... :(
 

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What you are experiencing is a Fish-In Cycle. You get the Ammonia from the Fish. You don't have to Cycle. It's just an opportunity to make the Tank more stable and almost Ammonia-Free. A Fish-In Cycle is just a Cycle but with Fish. However, the Fish would most likely be stressed because of the needed Water Perimeters. To do a Fishless Cycle, the source of Ammonia would be a lot of things. Fish Food is most common. I *think* there is a Sticky about the Fishless and Fish-In Cycle.
 

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You can do fish in cycles. It's pretty simple but you need to keep up on the ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte testing. I have .25 of ammonia in my tap, so when it went to .5 or sometimes 1.0 I would do a water change. I had 3 fish in a 10G with s mystery snail and did a WC every 3 -4 days. You do need abit of ammonia for the bacteria which is why fishless is usually recommended.

If you only have one fish in a 10G, then I would think you can get away without a filter. I had a divided 10G with 3 and no filter - just use a gravel sipon for when you need to do the 100%. I will admit, I only did the 100% every 2-3 weeks but I still did the 50-75% weekly.
 

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In a filtered, cycled 10gal, you have to do a 25%/50% weekly water change with gravel vacuuming to get rid of DOCs and to remineralize.

In a nonfiltered, noncycled tank, You have to do a weekly 50% change and vac to get rid of ammonia and DOCs, and to remineralize.

The big difference is that in a cycled tank, the ammonia remains a 0.0ppm all the time.

You could put him in the 10gal and run your filter. Check his water diligently and never let ammonia get over 0.25 ppm.

Quite a while from now (it takes months for the nitrifying bacteria to fall into your tank and multiply) , you'll find your tank has cycled, that is ammonia and nitrites will read 0.0ppm all the time.

You'll still need weekly changes, but your fish will live in clean water from then on.

That's the hard way, and you have to be careful. But, if you correctly use a good liquid test kit, and use it often, your fish will be OK.

Filter squeezings are not very useful; there isn't much bacteria in the water column. On the other hand, a piece of old filter sponge or a quarter cup of gravel in your filter, will accelerate your cycle.

Other than water conditioner, it's best not to use chemicals (like to lower your ammonia). Water changes are always better.
 
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