How Do You Cycle Your Tank With Food?

Bri Bri
  • #1
Hi! I have yet to actually purchase a fish or an aquarium. I would like to know how to cycle your tank with food instead of pure ammonia. Any tips? I would rather be asking questions now, instead of something terribly wrong happening in the future. Thanks!
 
Lollipop0912
  • #2
What I did to cycle my tank was just dump a pinch of food in twice per day. Then, test the ammonia. If it gets to over 2 ppm stop giving food till it goes down. Then test nitrites. They should spike, and then go down. Then nitrates should steadily climb up. If they get over 20 ppm, do a small water change. If you don’t mind me asking, what size tank are you getting? Do you have any fish ideas yet?
Ps. It’s super smart to ask questions before you get the tank.
 
mattgirl
  • #3
You put the fish food in there and wait for it to rot. the rotten food forms ammonia. In my humble opinion it isn't a very reliable way to do a fish-less cycle though because you can't control the amount of ammonia. With pure ammonia you can control it.
 
Fashooga
  • #4
I put in some food and let it rot, waited 14 days to change the water and did it again.

You can also throw a piece of shrimp or fish in there.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
What I did to cycle my tank was just dump a pinch of food in twice per day. Then, test the ammonia. If it gets to over 2 ppm stop giving food till it goes down. Then test nitrites. They should spike, and then go down. Hen nitrates should steadily climb up. If they get over 20 ppm, do a small water change. If you don’t mind me asking, what size tank are you getting? Do you have any fish ideas yet?
Ps. It’s super smart to ask questions before you get the tank.

HI and thank you so much for replying!

I think for my first fish will try Betta fish, because they are a good beginner fish and they are pretty. I have done plenty of research on them as well, so it'd be hard to adjust learning about another fish on top of my busy schedule.

I might get a 5 gallon tank for one Betta, Or I might get a 10 gallon and add a divider so I can have two! (They are super aggressive! Yikes.)

What do you think about getting a divider for two? I think it's fairly common?

Thanks again.

You put the fish food in there and wait for it to rot. the rotten food forms ammonia. In my humble opinion it isn't a very reliable way to do a fish-less cycle though because you can't control the amount of ammonia. With pure ammonia you can control it.

I believe you are right! I am just a bit unsure about me handling pure ammonia... Sounds kinda, well hard. ^^;

I put in some food and let it rot, waited 14 days to change the water and did it again.

You can also throw a piece of shrimp or fish in there.

Alright, makes sense! Thanks for the comment.
 
Lollipop0912
  • #6
HI and thank you so much for replying!

I think for my first fish will try Betta fish, because they are a good beginner fish and they are pretty. I have done plenty of research on them as well, so it'd be hard to adjust learning about another fish on top of my busy schedule.

I might get a 5 gallon tank for one Betta, Or I might get a 10 gallon and add a divider so I can have two! (They are super aggressive! Yikes.)

What do you think about getting a divider for two? I think it's fairly common?

Thanks again.
I think getting a divider for two would be fine. Will there be a kid in the tank? My advice would be to be careful about one jumping into the others tank. Are you doing one male and a female? Or 2 males? Or two females?
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I think getting a divider for two would be fine. Will there be a kid in the tank? My advice would be to be careful about one jumping into the others tank. Are you doing one male and a female? Or 2 males? Or two females?

I'm not sure yet, what do you think would be best for the fish?
 
mattgirl
  • #8
I believe you are right! I am just a bit unsure about me handling pure ammonia... Sounds kinda, well hard. ^^;
We all have to do what we are comfortable with but if one pays attention to what they are doing ammonia isn't a dangerous product. If I ever had a reason to use it I would pour some of it into a small glass container and use a needle-less syringe to add it to the tank. It is much easier to draw the liquid out of a small container that trying to get it out of the one it comes in. Just be sure to label the small container so everyone knows what's in it.

