5 Gallon Tank How do I cycle a 5 gallon with fish food?


This is my first time keeping fish. I knew absolutely nothing about Bettas when I got mine. I put him in a 2.5 gallon heated and unfiltered tank at first, but after doing a lot of research I decided to put him in a filtered and heated 5 gallon.
However, I also discovered that I need to do something called cycling the tank. I understand how cycling works, but I don't know how I could cycle his tank.
I'm not old enough to drive to a pet store myself, or buy anything at a store I can't easily walk to. I can't order things off of amazon without my parent's permission, either.
I need ammonia and ammonia testing strips for cycling his tank. However, my parents, who know nothing about fish think I should just pop him in the new tank. They won't let me buy any materials for cycling the tank since they don't think it's necessary and think that I'm just wasting money (Believe me, I've tried to tell them that it's important)
All that I've got on hand is fish food and testing strips that show Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, and some other stuff not including ammonia. I did some googling, and decided to try to cycle the tank using fish food.
However, no nitrites are appearing in the tank so I think I might be doing something wrong.
I can't do a fish-in cycle since I don't have anything to test ammonia with and I don't have time since I'm being dragged along on several trips this summer.

How can I cycle a 5 gallon with just nitrite and nitrate testing strips, as well as fish food?


How long has the 2g been running?


Hi there, welcome to the forum and great that you appreciate the issues and want to resolve them.
I used to cycle all of my tanks with food, it works ok.
I'm unclear where you fish is at the mo. If the tank is empty, then just add a pinch of food every day for two or three weeks. Then test for nitrites and nitrates. If you find you have nitrites then you know your tank is converting ammonia. If your nitrates then begin to grow you are converting nitrites too.
Although you cannot be certain without testing, if your nitrites grow then reduce to zero and stay that way even though you are doing with food and your nitrates increase, then you are cycling ok.
At that stage you could add fish, but keep testing and do water changes.
You are obviously intelligent and you want to do things correctly. Keep reading and watching YouTube. Lots of good stuff there.
Report back as you progress and let us know what is happening.


We need to know how long the betta has been in the 2g tank. If it has been a week or so it will be a fish in cycle regardless. Get him in the bigger tank so parameter swings will be less in more water. Easier to regulate.


He's been in the 2.5 gallon for around 3-6 months (I don't remember exactly) since it's what I initially bought to put him in
He's currently in a 2.5 gallon, and I'm trying to upgrade to the 5 gallon which is what I'm trying to cycle

Thanks for the help!


completely forgot about this
but i finally got the fish food to create some nitrates! :)

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