Originally Posted by Beaglemom
A new tank should also run for at least a week before any fish is introduced. I usually let them run on their own with no fish for a few weeks. This allows for all plants to be established as well as allowing good bacteria to be well established before the fish are introduced. This process can be rushed if you use water conditioners and additives available from aquarium suppliers.
I Beg your pardon beaglemom, but unfortunately what you are saying is not true. The bacteria in a tank (Nitrobacter), only starts to form in your tank once fish are added. A source of Ammonia is required for the Nitrobacter to feed on. A Cycle cannot really be rushed. You can use products such as "Stresszyme" or "Biospira" which might help if the bottle is really fresh. If not the bacteria will be dead anyway.
Plants will also not grow well without Nitrates present in the water. Nitrates are the very end product of the Nitrogenous Cycle. During the cycle plants are only used to help reduce slightly high levels of ammonia and nitrItes, and some plants that are not tough enough will die during the cycle just like sensitive fish.
Here is how the cycle works:
Day 1: Addition of Fish
Days 2-7 Ammonia rises in tank, often to dangerous levels to the fish. This is why you should use either A) Hardy fish like danios or white cloud mountain minnows, or B) Do a fishless cycle using household ammonia
Days 8-15 Nitrobacter class 1 begins to grow, breaking down ammonia into NitrIte.
Days 15-20 NitrIte levels rise to hazardous levels. Nitrobacter class 2 bacteria begins to grow, breaking down NitrItes into their end product Nitrates.
Days 20+ (Can be as much as 60 days), Tank levels stabilize, Ammonia and Nitrites drop off to 0, NitrAtes rise to around 20ppm. This is about the time that your plants will really start to flourish, as nitrates are being produced for the plants to feed off.
OK, now when a Tank or Bowl is UNFILTERED, and has no SUBSTRATE, there is no place for good nitrobacter to grow. Hence why in a small unfiltered tank you should do twice weekly water changes of 100% and rinse and scrub the bowl clean. Otherwise "Aeromonas" or deadly oxygen using bacteria starts to build, as well as you will leave ammonia in the bowl which will continue to concentrate.
In a tank of 5G or larger that is Unfiltered with no Substrate, 100% water changes can be done just once a week.
Remember, Nitrobacter needs surface areas to grow on, and it wont grow on just glass.
I think some of you need to update your knowledge of the cycle a bit,
and should cruise on into the following site for information, and many many resources. A great site with knowledgeable people, who can help you understand why fish are they way they are, what fish are suitable for the tanks we keep, and how to handle diseases, water problems, and other issues.