Cycling with fish food Question

  1. slashgash Member Member

    I have an established 10 gallon tank and a 5 galon tank that ive just started cycling. My 10 gallon tank I cycled with Zebra Danios. I had 6 and 4 died during the cycle then the other 2 died right after the cycle. I dont want to cycle with fish again because I think it was kinda cruel of me to basically put them to thier deaths. So, ive been cycling with fish food this time. I put a table spoon of flakes in the first day and have been adding a pinch every day since. My question is, should I be doing water changes when cycling this way? Or should I just leave it alone until cycled. When I was cycling with fish I did water changes to try and keep the fish alive. But with no fish in there to keep alive I dont know whether or not to do water changes.
  2. LyndaB Fishlore Legend Member

    The easiest thing to do would be to hang your new filter onto your already cycled tank beside that filter. Then you won't have to do any work and in about 3-4 weeks, your new filter will be cycled. Just hang it on the new tank and voila, you're done. :;rocker
  3. slashgash Member Member

    Im just a little nervous about double filtering the 10 gallon because I have a betta in there and I know bettas arent the strongest of swimmers. Im not sure if double filtering would make too strong of a current for my betta
  4. LyndaB Fishlore Legend Member

    Good point. Can you take just your new filter media and put it inside the 10 gallon filter beside that media?
  5. slashgash Member Member

    I dont know if it would fit. Theyre the same brand of filter, but ones an internal 10-30 gallon filter and the others an external 5-10 gallon
  6. toosie Well Known Member Member

    The biggest problem I find with cycling with fish food is a lot of the food gets into the substrate. While this is ok, it can sometimes cause an outbreak of planaria. A type of harmless flat worm, but most people really don't look at them as being welcome occupants. To discourage this from happening, I put a tablespoon or two of fish food into the foot portion of a clean nylon, and place it right into my filter. That way I'm not encouraging planaria to come for a visit and I don't have to worry about vacuuming out the mess of food that accumulates in the substrate. I just put the food in the bag and leave it for a couple of weeks and if the tank isn't fully cycled I add more food.

    Unless you want to vacuum out a build up of fish food, you don't need to do any water changes on this tank until it is fully cycled.
  7. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    No need for any water changes unless your ammonia gets so high that it starts killing off the bacteria. I believe you want to keep the ammonia level under 5 or 6ppm to avoid killing the bacteria.
  8. slashgash Member Member

    OKay, thank you for the help. But I just checked my ammonia level and this morning it was at 1.0 and now its down to 0. It hasnt gotten above 1.0, am I doing something wrong?
  9. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Nope. You haven't done anything wrong. If ammonia levels haven't gotten above 1ppm then there may not be enough fish food decomposing yet to take it higher than that. Now that it is 0 check to see what your nitrites are at. It could be your beneficial bacteria that convert the ammonia to nitrites have gotten strong enough to take care of the ammonia level you had and now the bacteria for nitrites may be developing.

    If you can provide us with readings for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, we will be able to better see what your tank is doing and how to help you with this cycle.
  10. slashgash Member Member

  11. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Well.... keep feeding your tank for another day or two and keep testing. It looks like your tank may be cycled for the amount of ammonia and nitrites that were being produced. If your levels stay where they are for the next day or two, you can do a partial water change and get no more than 2 small fish to put in and monitor the readings for a couple of weeks. If no spike occurs you can add a couple more.

    If you want to be able to add more than just a couple of fish to begin with, you can strengthen your cycle by adding another tablespoon or two of fish food so that you get another ammonia spike, then nitrite spike and lastly a higher level of nitrates. It generally doesn't take near as long to strengthen a cycle as it does to establish one in the first place but it is up to you which way you want to go with it.

    Edit: Gee, I forgot what size of tank we were dealing with here. For a 5 gallon, you won't be able to house many fish, and if this is for a betta you shouldn't have to worry about strengthening the cycle. Just keep an eye on things for another day or two to make sure the cycle is complete, and continue to feed it.

    What were your plans for this tank?
  12. slashgash Member Member

    Okay, What type of fish would you suggest to put in? Also, I thought it was supposed to take like 6 weeks to cycle. My tank has been cycling for a week.
  13. toosie Well Known Member Member

    That's part of the beauty of fishless cycling. Generally I can cycle a tank in as little as 2 weeks using pure ammonia and not using an over excessive amount, which means stocking lighter. One week is very fast but when conditions are just right and a low level of ammonia is used, it can happen. Much easier than cycling with fish whether it takes a week, or 6 weeks.

    A 5 gallon tank is very limited on what you can do in it. A betta is wonderful for that size of tank. Shrimp are also fascinating creatures and a lot of fun to have. You might be able to put in a small nerite snail for algae control along with a betta, but really it's too small to put a school of fish in.

    Were you thinking about doing anything along this line?
  14. cameronpalte Member Member

    If you want to keep your fish in, and are interested in not hurting your betta, since you have two tanks you can put the new and old filter in one tank, and remove the betta from their and put it back once your done, and then you can do the same with the other tank if need be since you've moved the betta back.
  15. slashgash Member Member

    I have a betta, 3 ADFs, and 2 mystery snails in a 10 gallon right now. I was thinking about moving the betta and the snails into the 5 gallon
  16. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Something I should get you to do slashgash, is run a nitrate test on your tap water to see if there is already a level of nitrates present in it. If there is, it might be causing us to think your tank is completely cycled because other levels are at 0, so lets just verify that to be sure your water isn't playing any tricks on us.
  17. slashgash Member Member

    The levels of my tap water are:

    Nitrate: 20
    Nitrite: 0
    hardness: 75
    Alkalinity: 60
    PH: 7.2
  18. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Well then... there goes that. Try testing your ammonia level in the tank again. It has to be there because it isn't in nitrite form and the nitrates are from your tap water. If it still tests 0, you should probably feed the tank heavier so you get a good ammonia reading again.

    Sorry for giving you false hopes. I should have asked for the nitrate test on the tap to begin with.
  19. slashgash Member Member

    It still tested 0, so I added 2 tablespoons of fish food this time. Ill wait for it to start decaying and see if the ammonia goes up.
  20. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Sounds great. Oh, and moving your betta to the 5G sounds great too.