Cycling A 10 Gal. Tank Advice.

A White Cloud Minnow

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Hello FishLore!


I set up a 10 gallon tank tonight, and am planning to put some minnows in it. I have a heater, filter, aerator, and some decor and lights. I read a article telling me how to do "fish-less cycling", with fish flakes and nothing more.


I am currently running the tank's filter, heater, and aerator, and have added some fish flakes in there as a source of ammonia. I also read that if you add Tetra QuickStart, the cycle starts faster. I added some of that in my tank as well. I have every thing necessary to begin this tank but a water testing kit.


My local PetCo does do free water testing, but I was told I had to check the levels of ammonia after the first 3 days of letting the food sit in the tank. Is there any way to do this without a water testing kit? How would I clean out all the gross stuff in the gravel without a gravel vaccum(I cannot buy one for several reasons) And is the rumor about QuickStart making the cycle faster true? I really hope I didn't do anything wrong. I am open to any advice, or suggestions for anything mentioned in my post.


Thank you for taking the time to respond! nit
 

Jenoli42

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Welcome to fishlore! Quick start can indeed make cycling faster. As long as you don't have fish in there, you only need to check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates weekly until you're cycled and can easily do this via your fish store. However, you'll need to add a significant amount of fish food to get the ammonia the bacteria need to grow. many people use pure ammonia but you'll probably need a testing kit to dose correctly with that method.

if you can't get a gravel vac, can you get a new turkey baster to remove the food once you're ready for fish?

we recommend the API freshwater testing kit and a gravel vac if you can afford them before you afford fish, to be quite honest. The kit is more important so you can make sure your levels stay safe once you add the fish. the turkey baster method may be cheaper, but it will be a pain when you need to do water changes... so both things would really make your life easier.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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Jenoli42 said:
Welcome to fishlore! Quick start can indeed make cycling faster. As long as you don't have fish in there, you only need to check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates weekly until you're cycled and can easily do this via your fish store. However, you'll need to add a significant amount of fish food to get the ammonia the bacteria need to grow. many people use pure ammonia but you'll probably need a testing kit to dose correctly with that method.

if you can't get a gravel vac, can you get a new turkey baster to remove the food once you're ready for fish?

we recommend the API freshwater testing kit and a gravel vac if you can afford them before you afford fish, to be quite honest. The kit is more important so you can make sure your levels stay safe once you add the fish. the turkey baster method may be cheaper, but it will be a pain when you need to do water changes... so both things would really make your life easier.
Thank you for the response! I will try and get my hands on a water testing kit, and I do have a turkey baster on hand. I added 5 big flakes of fish food to start out with, but don't have a water testing kit so I don't know if that did anything. How much food do I need to add in each day(or every other day)? Also, does a Marino Moss Ball in the tank change any of this process?
 

Jenoli42

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Thank you for the response! I will try and get my hands on a water testing kit, and I do have a turkey baster on hand. I added 5 big flakes of fish food to start out with, but don't have a water testing kit so I don't know if that did anything. How much food do I need to add in each day(or every other day)? Also, does a Marino Moss Ball in the tank change any of this process?
I would add the number of flakes per day you plan on feeding your fish once you have it/them. if you plan on feeding twice a day, then add that amount of flakes twice per day. that way, your bacteria grow to that "bio load" (eg, that amount of ammonia "food")

EDIT: others have had success adding less, but i've kept bacteria alive and growing with that method of adding the amount i would feed fish if they were in there.

marino moss balls may help absorb nitrates, which is good in the long run and will reduce how much/how often you need to change the water. but it may mean that you have trouble telling when your cycle starts because the key to telling that is when you see nitrates appear.

your tank is cycled once your ammonia and nitrites drop back to 0 and you have >5ppm nitrates... but if you see a spike of ammonia and nitrite and then they drop back down and you still have no nitrates, then it could be your moss ball not a bad thing, just means you'll hafta monitor your ammonia and nitrite more often until you see them raise up and then go back to 0.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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Jenoli42 said:
I would add the number of flakes per day you plan on feeding your fish once you have it/them. if you plan on feeding twice a day, then add that amount of flakes twice per day. that way, your bacteria grow to that "bio load" (eg, that amount of ammonia "food")

EDIT: others have had success adding less, but i've kept bacteria alive and growing with that method of adding the amount i would feed fish if they were in there.

marino moss balls may help absorb nitrates, which is good in the long run and will reduce how much/how often you need to change the water. but it may mean that you have trouble telling when your cycle starts because the key to telling that is when you see nitrates appear.

your tank is cycled once your ammonia and nitrites drop back to 0 and you have >5ppm nitrates... but if you see a spike of ammonia and nitrite and then they drop back down and you still have no nitrates, then it could be your moss ball not a bad thing, just means you'll hafta monitor your ammonia and nitrite more often until you see them raise up and then go back to 0.
Another question, if I am planning to get a group of 6-7 white cloud minnows, how much would I feed them? I have been researching and there is just so much controversy. :/ Also, I only need to test the water weekly, right? I do have a aerator running, and does that need to be running or does it help or impede the cycle?

EDIT- I am planning on getting the water testing kit and gravel vac soon, but it may be after the cycle ends. So, weekly trips to my petstore is going to have to work.
 

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A White Cloud Minnow said:
Another question, if I am planning to get a group of 6-7 white cloud minnows, how much would I feed them? I have been researching and there is just so much controversy. :/ Also, I only need to test the water weekly, right? I do have a aerator running, and does that need to be running or does it help or impede the cycle?

