starting tank cycle without a heater
Is it possable to start cycleing my 55 gal tank without a heater? I am ordering it but it looks like its about a week out.I also plan on seeding it with media from my 10 gal tank .
I think so - as long as it doesn't have tropical fish. :)
But I'm not sure as I don't have much experience with such big tanks LOL!
as long as the tank is in a room comfortable to humans you should be fine.
You can start it but the growth would certainly be slower (Your biological filter needs high temperatures to multiply at optimun rates.)
Just slower. I can't recall at what temperature it stops but I am sure it is lower than room temperature.
Seeding doesn't actually make any difference, the bacteria/archaea don't move so they don't propagate throughout the tank so the tank colonies develop as they would normally with or without the "seeding" media. It's really only good if you need the have the ammonia handled due to fish already in place as it acts as a buffer.
Welcome to the forum and the hobby!
It also depends on where you are and how warm your house is. This time of year I can easily keep tropical fish without a heater. The tank stays about 78F with no problem. I would certainly say go ahead and start it. It may be slower, but it is better than nothing!
The nitrifying organisms are sessile so do not move about, they adhere to surfaces by excreting a film and staying there. Placing a bag of media containing a stationary set of organisms can only serve to oxidize the ammonia and nitrites, not spread the organisms. It is accepted that these organisms are not in the water, which is why transferring just water is of no value, so that refutes the seeding premise alone.
The only reason that it might accelerate the process would be due to the ammonia concentration being lowered by the established organisms to below the 1ppm threshold for the nitrite oxidizers to start propagating sooner or perhaps having a method of oxidizing the nitrite to nitrates to help mitigate the nitrite spike.
An example where it would actually work as a seeding would be to use established sand and mix it with the new sand in the permanent substrate. This would become part of the bio filtration directly which would serve to start the process with a higher number of organisms permanently in place. The mixed sand grains would be in direct contact with many other sand grains and this direct contact could conceivably work as a seeding.
Seeding new tanks with established media has worked without fail for me. Over the years I've done it nearly 30 times. Some people move a small portion of established media and grow it by dosing with ammonia. It's what is often recommended in your situation - when starting a much larger tank from a smaller one.
Jeff - what you mention about mixing sand is no different than using media in the filter. The bacteria colony transferred will grow and colonize the new media it's in contact with. That's what it means to seed a filter.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I agree with Jaysee on this.
Adding a bag of substrate to a high flow area or the filter works because it increases the amount of initial bacteria present in the tank. That in turns cuts down drastically on the time it takes to establish a full colony. Seeding by using a filter from an already established tank will work even more quickly.
For example, let's be ultra conservative and say with seeded media I add twice the amount of bacteria that occurs naturally in the tap water. I've saved myself time because I've lost a day or two in the amount it takes for the bacteria to double. The more bacteria initially added will ultimately result in a faster cycling process.
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