cycling question please help
I have a 10 gallon tank with a bubble eye and a guppy in it. I just bought them a new 30 gallon home. I keep reading that I need to cycle my tank (I did not do this a year ago when i got my fish.) How do you cycle the tank, how long do i have to wait to add my bubble eye and guppy? And is it absolutely necessary to cycle before adding my fish. It seems to me that it will start cycling after I add the fish.
I'm in the dark on this subject so any help would be great
The basic how to is to set up the tank with the filter, decorations, sand or gravel etc. The next step is to find a source of ammonia to start the process. Then you monitor the chemistry while bacteria become established that will convert ammonia to nitrites and eventually more bacteria become established that convert nitrites to nitrates. The whole time, you need to maintain the source of ammonia on the front end so the various bacteria have a food source and don't die off. The problem of using fish as the ammonia source is that the ammonia will rise until the bacteria become established and the ammonia is hard on the fish. Once the nitrites start showing up, they are also hard on the fish. The 2 ways around damaging fish are to use an artificial, non-fish, source of ammonia so it won't hurt the fish or option 2 is to do water changes often enough to control both the ammnia and nitrites to low levels.
So much for classic cycling techniques. If you are going to end up no longer using the 10 gallon, I would move the water, filter, heater and even the gravel to the new tank. Since most of the beneficial bacteria are in the filter and on the other solid stuff, you will have moved what bacteria you have to the new tank. At that point the fish can move too. Even though the new tank has its own filter and decor, the part you move will give you a huge jump start for the cycle. You will need to carefully monitor for a few days but I would be surprised if you need to do more than 5 or 10 partial water changes the first week and after that the tank will be up and running OK. Do normal water changes for the next few weeks until the new filter gets its own bacterial colony established and then you can go back to moving the filter back to the old tank if you want to have 2 running with fish in them.
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