Still torn on which cycling method to use...
Help?! I'm still so torn on which cycling method to use for my new tank (it hasn't arrived yet so I have a while to decide)...
Here's some details on my planned set up:
Tank size: 30L (or almost 8 gallons)
Susbtrate: White gravel
Filter: Hagen Elite Hush 10 Hang-On
Heater: Marina Submersible Compact 50W
Decor: Hollow barrel ornament, betta hammock
Current fish: Male VT Betta
Food: Betta pellets and bloodworms
Plants considered: Anubias, Cryptocoryne, Java Moss
Water treatment: Serenity betta water conditioner
Other details: I also have some bottled bacteria (can't remember the brand), API 5 in 1 test strips, an ammonia test kit, a PH test kit and will be getting some plant fertilizer tabs.
The tank is in a well lit room but not in direct sunlight. I would like to also add a single tank mate at a later stage, maybe a snail or something but I haven't decided.
Now, my problem is I cannot decide what is the best cycling method to use for this size tank? My betta is currently in a small 5L tank, but I've been doing two 100% water changes, and two 50% water changes per week so I don't think the tank has had a chance to cycle.
I'm interested in a 'silent' cycle using the plants and bottled bacteria, would this work? How soon before I could put my fish in the tank? Some people have suggested that I can put him in the tank right away as bettas can withstand the cycling period, but at the same time I don't want to weaken his immunity in any way... The whole process seems daunting and after all my reading I still have no clue what method to use, help?!
You cycle a small tank the same way you cycle a big tank. It's all proportional.
If you are used to doing those regular water changes then just stick with that routine. The bacteria will colonize the filter in 3-6 weeks, at which point you can back off on the water changes to no more than once a week.
Doing those large frequent changes will not prevent the cycle from happening. However, theoretically, changing too much water too often will impact the size of the bacteria colonies because it limits the amount of food that is available to them. But, once the bacteria colonies are established, they can grow rather quickly (slowly by bacteria standards) doubling in size every day.
When you need a large bacteria colony to handle a heavy bioload like a sorority or community tank, then I'd recommend a fishless cycle (with or without bottled bacteria). You can run high ammonia and heat and really grow a big colony.
For a single Betta in a 5g and up, all you have to do is test every couple of days, and change water whenever ammonia is detected. And then nitrite.
It's much better and less stressful for him than living in a 1.2g tank for the next several weeks.
I just did a fish-less cycle on my new 30g, did a lot of reading and it did take a little over a month, but my water is now perfect. The first time I tried to set up this tank I tried with fish and it was a nightmare, in the end they all died and I ended up taking it down for a few years.
I do not think I'll ever do a tank or recommend setting up a tank unless it fish less.
So many posts on the nitrogen cycle or as I like to call it "The Silent Killer". I agree that the fishless cycle is the way to go cuz for one, it is humane, and for two, the bacteria on the market today make for a very fast cycle which is nice cuz who wants to look at an empty tank :-P I actually just made a video on this cycle so if you are interested you can click on the link below. Best of luck with your tank and keep at it!!
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