My brother told me to buy it but after reading some in these forums Cycle doesn't sound so great.
So what do you think about Cycle?
So what do you think about Cycle?
The Nitrogen Cycle
You remember this from fourth grade: Animal waste(feces and urine), decaying food, plants and animals, create nitrogen that passes into compounds that form ammonia. Ammonia is a highly reactive, toxic gas to animals.
Ammonia is oxidized by the “good” bacteria and turns into nitrites and then nitrates. Nitrates are used as plant food and enter the nitrogen cycle once again.
In the natural world this is going on continuously. In the tank world, you must give a helping hand to the process by doing routine water changes to reduce the ammonia, and not over feeding, which will increase the waste.
A high nitrate level will cause stress on fish and make them more susceptible to disease. The uneaten food, decaying plants and fish waste can be removed using mechanical filtration. This is why you will need a test kit to check for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.
The old way to re-create this cycle in an aquarium is to set everything up, add a few “disposable” fish, then wait 4-6 weeks until the “good bacteria” which convert ammonia into nitrites into nitrates have become established. It is very common at this point for the stress caused by toxic ammonia and / or nitrites to kill some or in extreme cases all of starter fish, no matter how hardy they're supposed to be. In addition, it's a well-known fact that the damage caused by high ammonia levels to the gills of a fish is, to some extent at least, permanent.
Once the tank has been fully cycled, you can start adding fish slowly, usually at a rate of a couple every week or two, until capacity is reached. This slow addition allows time for the relatively small bacteria culture on filter to grow until it can handle the increased bio-load. If done incorrectly, for example by adding too many fish at once after the cycle, an ammonia/nitrites spike can occur before the bacterial colony can adjust.
This method took an average of 4 – 6 weeks, and the fish had to be introduced slowly as opposed to putting all fish in at the same time.
Born on the Internet just a few years ago was a new, faster harmless way to cycle tank.
If you mention fishless cycling at pet store, you'll most likely get rolling of the eyes, incredulous looks, or blank stares. They rather sell you the fish now, and then sell you an armload of medications and water preparations when fish start dying from ammonia poisoning.
Fishless Cycling is actually a tradition started on the internet, refined and popularized by Chris Cow. This technique of using store-bought ammonia is becoming quite popular, and for very good reason. The method uses store bought ammonia (plain ammonium hydroxide, if you can get it) to prime the bacterial “nitrifying” process that metabolize ammonia to harmless nitrate in aquariums.
In order to properly cycle a tank, all that's required is the filter media, water movement (to supply oxygen to the bacterial colonies), an introduction of the right type of bacteria, and a source of ammonia.
First step is to start everything up and add a few potted plants (their roots contain all of the necessary bacteria, and the plants themselves do not seem to be harmed by this process). You can also add some gravel from an established tank. Most fish store employees will provide this free. On the first day, add 4 – 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons (It will be more or less depending on the grade of ammonia). You should get a reading on ammonia kit of about 5 ppm. Record the amount of ammonia this took, and then add that amount daily until you get a nitrite spike. Once you have nitrites, cut the ammonia back to half the previous amount per day until the nitrites disappear.
You will know that you have finished the cycle when all of ammonia and nitrite levels are 0 and pH has stabilized. (This means the number is not jumping around but staying consistent). The tank should be able to cycle through the additional doses of ammonia chloride within a couple of days of addition if bacterial populations are sufficient. The whole process usually takes anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks, depending on the fish tank.
Once the tank has been cycled, the bacterial colony created by this method can handle a large fish load immediately. The amount of ammonia added to the tank during the cycle is significantly higher than what would be contributed by a small number of hardy fish, therefore, a much larger, healthier bacterial colony exists at the end of the cycle using ammonia than would if you used fish.
"Cycling" a new aquarium is easy. It's inevitable, in fact, if you'll give it time. Nitrifying bacteria are so apt to scavenge any source of nitrogen--— whether in the form of ammonia or as nitrite--— that it takes some pretty good lab technique to keep suitable cultures free of them.
Sources of Ammonia
Household "ammonia" is a fairly dilute solution of ammonium hydroxide with some "quality control" agents. To avoid the perfumes, sudsing agents and dyes in consumer-type ammonia cleaning products, look for a generic brand from a hardware store. But don't hunt for a stronger solution: if you go above about 5ppm ammonia at any point, you'll only delay the completing of "cycle." . One good rule of thumb: If it doesn't list the ingredients or say Clear Ammonia (or Pure Ammonia or 100% Ammonia, or Pure Ammonium Hydroxide), then leave it on the shelf and look elsewhere. Shake the bottle if you're not sure about it... ammonia with surfactants will foam, while good ammonia will not.
