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Quick cycling

Posted By: iris <iris6@aol.com>
Date: Monday, 3 January 2000, at 5:45 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Matt!! Do water changes to get that ammonia level down (Fran)

Here's my practical cheat formula for quick cycling:

a)Put in a few tough fish - serpae tetras, for example. You can actually use any fish you are used to keeping, and that you know aren't too sensitive, just don't put in too many at first.

b)Put in a product called Cycle. Put it in, according to the directions for "new tanks" - but do it *every other day* not once a week. If you have a biowheel (I highly recommend some form of one) pour half of the dose of Cycle directly on the wheel each time you do an application of the product. As a side effect, this will reduce the algae bloom that tends to plague new tanks.

c)Feed moderately and do not vacuum until cycling is complete. You don't want piles of uneaten food fouling the water, but a little is good because it gives the cycling process something to "grow on" as it were. After all, you won't get any waste processing if there is little or no waste to process!

d)If you've done it right, you will never see any ammonia. After 3-5 days, depending on the load, you will see nitrite. Do a small water change (no more than 25 percent.)

e)This is when you add a couple handfuls of gravel from a friend's healthy tank, or another healthy tank of your own. Add more if you are cycling a really large tank (over 20 gals.) I find that the "Cycle" product alone takes longer to deal with nitrite than I prefer.

f) In 2 more days or so, your tank should be cycled all the way through. If it isn't, keep up the small water changes, followed by new additions of Cycle until it is.

All of this assumes you have a biowheel or some other undisturbed complex surface for bacteria to colonize. Give it at least another week to colonize further, and then you can add more fish slowly. You can add fish sooner in an emergency, but your nitrite will go up again, so keep an eye on it.

Finally, an even faster cheat - if you have an extra, already-conditioned biowheel, just install it on the new tank. I've never done this, but I've been told it gives you an instant tank. Just make sure the original tank was healthy.

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