Cycling a 2 gal. starter tank? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-30-2010, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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Cycling a 2 gal. starter tank?

My wife bought our 5 yr. old daughter a 2 gallon starter tank 3 months ago and did not really follow protocol after reading some posts here. Never cycled the tank from the beginning, no heater and bought one fantail goldfish. The fantail just died last night after 3 months in this tank. Needless to say even though this was not my idea in the first place (to buy a fish tank), I want to do it right this time around.

Anyway my question is about cycling. Is it necessary to cycle a small 2 gallon tank before placing any fish in?
Also can I use distilled water to start versus say the tap water? Also how long will it take to cycle a 2 gallon tank? I plan to buy a small heater for this tank and maybe some Hornwort plants to help with the fish waste. Any tips on start up will be most appreciated.

P.S. The post below me scared me as he says it cna take up to 3 months to cycle a 5 gallon hex.
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post #2 of 3 Old 05-30-2010, 09:16 AM
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How often were you changing and cleaning the tank with the old fish? 2 gallon tank for a 6 inch goldfish is quite small i think. You would need something like a 10 gal tank for that fish to give it room to swim and for the ammonia levels to not spike to big levels. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

I think this will have mixed reviews as to whether or not you have to cycle your tank but if you want to be safe then cycling is always a safe bet. But it means getting a chemistry set to watch for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes, changing a quarter of the tank water once a week or even daily to make sure the levels stay low and so on.

Other choice you could do (and my younger sister does this) is you change the water weekly and clean everything weekly including the gravel. She rinses it off in hot water and scrubs the decorative plants and chest she has. This makes sure that her Betta is never in a bacteria filled world and so there is nothing to harm him.

As how the length, Cycling can take anything as short as 3 weeks to something long like 2 months. My 20gal tank took 1 and a half months. I never knew of the fishless cycle at the time and got hardy fish right away. The benefit to this is that the tank cycles while you already have some fish it but they have to be hardy to withstand the ammonia spikes. Some fish are really sensitive and can die quite quickly if they don't enter an established tank. If you want to stay to tropical fish, Some people will disagree with me, but a couple of male Guppy's would be perfect for your tank. They don't get any bigger than about 1-1 1/2 inches and they are really colourful and enjoy swimming too. They are quite hardy for a new tank tho some people say otherwise.

If the fish in cycle is no good for you check this link out by iamntbatman for other options as to cycling your tank.

He helped me out when I first started here and hopefully he doesnt mind that I share his link with other people. Goodluck!

PS. if you plan to stay with goldfish then don't put tropical fish into your tank. They produce different kinds of waste and they create different kinds of bacteria in the tank.

Last edited by Guko; 05-30-2010 at 09:19 AM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-30-2010, 11:39 AM
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As explained in the link posted by Guko, all fish tanks must be cycled, it is just nature. That link explains it very well.

What sort of fish are you planning? Presumably not goldfish since you now realize your tank is much too small for any goldfish to be healthy. Weekly partial water changes are usually required in any fish tank and using tap water is certainly the easiest and less expensive method of providing the replacement water. The type of fish should match your tap water parameters. Do you know the hardness and pH of the tap water? Your water board will usually provide this data. Once we know that, I'm sure members will have suggestions for suitable fish in a small tank.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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