New To Freshwater Cycling And Seeding Question

  • #1
Hello all!

I'm ABOUT to setup my first ever (properly setup) freshwater aquarium for my betta. I have a 5 gal. Fluval Speck V. I'm going to have a couple small live plants in it with some Marimo balls and pool sand for substrate. I've ordered an API test kit, but just have some test strips for now.

I CURRENTLY have the betta in a bowl with a heater (that's barely doing the job), some gravel, a Marimo ball, two nerite snails, two live grass-like small plants, and no filter . I am doing 20-25% water changes every few days with a gravel vacuum.

I recently had a betta die and did a complete water change and washed and scrubbed everything in the bowl in hot water only. I now have had a new betta in the bowl (was not fully aware of cycling and proper fish care before I bought a new one) for going on a week.

I've been checking the water parameters (with my test strips. I know these are not the most accurate) and it looks like the water is good. 0 nitrite and low nitrates and 0 ammonia.


1. After testing with a proper test kit and if I get the same results I had with strips can I assume the tank is cycled due to leftover good bacteria from the previous attempt at fish keeping before I washed everything? I had a betta in the bowl for about 8 months previously.

2. Could I use some substrate, plants, etc. from this bowl to help accelerate the cycle for my new tank or should I do a fresh cycle without using anything from the bowl?

Thanks in advance and look forward to getting to know some of you folks!
Rohit mess
  • #2
Welcome to fishlore kenho21,
Since you have washed all the stuff with tapwater, it will not help in cycling your 5gal. (As normally tap water contains chlorine/chloramine which kills beneficial bacteria)
Take some substrate/filter media from your friend to help accelerate cycling.

Also go through the below article (if you haven't already). It will really help you to get the basics.
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
In simple words, Your cycle will be complete when you reach step 3:
Step1: high ammonia, no nitrites, no nitrate
Step2: ammonia reduced, rising nitrite, no nitrate
Step3: zero ammonia, zero nitrite, signs of nitrate
Step 1 & 2 takes less time while step3 takes longer.
You can check other similar threads and articles for more detail.
Happy fishing
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks so much for the reply!

I have read through that post and will be using that guide as my reference for the cycle and it seems to be pretty thorough and pragmatic.

I don't have any friends that have tanks to borrow media from, but would getting some from a pet store be appropriate or would that be considered poor etiquette to ask a LFS I don't yet have a great working relationship with?
Rohit mess
  • #4
I think the lfs will gladly help.
In my area I will get around a gallon of water from the tank in which the fish was kept (conditions apply: water parameters, are there any dead fish, are there any sick fish).
The cycling will take around 3weeks normally.
Many here don't trust strips much. ApI kit is accurate according to all experienced fishkeepers here. (I have never used either)
Happy fishkeeping
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Okay, sweet.

I'll stop by one later and see if they're willing to help me out.

I appreciate the help!

One more question...

if I'm able to use some media from an established tank and doing a fishless cycle, do I still proceed with the normal procedure as I would if the cultured media wasn't in the picture and the cycle will just be accelerated? Orrr is the process different?
Rohit mess
  • #6
Process is same. Getting a media from established tank means having BB ready, instead of cultivating them anew on a new filter media.
So it will jus speed up the process and make tank ready for the betta sooner.
Also make sure to post the pics in the betta section.
All the best
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I will surely post some pics and give credit where credit is due for helping me get there!

Again, I really appreciate it!
  • #8
Let's keep it simple since you already have the Betta. My wife has a Fluval SpecV and she loves it.
Set the tank up, got to the store grab some Seachem Prime, 25w heater and Tetra Safe Start Plus (TSS+).
Add 10 drops of Prime, wait 24 hours, then add the whole bottle of TSS+. Add your Betta, and don't do anything for two full weeks. All you have to do is feed your Betta...that is all.
After two weeks, do a water change, test your water, and you should be cycled.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I've heard of using chemicals to get the process started and accelerate it. Definitely a route I'll consider as well. Thank you

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