Originally Posted by candymancan
The rocks have way nore surface area then a filter pad does imo.
You may be right though about my cycle stalling i too was wondering if the extremely high ammonia is actually having a negative effect on my cycle.. In essence killing or smothering the bacteria from growing... I wish i could research the effects of super high ammonia on a tanks biological filter... I guess what ill try to do is do 50% water changes everyday to keep the levels down and see if that helps the cycle.
One thing though i should note.. Im not a big fan of swapping filter media in other tanks... The reason being is transfering germs to that tabk.. Such as columnaris and stuff like that.. Or parasites and worms
Per unit of volume, media has way more surface area than rocks. Sand on the other hand, has a massive surface area per volume.
Surface area is only half of the filtration equation. Circulation is the other half. The bacteria can only feed if the food is reaching them, and with a high turnover rate from the filters, there will be a larger colony there because they are essentially being force fed. That's my experience - I have always run big filtration systems. About a dozen times I've swapped substrates (gravel to sand) where I have totally removed the old from the tank and they never even skipped a beat. Were the majority of the bacteria in the substrate, I would have definitely damaged the cycle and seen an impact.
The fish are way more sensitive to ammonia than the bacteria is, so if your fish are still alive, so is any bacteria in your system. If your fish are alive, then the ammonia is not inhibiting the bacterial growth.
Transferring filter media is THE preferred method of starting a new tank by virtually every serious fish keeper. It is totally safe as long as you don't have any active infections going on. Germs are EVERYWHERE!! Any germs you are concerned about transferring to the other tank are going to be in that tank whether you move the media or not. Parasites need a host to survive - if the fish in your current tank have parasites, then there is the chance that there may be some trapped in the media. If they aren't infected with parasites, then that's not going to be an issue. So?? Are your fish infested with parasites?