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post #1 of 8 Old 09-07-2008, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Cycling Questions: Small Tank with Red Sea Nano


I've been cycling a small tank with a Red Sea 'Nano' filter (< 3 gallons). Ammonia is at 1. (Nitrites and nitrates are at 0.) Do I keep adding food? Or do I just wait for the nitrates, now?

Also, the filter instructions say to change the cartridges every two weeks. The filter has a black sponge and a white sponge. The black sponge is just a thick, hard sponge (like the cartridges that go in the tops of litter boxes). There is no carbon bag. I have received mixed reviews on whether to change out both or just the black. Do I change both? Just the black? Make no changes during cycling?

*** This is a completely fishless cycle.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-07-2008, 10:22 PM
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keep feeding the tank.

keep in mind if your tank is only 3 gallons your going to be limited on what you can stock in it.

do not change the filter pads!!! this is where alot of the beneficial bacterias live.

it prob. will help if you can post what kind of filter you have exactly.. anyways goodluck.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-07-2008, 11:24 PM
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It sounds like the black sponge is infused with activated carbon. If you want to, this is the pad to change. Changing it once a month is probably a good idea. The other one should only be changed when it starts to really deteriorate. This is probably only maybe a yearly thing. Other than if it's physically falling apart, you can rinse it in old tank water (during your water changes) to get some of the gunk off, but you should never rinse it in tap water or use any chemicals to clean it.

I wouldn't change any of your pads during the cycling process.

If you're like me and you don't use carbon in any of your tanks, you might want to find some alternative to the black carbon pad. From the pictures I've seen of the filter, I can't tell if there's any rigid material to the cartridges. You could try using filter sponge material or possibly filter floss in place of the black carbon sponge.

Then again, I'm not 100% sure that the black sponge *is* infused with carbon, so you might want to check the instruction booklet. The filter is designed with mechanical, biological and chemical filtration capabilities so there's gotta be carbon in it somewhere, and I suspect it's probably that black sponge. But, it's really up to you if you want to run carbon or not.

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post #4 of 8 Old 09-10-2008, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.

For now, I'd prefer to not use carbon. The tank is for a young male betta with no tank mates and he gets frequent fin rot due to biting his own fins. I don't think I am supposed to use carbon with his medication (Methylene Blue and Jungle Fungus Eliminator).

I may try calling the company to see what the black sponge is. I am thinking carbon. (There was no instruction booklet. The box had a simple set of instructions -- not too informative.)

Maybe I can use two white sponges? Or would that be bacteria overkill?
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-10-2008, 01:33 PM
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There's no such thing as bacteria overkill. If the sponges are shaped right so that you can use two of the white ones, that's what I'd do.

And yep, you're right, if you're using medication you absolutely don't want carbon in the tank or the medication will get sucked right out of the water.

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post #6 of 8 Old 09-10-2008, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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The number on the back of the box is now some type of uhhh "party" line for meeting "fun" people. Eek!

I did find the current number and the woman said the black sponge is made from a type of carbon. I will remove that and add another white one. :)
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-10-2008, 05:09 PM
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As far as I know, it's a pretty decent filter :) My LFS has two 2.5G picotopes, a fresh and salt, and that's what they use for filtration. Obviously the tanks are well cared for, but the filters do seem to work!

The only thing I worry about is the flow being too strong for a betta.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-10-2008, 05:46 PM
iamntbatman's Avatar
The Red Sea Nano filter has an adjustable flow rate, you should be able to cut the flow back so that it doesn't bug the fish.

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