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How do you cycle?

This is a discussion on How do you cycle? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I can't wait for you to start stocking that tank, Jaysee! *shinyeyes* Tolak, I can't imagine how insane it would be for you to ...

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View Poll Results: If you have established tanks, do you cycle a new tank by....
transferring media? 16 84.21%
using TSS (or some other such product)? 0 0%
Other - please specify 3 15.79%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-11-2013, 11:48 AM   #21
Chesh's Avatar
I can't wait for you to start stocking that tank, Jaysee! *shinyeyes*

Tolak, I can't imagine how insane it would be for you to run ALL your breeder tanks and tubs like show tanks! It would cost a fortune, and take an absurd amount of time to maintain! O.O I don't know how you manage it NOW! *givesprops*
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:45 PM   #22
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I have to agree that moving established media will give ya the bacteria to cycle a tank. With enough you shouldn't see a cycle at all but I don't know if I would agree with it giving you a mature tank. I have always believed that is something that takes longer to happen and wont by simply moving media. I have moved media/sponge filters as thats what i use mostly on my smaller tanks and never had a problem but I still always stocked slowly afterwards and have always had plants in the tanks. I would never transfer media from one tank to an new one and stock it to its limits on the first day but that's just me and it might work for others I just stay on the cautions side of things.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:59 PM   #23
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I agree with you, John... it might just be in how people define the words 'mature' or 'established,' though. . .

Transferring media will give you the bacterial colonies that you need to instantly cycle a tank. How much bacteria you move depends on how much new stock the tank will be able to initially handle - this is where the plants come in (for me) since there isn't a way to measure this, exactly - I like to think that they give me a lil bit of 'wiggle room.' I think most of us will agree that when it's possible, stocking slowly is always the best way to go, though sometimes it isn't possible. Like when I got my 20 little Jelly beans all at once online, and had to setup a safe QT tank for them from scratch. . .

That said, when I say my tank is "mature" or "established" I'm talking about something that happens long after the testable part of the nitrogen cycle is long past. In most of my tanks, I'd say that it starts between 3-6 months after stocking ends - but that really depends on the setup, and how often you mess with things. At some point, my tanks seem to take over themselves, and they really become their own. . .ecosystems. . . I guess is the right word. I don't know the science that's going on in there, but I can see the effects on the entire environment. It's an amazing thing ^.^

Anybody want to give me a science lesson?

(ummm, are we off topic again, Jaysee?)

ETA: I'm still totally a beginner in the tank world, and have a lot to learn - I love threads like these, and hearing everyone's input - so thanks, Jaysee, for starting it. *hugs*

Last edited by Chesh; 08-11-2013 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:27 PM   #24
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I.... dont use media. Since my tanks are technicay too small to stock?
I set up as usual with some kind of substrate ... dump plants in, dump snails in...put lights on timer... wait a week... stock... wait another week... over stock >.>
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:33 PM   #25
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Seems like most of the potential ways to cycle have been discussed, but I'll toss mine in anyway.
I do a mixed variety of what's been posted here.

If I'm doing a grow-out tank, I pull sponge filters from existing tanks, add some plants (floaters and moss) and do daily or every other day "ish" water changes (80%) depending on the water parameters. Note: my grow-out tanks are over-fed to keep food in front of the fry, so it's a bioload-heavy tank, hence the water changes

For a new tank, if I don't have "old media" to add into a HOB or canister, then I take a conservative approach. Add lots of plants, few fish, and build over time as I monitor the water conditions. IF I have media to seed the new tank, then I add the fish but still keep an eye on the water parameters (API kit), do frequent 20%-80% water changes, and I use the "sniff" test. If the tank doesn't smell right, I know the water conditions are lousy!

For new tanks, be patient if you are starting from scratch OR do lots of water changes to keep the water in good condition while the tank cycles.
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Last edited by DKRST; 08-11-2013 at 02:36 PM.. Reason: cant type worth a ....
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:14 AM   #26
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I agree with Chesh and John.

Personally I add as much old/established media as I can, then I add plants. Plants partially for their benefit and partially because I like them, and use them in my scapes. *shrug*

I also stock as lightly as I can, and slowly.
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