PS: I recommend glass because the ammonia could possibly react to the plastic if a plastic bottle is used.
You can usually get a syringe from farm supply stores or you local pharmacy. If it comes with a needle you can just toss the needle.
 
Lollipop0912
  • #9
I'm not sure yet, what do you think would be best for the fish?
I don’t think it matters. It’s all personal preference.
But if you think you will ever want to breed, 1male and 1 female.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
We all have to do what we are comfortable with but if one pays attention to what they are doing ammonia isn't a dangerous product. If I ever had a reason to use it I would pour some of it into a small glass container and use a needle-less syringe to add it to the tank. It is much easier to draw the liquid out of a small container that trying to get it out of the one it comes in. Just be sure to label the small container so everyone knows what's in it.

PS: I recommend glass because the ammonia could possibly react to the plastic if a plastic bottle is used.
You can usually get a syringe from farm supply stores or you local pharmacy. If it comes with a needle you can just toss the needle.

Thank you so much, if I decide to go that route I will do so!

(Ps: Love your location text.)

I don’t think it matters. It’s all personal preference.
But if you think you will ever want to breed, 1male and 1 female.

Alright! I might get one male and one female just incase I ever want to try that out.
 
mattgirl
  • #11
Alright! I might get one male and one female just incase I ever want to try that out.
If you do decide to get both male and female you really need to make sure they can't see each other. Even then both of them may be stressed out if they are sharing the same tank water and they will be if they are in a divided tank.

I am actually speaking from personal experience. My first fish many many years ago was 2 Bettas. Even before internet was available to the general public I had both a male and a female. I found out real quick that they can't survive for long if kept together. I quickly set up another tank so I could separate them.

I did eventually breed them and was successful at it but only did it once. Lots and lots of work once the males had to be put in separate tanks. I had to remove them from the grow out tank. I had a bunch of 1 gallon jars that had to have the water changed daily.

The Bettas we find in stores really aren't the best candidates for breeding. If one really wants to do it right one needs to buy their fish from a breeder that knows what they are doing and should have strong healthy fish that haven't been cross bred so many times their line is no longer healthy.

All of this to say. If you want to divide a 10 gallon tank for 2 fish I recommend 2 males and even then you need to make sure that can't see each other. They may be the best of friends or they could turn out to be mortal enemy's.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
If you do decide to get both male and female you really need to make sure they can't see each other. Even then both of them may be stressed out if they are sharing the same tank water and they will be if they are in a divided tank.

I am actually speaking from personal experience. My first fish many many years ago was 2 Bettas. Even before internet was available to the general public I had both a male and a female. I found out real quick that they can't survive for long if kept together. I quickly set up another tank so I could separate them.

I did eventually breed them and was successful at it but only did it once. Lots and lots of work once the males had to be put in separate tanks. I had to remove them from the grow out tank. I had a bunch of 1 gallon jars that had to have the water changed daily.

The Bettas we find in stores really aren't the best candidates for breeding. If one really wants to do it right one needs to buy their fish from a breeder that knows what they are doing and should have strong healthy fish that haven't been cross bred so many times their line is no longer healthy.

All of this to say. If you want to divide a 10 gallon tank for 2 fish I recommend 2 males and even then you need to make sure that can't see each other. They may be the best of friends or they could turn out to be mortal enemy's.

Alright! Makes complete sense. I might not make that risk then. If I ever want two Betta fish maybe I could just have two separate tanks.
 
mattgirl
  • #13
Alright! Makes complete sense. I might not make that risk then. If I ever want two Betta fish maybe I could just have two separate tanks.
One tank is never enough Right now I have 3 plus a huge jar for my snails. I would have more but hubby would object At my age though 3 is more than enough work to keep up with.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
One tank is never enough Right now I have 3 plus a huge jar for my snails. I would have more but hubby would object At my age though 3 is more than enough work to keep up with.

