Cycling a Small Tank: Some Questions
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Cycling a Small Tank: Some Questions

This is a discussion on Cycling a Small Tank: Some Questions within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have about a 2-gallon aquarium with a Red Sea Nano filter. I am cycling conditioned (de-chlorinated) water and have been doing so with ...

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Cycling a Small Tank: Some Questions
Old 08-08-2008, 01:25 PM   #1
 
Cycling a Small Tank: Some Questions

I have about a 2-gallon aquarium with a Red Sea Nano filter. I am cycling conditioned (de-chlorinated) water and have been doing so with stuff I remove from the bottom of a non-filtered tank (when I clean it with a turkey-baster).

I don't seem to be doing so well with this cycling thing!

I think I need to add more food or ammonia or something. I'm grossed out by the concept of filling it with food that will just sit in there. Does it ever go away? Does it actually get sucked up by the filter? I'm a little worried about trying straight ammonia, but maybe that's cleaner?

Also...I've been wondering...

- Am I cycling the filter or the water? I don't know if I should ever do full (100%) water changes again or if that requires a new cycle. (From what I've read, it seems like I never do 100% changes again, unless there is an emergency.)

- Should I ever clean the rocks/plants? Or will that take away some of the "good" bacteria?

- Should I continue to get the poop out with a turkey baster, after my betta is in the filtered aquarium? Or should I let the filter do its thing?

- What happens if the filter goes off or if I have to turn it off to change the spongey thingies inside? Will this affect the fish?

- If the fish doesn't like the filter, will it hurt him to stop it, change the water and just continue on with a frequent water changing schedule?

(This is for a single betta.)

Sorry - I'm so new to this!
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:25 PM   #2
 
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first of all, HI and welcome to the forum! You have alot of questions, and i will try to answer some of them. 8)

first of all, if i understood correctly, you are "cycling" your tank by adding waste that you remove from your other tank with a turkey baster? IF this is what you are doing, you should stop. This is not good. Here is a good thread on the different ways that you can effectively cycle your tank: http://www.fishforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3738 I suggest you read it. I wouldnt cycle your tank with the betta IN it, so next easiest way would be to just drop a few flakes in the tank twice a day or so, until your water readings show 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and <10 nitrate.

which leads me to the next issue. you should have a test kit.(if you dont have one) you cannot really effectively cycle your tank without knowing what your water parameters are. i recommend that you purchase a liquid test kit (API) that tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, etc.

in answer to your question, if you cycle by adding food, it will not just sit there, you only need a pinch, and it will dissolve and turn into ammonia.

you should never do a 100% water change, especially while you are cycling. if you arent cycling with fish, you dont need to do any water changes while cycling. after cycling is complete, you can do a 25% water change and then add the fish.(acclimate him though...don't just drop him in.) then you should perform routine weekly water changes with gravel vacuuming. 10-15%.

the good bacteria that build up in your tank will grow everywhere. primarily in your filter media. if you have a HOB filter, there should be two "spongy thingys". one is a carbon filter, that you can change every month(? or whatever is recommended) and another is white. the white one is where your bacteria will grow. you should never change this one. the bacteria will also grow in your substrate (so make sure you have enough) and on decorations, etc.

your fish should not have an aversion to the filter, they are pretty quiet. if for some reason, maintenance, etc, that the filter has to be off for awhile, that is fine. the fish can survive for a day or so without filtration, but its the oxygen in the water that becomes the issue. as long as you stir the water several times a day to promote gas exchange, the fish will be fine. or if you use an airstone, that will work too.

sorry for the long explanation, but hope some of this helps you!!

good luck!
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:45 PM   #3
 
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I think I need to add more food or ammonia or something. I'm grossed out by the concept of filling it with food that will just sit in there. Does it ever go away? Does it actually get sucked up by the filter? I'm a little worried about trying straight ammonia, but maybe that's cleaner?

If you use ammonia, you have to make sure it's pure ammonia and doesn't contain any sorts of fragrances or other ingredients. I've never used it myself but apparently the best place to find it is in hardware stores. If you use fish food, you'll want to just leave it rotting in the tank so that it can act as an ammonia source. Right before you add the fish, you should be doing a water change to bring the nitrate levels down, and you can do this by using your turkey baster to remove the water as well as suck up the food bits from the gravel. You can also use a shrimp to cycle. For a 2g tank, you would only need one of the smallest shrimp they sell at a seafood counter at a grocery store. You can put it in a mesh filter media bag or even some pantyhose so that you can easily remove it when the tank's ready for fish.

- Am I cycling the filter or the water? I don't know if I should ever do full (100%) water changes again or if that requires a new cycle. (From what I've read, it seems like I never do 100% changes again, unless there is an emergency.)

You're cycling the whole tank. Beneficial bacteria will grow on all the surfaces of your tank and small amounts will even be in the water. The vast majority will be in your filter, in the gravel and on your decorations (fake ones, plants, rocks, etc). Although bettas are hardy enough to deal with 100% water changes, it's safer to do probably two 25% changes a week, or one 50% change a week. You shouldn't be doing any water changes at all while you're doing the fishless cycle; you only need to do one right before you add the fish to bring the nitrates down and then do weekly changes after you've added the fish.

- Should I ever clean the rocks/plants? Or will that take away some of the "good" bacteria?

You don't really need to clean them unless they get a lot of algae buildup. When you do clean them, you can just rinse them in tank water and use a soft brush if you need to.

- Should I continue to get the poop out with a turkey baster, after my betta is in the filtered aquarium? Or should I let the filter do its thing?

The filter will only remove particulates that it can suck up, so you should still use the baster to suck stuff out of the gravel during water changes.

- What happens if the filter goes off or if I have to turn it off to change the spongey thingies inside? Will this affect the fish?

Nope. The fish will be fine with the filter off for short periods of time.

- If the fish doesn't like the filter, will it hurt him to stop it, change the water and just continue on with a frequent water changing schedule?

Having a filter is a really good idea. Bettas can be sensitive to current, though, so that could also be an issue. Your Red Sea Nano filter should have a flow control, so you can reduce the water flow if it bugs the fish. Also, changing the water level helps. If your water level is too low, the current throughout the tank will be much higher because the falling water has more chance to speed up as it falls through the air. If you raise your water level to the same as the filter outlet, it will help reduce the current throughout the tank.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:52 PM   #4
 
Thank you both, so much, for all of the information. I can't express how much it has helped.

Everything makes more sense, now.

(I do have a water test kit (API, liquid) and will definitely test different flow control settings on my filter.)

This board has been an awesome reference for me and I look forward to trying to help others, when I have some experience and knowledge!

:D
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:09 PM   #5
Kim
 
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I have used pure ammonia, and it worked perfectly for me. I tried fish food, but the ammonia never built up, and I got impatient and switched to ammonia. Speaking from experience, fish food all over your tank is HORRIBLE to pick up. Ammonia is also more accurate. Well, that is just my opinion, hope it helps :) .
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