OK, so I've been cycling a 5 gallon for my new guy for almost a month and I'm at the nitrIte spike stage, so I've been hopeful that I was at least halfway done.
Well today I woke up to a strange sound coming from my tank. It turns out that the filter was spitting out water in fits and spurts, the only thing that seemed to help was to lift the filter pad slightly, which resulted in water blasting out the front and splashing everywhere.
I took the filter apart and the filter pad is totally covered on one side, which I assume resulted in the problem since the impeller and other internal parts were clean. I tried swishing the filter pad in the tank, but it didn't seem to make a noticeable difference.
So, I went out and got an AquaClear filter and put it together. I didn't add the carbon cartridge, but rather bought a second biological media packet. I plan on keeping two of these, in addition to the mechanical filter sponge, so I never have to remove more than 1/3 of the media at any one time. It will also allow me to have filter media ready to jump start any future cycles on new tanks. I'll keep the carbon in case I ever need it.
I added the "dirty" filter from the old filter to the media section and I hope this will allow BB to transfer and won't set my cycle back to zero???
Pain in the back side!