Haha yea starting an aqurium sounds fun! I better take it slow being someone with no experience. I only had some when I was very little, but I never took care of them, someone else did. (They didn't live long as well...) I am very busy curently, so if I do get one it will have to be later. :/

Thanks so much for the help!
 
Siggi
  • #15
Hi, all.
Yes... one aquarium is enough. Until you have it up and running. Then you get attacked by MTS (multiple tank syndrome) and one tank will not be enough... But that is perfectly normal.

Hi! I have yet to actually purchase a fish or an aquarium. I would like to know how to cycle your tank with food instead of pure . Any tips?
Using ammonia to cycle your first tank is by far the second best option. The best one is to ask in your local fish store if they will give you a handful of cycled medium while you pay them for a small pack of new (uncycled) medium. If possible, get this kind of filtration medium: SIPORAX from brand SERA. Bring it home in a watertight container (can be a plastic bag) with just enough water to keep the filtermedia wet - it's better than covering it all with water. Gets more oxygen.
If they will not sell you some ceramic medium for some new one like this, you should definetely go the ammonia way. As stated in an earlier post, if you are not extremely clumsy or suffer from Parkinson's desease, ammonia is not dangerous. Get a drop counter or a syringe and add a few drops till your reagent gives you the right reading.
In alternative, AND IF YOU ONLY HAVE A SINGLE FISH OR TWO, and your aquarium is large enough to have some plants, these plants will likely come from a tank with cycled filter media.

Set up your aquarium, with substrate and plants, put your filter media (cycled or not) in yor filter and add just a few drops of ammonia for a few days. Take a reading and my guess is that you will have jump-started your nitrogen-cycle... If that is the case, you can add a fish or two (not two bettas in one tank, please note!).

If you want a shoal of fish you'll have go give it more time, of course. And you will have to get a larger amount of filter media.

I would rather be asking questions now, instead of something terribly wrong happening in the future. Thanks!
That is THE best beginner's idea I have seen in a long time...

Welcome to the forum, by the way. Hope you keep on posting before and after you get you fish.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Hi, all.
Yes... one aquarium is enough. Until you have it up and running. Then you get attacked by MTS (multiple tank syndrome) and one tank will not be enough... But that is perfectly normal.

Using ammonia to cycle your first tank is by far the second best option. The best one is to ask in your local fish store if they will give you a handful of cycled medium while you pay them for a small pack of new (uncycled) medium. If possible, get this kind of filtration medium: SIPORAX from brand SERA. Bring it home in a watertight container (can be a plastic bag) with just enough water to keep the filtermedia wet - it's better than covering it all with water. Gets more oxygen.
If they will not sell you some ceramic medium for some new one like this, you should definetely go the ammonia way. As stated in an earlier post, if you are not extremely clumsy or suffer from Parkinson's desease, ammonia is not dangerous. Get a drop counter or a syringe and add a few drops till your reagent gives you the right reading.
In alternative, AND IF YOU ONLY HAVE A SINGLE FISH OR TWO, and your aquarium is large enough to have some plants, these plants will likely come from a tank with cycled filter media.

Set up your aquarium, with substrate and plants, put your filter media (cycled or not) in yor filter and add just a few drops of ammonia for a few days. Take a reading and my guess is that you will have jump-started your nitrogen-cycle... If that is the case, you can add a fish or two (not two bettas in one tank, please note!).

If you want a shoal of fish you'll have go give it more time, of course. And you will have to get a larger amount of filter media.


That is THE best beginner's idea I have seen in a long time...

Welcome to the forum, by the way. Hope you keep on posting before and after you get you fish.

Thank you so much for the long reply! I think I will go the pure ammonia way... Or either try to get a used filter media! I don' t think I have any petstores near me that will do so though... And using food for a cycle sounds a bit unpredicatable.

I am so busy and I don't think I'll be able to get an aqurium for a while. But if I do I want to know a lot beforehand!

Thanks again!
 
