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Old 03-08-2021, 10:10 PM   #1
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Wont cycle

Five gallon betta tank. Itís been 8 weeks and my ammonia still isnít zero. Ive been doing frequent partial water changes for the entire time.... ammonia still at 0.25 a few days after each water change.... is this taking too long? Nitrite zero. Ph fine.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:54 PM   #2
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I think i figured it out... I’m doing too frequent of pwc’s.
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:38 AM   #3
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It's really hard, and often nearly impossible, to cycle a small tank with one fish. It might never show really big readings. We have an 8g cube with a betta, and didn't try to cycle really. Just did weekly water changes
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:06 AM   #4
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why is it harder?
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:19 AM   #5
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why is it harder?

What Charlie means is that the ammonia produced is negligible and will likely not register on the kit. If you just feed sensibly and change a lot of water weekly you need never worry about the cycle.
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:38 AM   #6
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What Charlie means is that the ammonia produced is negligible and will likely not register on the kit. If you just feed sensibly and change a lot of water weekly you need never worry about the cycle.
Thanks for explaining that better than I could, haha!
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:00 AM   #7
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what % water change should I do weekly? Does that depend on how high the ammonia is?
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:13 AM   #8
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In our little tank, we do a regular 25% change and he was always healthy and thriving.
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Old 03-09-2021, 12:48 PM   #9
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filter

so how often did you change filters in your small tank then? thanks for the help guys! i thought i had an understanding of how this all works - but apparently the rules change depending on the size of the tank and quantity of fish - i appreciate your answers!! i'm still very much in the learning curve. i hope to have a live plant tank one day....but i'm starting small and working my way up.
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Old 03-09-2021, 12:50 PM   #10
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and one point of clarification: are you saying the small tanks never cycle really? so you just clean them once weekly and they're fine?
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Old 03-09-2021, 01:42 PM   #11
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Well, I guess they kinda cycle. The problem is there isn't enough of a bioload from one small fish to grow a significant amount of nitrifying bacteria. Although, left alone the water quality will diminish until your fish has health issues. We change that filter cartridge once every month or 6 weeks, since it's just cleaning detritus anyway
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Old 03-09-2021, 02:28 PM   #12
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They do cycle but itís all relative to the ammonia production in the tank. Ammonia is produced directly from the fish and all other decomposing organic waste material. Organic waste materials are things like uneaten food and fish poop.

If you have a big fish or lots of little fish in a small body of water the ammonia builds up faster and reaches toxic levels.

If you have one betta in a small body of water you wonít see the steep rise in ammonia. It will be a slow curve. You just replace the water once a week and forget about the cycle because it will happen in the background and the general consensus is to change the water anyway so itís best just to continue with that practice.

You never replace the the filter sponge though. You simply wash it in the water that you take out of the tank during a water change. Job done.
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Old 03-09-2021, 05:13 PM   #13
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So my tank is from petsmart...and has the type of pump that hangs off the back with the disposable filters... are you saying i shouldn’t replace those during cycling? Or never? Just rinse off only?
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Old 03-10-2021, 02:08 AM   #14
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So my tank is from petsmart...and has the type of pump that hangs off the back with the disposable filters... are you saying i shouldnít replace those during cycling? Or never? Just rinse off only?

You need to get some course aquarium filter sponge, cut to size and stuff it in. Then you never replace and just rinse but never in tap water use old aquarium water.
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Old 03-11-2021, 05:12 PM   #15
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I took to dechlorinating a bucket of tap water, adding touch of aquarium salt and quick dunking filter and tank in that when doing a full change. Is that a sound practice or am I screwing things up doing it that way?
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