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Old 07-23-2013, 10:37 PM   #1 
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Question Cycling a Filter Cart... Not the Tank

Hello, all! New to the forum, hello, hello, here are my specs:
10g. with some guppies and a small RC (actually blue pearl, but same thing) shrimp colony, and
3g. with Bilbo Bettins, a rosetail, purplish/reddish/yellowish metallic guy.
Both tanks are cycled, yes, and I do weekly water changes for both. Both have a filter that is stronger than necessary for the tank (though in Bilbo's tank, I have a plant in front of the output so that more than half of the water is virtually still)...

And I have a question I wanted to pick your brains with! We know how cycling works, you put a filter in a tank full of ammonia and eventually nice bacteria takes away the ammonia, poos nitrite, and more bacteria comes to take that, and how adding filter media, gravel, or deco from an established tank can speed up the process exponentially, but...

What if your new filter media is small enough to fit IN an established filter?

I'm starting a 3g. betta bowl (for the future Frodo Bettins). I know I don't NEEEEED a filter, but wow, it does make water changes easier. I have no water in it yet, nothing set up, but I have bought the filter and it just so happens that the filter media is small enough to fit IN the filter I have on the 10g! So... I stuck it there. Can only help, right?

I figure to be safe, I'll still have to use my water test kit and try to cycle it traditionally after it's been sitting in the established, but... What do you think? Do you think it'll be ready as soon as I stick it in the bowl?

And when do you think it will be ready? Cycling takes forever and seeding a tank can reduce the time to a third, but this is as direct as one can get... Maybe it'll only take a week, which has already gone by since I stuck it in there.

TL;DR: Does putting new filter media in an established filter WITH the established media reduce or eliminate cycling time?


For your viewing pleasure, Bilbo's 2 before, and 2 after pictures (about two months apart):
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:35 PM   #2 
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If you put the new media in your old filter and let it run 5-6 weeks, it should be seeded with the bacteria you need. :) Of course it'll be best to watch both takes for spikes after you take it out and put it in the new tank, but they'll be small if they happen at all, and everything will be dandy.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:39 AM   #3 
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Oh, it never occurred to me that building bac up in the media would affect the old tank, but it makes sense. x_x
Thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:29 AM   #4 
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Originally Posted by Savster View Post
I know I don't NEEEEED a filter, but wow, it does make water changes easier.
Well, you don;t need a filter, but you need something to circulate the water over the bacteria that's on everything in the tank. A filter is an efficient means of doing that, plus it adds room for bacteria to colonize and filters some solids out of the water column. Why does having as filter make your water changes easier?

Using surfaces from a cycled/established tank is a time-tested way to get nitrifying bacteria into your new tank. (Beats waiting for it to fall out of the sky.) Use a chunk of media , sunbstrate or plants to get the most surface.

For a 5g or 10g tank, wiith seeded media, I'd be cycling with the livestock and plants in the tank. You'll probablty be doing a ~50% water-change/week, anyway...more in the first few weeks, depending on your readings. Your tank will cycle in it's own time. You'll hardly notice.
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cycling, filter, filter media, fishless cycling, tank

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