Can i not cycle a aquarium?

Chris4Jesus

Is cycling a must or can i just do daily water changes to keep ammonia out. From what i gather the good bacteria does nothing for the fish. It just kills ammonia. That being the only reason to have good bacteria is for ammonia why not just keep clean water???
 

JustAFishServant

Is cycling a must or can i just do daily water changes to keep ammonia out. From what i gather the good bacteria does nothing for the fish. It just kills ammonia. That being the only reason to have good bacteria is for ammonia why not just keep clean water???
I guess it's not a *must* but it's really helpful. It allows you to go weeks without water changes in established tanks, clears protein buildup on the surface and act as denitrification by eating toxic ammonia and nitrite then converting them to less toxic nitrate which is removed by plants (especially floating/riparium) and changes. Like I said it's not "required" but certainly makes tank life easier. What if you go on a vacation and the tank still isn't cycled? Massive ammonia/nitrite spikes, poisoning, dropsy, most likely fish death etc. Also this depends on stocking of course. In an overstocked tank you need lots of chemicals to keep parameters in check, or you can majorly overfilter and cycle your tank (I've done both). I should mention that a cycle happens eventually even in an "uncycled" tank. It would be fish-in. It would eventually colonize nitrifiers and establish but would cycle faster if you kept water changes to a minimum (since nitrifiers need food - doing daily WCs removes some of this. An increase or decrease in their "food" via daily water changes could also lead to a cycle crash - ammonia and nitrite spikes, again). So overall if you plan to do fish-in or fishless properly, do it. Water changes keep ammonia and nitrite levels lower to prevent stress and disease in your fish, but too many will starve the bacteria...maybe.

My answer: I don't know, but it sounds risky.
 

SparkyJones

Is cycling a must or can i just do daily water changes to keep ammonia out. From what i gather the good bacteria does nothing for the fish. It just kills ammonia. That being the only reason to have good bacteria is for ammonia why not just keep clean water???
Well, it's kind of hard to do that, the animal constantly excretes ammonia through the day, bigger volume of water, more dilution, but bigger water changes when you do them, smaller volume of water less time between water changes.

Plants can help but if they run deficient and stop absorbing nitrogen material, it will also build up like at night or if the power goes out.

plus, if water is too clean it can't support life at all, in case you were considering using distilled water or something like that.

you can do water changes to keep ammonia out and not cycle, it likely will cycle on it's own at some point over time anyways, the point of a "fish in cycle", but you have to stay on top of the water changes and do it whenever it's necessary though, and even when it's not completely necessary because when a fish starts showing you there's a problem the damage is already being done.

either you will take peoples word for it, or seeing is believing and give it a shot yourself. It can work if you focus on it and know what you are doing and when you need to do things and don't get distracted with other things.
if it slips it's gonna be a dead animal.

Over time it's going to cycle whether you wanted it to or not though. It's just how water works once the water treatment wears off. Either it's going to cycle and be life supporting or go stagnant and dead and foul with rotting bacteria.

from my experience with baby fish fry in a 1 gallon jar and no cycle by mistake, the moment food is added and waste gets produced, it all crashes pretty quickly and the deaths cascade from there until it's all dead. Water changes wouldn't have saved it at all, but maybe if it were the same 200+ fry in 100 gallons of water it could work for a while with 50 gallon changes twice a day at least until they double in size, or triple in size in a week or so. Even then an eventual crash is around the corner where everything dies.
 

Chris4Jesus

How do breeders cycle a tank being they constantly add and take away fish
 

MasterPython

If you have a tank with an ammonia source either live fish, food or bottled it will cycle on its own. Fish may or may not survive but bacteria will build up on the hard surfaces.

Breeders do things like keeping well used sponge filters around to "instant cycle" a bare tank.
 

SparkyJones

How do breeders cycle a tank being they constantly add and take away fish
breeders have many tanks and extra sponge filters in tanks that are established. they can move a filter from one to another tank to immediately have a cycle on it from another tank.

once you have a cycle, theres some rules to follow so you don't overload it and cause an ammonia spike, but too big a bacterial colony is ok, they will downsize for the fish load as long as it's smaller.

I have extra sponge in my filter on my big tank with the heavy load, If I need a new tank quick I can take a cycled sponge for a sponge filter from there and move a colony over to a tank immediately and as long as I don't exceed the stocking level of the tank I got the sponge from, it should be no problem at all and the colony moves over that was in that sponge.

Planning ahead and having a backup plan.
 

Chris4Jesus

So my 55 gal has fish and i put fresh water from tap with conditioner in it how should i change the water till its cycled 25% every 3 days is what i was thinking??
 

SparkyJones

So my 55 gal has fish and i put fresh water from tap with conditioner in it how should i change the water till its cycled 25% every 3 days is what i was thinking??
how many fish are in that 55g?

If it's more than 1 fish, I'm gonna tell you right now the answer is going to be more like 50% of the water every 24 hours and testing for ammonia and nitrite and if over 1ppm combined, maybe a 2nd water change of 50% in 24 hours.

But depends on how many fish and size of the fish. if it's one guppy in a 55g, yeah 25% every 3 days sounds about right, maybe even 1x a week.
 

Chris4Jesus

Ok thank you all for your help very grateful for you time and input
 

vaporbon

You can theoretically just do water changes yes.

But the BB (you need to think of them as a group, reall) does more than neutralize the ammonia though. They also ensure that they control pathogenic microorganism that will chronically attack your fish and wears them down over time. We focus a lot on ammonia/nirite/nitrate but in reality, these are just a small part of it. There are other biological processes as well but for simplicity sake, it's better for you, and your fish if you have a well cycled tank.

Eventually, if you are feeding your fish, your tank will cycle anyway unless you always clean the filter put completely, completely empty the tank and put new water in and/or only keep pet rocks in there. It will just happen over a much, much longer period of time, vs a couple of weeks.
 

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