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seeding new tank from established tank
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jpalimpsest
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Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: 2012.12.05(Wed)8:21    Post subject: seeding new tank from established tank Reply with quote

Hi. I'm new to the site, but not new to the hobby. Still, I've been away from fish-keeping for 6 years and I'm in the process of researching and relearning.

I am ashamed to admit that I previously and naively cycled with zebra danios. This time, I am determined to do a fishless cycle.

I don't have my tank yet. I'm doing a lot of research before getting started. I'm looking at either a 29 gal or 38 gal tank.

I may have access to a friend's established 20 gal hexagon tank and would like to seed from that tank to get my cycle started. The established tank only has 1 molly and two platies.

I've read that I can use some gravel from the established tank to give my tank's cycle a jump start. I haven't found any information about how much gravel to use. Would 1/2 a cup be enough?

I've also read about using some filter material from the existing tank or adding a new filter to the existing tank and leaving it for a few weeks. Is this a better option than the gravel option? Would combining both options be even better?

Should I have any concerns about damaging the balance in the existing tank? I don't want to cause my friends or their fish any hardship. Since my tank would be fishless through its cycling process, would returning the borrowed gravel after the cycle cause any problems to the existing tank? What should I do to protect the existing tank.

I plan for my tank to be a low-tech planted tank. Would getting the plants started immediately help cycle the tank?

I've read that running the tank at a higher than normal temperature may also speed the process along. What temperature would be best? Would a higher temperature harm the plants if I decide to plant the tank immediately?

I apologize for so many questions, but I want to do it right this time. I appreciate any feedback.
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ZacAdam
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2012.12.05(Wed)12:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there! Always good to see someone doing a fishless cycle - if I could get more of my friends and clients to do that, we'd be doing a lot better as a hobby!

I'm not sure how effective transplanting gravel would be - while it's true that some nitrification takes place in the substrate, you'd also be transplanting a lot of the (literal) crap that accumulates in the substrate. I'd skip it.

As for the filter media, this is entirely true, especially any sponge media/biological media (biomax, g-nodes, etc). The same can be done, as you said, by running a new filter on the cycled tank for a few weeks. This is far and beyond the way to go.

Planting the tank immediately will make some of the monitoring tests harder to see. People do planted cycles (see our own "articles" section, on the sidebar), but these are called "silent cycles", since it's hard to tell when the cycle has been "closed", so to speak. It would be best to leave off until after the tank has fish in it. After all, the fish provide much of the food for the plants.

Don't bother with increasing the temperature. When you bring it back down, it'll retard the cycle, which'll cause a small proportion of the nitrification bacteria to die off, at which point you risk New Tank Syndrome anyway.

The largest tank I personally ever fishless cycled was 10 gallons, though I'm ramping up to cycle a 55 in the weeks to come. Bon Chance!
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.12.06(Thu)14:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could use gunge (or rinsings in tank water) from the established tank's filter to seed the new tank and then feed the cycle to increase the bacteria numbers.
It should cut the cycling time by a week as you will have the bacteria present and the colonies will start to grow sooner.
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Huntress
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Houston TX

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)9:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are only three fish in a 20g? There may not be enough bacteria to seed, period. If the tank were more stocked then gravel and an old filter would do the trick, but I think your best bet would be to do a pure fishless cycle with ammonia and a testing kit. HTH
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jpalimpsest
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Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)9:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found that the seeding material wasn't very helpful. I'm three weeks into the fishless cycle and still waiting for a nitrite spike. I've been using pure ammonia to keep the ammonia level around 2.0ppm. Admittedly, I've made a couple of mistakes along the way, such as adding driftwood soaked in unconditioned water. I think the chorline in the wood killed off some of the bacteria I'd built up Crying or Very sad

In the meantime, I've planted the tank and I'm happy with the look. Now I'm just impatient to get through this cycle and on to the fishies!

[img]http://images.plurk.com/pdUQ-3hzxYIV1jutkr7g6z4yAqq.jpg[/img]
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Huntress
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Houston TX

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)9:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patience young grasshopper. The plants are also absorbing the ammonia if they are live, which will make the process a little longer. Smile Have you thought of a stocking list?
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jpalimpsest
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Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)10:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a bit worried about my stocking preferences because most, if not all, of the fish would be best in a well-established tank. My tentative list is:

a school of pencilfish (preferably [I]Nannostomus marginatus [/I])
1 sparkling gourami [I]Trichopsis pumila[/I]
2-3 apistogrammas or checkerboard cichlids
5-7 red cherry or amano shrimp


other fish I'm considering:
a small school of otos
GBRs (instead of the apistogrammas or checkerboard cichlids)
japanese blue guppies (all males)
a school of [I]Trigonostigma hengeli[/I]
a school of dwarf cories [I]Corydora hastatus[/I]
a school of lampeye kilis [I]Poropanchax normani [/I]
a school of emerald eye rasboras [I]Rasbora dorsiocellata [/I]

I really love licorice gouramis [I]Parosphromenus deissneri[/I], but I'm not sure about compatibility with the sparkling gourami and worry about its fragility
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jpalimpsest
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Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)10:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm, I clearly need to turn HTML code on... Embarassed
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)10:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

IME checkerboard cichlids love shrimp! Shocked so one or t'other as you won't be able to have both.
Why one sparkling gourami? - they are usually fine in a group. Licorice gouramis would not be compatible but would also be OK in a group.
Otos would probably be better with the dwarf cichlids than free swimming cories.
Pick one shoaling fish and have a decent sized shoal. Any of your choices could work but I prefer pencilfish. If you want a hardy dither fish black neons are good.
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jpalimpsest
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Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: 2012.12.28(Fri)10:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

I originally wanted a trio of sparkling gouramis, but I was warned that when breeding, they may be too aggressive with my smaller schooling fish choices.

I'm not a fan of neons. I want to avoid most of the more common stock choices. I'm not sure why that is... My bf says I'm a fish snob Embarassed

I've read conflicting information about licorice gouramis with sparkling gouramis. Some sites list them a perfect tank mates. Other indicate that they'll fight. To be safe, I'll probably do one or the other.
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