Sources of Bacteria
1) Filter material (floss, sponge, biowheel, etc.) from an established, disease free tank.
2) Live Plants (preferably potted, leave the rock wool on until cycling is finished). Crypts or Amazon swords are good choices, and not too demanding.
3) Gravel from an established, disease free tank. (Many Fish Store Employees will give this away if asked nicely)
4) Other ornaments (driftwood, rocks, etc.) from an established tank.
5) Water squeezed from an established filter sponge (any Fish Store should be willing to do this...)
There are also a number of commercial bacterial supplements (Cycle, Stress-Zyme, etc.) available. In this author’s opinion, these have very little to no effect, and are best left on the shelf.
There is a pet store alternative to fishless cycling called Bio-Spira. Many products claim to be “cycling bacteria” but really, Bio-Spira is the only one worth anything. Its about $11-15 for enough to treat a 30 gallon tank. It can cycle tank in just a few days. You won't find it at Walmart, Petco, Petsmart or any other big chain store, only at a local shop.
Dr. TI'm Hovanec and a team at Marineland Labs developed this product and put on the market in 2002, which is said to contain a founder population of Nitrospira-type bacteria to start the "cycle." In this case you add fish, but not ammonia! Cycling with Bio-Spira is not fishless cycling. Fish store employees may have had some initial resistance to this product, as it needs to be kept under refrigeration. You can find out more about this interesting development, which is getting good early reviews from fish keepers on the Internet forums, by checking the description at Marineland Labs' website.
If you start cycling with Bio-Spira, you should be able to add the fish almost immediately. If you have already started cycling it may take more than the usual dose and longer than usual to cycle the tank. It’s best to add the Bio-Spira and wait a day. If the levels are dropping after a day wait to see if they drop further. If they are the same or higher after a day, add the rest of the packet.
Too Much Ammonia?
It IS possible to add too much ammonia to the tank (generally several times the amounts suggested in either recipe), If you realize that you've added way too much ammonia simply do a water change, or if necessary a series of water changes to bring the ammonia and/or nitrite levels back into the readable range on test kit. Then proceed as normal with daily additions of ammonia until the tank is cycled.
Fishless Cycling - Once the tank is established
Ammonia levels can be tolerated by most fish up to 1 ppm without permanent damage, nitrites up to 0.25 ppm. So keep it below that and you should be fine. There will be a few fluctuations at the beginning as the bacteria adjust to meet the fish’s needs, but it should be fine.
I understand how other people you know try to but in with their fish knowledge. Everyone I talk to beside the ones on fish forums don't really understand why I'm doing the things I'm doing (mainly fishless cycling, but others decisions I've made about my tank, too) Mainly its about "doing things faster" but I'd rather be patient and do things right.
Ah... would that make me the odd one out to say that I happy with it? I've got a 8 day old tank that I've had to move my betta into and my readings are 0 with Cycle. (Yeah, I'm an evil person). I'm not saying it's a cure all but it does it's job. Or else cycle has nothing to do with it and a 2.5 gal tank can cycle in 4 days. I'm not really an expert on it. Anyway I'd listen to the people with more experience.
ive got questions tho..for a tank to be cycled in 8 days, what test kit are you using? and are your nitrates 0?
My boyfriend keeps needling me to put more Barbs and Tetras in my tank, and some snails, and a frog, and this, and that, and...
When I try to explain that it will be too overstocked with very many more critters in there, he tells me I'm crazy because they're "just little fish". The words "huge bioload" only draw a blank stare...
Welcome to fishkeeping in a house full of newbs.
Welcome to FishLore!
My reply to your post is going to be very long-winded, but I wish someone had given me all of this information when I first started, so that I didn't have such a headache with daily water changes and burying the casualties... my fish. So please excuse me ahead of time, I'm hoping this helps you and anyone else that stumbles upon it with the same question.
First: Cycle is garbage; throw it away, and read this instead:
Note: Cycling with fish is time-consuming, more expensive, and more importantly: cruel! Don't do it.
All of the above was taken directly from and edit for grammar, punctuation and spelling... because I'm an English nut. ;P
Whew... Class dismissed!
This is all correct information, but there is an update. The makers of BioSpira have come up with a new product called Tetra Safe Start. It is a form of BioSpira that does not need to be kept refrigerated. Although none of the PetSmarts/Petcos/Walmarts/lfs in my area seem to carry it, many on this forum have found it locally.