FishWithTim
  • #17
Hi! I have yet to actually purchase a fish or an aquarium. I would like to know how to cycle your tank with food instead of pure ammonia. Any tips? I would rather be asking questions now, instead of something terribly wrong happening in the future. Thanks!
There is an easier faster way which I am doing on my new 29 gallon fish tank. It is called tetra safestart plus. It's bacteria that cycles your tank in 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks you cannot do water changes. Depending on what tank size you get it is advised to get a small fish per 10 gallons just for the bacteria to feed on. For more about tetra safestart plus if you are interested in it check out this post on how to use it. Tetra themselves explain how to use their product.

Link:
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
There is an easier faster way which I am doing on my new 29 gallon fish tank. It is called tetra safestart plus. It's bacteria that cycles your tank in 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks you cannot do water changes. Depending on what tank size you get it is advised to get a small fish per 10 gallons just for the bacteria to feed on. For more about tetra safestart plus if you are interested in it check out this post on how to use it. Tetra themselves explain how to use their product.

Link:

Thank you so much! I will look into that! Are the starters also good for big tanks? Let's say 70 gallon?
 
FishWithTim
  • #19
Thank you so much! I will look into that! Are the starters also good for big tanks? Let's say 70 gallon?
I know their is a starterkit for a 55 gallon tank at walmart. I don't know about any bigger tanks.
 
Siggi
  • #20
Tetra SafeStart normally works fine. It's not limited to aquarium volume, but to filter size and bioload. Remember that with SafeStart (and plants) you'll need to buy filtermedia for your beneficial bacteria to colonize. You can only have a tank without filtermedia if it's lange enough, planted, and your bioload very small - a few shrimp, a single fish, snails, etc.

Getting plants is a good way of getting a seed of beneficial bacteria for your own filter. Of course, getting seeded/cycled filter media is better, but it can sometimes be harder to get. Plants will be sold to you from the fishstore without asking favours of anyone.

I have used plants to seed an aquarium several times: I didn't want to remove filtermedia from the sump, had surplus of plants, so took some into a new tank. With new filter medium (siporax, btw...), plants and substrate I had the setup cycled in less than 3 weeks... The plants came from a cycled system and that made the difference.

If you can do the same, it will be a huge step on your way.

To me (and I guess nearly all aquarists) planning and setting up the aquarium is half the fun - or more! Patience is letting plants grow in before adding fish.
If you can, get the largest tank your home (house, family, schedule, budget, etc.) can accomodate, then very slowly, as you have time in your busy schedule, buy substrate, heater, air pump. Then a dechlorinator, and a syphon. Then a good light. Then plants and filtermedia. THEN fish...

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
 
FishWithTim
  • #21
Tetra SafeStart normally works fine. It's not limited to aquarium volume, but to filter size and bioload. Remember that with SafeStart (and plants) you'll need to buy filtermedia for your beneficial bacteria to colonize. You can only have a tank without filtermedia if it's lange enough, planted, and your bioload very small - a few shrimp, a single fish, snails, etc.

Getting plants is a good way of getting a seed of beneficial bacteria for your own filter. Of course, getting seeded/cycled filter media is better, but it can sometimes be harder to get. Plants will be sold to you from the fishstore without asking favours of anyone.

I have used plants to seed an aquarium several times: I didn't want to remove filtermedia from the sump, had surplus of plants, so took some into a new tank. With new filter medium (siporax, btw...), plants and substrate I had the setup cycled in less than 3 weeks... The plants came from a cycled system and that made the difference.

If you can do the same, it will be a huge step on your way.

To me (and I guess nearly all aquarists) planning and setting up the aquarium is half the fun - or more! Patience is letting plants grow in before adding fish.
If you can, get the largest tank your home (house, family, schedule, budget, etc.) can accomodate, then very slowly, as you have time in your busy schedule, buy substrate, heater, air pump. Then a dechlorinator, and a syphon. Then a good light. Then plants and filtermedia. THEN fish...

