What exactly does cycling entail?
I had my 15l biorb up and running for a week before i introduced 2 minnows, gradually over a period of time i have introduced a couple more fish.
My water went cloudy a day or so ago and i changed the filter and 15% of the water yesterday.......
Please can someone tell me what cycling is exactly in novice terms and how often this happens?
I have a 15L baby biorb which contains 2 white cloud minnows and three hyperactive guppy males!. Im completely new to keeping fish - there is so much to learn! Ive got to stop killing the little blighters!
Well, I've been reading a lot on this lately. Basically, your water needs to go through a process of breaking down one poisonous chemical to the next. It starts with ammonia (bad chemical), then a bacteria called nitrite (with an 'i'-also bad chemical) is naturally developed to break down the ammonia, then finally, a bacteria called nitrate (with an 'a'-not so bad of a chemical when kept low) is naturally developed to break down the nitrites (with 'i'), which will complete your cycle. This is now called a biological filter. (3 parts to your cycle: ammonia - nitrite - nitrate)
The cloudyness could be a bacteria bloom, but make sure you keep an eye on the levels of those bacterias in your water. You'll definitely want to get a water quality tester from a fish store, or you could maybe bring a sample of your water to them for them to test it for you. Make sure to keep up those water changes when one of those chemicals gets too high.
Typically, they say a cycle using fish can last about 6 weeks, give or take. It should only happen once unless something happens you completely break down the tank or change out all of your water or some other drastic change.
I hope I didn't confuse you. Does anyone else have any corrections or suggestions for Newbie?
Also, this site has lots of information on the details of the cycle if you're interested. Here's a direct link:
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Actually, Glasstapper, Nitrite (NO2) and Nitrate (NO3) are the result of bacterial decomposition of Ammonia (NH4). They are not bacteria in and of themselves. There's no practical way to measure the level of "bacteria" in the tank. NH4, NO2, and NO3 are chemicals that are relatively easy to measure.
Bacterial blooms can be caused by changing the cartridge on a HOB style filter (Penguin, Aquaclear, etc). In fact, the aquaclears are nice because you can choose the media and won't have to change things out as much.
You can help reduce this by cleaning the cartridge in tank water (turn off filter, remove water from tank, rinse filter cartridge in removed tank water, add new water to tank and put filter back together and run it).
Another cause for a bacterial bloom can be addition of fish or water that has not been dechlorinated. Additional fish add to the bio-load while untreated water can actually kill off the bacteria.
When you're in the cycle, it can take 6 weeks, or it can take 6 months. It all depends on your actions. You can do small water changes throughout the cycle whenever NH4 or NO2 get to uncomfortable levels. This may prolong the cycle, but your fish will like you more and die less.
Don't use products like Cycle. If it has been on the shelf for several months, there are no useful bacteria in the container. The only one I've heard positive results that I trust is Bio Spira (It's kept in a fridge and has a short shelf life). Fritz-Zyme or something like that is supposedly decent as well, but I can't swear to that one.
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