New To Tank Cycling

KodaAndMe
  • #1
HI
I’m a betta owner, not new to Bettas but new to cycling

BACKGROUN I have had 3 Bettas in the past , 2 lived to be about 4years old - I had them for 3 of those years as they were a year when I got them- their tanks were 2.5gallons each and uncycled - I did water changes once a week.
3rd betta I only had a week unfortunately as he had severe fin rot which became body rot within first couple of days despite my best efforts of 50% changes daily and prime.

TANKS : 2 x 16litres 5 gallon tanks, heated , filtered, gravel - only been set up 5 days and 6days

CONDITIONER: prime and stability

FISH: betta Halfmoon males x2 (one in each tank )

I’m new to tank cycling, I’m cycling fish in ( one betta in each 5 gallon ) so far I’m on day 5 with one tank and 6 with the other.
I’ve so far done 50% water change daily , not vacuuming gravel nor touching filter. Adding 1ml stability and 1/2 ml prime each day at change.
I’m waiting on API master test kit to arrive tomorrow but the chemistry is a bit over my head. What should I expect readings of this early in? And I presume I test before water change?
Anything else I should know for a first timer ?
 
jdhef
  • #2
With a 5 gallon tank with a lone betta, your ammonia will not raise to quickly. So here is what I would do to get the tank cycled. (Well it's not actually what I would do, since I would use Tetra SafeStart, but here's what I would do if I had Prime and Stability):

1) Keep up what you are doing until your test kit arrives
2) Once your test kit arrives, test every 24 hours
2A) If ammonia+nitrite is less than 1ppm add enough Prime to the tank to treat all 5 gallons)
2B) If ammonia+nitrite is equal to or greater than 1ppm, perform a 50% water change with enough Prime to treat all 5 g
3) Keep this up until the tank cycles (i.e. 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and some nitrates)

While doing the above also use Stability per the instructions on he bottle.

Best of luck!
 
KodaAndMe
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you
 
jdhef
  • #4
You are welcome.
 
KodaAndMe
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
7.2 ph
7.5ish high range ph
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrite
0 nitrate

So keep doing 50% daily changes ?
 
jdhef
  • #6
With 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite, there is no need for a water change. The purpose of water changes while cycling is to keep ammonia and nitrite low enough for Prime to totally detox ammonia and nitrite.
 
KodaAndMe
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Ok so I just test daily and do change if above 0 for ammonia or nitrite? And is it once the nitrate is above 0 is that when I’ll know tank is cycled?
I’m using stability at water change as well as prime at water change as I was told that will make it cycle faster

Also I redid the nitrate as I just found another post about how you need to shake the #2 bottle a lot. It’s not at 5.0 ppm but looks to be between 0 and 5

Nitrate
 

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jdhef
  • #8
See my reply in post #2 of this thread.
 
BENT17
  • #9
Hi all,

This is all new to me so please have some patience. I have been reading and watching loads of videos to educate myself as much as possible. I just set up my 200L tank with substrate, live plants and wood. Tank is 4 days long and after 2nd day water got cloudy. Seems like the bacteria bloom is starting. Did my first 30% water change which didnt seem to change the cloudy water. Water changea are going to be twice weekly at 30% and after 1 month they go to once weekly at 50%

How will I know that my tanks cycle is completed? Am I doing anything wrong so far?
 
Dennis57
  • #10
Hi, and Welcome to Fishlore.
Once the nitrate-forming bacteria take hold, nitrite levels fall, nitrate levels rise, and the tank is fully cycled. Your tank is fully cycled once nitrates are being produced (and ammonia and nitrite levels are zero).
If you do not have a test kit I would recommend you go out a buy one the API master test kit is a good 1
 
BENT17
  • #11
Hi, and Welcome to Fishlore.
Once the nitrate-forming bacteria take hold, nitrite levels fall, nitrate levels rise, and the tank is fully cycled. Your tank is fully cycled once nitrates are being produced (and ammonia and nitrite levels are zero).
If you do not have a test kit I would recommend you go out a buy one the API master test kit is a good 1
Will be picking uo the master kit tomorrow thanks! So i need to do a test and when ammonia and nitrite is zero and nitrates are up. So being on day 5.. whats the frequenty of tests do I need to do? And how much should the nitrates be to be in the clear?
 
fishnovice33
  • #12
Are you feeding it ammonia?

First step - keep track of ammonia levels.

