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Cycling A New Tank


Lyn4078
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Hi I have a three footer (divided) that I intend to use for breeding..........Set it up ten days ago with a filter sponge, have added plants and placed a sponge from another tank in and floated that overnight. Now today I have a ph reading of 7.6 and nitrates at 0.3...................My question is do I need to do waterchanges or just leave to continue cycling? I haven't added fish to assist with the cycle as I am so anxious about them possibly bringing something unwanted to the new tank. I am sooooooo keen to add my betta's but naturally dont want to do so until I know it is safe.

Usually I cycle with a few zebra danios and do water changes but given that I don't really want to put fish into this tank I am not so sure about cycling (hope that makes sence).....................TIA.....................Lyn

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To cycle a tank you need a source of ammonia....and not just a one off dose

A few fish or shrimp or snails or pure ammonia.....zebra danios are a good idea.

If you don't have an ammonia source then the tank is not really cycling and will only start when you add fish!

Should take about 3 weeks to cycle....even then ....if a tank's maximun capacity is say 20 fish......you should add them gradually.

You can't cycle a tank with 2 danios and add 18 more 3weeks and one day later

I always have a few additional sponge filters in cycled tanks and use them in any newly set up tank....instant cycling.....provided you don't overstock the tank

Nitrate isn't a problem....ammonia and nitrite are....the higher the ph the more toxic they are to fish

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ooops thought I was being clever by placing a sponge from another tank in there but only left it in for 24 hrs. Guess I will need to cycle with some fish...............Just tested for Ammonia and there is no ammonia present so quess my next step is to gradually add a few fish. Hope I worded this right in the past I have slowly stocked fish to cycle but was hoping not to this time as want tank soley for bettas and didn't really want to house more fish.............Maybe a few snails and then next week a couple of zebra danios....................thanks for your replies.

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I say this with a great deal of hesitation. I actually don't bother that much with trying to cycle tanks that are going to house bettas. They seem pretty tough to me. But of course as soon as someone else tries it based on my advice all their fish will drop dead 2 days later. I guess you're just going to have to make a judgement call. I can understand not wanting to get fish other than the ones that are going to live there permanently. If you're using an already cycled sponge I think you should be pretty safe.

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Maybe you could go the fishless route, as B'azzi mentioned up the top of this page... If you add sufficient (PURE) Ammonia to your tank to return a reading of say .025ppm, everyday for a week or two, this will help seed your system. Obviously, the amount added will depend on the size of your tank, but once you've worked out what's needed to get that reading (let's say, just for example, 5mL of Ammonia), you just add the same amount each day. That sponge you floated? Squeeze that into your tank for the filter to uptake, as well.

After that fortnight, leave the tank sit for a few days, test for Ammonia (should be zero), nitrates/rites and, provided everything checks out fine, do a water change and put your boys into their new homes. Then just keep monitoring for a week or two, doing your changes and everything should be just chipper... hth!

Edited by Ghengis
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Oh wow a wealth of info there thanks bettarazzi...........With working, 2 kids and a soap and candle hobby that is bursting at the seams I really didn't research much at all. Will take a good look at this info later today, off to look at houses this morning so that is the best part of the day taken. I ended up picking kids up from school and buying three snails on way home, also added a few zebra danios as well so will give it a week and then hopefully I can add the betta's and get them to 'tango' :D

Edited by Lyn
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  • 2 weeks later...

How is it going? Personally in a situation like this I'd recommend fishless cycling by adding ammonia. I never cycle anything fish in as it's too much of a pain in the you know what... with a largeish tank you need a LOT of cycled media to instantly cycle it and in my experience bacteria in a bottle doesn't work.

The method for fishless cycling involves more than any .25 ammonia, usually the level used is about 5ppm, and the tank is considered cycled when it can totally process 5ppm ammonia in 24 hours (so no ammonia and no nitrite shows up 24 hours after adding 5ppm of ammonia). The amount you need to add daily could be quite small because when the filter can only process .5 ppm every day, there is no point adding ammonia and adding ammonia until you get 600ppm or something ridiculous in there.

So what you do:

Set up tank

Add cycled media or cycle starter if available

Add 5ppm of ammonia

Keep testing ammonia, top it up when it drops below 3ppm

When you have to top it up by 3 or 4 ppm daily, wait till it's all gone then do the 24 hour test. If it fails, keep bumping it up.

When it passes the 24 hour test add fish.

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