03-30-2011, 04:58 PM
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I agree. Nitrifying bacteria only live in an aquarium at the level required to handle the ammonia and nitrite. If either increases, the bacteria multiply accordingly; if they decrease, the bacteria die off. Without "food" the bacteria cannot live beyond a few hours.
So putting decor and a filter on an existing tank is unlikely to encourage much of a bacteria colony unless the tank is itself over the limit with excess ammonia and nitrite. Moving objects (wood, rock, decor, filter media, substrate) from an established tank--meaning one that has been running quite a while, not just a few weeks--to the new tank works better. Of course, there has to be a fish or two in the new tank, or again the lack of ammonia.nitrite will cause the transferred bacteria to die off.
Moving the water is not recommended. It contains ammonia and nitrite--and since the bacteria colony in the new tank is small, you don't want to overwhelm it. It also contains liquid waste, pheromones, possibly pathogens, etc. Provided the parameters between tanks is very close (meaning pH, hardness and temperature), "new" water is much better for the fish.
Another thing that will help is using a bacterial supplement. These "seed" the new tank with nitrifying bacteria in exactly the same way as transferring live bacteria. Provided you get one that is 100% live bacteria. I know of two, Tetra's SafeStart and Seachem's Stability. I have used the latter myself. These do not miraculously "cycle" a tank as some think, they merely introduce a colony of live bacteria to get things started faster. Again, you need a source of ammonia, like a fish or two, or these bacteria will also die off.
Last edited by Byron; 03-30-2011 at 05:01 PM..