Keep ammonia around 2-3 ppm.

Your water change schedule is perfect. Water changes help cycle. Be sure to add dechlorinator every time or risk stunting the process. And add ammonia if needed to get back to 2-3.

Once your ammonia starts coming down keep adding so levels stay at 2-3. But start looking for nitrites (3-4 weeks).

Eventually nitrites will go to nitrates. Keep ammonia at 2-3.

If you wake up one day with no ammonia and no nitrites (with or without nitrates), add ammonia again to get 2-3 ppm.

If the next morning and morning after you’re back at 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites after maintaining 2-3 ammonia the day before - you’re done and at that point you should see nitrates which will probably be very high since you’re at the end of cycling, which is fine.

I like to wake up to 0/0/0-40 Am/Ni/Na three mornings in a row after confirming 2-3 ppm ammonia the day before to be sure. One day is not enough to be sure.

Water change to get Nitrates <40 but <20 is ideal.
 
BENT17
  • #13
OK so Basically I need to have 0/0/0-40 Am/Ni/Na 3 mornings in a row to have my tank fully cycled.
I realised that I am getting a kind of moss/ algae on my wood. Is that part of the cycle? Should I clean it? Also Should I be testing the water every day or still early days?
And what about the foggy water and the wood "algae" Do I leave it as it is? will it hurt my plants?
 
mattgirl
  • #14
First I have to ask. Do you have fish in this tank or are you doing a fishless cycle? If you have fish in there you will have to do water changes pretty often. If there are no fish, water changes won't have to be done as often and you will have to supply the ammonia the fish would be producing if there were any in there.

We can't water change away cloudy water. Only time will clear it up.
 
BENT17
  • #15
It is a fishless tank. Its been up 5 days and now started seeing a lot of white slime/film on the wood substrate and plants ( Apart from the cloudy water) I am buying the masterclass test kit so I will know my levels are. If the tank is not cycled yet can I get some shrimps to clear it out?
 
ForceTen
  • #16
It is a fishless tank. Its been up 5 days and now started seeing a lot of white slime/film on the wood substrate and plants ( Apart from the cloudy water) I am buying the masterclass test kit so I will know my levels are. If the tank is not cycled yet can I get some shrimps to clear it out?
Remove at least 1/2 of the water and replace it with treated water. I use Prime.
Clean everything that can be cleaned.
Order a bottle of Seachem Stability and follow the directions. You can have fish almost right away if you like.
 
BENT17
  • #17
I only did one water change as I will be doing 30% twice a week for a month then 50% every week after. With every water change I put in prime and I dose 5ml of flurish every other day. Should I clean all the slime or get some shrimps in to clean up? Or let nature thake its course?
 
mattgirl
  • #18
It is a fishless tank. Its been up 5 days and now started seeing a lot of white slime/film on the wood substrate and plants ( Apart from the cloudy water) I am buying the masterclass test kit so I will know my levels are. If the tank is not cycled yet can I get some shrimps to clear it out?
Since this is a fishless cycle you will have to provide the ammonia. Ammonia is food for the bacteria. Without it the cycle will not start. That ammonia source can be liquid ammonia, crushed up fish flakes or even a piece of raw shrimp. Others may have other suggestions.

No, shrimp will not survive the cycling process. It isn't at all unusual for the slime to grow on new wood. You can pull it out and clean it off but it will keep coming back until it has run its course.

What kind of filter are you using on this tank?

Once you get your test kit share the parameters of both your source (tap) water and tank water and we can better help you. .
 
BENT17
  • #19
Since this is a fishless cycle you will have to provide the ammonia. Ammonia is food for the bacteria. Without it the cycle will not start. That ammonia source can be liquid ammonia, crushed up fish flakes or even a piece of raw shrimp. Others may have other suggestions.

No, shrimp will not survive the cycling process. It isn't at all unusual for the slime to grow on new wood. You can pull it out and clean it off but it will keep coming back until it has run its course.

What kind of filter are you using on this tank?

Once you get your test kit share the parameters of both your source (tap) water and tank water and we can better help you. .
Thanks for the reply. I am using a sicce whale 350 in a 200L tank.
Yeah I know I just hate a brand new (Expensive) setup and having all that slime appearing..
 
mattgirl
  • #20
Thanks for the reply. I am using a sicce whale 350 in a 200L tank.
Yeah I know I just hate a brand new (Expensive) setup and having all that slime appearing..
That should handle this size tank. The slime and cloudy water is just part of it. Get your ammonia source in there to get the cycle going and in a month or so this tank should be ready for fish.
 
