Fishless Cycle For 5 Gal, Betta Tank With Sponge Filter

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by jogypsygirl, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    Hi all,
    Okay, so this is my second go on a fishless cycle. first go I tried to use fish food to create ammonia and just never got the levels up. after weeks of cloudy, slimy water and still not enough ammonia I just decided to "cut!" and "take 2" LOL. So -- cleaned tank and refilled with water. this will be a bare bottom tank but I have two pots with substrate and matrix. I have added ammonia, stability (and prime), and Seachem matrix (biomedia), and I have the API master test kit. this is day three.
    Question 1: When do I start testing the water after I put ammonia and stability in? the next day? or how soon can i expect to see nitrites and therefore start testing? I can't really find any great step by step directions for this process.

    Question 2: I read in another thread that once you see Nitrites you should "slow down" on the ammonia? How much less ammonia? Like half? or?...

    I'm sure I will have tons more questions and I'm so grateful i found this great pool of knowledge and for your willingness to share!
  2. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

  3. Tokie WartoothNew MemberMember

    Did you wait at least 24 hours to put the stability in?
  4. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    no :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2018
  5. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    I just realized I didn't thank you for sending me this link! So - Thank you so much! It was very helpful and I got some good input on fish-in cycling too in case I keep having problems with the stability.
  6. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    You are very welcome. Since I've always done fish in cycles I can't help much with a fish-less cycle so like to point to threads by folks that do know what to do. :)
  7. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    So appreciated! ooh! fish-in cycling interests me greatly, especially after my frustrations with the current process. I got some really good info on fish-in cycling by "who knows" on the page you directed me to. When I was gifted my little Betta "Bob", I started frantically researching suitable accommodations. I saw almost nothing about how to cycle with the fish-in and no added bacteria , and so much negative info on doing it that way that I decided to start with fish-less. But I am very interested now, on fish-in cycling and if I continue to have problems I may just switch. I have "bob" in the 2 gallon bowl he was gifted me in and I hate making him wait and wait for his new digs. Any info you have on fish-in cycling would be awesome.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I know lots of folks frown on fish in cycling but it was actually the way it was done before companies started selling bacteria in a bottle.

    I seem to see a lot of folks struggling to get their tanks cycled with that method but there are probably just as many or more that have been successful and since they didn't have a problem we didn't hear from them.

    One needs to be very dedicated and right on top of things but if one keeps on top of water changes it can be done with no harm to the fish. You just need a test kit so you know what is happening and do a water change when the numbers warrant one.

    I cycled my 55 a couple of years ago with the same fish that are in there right now. Well, every one but Jethro the common pleco. He had to go live out his life in a big pond.

    @WhoKnows and I are basically on the same page when it comes to fish in cycle and I see he/she has given you the basics. Fish in cycles are actually pretty simple. The only things required are fish for the ammonia source, food for the fish, dedication, water changes and patience.
  9. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I looked online at YouTube videos about cycling. There's a guy from Fluval who gives a really good description. The only problem I had with his presentation was that in the middle of his factual technical explanation of the nitrogen cycle, he held up a bottle and said (paraphrase), "Obviously you want to use this cycle starter to help things along."

    Since he's a company rep and everything, I was hoping he'd give a technical explanation of the product, what it did, how it worked, and why it would be beneficial to someone who is cycling their tanks. I have a bit of a personality flaw where if I hear someone say, "obviously," I'm immediately skeptical, especially during a technical explanation. Sort of like hearing, "Then a miracle happens..."

    I'll list my questions about the cycle starters. I'm open to hearing any answers.

    1) Considering it's not a slam dunk to get a cycle going, and it's easy to wreck a cycle once you have it going, how do the bacteria in the bottle survive on the shelf?

    2) Do the bacteria in a bottle have anything to feed on? Or are they dormant until poured into a tank?

    3) Is it the same bacteria that will form naturally without any additives?

    4) What other substances are in the bottle other than bacteria?

    For me, the idea of bottled bacteria doesn't match what I think I know about how cycling works. I'm willing to be educated.

  10. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I love to hear various points of view from experienced people. So many ways to do the same thing. :) As I was learning how to care for my betta in his temporary bowl, I was asking myself why a tank couldn’t be cycled with him in it, and doing frequent water changes like I already am. You and @WhoKnows finally answered my question! Best!

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2018
  11. jogypsygirlNew MemberMember

    Such good questions and ones I would like to know the answers to, too! IT has evidently worked for a lot of experienced people so I can't knock it but it's sure been hard to get it up and running. I feel like I understand the nitrogen cycle finally and it shouldn't be this hard. I have been wondering though if BB in a bottle can die like nutrients can die in vitamins and herbs because they are stored at an inappropriate temperature... which would mean no more buying off amazon for me. that is nagging at me.

    I have to say it does feel like the bacteria in a bottle is just a mystery we are supposed to accept. Which I did (because it is in the overwhelming majority of info about how to cycle a tank these days) until this process kept dragging on and on with absolutely no progress. Meanwhile my poor betta bob is hanging in a bowl with no heater and my electric bill is through the roof because I'm heating the whole house for him. Yikes.

    So here's another question. In your opinion, If I scrap the whole bottled BB thing and decide to just put BOB in his tank to cycle it, do I need to completely clean everything or could I just empty and refill?
  12. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I don't think there's anything in the bottled products that are harmful. I'd just start on a rotation of 25% water change, test the water the next day, repeat. I bet you'll see movement within a week.