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Old 06-09-2014, 07:38 PM   #1 
MameJenny's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Colorado
Cycle messed up from broken filter?

So yesterday, during a routine water test, I discovered that my 2.5 gallon heavily planted betta tank had .25 ppm of ammonia. While trying to figure out what caused the spike, I discovered that the filter was clogged. I have no idea how long it was like that, but I know it was working when I did a water change 3 days before. There was still water in the bottom of the filter, so I don't think the media dried out. (I have a piece of Aquaclear sponge, a very old bag of carbon, and about 10-15 pieces of ceramic media in there. It's an Aqueon Quietflow 10 filter.)

So, I unclogged the filter and added several pieces of ceramic media from my other tank, to give the bacteria a boost. I tested this morning, and the ammonia was probably around .30 to .40. I did a 50% water change. I tested again a few minutes ago (about 8 hours after the water change), and the ammonia is back at a little above .25. The nitrites are, and have been, 0. Before this, the tank was very stable, and it's been cycled for around 1 1/2 months.

Is the tank going to go through a full-fledged cycle because of the filter malfunction? I'd think that the gravel and plants would have some beneficial bacteria on them too, right? Should I move the non-plant inhabitants (a betta and a zebra nerite) out until the levels stabilize? The tank has Miracle Gro soil, which I know causes crazily high ammonia/nitrite levels in uncycled tanks, so I'm worried about that...
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:42 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Brigantine, NJ
No, you won't be starting over with the cycle. It's just going to take a little time to balance again. Mini cycles don't usually last too long.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:45 PM   #3 
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You will have bacteria in the Gravel, on plants, decorations, ... everywhere in the tank. Just not as much as you have in the filter. Even if you completely changed out the filter. You still wouldnt be starting over 100%.
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