BENT17
  • #21
Since this is a fishless cycle you will have to provide the ammonia. Ammonia is food for the bacteria. Without it the cycle will not start. That ammonia source can be liquid ammonia, crushed up fish flakes or even a piece of raw shrimp. Others may have other suggestions.

No, shrimp will not survive the cycling process. It isn't at all unusual for the slime to grow on new wood. You can pull it out and clean it off but it will keep coming back until it has run its course.

What kind of filter are you using on this tank?

Once you get your test kit share the parameters of both your source (tap) water and tank water and we can better help you. .

Just got my test kit and this is my first result.. What do you think? has the cycle started?

By the way whats the difference between PH and High range ph?
 

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mattgirl
  • #22
Just got my test kit and this is my first result.. What do you think? has the cycle started?

By the way whats the difference between PH and High range ph?
Seeing nitrites this high is strange. Run all the tests on your tap water. Let's see if that is where the nitrites are coming from. You don't need to run the high pH test. It is for those who's pH is higher than the normal test. No ammonia means the bacteria has no food and seeing no nitrates tells us your cycle hasn't started.

Let's see the readings for your tap water. Be sure you pay close attention to the instructions for the nitrate test. There are a couple of extra steps that must be taken to get an accurate reading.
 
BENT17
  • #23
Seeing nitrites this high is strange. Run all the tests on your tap water. Let's see if that is where the nitrites are coming from. You don't need to run the high pH test. It is for those who's pH is higher than the normal test. No ammonia means the bacteria has no food and seeing no nitrates tells us your cycle hasn't started.

Let's see the readings for your tap water. Be sure you pay close attention to the instructions for the nitrate test. There are a couple of extra steps that must be taken to get an accurate reading.
You want me to redo the test for the nitrite or nitrate?
 
mattgirl
  • #24
You want me to redo the test for the nitrite or nitrate?
It is always a good idea to run all 4 tests on the water we use for our tanks. By knowing those numbers we will have a base line to start with. We need to know the pH of your tap water. Some folks have ammonia, nitrites or nitrates in their tap water. We need to know if yours has any of them.

I am sorry I confused you. It is unusual to see nitrites at this point so I need to know if what you are seeing may be coming from the tap.

I was also pointing out the extra steps when doing the nitrate test. You need to shake bottle number 2 really well. I actually bang it against the palm of my hand to make sure the sediment in the bottle is broken loose and mixed in well. If this isn't done each time this bottle is used you won't get and accurate number. Then you need to shake the test tube for a full minute after adding drops from each of the 2 bottles. The color you see at 5 minutes after you have shaken it for a minute is your true reading.
 
BENT17
  • #25
ooooooooooooook.... So i didnt shake it so well.. Nitrate and nitrite results below!!
 

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mattgirl
  • #26
If this is in your tank then it is well on its way to being cycled but something seems to be missing. I don't know how are you getting these results if there has been no ammonia source.

Nitrites are basically ammonia eating bacteria poop. Nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. If there has been no ammonia there should be no ammonia eating bacteria poop nor nitrite bacteria poop. You said you added live plants and wood. Where did the wood come from? Did it come from a cycled tank? Are your plants healthy or are some of them melting? Melting plants have been known to produce ammonia but it still wouldn't have happened this fast. We are missing something.

You have me thoroughly stumped because I have never see a cycle move this fast and 'specially from what you have told me, there has been no ammonia added to this tank.

Have you run the tests on your tap water yet?
 
BENT17
  • #27
If this is in your tank then it is well on its way to being cycled but something seems to be missing. I don't know how are you getting these results if there has been no ammonia source.

Nitrites are basically ammonia eating bacteria poop. Nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. If there has been no ammonia there should be no ammonia eating bacteria poop nor nitrite bacteria poop. You said you added live plants and wood. Where did the wood come from? Did it come from a cycled tank? Are your plants healthy or are some of them melting? Melting plants have been known to produce ammonia but it still wouldn't have happened this fast. We are missing something.

You have me thoroughly stumped because I have never see a cycle move this fast and 'specially from what you have told me, there has been no ammonia added to this tank.

