How to “cycle” your tank
Hi! This is going to be a quick guide so let me know if you have questions. Why do we need to cycle the tank? Basically, your snails will poop and cause the ammonia levels to increase in your tank. Once the ammonia gets too high, the snails die. BUT, if you add beneficial bacteria, the bacteria turns the ammonia into nitrites and then into nitrates, which are safe for snails.
How do we cycle? People used to take goldfish or dead fish and throw them in an uncycled tank to get that ammonia and build up the good bacteria. We won’t do that because it hurts the goldfish, it’s not super accurate and dead fish smell REALLY BAD when they’re rotting.
Instead, buy “Dr. Tim’s Aquatics Ammonium Chloride Aquarium Treatment for Fishless Cycling” and the testing kit I recommended “API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit” and some beneficial bacteria “Fluval Cycle Biological Enhancer, Aquarium Water Treatment”
Follow the directions on the Dr. Tim’s bottle and on the Fluval bottle. You’re going to add ammonia and beneficial bacteria and test the ammonia levels in your water the next day. When you can put in ammonia and 24 hours later it’s been eaten by the bacteria and isn’t showing up on your test, your tank is cycled and you can add snails! During the process, keep your filter running but don’t add carbon filtration or UV light (<–some filters come with that).
How long does this take? When I cycled my tank, it took three weeks. SO LONG. What I didn’t have was filter media from an already established aquarium! That filter media is the BEST source of good bacteria. So ask me or someone else on this group for some filter media, and it will be so much easier!
Extra credit: Sometimes your tank can get a little wonky. Maybe you forgot to clean it or a snail died in it and the ammonia levels spiked. BUT you’re busy and you don’t have time to clean. That’s why I like to have this on-hand “API AMMO-LOCK Ammonia detoxifier.” It’ll make your tank safe for 24 hours and buy you some time before you have to clean it. (Only use this for emergencies because snails deserve to have a clean home!)