Tank cycling is when we assist our aquarium in growing a colony of beneficial bacteria that will consume dangerous ammonia and nitrite, the byproducts of fish waste and other decaying organic debris. This is a naturally occurring process that, given the right conditions, would occur anyway in your tank. When you cycle your tank you simply allow this natural process to take place. You might hear other aquarists refer to the cycling process as the nitrogen cycle, the biological cycle, or simply, the cycle. These terms all refer to the same thing.
Most people new to the aquarium hobby have never heard of tank cycling. Once they find out what it is, they always ask the same question; “Do I have to cycle my tank?” With betta fish the answer is; “not necessarily,” but I have 10 great reasons why you might want to.
- Cycling encourages the growth of beneficial nitrifying bacteria that consume dangerous ammonia and nitrites which can harm or even kill your betta fish.
- Cycling produces a more stable environment helping us to avoid drastic pH fluctuation that can lead to pH Shock.
- Bettas are less likely to acquire fin rot, cotton wool disease, dropsy or parasites like Ich when they have less stress in their environment. Cycing reduces stress caused by fluctuations in the water.
- A cycled tank usually only requires a 10% – 20% water change once per week instead of more frequent 100% water changes. Less work for you!
- Bettas don’t have to be removed from their tank when you do small waterchanges creating less stress for the betta and for their owner who no longer has to chase them with a net.
- Small water changes means a stable and consistant water temperature reducing the risk of thermal shock for your betta.
- We usually cycle tanks that are 3 gal – 5 gal or larger, which means your fish has plenty of room to explore and be a happy betta.
- Cycling your tank means less frequent water tests. Once the tank is cycled and stable, tests can preformed every week or two instead of every day or two.
- Cycling your tank means spending less money on test strips, medication and water and more free time to observe your healthy betta.
- Most fish species require a cycled tank to live a healthy life. Cycling your tank means you can find some fun fishy friends to add to your betta tank like African Dwarf Frogs, Neon Tetras, Cory Cats, Otos, Shrimp or Snails.
If all these great reasons were enough to convince you to cycle your betta tank, check out our Nitrogen Cycle page on how to do it.
Betta Fish Photo by N1NJ4