Have you run the tests on your tap water yet?
Yeah I stumped it for a minute! Let me do another ammonia test
Yeah I stumped it for a minute! Let me do another ammonia test

New test of ammonia
 

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mattgirl
  • #28
No ammonia but high nitrites and high nitrates this soon in the cycle doesn't make sense.

Run all 4 tests, ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates on your tap water straight out of the faucet. That will tell us if any of this came from the tap.
 
BENT17
  • #29
And this is the water from the well before going into the tank
 

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mattgirl
  • #30
This tells us where the nitrates are coming from.

You may have to end up running some crushed coral in your filter to hold the pH up to the number you are seeing straight from the well since it seems to drop once it has been in the tank for a few days. This reading tells us your well water lacks the buffers necessary to stabilize the pH.

What it doesn't tell us is where the high nitrites are coming from. The only thing I can suggest at this point is you add an ammonia source. As I said before there are several ways to do that when doing a fishless cycle. Should you choose to use fish food I recommend you use high protein flakes crushed really well. For the first week add a pinch daily. After the first week just add a pinch every third day.

Should you choose to use a piece of raw shrimp be prepared for it to get to smelling pretty bad so you will have to remove and replace every few days. Ammonia will show up quicker when using shrimp instead of flakes.

In my humble opinion the best option is liquid ammonia and flakes. Lots of folks use Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride. You can control the amount of ammonia when using liquid ammonia and by adding fish flakes too you will be providing everything the bacteria needs. This thread explains my thoughts on adding both. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380
 
BENT17
  • #31
Thanks for the update. What I have is goldfish flakes I don't rekkon thats enough right? The well water comes directly from.the water table so could it be thats the issue?
Also in my filter I have added purigen and matrix..
 
mattgirl
  • #32
Thanks for the update. What I have is goldfish flakes I don't rekkon thats enough right? The well water comes directly from.the water table so could it be thats the issue?
Also in my filter I have added purigen and matrix..
The goldfish flakes should work. I would remove the purigen. You really don't want any kind of chemical type media running while doing a fishless cycle. Even if it doesn't affect the process it isn't needed at this point.
 
BENT17
  • #33
Ok so I put a pinch of food every day? Makes a diff if with lights on or off?
Also can Co2 be effecting this in any way?
 
mattgirl
  • #34
Ok so I put a pinch of food every day? Makes a diff if with lights on or off?
Also can Co2 be effecting this in any way?
Lights shouldn't affect the cycling process. Higher temps help bacteria grow so raising it up to at least 80 should also help. Bacteria growth slows down when the pH drops down to 6.5. It almost stops when it gets down to 6 or lower. A tank will cycle at the lower levels but it will happen very very slowly. C02 may by why the pH is lower in the tank than in the tap.

Hopefully you will start getting an ammonia reading in a few days. The food has to start decomposing before forming ammonia.
 
BENT17
  • #35
Ok so my only way to get ammonia kicking is putting a pinch of food daily. Will up the temp as its currently at 25 degrees.. if there is anything else I can do please let me know
 
mattgirl
  • #36
Ok so my only way to get ammonia kicking is putting a pinch of food daily. Will up the temp as its currently at 25 degrees.. if there is anything else I can do please let me know
That is pretty much all you can do at this point. Now it is just a matter of time. Please let me know how things are coming along from time to time.
 
BENT17
  • #37
That is pretty much all you can do at this point. Now it is just a matter of time. Please let me know how things are coming along from time to time.
Will add food now and take readings tomorrow. Just a pinch is enough right?
 
mattgirl
  • #38
Will add food now and take readings tomorrow. Just a pinch is enough right?
Right. I've never cycled with fish food alone but I have to assume if we ghost feed close to what we should be feeding fish it will be enough. Most of us feed too much so just a pinch should be enough. You probably won't get an ammonia reading tomorrow but should before too many days.
 
BENT17
  • #39
On it thanks! Bdw So what happens when I do a water change will I mess the cycle back up? Or when cycle is ready and I do water change will I mess things up?
 
mattgirl
  • #40
On it thanks! Bdw So what happens when I do a water change will I mess the cycle back up? Or when cycle is ready and I do water change will I mess things up?
No, the bacteria isn't free floating in the water. It is growing on all the surfaces in the tank. The strongest colony is going to be on your filter media because that is where the most food is going to be.

Since you are using well water you may not need a water conditioner but back when I was still using well water I added it anyway. I consider it very inexpensive insurance. Temp match the fresh water to the temp in the tank.
 

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