Hi, I'm new to aquariums and fish. So, my husband bought a 10 gallons tank on a whim, put water, conditioner, and Aquafin Cycle (which is what you get pretty much everywhere here in Montreal, Quebec). He let it run empty for a week and went back for fishes. And then the kid dumped a whole bunch of food, which basically killed all the fish in 2-3 weeks. Now that we're wiser, we're trying to do it right. Husband and kid are aware that we'll need a full cycle before buying fish, so at least a few weeks. No more goldfish, I want cuter. Well check the stock threads to make our choice. Got the API softwater master kit. Water, just after conditioner and within 20 Minutes of adding Cycle has the following characteristics: pH: 8.0 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0.1 (or 0.01, the first color after 0, anyway) Nitrates: about the same (we washed the gravel in a colander but some crud remained) Water Hardness: city says that the hardness is 116 mg/l (so 11.6?). I started cycling fish less with a few flakes of food last night and a few more this morning. We're planning on buying a used 30 gallons tank on Kijiji today. Questions: - Is a pinch of flakes twice a day enough to start a cycle in a 10g or should I be more aggressive? Assume I don't have access to pure ammonia. Alternative suggestions are welcome. - The 30g will come with filter, gravel, etc. (It's pretty much full equipped.) Assuming everything is dry, are the bacteria still in there and giving us a quasi-instant cycle? How long do bacteria survive out of water? - If the new tank has lost all beneficial bacteria, what's the quickest way to getting both tanks up and running? Both tanks at once, or one after another (in which case, which tank first)?