EDIT- I am planning on getting the water testing kit and gravel vac soon, but it may be after the cycle ends. So, weekly trips to my petstore is going to have to work.
Just a pinch or two every day. You should test your water when you can. An aerator does nothing to help or stop the cycle. It's just something to keep the oxygen moving through the water.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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Sarah73 said:
Just a pinch or two every day. You should test your water when you can. An aerator does nothing to help or stop the cycle. It's just something to keep the oxygen moving through the water.
thank you for the advice. So, weekly would suffice? I am planning on testing the water on Wednesday, and can test it again on the weekend. If I test the water too infrequently, would that mean I may miss the end of the cycle?

I hope I am not doing anything wrong, am a bit of a newbie and have only had a 5 gallon with a dwarf frog and betta before. I have been putting about 5 fish flakes every day, starting from Sunday.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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TexasGuppy said:
Check pH, too low will slow the cycle.
Crank heater up to 86, it will speed the cycle.
Ok, the thermometer said 80 and I thought that was a bit too high so I turned it down. I will turn it back up when I get back to my house. I am planning to buy a test kit soon, and am taking a sample of water to the petstore today. I'll ask them to test the pH as well as the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
 

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The problem with simulating a fishy environment by adding the same amount of food is that the fish will process the food differently when ingested and excreted then just slow breakdown within the tank. A better approach in my opinion is to get Ace Hardware Janitorial strength 10% ammonia ($3). You only need to dose up to 3-4ppm and let it sit for a while what the initial bacteria starts to grow... You don't really need to add more until it starts going down. daily dumping of food will probably make the tank smell bad and grow algae everywhere.
 

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If you can lay your hands on a couple of metres of hose and an old plastic water bottle you can make your own gravel vac, plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how, it will take you all of 5 minutes and cost you almost nothing. It probably won't be as pretty as a shop bought one but it will work just as well.
 

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Higher heat & PH will speed up the cycle, but 80 is already way too hot for White Clouds. Does your heater adjust down far enough (68-74)?
Don't let the guy in the store convince you that test strips are cheaper than the kit, they're way more expensive.
What filter do you have?
 

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TexasGuppy said:
It's fishless cycle right? OP said he is planning on getting white clouds... after the cycle completes I'm assuming?
Just helping to plan ahead, and trying to (tactfully) bring up a point that the OP might not have considered fully. But yes, that's how I understand it too.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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Mick Frost said:
Higher heat & PH will speed up the cycle, but 80 is already way too hot for White Clouds. Does your heater adjust down far enough (68-74)?
Don't let the guy in the store convince you that test strips are cheaper than the kit, they're way more expensive.
What filter do you have?
I own a Tetra Whisper, built for 5-10 gallon tanks. And I am buying a API master test kit.

EDIT- Also, the heater right now is a adjustable 25 watt. Before I put the fish in I am planning to buy a 50 watt, but sadly the 50 watt I ordered originally wasn't adjustable.

TexasGuppy said:
It's fishless cycle right? OP said he is planning on getting white clouds... after the cycle completes I'm assuming?
Yes, after the cycle completes. The reason I was doing a fishless cycle was because I thought the cycling with fish was in-humane.
 
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Alright, I just visited the petstore today and the guy informed me of two things. One, that White Clouds are illegal where I live, and two, that you should NEVER add ammonia into your tank. I asked him to test my water, and he came over and said, "Yeah, it's got quite a bit of stuff in there. Got a couple of nitrites." What does that even mean? He never gave me the numbers of the testing, and didn't tell me anything about the cycle. I told him I was cycling it with fish food, and was planning to buy ammonia to cycle it. He replied, "You should NEVER add ammonia in your tank. From my experience, you can just put them in there and they will figure out the cycle themselves." He then told me that White Cliuds were illegal where I live, and proceeded to reccomend any type of Tetra, Danio, and guppies for my 10 gallon tank. Please PLEASE leave advice, this expierence has messed my idea of starting a fish tank up.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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Alright, I just visited the petstore today and the guy informed me of two things. One, that White Clouds are illegal where I live, and two, that you should NEVER add ammonia into your tank. I asked him to test my water, and he came over and said, "Yeah, it's got quite a bit of stuff in there. Got a couple of nitrites." What does that even mean? He never gave me the numbers of the testing, and didn't tell me anything about the cycle. I told him I was cycling it with fish food, and was planning to buy ammonia to cycle it. He replied, "You should NEVER add ammonia in your tank. From my experience, you can just put them in there and they will figure out the cycle themselves." He then told me that White Cliuds were illegal where I live, and proceeded to reccomend any type of Tetra, Danio, and guppies for my 10 gallon tank. Please PLEASE leave advice, this expierence has messed my idea of starting a fish tank up.
 

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We'll, never add ammonia if fish are in it.
"They'll figure out the cycle...". Too funny.
Everybody here adds ammonia to start the cycle.
 

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fish store guy is mostly wrong about the ammonia stuff. listen to the experts, aka the people on here. what he's talking about would be a fish-in cycle, which is what you didn't want to do. in order to do a fishless cycle, you need that ammonia source, or else your tank will not cycle.
 
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A White Cloud Minnow

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TexasGuppy said:
We'll, never add ammonia if fish are in it.
"They'll figure out the cycle...". Too funny.
Everybody here adds ammonia to start the cycle.
Currently I don't have fish, but do you think that a couple of danios would be too much for a 10 gallon?

EDIT- also, with the nitrites that he said were in the tank, does that mean that the cycle is far along? The fish food is now getting white and dissolving at the bottom of the tank and my gravel vac isn't due to come in a week.
 
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