I recently bought a fish tank. I googled about basics for setting up a fish tank. Almost every webpages help me to understand how important the nitrogen cycle is for a healthy fish tank. So I decided to learn about how to do nitrogen cycle and googled allot from the past few days. But by reading many articles, I am really getting confused about the entire cycle process and also many of the beginners like me don't know the correct process. Anyway I decided to start cycling from this weekend with the knowledge I got from different sources. But I just need to ask you guys that the procedure am going to do is correct?. Please advice me or correct me if I am going to do this in wrong way. I just explained the cycling process am going to do in a overall view below.
Day 1: I am setting up my tank with air pump, filter, heater, gravel, substrate, plants and a pH level tester. I have API ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH test kit and water conditioner. I will add 8 small guppies. I will feed them a little everyday which they can eat in 2 or 3 minutes.
Day 4: I will do 20℅water change (won't clean gravel or plants, just do top water change) without testing the ammonia level.
Day 8: I will test the ammonia level first before changing water. If ammonia is below 1ppm, I will leave the water as it is without changing. If ammonia is above 1ppm, I will do a water change by 40℅ and clean 1/4 th of the gravel or substrate and gentle clean filter.
Day 12: I will do 20℅water change without testing the ammonia level.
Day 16: I will test ammonia and nitrite levels before water change. If ammonia and nitrite levels are below 1ppm, I will leave the water as it is without changing. If the ammonia and nitrite levels are above 1ppm, I will do a 40℅ water change and will clean 1/4 th of gravel or substrate and gentle filter clean.
Day 20: I will do 20℅water change without testing the ammonia and nitrite level.
Day 24: I will test ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels before water change. If ammonia and nitrite is below 1ppm and nitrate is below 10ppm, I won't make any water change. But if ammonia or nitrite is above 1ppm, I will do a 40℅ water change and clean 1/4 th of gravel and substrate and plants and gentle filter clean.
And I will continue the below process in every four days till ammonia and nitrite levels reach 0ppm.
Continuation Process: I will test the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels before water change. If ammonia and nitrite is below 1ppm, I will leave the water without changing. If it's above 1ppm, will do 40℅ water change and clean some portion of gravel, substrate and plants.
I am not much aware about the nitrate test. What should I do if the nitrate level goes above 10 or 20 ppm?. Should I need to change water?. Is high level nitrates harmful for fish?
And also not aware much about the pH tester. Do I need to test pH level also along with the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test and add pH controller agent based on the pH result?
Any advice will be helpful for people like me who are beginners in this hobby :)