08-10-2013, 08:25 AM
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Having 2-3 dozen tanks running at any given time with plenty of spare sponge filters running & mature I just take one from a tank, and set up another. No gravel, no plants, go from 10 fish to 100 on a regular basis. I'll get in anywhere from 100-500 angels on occasion, with minimal losses.
A mature colony of nitrifying bacteria is capable of doubling every 20 hours, easy math says ballpark it at 24 hours, a bit of cushion there as well. 50% water changes every other day for a week, 2x-3x dose of Prime depending on the stocking, no tests, no muss, no fuss.
As far as new fishkeepers, contact a local club, they're full of folks like me. I'll change out the floss I use for mechanical filtration every 2-4 weeks, depending on the stocking. This has more than enough nitrifying bacteria to start up your average hobbyist's tank, and ships easier than fish due to a larger window of temperature & time. I toss out way more than I ship, shipping costs the same as some magic bottle of goop, if you're local & pick it up it costs nothing.