08-17-2008, 07:43 PM
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The cycling process only involves the biowheels. As bacteria grow on the biowheels, Ammonia and Nitrite will be removed from the aquarium, resulting in readings of zero for each. Because the bacteria grow on the biowheels, these should never be cleaned. Without the bacteria, fish can not live in an aquarium.
So, to answer your question, yes you can cycle without the blue filter pads, because these pads do not grow bacteria. And by definition, the growth of bacteria is the "cycle".
However, these filter pads are still very usefull. They remove suspended particles from the water helping to keep it "clean" to the eye. Similarly, the carbon trays absorb organic acids from the water, helping it to sparkle and look clear in appearance. Each of these are designed for the aquarium to look nicer to the observer, so their use during the cycling process is optional.