This Guide Rely's On A (25%+) Over Powered Filter
To with-out doubt keep your ammonia and nitrite at =0
Your bio filter has good bacteria on the sponge
it's job is to break down the bad bacteria
Bad bacteria's are:
Influenza < (left by Apple Snail's and similar (but is good for Fry)
Your filter breaks down these bacteria in this way (made simple)
Fish waste create's the bad bacteria called Ammonia.
The Ammonia takes this path after the good bacteria eats it's corresponding bad bacteria
Ammonia (Into> Nitrite
Nitrite (Into> Nitrate
so we are only left with the Nitrate
Now this Nitrate is what can cause the problems that many fear.
Hence every one's obsession with tank cycles however this obsession is totally pointless.
The reason i say that this obsession is pointless is the fact that.
Nitrate is broken up in many many ways and if the wrong environment is created in the first place then over time this will creep up at a steady rate and finally will cause a spike which are normally deadly to your stock.
(Hence the obsession with overly frequent water changes.)
ANY WATER CHANGE WILL CAUSE STRESS. < FACT<
Now yes the fish will be less stressed if the water quality is improved,
HOWEVER far too many people do water changes as party of THERE weekly/monthly routine.
Causing stress with little if any improvement to the water quality in most cases.
(This is the problem that even some of the very best keepers make.)
Avoiding the stress of the water change is ALWAYS the best way.
Another way to look at it is when i used to manage my dads 800 liter (180 gallon) tank.
Do you really think we did even yearly cycles.
The answer is no never, not even once in the whole 12 years of having the tank,
with readings of 0 Ammonia or Nitrite and a very low Nitrate count 4.0 PPM AVRG.
AND NO USE OF CHEMICALS
4 KEY FACTS TO RID OF YOUR NITRATE.
1. Enough oxygen. (So plants are helpful here but not necessarily vital as we can add air stones.)
2. The amount of light
(Now you do have to keep your light on for the right amount of time for your fish, however the right sized light and power rating is vital)
3. Also over-feeding directly add's to the Nitrate and marginally to the Ammonia and Nitrite.
4. Temp also plays its part higher the better in terms of the Nitrate.
However bear in mind you would be more likely to get a bacteria infection with your fish and it would also grow faster if you did.
parameters to aim for =
Ammoinia = LESS than 0.35 PPM
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = Between 4.0 PPM and 30.0 PPM (0 Nitrate is not as good as people make out)
That smaller tanks will change much quicker and therefore need a closer eye keeping on them and also need more frequent check of Ammonia and Nitrate you can check the nitrite if you like.
A Prime example of a Very Stable And adequate Environment using no chemicals or cycles is:
My 4FT Tank. (40 Gallon)
My fish need a ph of around 6.3 - 6.4 PH
(Very hard water in my area so other peoples tanks sit at about 8.0 with the water from my area.)
So i added a 3CM thick layer of aquatic peat to the back half of the tank before adding the gravel.
Now after 4.5 - 6 months after starting my tank the PH had only just dropped bellow 6.0 PH,
this is after it sitting steady at 6.5 - 6.2 for the whole time. (I do a 25% cycle after it drops bellow 6.0)
I also have a 8" (inch) air bar/curtain and 6 plants.
I use a 40 watt day light tube and give 10 hours of light.
Now as i plan to over stock a little i have used an over powered filter.
Recommended filter size is about's 400 liter an hour so i use a 600 liter an hour.
This setup means that my nitrate levels are very steady.
Also the over powered filter making sure that there is absolutely no chance of any ammonia or nitrite.
Hope the info and added understanding has helped.