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How long does a cycle take?

Posted By: Katy Richter <redkat@gmx.de>
Date: Monday, 26 February 2001, at 8:26 a.m.

I bought and equipped my tank (54l / 14.2g) two weeks ago. Since everything looked well I added the first four fish after three days 1 catfish (Ancistrus dolichopterus) and 3 (non-algae eating) "Tiger Algae Loaches" (I now think they could be Nemacheilus olivaceus). A week later I added 2 Siamese Algae Eaters (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri).

According to my fish guide I could add some more fish tomorrow (I want to get 5 sumatra barbs and 7 zebra barbs).

A friend of mine told me not to do this because my tank hasn't fully cycled yet, she says. I don't have any ammonia or nitrite testers because I was told that after two weeks all will be fine, especially if I find some nitrate. Last week I tested the nitrate level and there was some (12g/l), so I did a 1/3 water change. Tomorrow I want to do another water change and then add the new fish.

So my question now is: is it safe to add more fish or should I buy ammonia and nitrite testers to see if my tank has really fully cycled?

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