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
I know what filter media is but you have confused me. I got the tank with the 29 gallon starterkit at walmart.
 
Siggi
  • #22
What's in the "starterkit"?
Besides the tank...
 
FishWithTim
  • #23
What's in the "starterkit"?
Besides the tank...
Filter, a filter cartridge and then another thing you put either in front or behind the cartridge, a heater, lid, and LEDs. Along with a net, fish food, and trial package of water conditioner.
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Tetra SafeStart normally works fine. It's not limited to aquarium volume, but to filter size and bioload. Remember that with SafeStart (and plants) you'll need to buy filtermedia for your beneficial bacteria to colonize. You can only have a tank without filtermedia if it's lange enough, planted, and your bioload very small - a few shrimp, a single fish, snails, etc.

Getting plants is a good way of getting a seed of beneficial bacteria for your own filter. Of course, getting seeded/cycled filter media is better, but it can sometimes be harder to get. Plants will be sold to you from the fishstore without asking favours of anyone.

I have used plants to seed an aquarium several times: I didn't want to remove filtermedia from the sump, had surplus of plants, so took some into a new tank. With new filter medium (siporax, btw...), plants and substrate I had the setup cycled in less than 3 weeks... The plants came from a cycled system and that made the difference.

If you can do the same, it will be a huge step on your way.

To me (and I guess nearly all aquarists) planning and setting up the aquarium is half the fun - or more! Patience is letting plants grow in before adding fish.
If you can, get the largest tank your home (house, family, schedule, budget, etc.) can accomodate, then very slowly, as you have time in your busy schedule, buy substrate, heater, air pump. Then a dechlorinator, and a syphon. Then a good light. Then plants and filtermedia. THEN fish...

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

Thank you so much! Also by keeping you guys updated do you mean on this form? Or somewhere else?

Again, thanks for the long replies. They are very helpful!
 
Siggi
  • #25
BettaFishKeeper4302 : I'd use the net, the heater and the lid without hesitation (more you, being in Florida, no problems with heating...).
The water conditioner and the food I might use if it's of a reputable brand, else throw it out and buy new.
Regarding the filter, if you mean serious about the hobby, get a cannister filter for your aquarium - you can get one relatively cheap on the net, buy a sponge and a divider and some good filter medium for it. Forget about the small cartridges and internal filters: they are unreliable and sooner or later they will break down and let your tank water rot... Best cannisters are Fluval, Juwel and Eheim or corresponding models from other brands. Get an hourly turnover at least 2 or 3 times your tank volume.

BrI BrI : You are very welcome; that's what the forum is all about - Q&A. Feel free to keep on asking... There are many aquarists with decades of experience that will be glad to help. I'm just a beginner compared to some, and there's always someone who knows sonething...
 
Bri Bri
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
BettaFishKeeper4302 : I'd use the net, the heater and the lid without hesitation (more you, being in Florida, no problems with heating...).
The water conditioner and the food I might use if it's of a reputable brand, else throw it out and buy new.
Regarding the filter, if you mean serious about the hobby, get a cannister filter for your aquarium - you can get one relatively cheap on the net, buy a sponge and a divider and some good filter medium for it. Forget about the small cartridges and internal filters: they are unreliable and sooner or later they will break down and let your tank water rot... Best cannisters are Fluval, Juwel and Eheim or corresponding models from other brands. Get an hourly turnover at least 2 or 3 times your tank volume.

BrI BrI : You are very welcome; that's what the forum is all about - Q&A. Feel free to keep on asking... There are many aquarists with decades of experience that will be glad to help. I'm just a beginner compared to some, and there's always someone who knows sonething...

That's true! I wish you luck on all the fish you own!
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
26
Views
300
actuallyacatmow
Replies
52
Views
2K
86 ssinit
Replies
81
Views
2K
mattgirl
Replies
28
Views
617
Rafisunn
Replies
15
Views
324
DevonM
Top Bottom