Originally Posted by joidevive
I think I am going to let it cycle by letting the tank sit for at least 2 weeks with current freshly filled water without any fish. I am also going to add a conditioner to help the bacteria along. Do I have to let the filter run continuously or can I turn it off now and then? I donít have a cartridge right now.
Iím not going to be using the ammonia test kit or API. Iím just going to put in 1-2 small fish and see how they react and if I need to adjust the water like adding pH buffer or conditioner.
Just letting the tank run for a couple of weeks wont cycle it. There has to be an ammonia source to fuel the cycle, otherwise water will just circulate through the system and nothing will happen.You either do a fishless cycle where you put ammonia into the tank, which substitutes for fish waste and the beneficial bacteria can feed on and grow or a fish in cycle.
It looks like you have opted for a fish in cycle. Set everything up, let it run a day or 2 to make sure everything is running properly. Put 1 small fish per 10 gallons in. Test everyday (you really need a test kit). If you see any readable ammonia or nitrite do a 25% water change. You can add your bacteria because that will speed up the cycling. Eventually, when you are seeing 0 ammonia and nitrites over a few consecutive days and nitrates are rising your aquarium is cycled is for the amount of fish currently in there. You can add a few more fish. Rinse and repeat until you are fully stocked.
And yes, the filter needs to be running 24 hours a day.