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Just a few questions about cycling my first 5.5gal tank.

Is it required to do water changes DURING the cycle (Ill be doing a fishless, pure ammonia)
no
About the filter eventually getting dirty/clogged, the box says buy a new media every month, but from my knowledge that would be pointless, i wonder why they even say that? Anyways, is this same filter media going to last you...forever? And I hear every month you're supposed to swish/rinse it in old tank water. This seems a little vague to me. Do you just swirl it around in a bowl of old tank water? Will that effectively clean it? On the other hand, can you cause too much disturbance on the media by swishing it too hard?
don't use mechanocal filters. so can't advise. sorry.
On the same topic, when you gravel-vac for water changes, do you plunge the vac into the substrate to insure you collect all waste, or do you just skim the surface in order to not create disturbance of bacteria on surfaces?
Don't do water changes. Perhaps others can advise.
Ive read that you should always keep the ammonia at around 4-5ppm every day during the cycle. In regards to the first stage of the cycle, when the ammonia-eating bacteria are only just developing, doesn't this mean that the ammonia won't start to go down until the first stage starts to complete? Example: If I add in 4ppm ammonia on the first day of my cycle, won't it pretty much stay that way until week+ later when ammonia eating bacteria develop?

Thank you...
Something for you to consider especially if you haven't started already. I use a little peat moss in the substrate with sand on top. Heavily plant the tank with a mix of fast growing plants (anacharis, vals) and slower growers (crypts, swords). Wait a week. Add a single fish. Wait a week with no food being added. More fully stock up the tank and start feeding a single flake per day. No filters, no circulation no water changes. Ammonia never spikes, nitrItes have minor spikes for a day, nitrate can jump up initially then drops down 3 weeks later.

What I have found out over the years is that the plants provide the best environment with least amount of "messing around" on my part.

But that's just my .02
 

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If you check out my aquarium pic you can see my 10gal heavily planted NPT, mainly with anacharis (also have java moss, moss ball, crypts, cabomba, java fern). The messiness of the floor is a little distracting. But most of all, I don't like how the fast growers (anacharis/cabomba) eventually slow down in reproducing. Ive got stems in places that stopped growing, but i cant uproot it and replant new stems since itll cause dirt to go everywhere and ive read disturbing the surface is bad too. its definitely hard to maintain so many fast growers, which is why ill probably redo the tank WITH a filter and only slow growing crypts/java fern/moss

e/ I wish it were as simple as trimming the anacharis wherever and they'd just grow back. but they always have to form a new little sideshoot away from where you cut it, and eventually those sideshoot spots run out and the entire stem just stagnates.

After awhile the slow growers will expand and maintain the tank. The real value of the fast groweres is during the initial conditioning of the tank. Still I have anacharis in tank after years and years. I have taken out cabomba after a few years in a 10g tank that must have been over 10 foot long.

you could also try bacopa. It is sturdier and a bright green. It does however grow emersed. One club member here simply cuts it down when it gets too tall.


your 10g looks pretty good to me.


my .02
 
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