Help with cycling! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
Help with cycling!

i have a 10 gallon tank that had its cycle crash and ive been trying over the last few weeks to reestablish it but am having trouble. i have a 30 gallon tank up and running with its cycle. i took some of that filter media and swished it in my 10 gallon tank, hoping that some bacteria would be transported into my 10 gallon filter. my 10 gallon tank filter pads now look dirty/awesome so i thought that the cycle may have been kick started but after looking at my reading my nitrate is still at 0. ugh! ammonia is less than .25, almost zero. (im using prime so i think thats why it isnt fully 0) and my nitrite 0. i have neon tetras in the tank currently so thats why i can't just put ammonia in and do a fishless cylce. im also being diligent about changing water for them. i swished the old filter media in the 10 gallon tank like 2 or 3 weeks ago. i also put some aponogeton bulbs in the tank. would those be sucking up my nitrate? should i place them in my 30 gallon until my nitrates become higher in my 10 gallon?
So I guess my questions are:
should i just keep doing water changes until the cycle kicks in?
is there anything else that can be done to speed up the cycle?
would removing the aponogeton bulbs have any effect? good or bad?
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 05:14 PM
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, as this is just a guess..
But maybe you could hold off on the water changes for a little while until the levels of ammonia get up a little. It seems like the bacteria that are trying to grow in your tank don't have enough food.

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post #3 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
i always thought that water changes didnt affect the cycle bc the bacteria doesnt live in the water. The bacteria development should actually be the same whether you do water changes or not (they will consume as much as they can and double every 24 hours or less). now if i were to do gravel cleaning every day, that might be slowing the process down, but im not. if anything, im lightly going over the surface to collect any loose debris.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 06:01 PM
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If there's any ammonia then the bacteria will have some food. It's true that with less ammonia you won't grow a large amount of bacteria (less food), but to establish a small bacteria culture shouldn't take much, so change the water; it's safer for the fish (if you let the ammonia get higher, it may damage or kill the fish) and the bacteria will still establish, just as quickly, but it won't be as large of an amount. However, it does double quite quickly so when you finally get a small colony of bacteria established, and slow your water changes, they should be able to reproduce quick enough to consume the increasing ammonia, IMO.

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Last edited by Austin; 02-04-2014 at 06:03 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 06:52 PM
You could get some "bacteria in a bottle" if you want.
Such as Tetra Safe Start. Be careful which you use though as many don't work.

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post #6 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 07:09 PM
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There is a possibility the tank has cycled because of you using the filter media from the larger tank and having bulbs in there. Neon tetras wont create a lot of bioload so if your filter already has enough bacteria to cope with it, then it wont produce any more.

Assuming you are feeding the tetra, then the waste from uneaten food would be enough alone to feed the bacteria. If you have a fair amount of bulbs in there, they will be dealing with the nitrate.

Let us know how it goes.

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post #7 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
great! thanks. there are only about 4 or 5 bulbs in the tank. would that be enough to decrease my nitrate? do you think if i removed the bulbs, i would then see an increase in nitrate. i want to make sure my cycle is finished so i can add more fish.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-05-2014, 01:43 PM
removing the bulbs won't make much difference (i could be wrong)

leave the two filter media in together in the 10g for at least a few days to transfer the bacteria over properly.

even if you are using prime, the test kit will still detect the ammonia (prime just detoxifies it for 24 hours)

keep up with the water changes if the ammonia is >= .5 ppm. and dose 1 drop per gallon per day (of prime) until your tank is cycled.

once it starts to cycle you will see a spike in nitrite and you are almost home. make sure to test frequently because once the nitrite spikes it will be hazardous for your fish.

once your tank is cycled, you will get readings of: 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and some amount of nitrate
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