I think that my 20 gallon is cycling! I put 1/4tsp of 10% ammonia in my 20 gallon last night since it was at 0 which raised the ammonia to about 3ppm. Today I tested it and it was at 0 again. I added another 1/4tsp to keep the bacteria fed.
Also, putting the 10 gallon filter in the 20 gallon is a good idea since my 10 gallon isn't cycling at all. The only problem is won't the 20 gallon filter process all the ammonia now that it has the bacteria so the 10 gallon bacteria would starve and you couldn't tell if it was cycled.
The 10g filter will pick up bacteria from the 20g filter and begin it's own colony. The 20gal colony will become smaller and the 10g colony will grow bigger until they share the food/load equally, with some bacteria in the substrate and decor/walls, etc.
You're doing a fish-in cycle. You'll have such large colonies that, after you stock your tanks, some of that bacteria will die back to match the ammonia food/load. The colony in a cycled tank is only as large as it needs to be.
Thanks for explaining about the filters. I have no idea what stage my 20 gallon is at in it's cycle. It is taking down 3ppm in 24 hours so I know that it has the ammonia-breaking bacteria, but the nitrate and nitrite readings are close to 0. How is this possible? I'm using general API test strips to test the nitrites/nitrates so maybe they are inaccurate. I'm going to get liquid nitrite kits at Petco tomorrow (Petsmart didn't have them) so hopefully I will get some readings on them.
I got the liquid test kit and tested everything just now. My tank has a ph of 8.2 (that's just how my tap is) and it breaks down 3ppm ammonia a day. It has 0 nitrites and 2-3ppm nitrates. I'm a little confused on why the nitrates are almost nothing because I read that they should skyrocket and a major water change is necessary, but I guess less is better.
Anyway, since all my cycling parameters are good, does this mean that I'm ready to put in fish? I'm going to put in my male betta, 6 albino cories, and 6 harlequin rasboras. When I do add them, should I add a couple fish every few days, or can I put most of them in at once?
You're tank is zeroing out the ammonia dose in 24 hrs? And its done it multiple times? When you're ready to add fish, add a few, wait a week or two then add a few more, this gives your BB time to adjust to the added bio load. Test your water for a few days after each addition to make sure nothing goes askew.
Yes, my tank has successfully been processing ammonia every day so I guess it's time for fish. Would it be ok if I added the 6 cories at once and then waited a week and added the 6 rasboras and then a week later I added my betta?
I don't want my bacteria load to decline too much with just the cories and then not be able to handle the rasboras or my betta. Do you think this is a possibility if I just add 6 fish for the first week?
I made a thread to ask if my tank could hold all the fish I wanted, and people said that my tank would be completely full, but that it would work fine. I also went on an aquarium calculator which said that my tank could handle the fish load, so I think it's ok. I will have to monitor the parameters closely. Do you think waiting a week between adding the schools is good?