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Old 06-16-2013, 06:14 AM   #1
sleepswithdafishez
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Another cycling the tank question


Is cycling a must for a heavily planted 10 g with a single betta fish?
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:17 AM   #2
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I think it depends on what type of substrate you are using. I tried with ADA Amazonia and the ammonia levels nearly killed the fish. However I had not problems with regular gravel and eco-complete.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:20 AM   #3
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I think it depends on what type of substrate you are using. I tried with ADA Amazonia and the ammonia levels nearly killed the fish. However I had not problems with regular gravel and eco-complete.
I ll be using TetraComplete topped with JBL Manado=it says it doesn't contain phosphates or nitrates.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:33 AM   #4
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Depends on what you mean by "must." Without properly cycling your tank you are going to expose your betta to ammonia and nitrite which burns their gills and causes death in most cases. Your betta may survive, but it isn't pleasant.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:37 AM   #5
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Sorry, I have no experience with TetraComplete or Jbl Manado.

How attached are you to the betta? I guess this would be considered cycling with a fish. As long as the betta isn't gasping for air or floating at the bottom of the tank it will be ok. Just make sure that you dechlorinate the water and check the water quality daily.

Good luck.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Higher Thinking View Post
Depends on what you mean by "must." Without properly cycling your tank you are going to expose your betta to ammonia and nitrite which burns their gills and causes death in most cases. Your betta may survive, but it isn't pleasant.
I've read about cycling and still can't figure it out.They say ammonia turns to nitrites ,which turn to nitrates ,due to developement of new bacteria.OK.They also say plants absorb ammonia ,so a heavily planted tank will help keep ammonia levels low.Less ammonia=less nitrites=less nitrates.So if the ammonia is used by the plants ,the tank won't cycle ,or take a longer time do do so.does this mean the fish will be safe,if ammonia is absorbed by the plants?
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaJu View Post
Sorry, I have no experience with TetraComplete or Jbl Manado.

How attached are you to the betta? I guess this would be considered cycling with a fish. As long as the betta isn't gasping for air or floating at the bottom of the tank it will be ok. Just make sure that you dechlorinate the water and check the water quality daily.

Good luck.
I haven't bought it yet ,I wanna make sure I am not rescuing the fish from LFS only to throw it into the frying pan.This cycling confuses me a lot.Plants absorb ammonia ,so the tank will take longer to cycle if heavily planted?And if they absorb ammonia ,what would be the purpose of cycling?I also heard there are some products which cycle a tank in max 24 hours(bio spira i think)
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:59 AM   #8
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I threw in 4 feeder fish (from petco) that I ended up with to save them from being flushed. They were in there for about 4 days to start the cycle, but then they died because they were in bad shape when I got them. About a week later (9-10 days after starting the tank) I put in a betta and he did fine, he even survived a big nitrite spike (while my newly added pleco died) without showing any signs of illness.

In other words, I wouldn't be too worried, bettas are very hardy, but if you want to be sure you could add some cheap feeder fish to start the cycle.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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You can't really start the cycle is just four days, cycling takes about 3-4 weeks. Cycling could go much faster if you had established filter media.

To make cycling more understandable, I will try to explain it in a different light.

So you are correct, there are two types of bacteria that you want in your tank. Those are called beneficial bacteria and are oftentimes abbreviate "bb" on the forum.

The first type of bacteria consume ammonia (which is deadly for fish). However, their utilization of ammonia converts it no nitrite (which is actually even deadlier for fish). Luckily, the second type of bacteria start to develop and they utilize nitrite. The byproduct of this is nitrate.

Now you bacteria will only exist in an amount which can be sustained by the environment. If there isn't enough waste (ammonia) then there won't be a large amount of ammonia eating bb, which in turn means there won't be a large amount of nitrite bb.

Depending on the uptake of the plants, there could or could not be a cycle of the tank. The use of heavily planted tanks does not make the tank cycle slower, but rather it means it won't have as much bb because some of the ammonia is being consumed by the plants and never by the bb. As long as there is ammonia in the water, the tank will cycle itself.

Now if you all of a sudden added a large amount of fish to a cycled tank, you wold experience what some would call a mini cycle. That means you already have both types of bacteria, but they only exist in an amount which can be sustained by the system (i.e. how much ammonia is being produced). If all of a sudden there is a huge influx of ammonia, the system would not be able to process it all until the bacteria colony grew to handling that amount. Which means it would still cycle what it could, but the colony would have to grow in order to cycle it all.

