The Mysteries of Cycling Your New Betta Tank Explored

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Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates. What the diff? And why do they matter anyway?

Turns out what you don’t know about ammonia, nitrites and nitrates could kill your betta fish. That’s the diff. That’s why they matter. And they are managed best in a cycled aquarium.

This quick overview video can at least begin to bring you up to speed on what aquarium cycling is and why you need to do it. Because the tank you cycle could be the tank that’s helps your fish to flourish.

Why not take a quick look at these takeaways from this video:

  • The cycling process, when using fish, takes as long a month but in some cases can be completed in as few as two weeks.
  • The goal of tank cycling is to have ammonia and nitrite levels approaching zero with higher levels of nitrates. At this point do a 90% water change using dechlorinated water to get rid of the excess nitrates. Now things are set up for success.
  • How to make this go faster, add gravel with beneficial bacteria or filter material from an established tank or bacterial supplements. (Some are not fans of the boosters however.)
  • Don’t disturb your gravel when cycling.
  • You can also do fishless cycling using ammonia you can get at like Ace Hardware. If you go this route make sure the “ammonia” you are using is just that, and free of soaps, scents, detergents and extraneous chemicals.

WARNING: I would add a word of caution from the users of the popular ammonia alert, Seachem Ammonia Alert – seems it doesn’t get too many rave reviews on Amazon. More than half rate it a 1 outta 5. That’s not usually a good sign. Of course feel free to disagree.

Anyway to sum this up, all cycling comes down to is establishing a culture of beneficial bacteria in the tank water that will remove the toxins your fish’s waste breaks down into. These can be toxic at fairly low levels. And tend to spike at times making them even more so. Having a properly cycled tank insures a healthier environment for your betta fish. If you need more help these aquarium cycling tips, might prove helpful.

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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