How Long Should A Fishes Cycle Take?

Ben Foster

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I just went to my local fish store and asked questions about fishes cycling. One of my questions was how long a fishless cycle should take. On this forum, most people say 4-6 weeks. The woman at the fish store said 3 months. I was pretty surprised. I was thinking of feeding the tank fish food and adding API quick start. Will it actually take 3 months?

thanks.
 

4077girl

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If you have a good starter bacteria it could take a lot less time. If you can get your hands on any filter media from another tank it could be super fast!

My 10 gallon took probably a month? I was adding ammonia and bacterial starter (but not the good stuff, I couldn’t get tetra safe start or anything else decent in Canada). Then when I started my little 2 gallon shrimp tank, I took rocks, plants and water from my 10 gallon, put some tetra safe start in, and out my new filter in my other tank’s filter for a few days. Dumped in a bunch of ammonia and it was totally cycled in a week.
 

Kolby Holdren

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It definitely will not take 3 months. 4 to 6 weeks is normal with doing nothing. There are many ways to speed up the process. Add ammonia to speed up bacteria growth. I personally always add and use bacteria supplements like seachem stability. Could easily speed up the process to a week or 2
 
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Ben Foster

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Kolby Holdren said:
It definitely will not take 3 months. 4 to 6 weeks is normal with doing nothing. There are many ways to speed up the process. Add ammonia to speed up bacteria growth. I personally always add and use bacteria supplements like seachem stability. Could easily speed up the process to a week or 2
Thank you !

4077girl said:
If you have a good starter bacteria it could take a lot less time. If you can get your hands on any filter media from another tank it could be super fast!

My 10 gallon took probably a month? I was adding ammonia and bacterial starter (but not the good stuff, I couldn’t get tetra safe start or anything else decent in Canada). Then when I started my little 2 gallon shrimp tank, I took rocks, plants and water from my 10 gallon, put some tetra safe start in, and out my new filter in my other tank’s filter for a few days. Dumped in a bunch of ammonia and it was totally cycled in a week.
thanks. Would you consider API quick start a good bacterial starter?
 
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Ben Foster

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Kolby Holdren said:
Not bad. Go with seachem stability would be my suggestion. But this can make the cycle super quick
sure, when I run out. Already bought the quick start.
 

dom321

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I used a fluval bacteria booster for the first few days and then dosed with pure ammonia (dosing to 2ppm and then dosing again when it dropped below 0.5ppm). Daily testing with API master kit.

Took about 5 weeks to cycle. Not sure if the bacteria booster at the start helped, but I suspect it did.

Pure ammonia is cleaner than ghost feeding fish food (which you will then have to clean out later).
 

Thunder_o_b

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I keep saying that I will not get involved in the fishless debate again but I will say this. It should not take more than 7-12 days. I and many former members have done it (one member did it in less than 7). I post the way we did it but people do not follow the steps to the letter and the results are lacking.

Look it over and see what you think. The 12 PPM can be interpreted as what ever the highest your test kit will show. But I am no longer responding to the thread.

Fast Fishless Cycle.

Best wishes.
 

Celestialpearl

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Mine took 2 weeks starting new. I used fluval bio booster while dosing. I bought a large bottle and a smaller bottle. I have a 29 gal.

What I did was:
Ghost dose with ammonia. Make sure it does not have surfactants.

Bring the ammonia to 4-6ppm
Add the larger bottle of fluval bac boost. Dumped the entire thing in, half went straight down the filter intake and the other half into the water column.

I followed directions on the smaller bottle and added accordingly for the following week.

Waited two days and began monitoring ammonia using api master kit. When it dropped to 2ppm I started watching nitrite.

Maintained ammonia at 2 ppm until nitrite went 0 and nitrate showed.

50% water change and redosed initial dose and checked a day later and was ready to go.

I had media from a diy water polisher I made. I didn’t need the polisher anymore but kept it going for my 10gal which provided an instant cycle when I put it in the 10gal filter tray.

The polisher media was quilt batting. So pretty much the same thing a filter cartridge is made of minus the charcoal.
 

sloughdog

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Thunder_o_b said:
I keep saying that I will not get involved in the fishless debate again but I will say this. It should not take more than 7-12 days. I and many former members have done it (one member did it in less than 7). I post the way we did it but people do not follow the steps to the letter and the results are lacking.

Look it over and see what you think. The 12 PPM can be interpreted as what ever the highest your test kit will show. But I am no longer responding to the thread.

Fast Fishless Cycle.

Best wishes.
Have done this technique on 2 aquariums with great success. I chronicled this cycling technique somewhere on this forum. Think it took me 8 days. In no way is it a “shortcut” but just an advancement on an age-old process. Think of it as going from dial up internet to 5G.
 
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Ben Foster

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Celestialpearl said:
Mine took 2 weeks starting new. I used fluval bio booster while dosing. I bought a large bottle and a smaller bottle. I have a 29 gal.

What I did was:
Ghost dose with ammonia. Make sure it does not have surfactants.

Bring the ammonia to 4-6ppm
Add the larger bottle of fluval bac boost. Dumped the entire thing in, half went straight down the filter intake and the other half into the water column.

I followed directions on the smaller bottle and added accordingly for the following week.

Waited two days and began monitoring ammonia using api master kit. When it dropped to 2ppm I started watching nitrite.

Maintained ammonia at 2 ppm until nitrite went 0 and nitrate showed.

50% water change and redosed initial dose and checked a day later and was ready to go.

I had media from a diy water polisher I made. I didn’t need the polisher anymore but kept it going for my 10gal which provided an instant cycle when I put it in the 10gal filter tray.

The polisher media was quilt batting. So pretty much the same thing a filter cartridge is made of minus the charcoal.
How do I know how much to add to get it to 4-6 ppm? my tank is 20 gallons.
 

Celestialpearl

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I just kept adding until reached a ppm that high. I used my master kit and stoped when I reached the target. I honestly don't remember how much I added. Try adding a teaspoon.
 
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Ben Foster

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Celestialpearl said:
I just kept adding until reached a ppm that high. I used my master kit and stoped when I reached the target. I honestly don't remember how much I added. Try adding a teaspoon.
Thanks man, really helpful :emoji_grin:
 

blewishblue

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Ben Foster said:
That's something you put in your filter right?
Yes. Just throw the little gel balls in with your ceramic media. If you do not use a stone media, you can place the balls in a mesh media bag. Main thing is to keep them in the stream of the filter water as it returns. I learned about this product on YouTube when I was watching videos on how to beef up the filteration capability of a biOrb AKA Death Ball. For years, I used Microb-Lift products when I wanted to manipulate a cycle. I had never found anything that even remotely compared to Microb-Lift until I found these little balls. That said, as wonderful as they are, they are not nearly as cost effective as Microb-Lift products especially when purchased in pond size.
 
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Ben Foster

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blewishblue said:
Yes. Just throw the little gel balls in with your ceramic media. If you do not use a stone media, you can place the balls in a mesh media bag. Main thing is to keep them in the stream of the filter water as it returns. I learned about this product on YouTube when I was watching videos on how to beef up the filteration capability of a biOrb AKA Death Ball. For years, I used Microb-Lift products when I wanted to manipulate a cycle. I had never found anything that even remotely compared to Microb-Lift until I found these little balls. That said, as wonderful as they are, they are not nearly as cost effective as Microb-Lift products especially when purchased in pond size.
awesome, thank you.
 
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