Think of bb as a group of hungry people at a table. If there is no food (ammonia or nitrite) they will starve and die or never appear in the first place. If there is more food than they can handle, it would be unconsumed until more people showed up.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:27 PM   #10
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Thanx for the replies people ,I'm starting to figure it out little by little.Anyway ,I went to the LFS today to buy some plants and also bought one of those liquid bacteria bottles ,whitish in colour.The flask is 100 ml and it says you have to add it three days in a row.The 100 ml can cycle up to a 250 liters tank......How do I know how much to use for my 40 liter tank?do I divide 100 to 250 and then multiply by 40?Can anything go wrong if I use too much?(no fish is yet in the tank.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Yea ,I probably got ripped off at the fish store.Just realised the bacteria bottle http://avecom.be/en/products/aquaculture/abil ,must be kept in the fridge and the expiring date on the bottle is erased.....so it's probably dead since god knows when.I ain't adding it to the tank ,no way ,no how.Unfortunately I ll be at work for the next 2 weeks during their opening hours ,so I won't be able to give them a piece of my mind.[censored][censored][censored][censored]ing scums!....one day ,I'll be crossing paths with one of them and it's gonna get messy.So I decided to buy a fish and add it to the tank....if he makes it ,good ,if not ,I'll buy another one.Thank you again for your help
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:59 PM   #12
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A heavily planted 10 gallon tank with one Betta does not have to be cycled (unless the substrate is one that produces ammonia)

The plants will remove as much ammonia as could be produced by a Betta with no problem as long as they have plenty of light and the other nutrients they need (CO2, P, K, traces).

The plants will bring in some nitrifying bacteria on their leaves, too.

What is the active ingredient(s) in the bottled bacteria? What species of bacteria?
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:15 PM   #13
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Here is a quick rundown of the nitrogen cycle as it applies to a new aquarium:

1) Fish (and other livestock) produce ammonia among other waste products.

2) Ammonia is toxic to fish and other livestock. It burns the gills and other soft tissue, weakens the immune system.

3) There are many species of bacteria that 'eat' ammonia. They thrive under different conditions, different levels of ammonia. A species related to Nitrosomonas marina is the one that survives best in a mature aquarium.

4) These bacteria produce nitrite as a waste product.

5) Nitrite is toxic to fish and other livestock. Enters the blood, causing methemoglobinemia, a condition where the blood does not carry oxygen very well.

6) There are several species of bacteria that 'eat' nitrite. 2, related to Nitrospira moscoviensis and Nitrospira marina appear to be the most populous in a mature aquarium. These are the ingredients you will look for on a bottled bacteria product. If the label includes Nitrospira then it highly likely also has the right species of ammonia removing bacteria.

7) These bacteria are slow growing (especially Nitrospira). While you are waiting for them to grow, you will be feeding them ammonia. You could feed them ammonia by adding fish to the tank, but then you are exposing fish to the ammonia and nitrite that is present until the bacteria have grown populous enough to handle these materials. The better way is to add ammonia from a bottle and grow as large a colony of bacteria as possible before adding the fish. This is known as the fishless cycle.

8) Plants utilize ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as sources of nitrogen. When plants are thriving they can be pretty much the whole bio-filter, even when the bacteria population is low. To be effective removers of nitrogen (in any form) the plants need to have other things in the right balance. Carbon, Phosphates, Potassium and trace minerals are important. Light (correct wave lengths, intensity and duration) is important. Otherwise the plants will just sit there, not removing much nitrogen, or, worse, die and contribute more ammonia to the problem.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
A heavily planted 10 gallon tank with one Betta does not have to be cycled (unless the substrate is one that produces ammonia)

The plants will remove as much ammonia as could be produced by a Betta with no problem as long as they have plenty of light and the other nutrients they need (CO2, P, K, traces).

The plants will bring in some nitrifying bacteria on their leaves, too.

What is the active ingredient(s) in the bottled bacteria? What species of bacteria?
Thankx for the reply ,it's what I was thinking also ,for a single fish ,you could skip cycling the tank....as for the bottle ,it only says Living Nitrifying bacteria ,it says you should dose for 3 days(how much ,only God knows) ,and that 100 ml is enough for a 250 l tank.I bought it in a hurry ,without thinking too much ,as I don\t have much time on my hands these days ,I tend to do things in a hurry.The product is this one http://avecom.be/en/products/aquaculture/abil .....but not much info on the site neither.I will leave the tank with plants only for now(heavily planted) ,and as soon as I have some time ,I'll buy a betta fish and some nerite snails,and see how that goes.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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I did look at that site. Very non-informative. :-(

Add a little ammonia each day while the tank has no fish.
No matter how far along the fishless cycle you get, when you finally add the fish do a big water change. With such a small amount of livestock that will be OK.
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Here is the fishless cycle.

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1a) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
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Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Topical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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