First Timer Cycling a Fish Tank, help please!
On Sunday January 13th I cleaned the rocks, plastic plants, and set the tank up for the fish. On Monday January 14th, I put "Start Right" by a company called Jungle that immediately makes the water safe for the fish. On the same day I went out and purchased 3 Danios and properly adjusted them to the water.
After spending a bit of time on this forum I've learned that I need to cycle the water in the tank. I thought it was just a 25% water change every week. After reading more and more I've become extremely confused :shock:.
What should I do for my first cycle? Do I need to get ammonia strips to know when to do it exactly? How much water do I change? Should I put the start right in after every change. I would really like to know so I can do it asap.
Cycling an aquarium is setting up a natural balance of bacteria that can support fish and other organic life. In nature there is plant matter and mineral run off, etc depending on the environment the fish are from. Water companies remove most of this from tap water for good reason. However we are setting up a natural environment for the fish. You may have read some passages about ammonia, nitrite and nitrate these three factors can be controlled with a healthy flora in your tank. Danios are easy to care for but may have struggles in a tank that is not cycled. I hope your guys make it!
Having live plants will help break down ammonia in the aquarium and convert it to less dangerous compounds (Nitrite than Nitrate). These can also get to dangerous levels in your tank. But Ammonia is the big one. This is the same function that the flora in your tank would have.
To create this balance we normally need to add fish that can handle cycling process and let the bacteria develop. There are some boosters with live bacteria that you can by at the pet store. I have used this before with success, I just syringed some onto my sponge filter.
While cycling a tank you must check your levels often, daily at least. Because since there isn't a balance yet you can get an ammonia spike, and it can kill off tough cycling fish too. This is why during the cycling process you do more frequent water changes. Eventually you will have a predicable tank and will have some balance. Keep in mind that every time you add a new fish your tank will need time to adjust to this new ammonia machine :)
After you have an established tank the 25% water change is a weekly maintenance. You should also add you water conditioner to the water before you add the water to the tank. Otherwise you can kill off the developing bacteria as well as your fish.
You can look through the fish profile for fish that do well in a cycling tank. I am not sure how large your tank is, but I really enjoy red-eyed tetras, sometimes called lamp-eye too.
I hope this helps!
An article by another of our members may help with background, it is stickied at the head of this section.
As you have fish, your only option now is to do daily water changes if ammonia or nitrite are above zero. Use a conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite; Prime by Seachem and Ultimate by Aquarium Solutions are two I know of that do this. Add some live plants, floating is fine; this will help by ujsing ammonia.
Before I go out and buy the 10 gallon(which could be up to a week) I want to clean the water up in the 3 gallon. Should I do an ammonia check, see how bad it is then do a 25% water change.
I also have questions about changing the fish to the ten gallon tank, but I will ask that once I fully understand what to do in my current situation with the 3 gallon.
So tomorrow, 1/25, check the ammonia levels, add the water drops, take 25% of the water out, add 25% of tap water? Is that right?
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