Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jcinnb 02-19-2011 10:44 AM

Cutting Corners on a New Tank Setup
Well, as most of you know, once you get into this stuff, new tanks are inevitable.

Most of my schemes fail, so tell it to me straight.

I have a 55 that is cycled and knock on wood, running perfectly in regard to water tests. Nothing has died in the last two weeks, my four rams are doing great, and since getting rid of the hornwort, which I think served its purpose well, I am seeing NEW GROWTH on most plants. So..I am feeling pretty good about things. Oh I am also growing shrimp, as we speak.

I am gonna get a 20 gallon. I am gonna load in some extra gravel and wood in my 55 for several weeks, and when ready, transfer that to the 20, along with a lot, 15 or so gallons from the big tank (less what I drink when siphoning!!!).

With "cured" wood, plants gravel and water, but new filter, will this tank cycle or will it already have enough of the two bacterias to not have to cycle? If it will cycle, will it be fast, or not able to tell?

Hope this makes sense, and thanks, as always for your comments.


Byron 02-19-2011 11:37 AM

Adding solid matter from an established tank--be it filter media, substrate, wood, rock, plants, decor--will carry nitrifying bacteria with it, provided you do not wash it or allow it to dry. This is called "seeding" the filter. In the new tank, this bacteria will need food--ammonia and nitrite. If there are fish in the new tank--a few, not many, and in relation to the tank size--they will provide food. You should see no ammonia or nitrite spike.

The use of live plants carries this even further. If there are sufficient plants, what we may term well-planted, you can add fish and there will be no discernible "cycle" with or without the seeding. However, if you can, both will ensure success.

There is no value whatever in using "old" water from an existing aquarium, at least not with respect to the cycling issue. In fact, the opposite holds. The water will carry ammonia, perhaps nitrite, nitrate, and whatever pathogens and "crud", and none of these are necessary or wanted. I have always filled new tanks with tap water, used a water conditioner, then moved the plants, wood, etc., and added the fish, same day. Never an issue.


jcinnb 02-19-2011 03:59 PM

Thank you Byron. I think I am gonna be in good shape. I want some differnt plants in the 55 so I don't mind moving some over. Thanks again.


SGDude 02-19-2011 08:04 PM

Why not add the new filter to the 55 for a couple weeks?

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