12-18-2010, 08:50 PM
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As to how long it takes, it will vary from tank to tank depending on how big it is, how many fish, what sort of fish, how much food you are adding, things like that.
In my 2 small tanks that I have data for, the 35-litre showed nitrites after 24 days and I got the 75-litre on about 19 March and recorded nitrites around 13 April. That doesn't really help you much, because they are different sizes to yours and I had different fish in, but if it is in any way indicative of what to expect then you might have a couple of weeks to wait before seeing your nitrites.
As for changing the water. I am no fish expert but this is my opinion. Ammonia and nitrites are what are harmful to fish. The number one priority is to keep the fish in the best conditions you can, which means keeping those chemicals as low as you can. Getting them low means frequent water changes. I changed my water every day (once I did it twice when I couldn't tell the colour very well and thought nitrites might have been high). My fish survived.
I did a lot of reading. One forum post or article was an analysis by a guy as to whether frequent water changes lengthen the time taken to cycle and he concluded from his mathematics that it didn't. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have bookmarked it. In any case, even if doing daily water changes lengthened the time my tanks took to cycle (which is what you mostly see being said on forums), I don't care. I only cared about my fish.
I don't know how much ammonia is considered a spike but I never got a reading over 0.1.