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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i understand cycling to be a process one should start as soon as the aquarium is started in order to create a biological filter to keep the water safer for your fish.

i have a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium and tried boosting the process by adding a bottle of bacteria i bought from an aquarium shop. aswell, i added 10 zebra danios.

how long should this process take? how will i know when cycling is complete? anything else i can do to help me cycle my tank properly?

feed back is appreciated.
 

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10 is a lot to start a cycle with. The biological filter wont be established enough to handle the waste from 10, even if they are kind of small. Regular water changes should help with the water quality untill the biological componant of ur filter is established. Dont rush, i know its frustrating having an empty tank but its even more frustrating to loose fish. Fully grown 10 dianos might be too much for your tank too. And what is this "bottle of bacteria" you added??? is it API stress zyme? some products may aid in the cycle process but dumping a whole bottle of something into you tank is never usually the answer
 

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i cannot remember the exact brand name but it was a small green bottle claiming to contain beneficial bacteria. the entire bottle was labeled to treat up to 40 gallons, and the directions specifically said to apply 5ml per 10 gallons on the first day and to add fish within 24 hours of when you added the bacteria. and to repeat treatment on the 7th day but to not add anymore fish (40 ml bottle). it claimed it would speed up your cycling process and could take as little as 2 weeks.

the advisor at my pet store told me since my tank was larger than the bottle was supposed to treat that i should go ahead and add 100% of the bottle and add fish within 24 hours.

im on my 5th day (i think?), my water did have a white cloudy fog for 2 days but it totally cleared up yesterday and my water is crystal clear and my fish seem to be as happy as ever. i dont think i hurt anything by adding that bacteria.

dont get me wrong, i am a very patient individual and i have no problem waiting for how ever long it takes to get my water exactly where it needs to be before i start adding expensive fish. there is no rush here.
 

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There are products that encourage the growth or contain the live bacteria that is needed in the biological filtration process. In my experince these products are "so so" at best. Ive used them in the past and had decent results but since i now have established tanks i dont use them anymore. The only thing i have done to decrease the time of my cycle would be to get media (bio balls, ceramic peices etc...) from an already cycled tank and use that. Personally i would feel uncomfortable dumping a bottle of "bacteria" and 10 fish into a fairly new tank, thats just me. Water being clear doesnt always mean that the quality is good, you must get a master test kit and test for nitrates, amonia, etc....
 

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I have done a lot of research on the bacteria additives and the only one that has a decent track record of working is Tetra Safe Start. Other brands do not contain aquatic bacteria and the bacteria added to the tank will die within seven days. A lot of these products are made to be added every week and who wants to do that? There are lots of people who cycle tanks with fish and sometimes the fish survive and sometimes they don't. The problem I had when I tried to cycle my first tank with fish was this. Whenever the ammonia gets to about .25ppm you are supposed to do a water change. This will help keep the fish alive but in my opinion it really slows down the cycle process. Since you already have the fish in the tank this is about your only option unless your fish store will take them back until you can cycle it without fish.
As far has the question "how do I know when the cycle is done?" Your water testing will tell you this. Most people will tell you that the API master test kit is about the most popular test kit used today. Even if you don't get an API kit make sure you get one that is liquid and not the test strips. They are notorious for being unreliable. Typically you will see a spike in ammonia and then it might start to drop. The ammonia is converted into nitrites and you will sometimes see a nitrite spike. (my first tank I cycled with fish I never had a positive test for nitrites). The bacteria will the grow and convert nitrites into nitrates. Once you consistently get 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and some nitrates then you are done with the cycle. I cycled my 120g tank with an ammonia solution that I added and it was easier to do. I could add enough ammonia to get the levels to about 2 ppm and at the end I could test it 12 hours later and it would be down to zero. Same with the nitrites. If you are cycling with fish be prepared to do a high number of water changes and lot of water testing.
 

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10 Danios in a 55 gallon is good. Danios are very small and a 55 gallon is big. I might even say get a bit more Danios to cycle.

Heres what I posted earlier on someone elses thread.
For the cycling, you need to grow 2 sets of bacteria. One is ammonia-to-nitrite converting bacteria and the other is nitrite-to-nitrate converting bacteria. One cycling is done, and you test the water. It should read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some readings of nitrate.
For Ex.If you have high ammonia levels, with 0 nitrite and 0 nitrate, it means you have not grown the 1st set yet nor the 2nd set. And this usually occurs in the beginning of cycles.
Another Ex. If you have 0 ammonia, high nitrite, 0 nitrate, it means you have successfully grown the 1st set which converts ammonia to nitrite, but not the 2nd set, kinda get it? This usually happens midway along the cycle
Last Ex. If you read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some readings of nitrate. It means you have grown both sets and your tank is cycled

I also have a second tank in cycle. Here are my readings and my explanations for it.
Ammonia .50ppm
Nitrite .50ppm
Nitrate 0ppm.

