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post #1 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Question Another tank cycling question..

Hi all,

A novice tank cycler here- First time doing a fishless cycle and just had a couple questions regarding my filter media. Its a 20 liter (about 5 gallon) tank with a small internal filter from Dennerle (a "nano eckfilter")- which is mostly intended for shrimp, but as I plan on only keeping a betta in the tank I figured the low current would be suitable.

For the first day (before cycling) I was keeping some java moss in the tank and the next day, a massive bacteria bloom. I took all the plants out to start cycling, leaving just a large piece of driftwood I'm trying to get to sink. I added my ammonia to reach about 3ppm, and so far its been my 3rd day of cycling and been fine. Anyways, the tank is about the color of tea (I'm guessing from the tannins from the driftwood) and a good amount of sludge has taken over the tank, almost a half inch layer covering all the driftwood. I noticed my filter was running a much slower current lately and took it apart in the tank just to have a peek inside and all the filter media is covered in brown sludge. Gave it a little shake in the tank to release some of the junk and its running slightly stronger now- but my question is should I just leave it as is until my take is done cycling? It seems to still be running fine- I'm not sure if its doing much of a job filtering anymore as its completely covered- but I don't know what to do!

Any help (or some reassurance ) would be greatly appreciated!

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post #2 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:14 AM
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I'm wondering where the "sludge" is coming from, with no fish?

You mention plants, with live plants you don't need to cycle. If it is well planted, just add the Betta. The plants assimilate the ammponia (and a Betta won't produce that much) and there will be no discernable "cycle" to speak of.

If you do this, do a major water change to get rid of the ammonia.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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I'm wondering where the "sludge" is coming from, with no fish?

You mention plants, with live plants you don't need to cycle. If it is well planted, just add the Betta. The plants assimilate the ammponia (and a Betta won't produce that much) and there will be no discernable "cycle" to speak of.

If you do this, do a major water change to get rid of the ammonia.
Hi Byron,

Thanks for the reply. The tank will be pretty lightly planted, just a little bit of java moss on my driftwood. I'm pretty sure the "sludge" came from the java moss, as I bought a clump of it from the lfs and when I put it into the tank it seemed to release quite a bit of fish poo! I'm pretty sure thats what caused the bacteria bloom, but I figured it wouldn't hurt having it in to kick start the cycling, and ended up taking the java moss out when I put the ammonia in so it wouldn't slow down the cycle.

I didn't know you didn't need to cycle a tank with live plants. I just figured my betta would appreciate a cycled tank and hopefully less water changes in the future.
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:27 AM
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i was thinking the same thing.. i wonder if there is some contaminant on the drift wook .. you noted that you are trying to get it to sink .. where was the wood obtained from ? it may have some organisms on it that you dont want....

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post #5 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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i was thinking the same thing.. i wonder if there is some contaminant on the drift wook .. you noted that you are trying to get it to sink .. where was the wood obtained from ? it may have some organisms on it that you dont want....
I would be surprised, I bought it from the local fish store, and it was a new piece of wood so it was completely dry when I purchased it. Maybe sludge isn't the right word.. the driftwood is covered in what feels/looks like almost a clear algae-like film, which is kind of slimy.. But what is in the filter does look like sludge, its brownish color and feels kind of slimy to me!

My roommate keeps saying he likes how, "post-apocolyptic" my tank looks...

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post #6 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:48 AM
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LOL ok i was just asking as often we have folks tossing in pieces they find at the beach and what not.. .. ok the algae may be part of the cycling process .. the sludge in the filter is likely tannin from the drift wood as it gets water logged and leaches off.... i would set the media off somewhere in the tank and to populate and let the filter just cycle the water around.. but that is just my opinion...

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post #7 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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LOL ok i was just asking as often we have folks tossing in pieces they find at the beach and what not.. .. ok the algae may be part of the cycling process .. the sludge in the filter is likely tannin from the drift wood as it gets water logged and leaches off.... i would set the media off somewhere in the tank and to populate and let the filter just cycle the water around.. but that is just my opinion...
Ah ok, that makes sense- so I should literally detach the filter media from the filter and place it somewhere else in the tank, to keep it from getting clogged?
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 09:59 AM
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thats my thought .. if you rinse it at this stage you will kill off anything that had started to populate the filter...

Back in the Game!!! Live Bearers in a 40 Breeder
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post #9 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 10:25 AM
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Hi, I can't help you with the cycle problem but I can with the driftwood. If it isn't sinking, soak it in a pot/bucket etc full of boiling hot water. Don't know why but after soaking it 2-3 times it will not float again!
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-11-2011, 10:29 AM
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ohh great advice thank you Reece!!

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