11-11-2008, 07:39 AM
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Water changes are not detrimental to cycling your aquarium. Remember, ammonia in the water is EXCESS that the bacteria cannot process. So long as there is some ammonia in the water bacteria will continue to grow and thrive. Unless you do a 100% water change you're not going to remove all the ammonia from the system. I've seen it tested several times and water changes have no real effect on cycling time. That being said there's really no reason to bother changing the water if you're cycling fishlessly.
Remember, you're cycling a 20 gallon tank and have several rather small fish. It'll take them a while to produce a detectable amount of ammonia. It's in there since there are fish, but it's going to take a while for you to detect it.