According to the readings I have both ammonia and nitrite readings, that means I have grown SOME 1st set bacterias, but not enough to convert all the ammonia to nitrite. And since I have 0ppm nitrate it means I dont have any 2nd set bacterias. This usually happens midway into cycles. Go get a liquid test kit and post your readings and we will help you interpret them and what you need to do next. Dont use test strips.

Get someone elses such as family or friend's used filter cartridge and put it in your tank. Its called "seeding". The filter cartridge holds a lot of beneficial bacteria, both 1st and 2nd sets which are needed for cycling. I wouldnt get it from the pet store because it might be contaminated with parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
Let us know if you have any more questions.
 

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I have done a lot of research on the bacteria additives and the only one that has a decent track record of working is Tetra Safe Start. Other brands do not contain aquatic bacteria and the bacteria added to the tank will die within seven days. A lot of these products are made to be added every week and who wants to do that? There are lots of people who cycle tanks with fish and sometimes the fish survive and sometimes they don't. The problem I had when I tried to cycle my first tank with fish was this. Whenever the ammonia gets to about .25ppm you are supposed to do a water change. This will help keep the fish alive but in my opinion it really slows down the cycle process. Since you already have the fish in the tank this is about your only option unless your fish store will take them back until you can cycle it without fish.
As far has the question "how do I know when the cycle is done?" Your water testing will tell you this. Most people will tell you that the API master test kit is about the most popular test kit used today. Even if you don't get an API kit make sure you get one that is liquid and not the test strips. They are notorious for being unreliable. Typically you will see a spike in ammonia and then it might start to drop. The ammonia is converted into nitrites and you will sometimes see a nitrite spike. (my first tank I cycled with fish I never had a positive test for nitrites). The bacteria will the grow and convert nitrites into nitrates. Once you consistently get 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and some nitrates then you are done with the cycle. I cycled my 120g tank with an ammonia solution that I added and it was easier to do. I could add enough ammonia to get the levels to about 2 ppm and at the end I could test it 12 hours later and it would be down to zero. Same with the nitrites. If you are cycling with fish be prepared to do a high number of water changes and lot of water testing.
I bought the fish, filled the tank with water i set aside for a week and dumped the fish in. Even a day or two is enough to get rid of chlorine.
 

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I just finished up my cycle on a 75g tank. Took 6.5 weeks. But, I think I did some things that slowed it down a bit.

In the beginning I was doing 15% water changes every two days even with getting a zero reading on my ammonia test kit (what I had read to do). I started with 5 guppies...just not enough fish to get things going in that big of a tank. I don't think I started getting any kind of reading until I had about 15 fish and 4wks had passed. At times my ammonia spiked a 2ppm and there were a couple of days where I did two water changes in one day just to get it at 1ppm or below.

I never saw any nitrites except for one test and it was barely enough to change the color of the test solution. Haven't seen anything since.

Don't add any chemicals despite how bad your water gets. I used ammo-lock a few times when I was fighting getting the ammonia down. Make sure the water conditioner you use ONLY removes chlorine and chlorimines. Some claim to remove ammonia. These things will stall your cycle. Not sure how much affect they had on mine, but believe they did slow it a tad.
 

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I just finished up my cycle on a 75g tank. Took 6.5 weeks. But, I think I did some things that slowed it down a bit.

In the beginning I was doing 15% water changes every two days even with getting a zero reading on my ammonia test kit (what I had read to do). I started with 5 guppies...just not enough fish to get things going in that big of a tank. I don't think I started getting any kind of reading until I had about 15 fish and 4wks had passed. At times my ammonia spiked a 2ppm and there were a couple of days where I did two water changes in one day just to get it at 1ppm or below.

I never saw any nitrites except for one test and it was barely enough to change the color of the test solution. Haven't seen anything since.

Don't add any chemicals despite how bad your water gets. I used ammo-lock a few times when I was fighting getting the ammonia down. Make sure the water conditioner you use ONLY removes chlorine and chlorimines. Some claim to remove ammonia. These things will stall your cycle. Not sure how much affect they had on mine, but believe they did slow it a tad.
what about adding the water conditioner that locks ammonia after the tank is cycled? will this hurt?
 

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Me too. Jr man do you mean only when a tank is cycling because I changed from Interpet to Prime for water changes a while ago because there was very high Nitrates in the tap water and Prime claimed to lock Nitrates as well ;):)
 

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If you have chlorine or chloramines you need to use Prime or which ever to remove them from any new water unless your using RO/Di water. Chlorine will dissapate after a couple of days but chloramine will not and must be removed.
 

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Nice, two year old thread.

Use your declor whenever you add water. The ammonia lock doesn't make ammonia disappear, just locks it up in a way that isn't as harmful to fish.
i'm sorry, just was doing research on why a cycled tank would have .5 ppm ammonia and found this thread. wasn't sure if maybe i should quit using prime.
 
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