Cycling your Aquarium
There are basically 2 ways of cycling aquarium, either with fish or without fish. In my opinion, it is easier to do without fish, but it will be dull running an empty tank for weeks.
Both way are essentially the same, the only differences is that the first way is feeding the fish with food so and they will produce ammonia for cycling. The fishless way is to add food the aquarium and let the food rot and thus produce ammonia.
Step 1: Do the necessary steps required to set up your tank (add water conditional, lay the gravel, lay down the decorations etc)
Step 2: Set the filter, thermometer running and leave the tank there untouched for 3-4 days. The water should be at the ideal temperature for your cycling fish (74° to 80° F(26° - 28° C)).
Step 3: Add in your cycling fish. Hardly livebearer is recommended. Wait for 24hrs allowing the fish to get used to the new environment.
Step 4: Start feeding your fish. Feed only once a day and the food must be consumed within 5mins. Be sure not to overfeed them or you'll prolong the cycling process since fish make waste.
Step 5: Use your test kit to check for ammonia level in the tank after 3-4days. The ammonia level will increase over the days. If the ammonia level is high when you take it, leave it be and do the test again every other day.
Step 6: When the ammonia level is low enough, start doing nitrite test. At this point of time, nitrite level should be higher than ammonia. Keep test for both ammonia and nitrite. Once both toxic reaches 0ppm, the cycle is complete.
Final: The whole cycling process will take around 6weeks to complete. Slowly introduce new fish into your aquarium and feed sparely allowing the bacteria to adjust to the new fish load.
For a fishless cycle that uses fish food, skip step 3. Do step 4 by “feeding your water” with food everyday. The amount of food you feed to the water should be slightly lesser than the amount of food if used for feeding the fish. The major draw back of using the fishless cycle this way is that other than adding ammonia and nitrite into the aquarium, it introduces other by product like phosphates as well.
Fishless cycle can also be done using ammonia. This way is done by skipping step 3. And do step 4 by feed the water with ammonia. The feed should be 3-5 drop per 10 gallons per day. This amount is roughly the same amount of ammonia produced by your cycling fish per day. Keep adding ammonia to the water until the cycle is complete and when new fish are introduce to produce ammonia on behalf of the ammonia solution.
In my opinion, the best way to cycle your fish that is by using the cycling with fish method. As I hate to see my fish tank empty for 6weeks!
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