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Old 05-24-2008, 04:06 AM   #1
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Can a 5gal Aquatech Hex be cycled?

In particular, without substrate? I like it bare-bottomed.

I got my 5 gallon aquatech hex a few months ago when I got my first betta. I was told it didn't need to be cycled so I didn't... well now I don't think my betta is doing so well, he has a mild case of fin rot which I am treating with aquarium salt and 80 degree temp.

I want to cycle it, and I am going to be getting a 10 gallon tank set up soon and using bio spira for it. Can I just pour some bio-spira into the 5 gallon and it will cycle? Or do I need to do a 100% water change? Is no substrate okay?

The Aqua-tech is basically an eclipse system 5 hex tank. It has a biowheel and filter pads with carbon in them.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:25 AM   #2
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You can run a tank barebottom with no issues.

How long has the tank been setup? Have you tested it with a quality test kit for ammonia and nitrItes?

If your tank is a few months old, I suspect it's cycled. Confirm this by testing the water. If that's the case, when you upgrade to the 10gallon we can use the 5 gallon filter and biowheel to cycle the new 10g without needing biospira.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:45 AM   #3
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Any container of water with fish will eventually cycle whether or not we monitor the process or not. If there is a filter, then most of the beneficial bacteria will end up living there. Beneficial bacteria can live on any hard surface, so even a bare bottom aquarium without a filter would still build up a colony of beneficial bacteria.

Fin rot is generally a sign of poor water quality. Have you checked your water parameters (Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia)? Increasing the frequency and/or size of your water changes would go a long way towards helping him heal.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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Although a tank can run barebottom, I would suggest a thin layer of gravel...you get more surface area for bacterial growth (which aids the cycle) and it will "hide" some of the nasty stuff your filter leaves behind (due to lack of current).

It's hard to know if your tank is cycled without knowing what your current test results are (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate). If you test and find it's completely cycled, the bio-spira becomes a moot point.
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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I would also suggest a thin layer of substrate and a small silk plant or a real one in a container for the beta to rest on as well as for the benificial bac. to live on.
Just out of curiousity why do you not what a substrate?
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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To best answer your question regarding you 10gal set up I have to inform you that cycling a tank is a process which can take several weeks. Just adding Bio-Spria to the water does not make it instantly safe for fish. It requires water changes, regular water testing with a quality test kit, and patience - lots of patience. I personally would recommend the API Freshwater Test Kit and would suggest staying away from the cheaper test strips which tend to be erratic in their readings. API is a little pricey (about 15-20 dollars) but it is a good investment
The next piece of advice I would give is to get familiar with the stages of the cycle. If you go to the links at the top of the page where you Log Out you will find a link called Articles. Click that link and read the articles on cycling a tank and cycling tips - Good luck and keep us informed on your progress
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:39 AM   #7
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Bio-Spira can make a tank safe for fish. I've used it a few times. The product says "instantly" but I wouldn't necessarily trust that. The Bio-Spira is living bacteria and it can be affected by temperature swings and other factors involved with shipping and storage. If it hasn't been kept refrigerated, it's not going to do you any good, and there's no way to tell for sure unless you trust the lfs to get product from good vendors.

With that said, Bio-Spira can definitely shorten your cycle toward completion, if you do find that your cycle hasn't finished. I would suggest that you still do your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate testing if you use it. The cycle may not be instant but you may see only one day with an ammonia reading, or one day with a nitrite reading (instead of weeks with a traditional cycle).

Otherwise, warped1 nailed it Cycling is a process that requires patience and frequent testing, and you do need to be familiar with the process whether you supplement it with Bio-Spira or let it progress on its own. The article page is a good place to start.
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