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Old 05-07-2013, 09:38 AM   #1 
NeptunesMom
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Cycling using old tank water

So, last night it was 48 hours since I used silicone to divide up my new 10 g. I washed it out with steaming hot water, and then washed the gravel with boiling water. I decided to cycle this tank (this will be the first fishless cycle I did). So I put two gallons in it, and then stopped. I've read on here several times through about how to cycle. But, I've also read in the past about people using a previously cycled tank's water to help boost the process. The decorations going into the tank are all in up and running aquariums as well. If I use 50% tank water from an already cycled 10 g, and use decorations that likely already have bacteria on them, approx how long would it take to cycle?
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:45 AM   #2 
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Probably the same amount of time. BB doesn't live in the water column, it is on surfaces. That's why filters are such a great source, because of the increased surface area.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #3 
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The water will not have much Bob but the decorations will have some. You would be better to use filter media from a cycled tank
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:00 PM   #4 
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None of my tanks have filers on them. So I guess, I'll just have to go through the whole process.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:06 PM   #5 
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I was under the impression that you need a filter to cycle, but I bet it depends on plant mass and bioload. Have you had luck with that before?
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #6 
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I do not believe a filter is necessary (although I may be wrong). I did a "fish in" cycle (or at least what I assumed was a fish in cycle) with Eponine last summer. It followed the same "cycle" as mentioned in the cycling sticky when I tested and changed the water.

I know that I have heard that using gravel from a cycled tank is just as effective as filters from a cycled tank. So, I would assume the bacteria lives in the gravel. I know it lives on the plants and decorations and such. I knew the water did not have much in it, but I have heard of people using water from cycled tanks to kick start their cycling process. So, that's what I wasn't sure about.

At PetSmart (where I work) we tell people to cycle tanks that don't have filters. We tell them to do the same thing as the fishless cylces listed in the sticky say. Those who do have filters, they tell to run it for about a week with the filter running. Not, that I'm saying these are right.

Last edited by NeptunesMom; 05-07-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:31 PM   #7 
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I did some research online, and it appears (at least based on what I found) that you can cycle a tank without a filter, but the water needs to be moving somehow. So, I decided to put the boys in and just watch the parameters. They acclimated all afternoon and I put Marius and Ranger into the tank about 30 minutes ago. I'm waiting on putting Neptune into the tank, because I've found a weird black line on his tail.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #8 
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You definitely don't need a filter to cycle a tank but it really does make it a bit easier and quicker just because it gives the BB more space to grow and flourish while moving water over them. Even just putting a sponge in your filter space is enough. Those carbon pads aren't really needed and you can just take the carbon out and let the BB grow on it.

Water from a cycled tank really won't do much of anything. You can seed a new tank using gravel or decor if you don't have a filter and that will jump start it. The only benefit of using "old" water from another tank is the parameters will be the same.

I've heard of having to run a new filter on a tank for a day or so and a lot of people think that it "cycles" it or something but it doesn't do much of anything but get the filter primed to well, filter water. Without BB in the filter media all it does is move water around. The carbon pads are good for removing medicine but that's about it, I think. I've heard of pads that can remove ammonia but if you have BB in your filter media then they should be removing ammonia and nitrites and such.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:12 AM   #9 
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Can't imagine how the nitrogen cycle can be promoted without a filter. The bacteria need water to circulate over them in order to convert the ammonia, etc. The filter also oxygenates the water, which is necessary for the health of the bacteria.

As for the discussion of where most of the bacteria reside: While there may be more bacteria in and on the substrate and surfaces, more water is flowing over the bacteria in the filter media. You do the math.

Read the "similar threads" listed below.
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