Originally Posted by clayton1169
while back when I was starting my fist tank I used a product called stress zyme which from what I remember helps build bio in tank
There are mixed reviews on whether or not Stress Zyme helps...some swear by it, others think it does nothing. I personally feel it helped cycle my tank much faster than normal. I used it on my 29 gallon and it fully cycled in 2 weeks. I used it on my 5 gallon tank, and it cycled in a week.
The comments about the ammonia and such spiking, then evening out is the correct answer for how to tell if a tank has cycled, and you can not tell that unless you have some sort of water testing kit. I agree that the liquid master tests are more accurate, but sometimes we cant afford them, in which case strips will work as some sort of guideline.
As far as water changes go, I personally would never do more than a 50% water change in any tank 55 gal and below, but that is just me. I believe smaller more frequent water changes are more effective. Even though my tank is established and cycled, I still only do a 25-35% water change once a week. Now, since I am having a cloudy issue due to either algae or phosfates (spelling?), I am doing a 50% water change ever 3 days to help combat it.
And I would NEVER do a 100% water change on a tank...regardless of what beneficial bacteria is in the gravel, filter, or where ever else, this could still send your tank into a new cycle.