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friendsnotfood 02-22-2009 07:53 PM

seeding bacteria from old substrate
I just inherited a 60gal tank from my father-in-law and it had everything i needed with it. I just set it up and started researching what i need to do to get it ready for fish. I now have it filled and it has settled to a ph level of 7.2. Now i am to the first cycling part and am unsure what to do. The substrate i was given was used by my father-in-law for years and when he finished with it he said he washed it in the tank water and just left it in the tank. I received the tank a few months after he had stored the tank.

Now my question is whether or not the substrate still had the good bacteria on it or the prolonged dry state killed it all off. I haven't seen any nitrate/nitrite changes since starting this endeavor.

I have not added fish to the tank yet but do plan on it because an empty tank for a month while it cycles seems boring to me :P I plan on starting with some Zebra Danios and maybe some Barbs.

JohnnyD44 02-22-2009 09:01 PM

First off....if you can hold off on the fish while your tank it cycling! If not, you're setting yourself up for a lot of water changes. Cycling is easier when it is fishless.

Fishless Cycling Made Easy

As far as the subtrate...I'm guessing it's dead if has been sitting for an extended period of time, but wait for another opinon on that.

Keep us updated!

aunt kymmie 02-22-2009 11:25 PM

I agree, the bacteria in the substrate will not be viable as the tank wasn't being given a constant source of ammonia to feed the bacteria.

willow 02-23-2009 04:41 PM

the zebra danios will fair a better chance of surviving the toxic water
than the barbs. JMHO :)
good luck with the tank,if you know anyone with an already established tank,
aske them if they would donate some stuff from their filter for yours,it will help
your cycle fish.

cerianthus 02-23-2009 04:57 PM

It may be active if kept moist since detritus in gravel might have sustained the colony. Even if moist and inactive, will establish in time. How fasr? cant say. If you filled up using tap water, even w/ dechlorinator, may have wiped out whatever colony gravel have held, thus need to fully cycle the tank. Wether to go with fish or fishless cycle, it is up to you, IMO.I have not tried fishless in few decades. Once I had one tank well established, it was no big deal estalishing other tanks using water from first/well established tank(s) with fish and w/o mini cycle!

Tyyrlym 02-24-2009 09:00 AM

No, dry = dead. If the gravel dried out the bacteria died.

Also, until there is a source of ammonia you won't see a change in the nitrogenous substance levels. Either supplied by you or fish.

friendsnotfood 02-24-2009 05:26 PM

i talked to my local dealer and he said they are probably dead :( i got 6 tiger barbs and so far so good. I'll check the water for nitrite/nitrate changes tomorrow. I think that will tell me whether or not the bacteria lived better then anything.

I now have another question. I have large aquarium rocks in my tank but not any plants yet. should i wait for it to cycle and just live with plainness or can i add plants whenever i get them? Should i go with live plants or fake? i've never done water plants but i've got quite a green thumb with the other kind :P

Oh and by the way this site is awsome and thanks for all the great advice :)

willow 02-25-2009 04:33 PM

i don't see why you should wait to add plants,either real of fake,
if you go for fake,then perhaps look towards silk,they may be a little more expensive,
however they move nice in the current and won't graze the fish when they swim past.
live plants can depend on your lighting.
i'm not one that can help where light is concerned,however for low light tanks.
java moss,java fern,hornwort,vallis,amazon swords,elodea(sp)
hope that helps a little.

friendsnotfood 02-25-2009 05:39 PM

awsome. i think i am goin to go with all live. they seem to be the same price either way i go. thanks for all the help :)

willow 02-26-2009 02:59 PM

you're very welcome.
i except payment by pictures :)

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