Beneficial Bacteria - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Beneficial Bacteria

Hello! I have been stuffing a large amount of filter media into my betta tank, because the filters it came with was very scant, so I have about 4 strips of filter in there now. My tank is completely cycled and has been for some time, but I was just wondering, how long does it take for the bacteria to attach to the other filter pads, as I have put them in periodically over the past year. Does it take a month, a week, a day? I have no idea so I was wondering if anybody has some insight on this.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 07:12 PM
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I'm not sure exactly what you are asking. Are you wondering if all the filter medium has been colonized by the bacteria, or are you looking to replace some of the filter medium that you have in the filter?

Generally it will take the bacteria around 6 weeks to fully colonize new filter medium. For example if you were to put new filter medium in filter and hang the old filter medium in the tank next to the filter, it'd take it around 6 weeks to fully colonize the new medium and allow you to start getting rid of the old medium. I'd do so slowly so you don't go through a mini cycle, since if you just got rid of the old medium all at once you'd be getting rid of 1/2 the bacteria.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I know its a confusing question. I guess my main question is how quickly do the bacteria multiply in an already established tank.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 06:29 AM
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If the tank is established and cycled than the bacteria is already colonized and doing its job. Do you have a 3 or 4 stage filter? If you do there is a separate plastic sponge which is a Bio sponge this is where the bacteria will collect and grow. as long as you don't disturb it or remove the water in the filter the colony which inhabit that sponge are mature and doing their job. they constantly reproduce. So you can change the regular cotton floss filter completely with out hurting the colony. I suggest taking the floss filter out once a week while you do water changes and rinse it in the old water until all the gunk is off it and than replace it in the filter. do this until the floss either doesn't come clean or falls apart, Than replace it altogether.

From what you said your tank is cycled and that means the bacteria is working otherwise the tank would not have cycled.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 09:22 AM
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That is a very good answer O. D. 59. I think what ucostu is trying to ask is - If he puts a new piece of sponge into an established system, how long until that new sponge is fully colonized. He said his filter originally had very little media in it, so over the past year he has been slowly adding strips of sponge to it. He wants to know just how long it will take for each new strip of sponge to be colonized, assuming everything else is fully cycled/established/colonized.

Put a new piece of sponge into a 1 year old fully established filter. How long until the new sponge is full of BB?

I don't know. But that's what he's trying to find out.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Yes! That is my question- thank you for wording it better haha I was struggling to find the right words.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 06:20 PM
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Short answer: 6 weeks.

BB will start growing on the new media within days, but it will take about six weeks for the BB to be "established", meaning they have both kinds of bacteria (the ones that eat ammonia & the ones that eat nitrite) in large enough numbers that you could remove the older media, if you wanted, and not "uncycle" your tank.

So if you wanted to remove the old media because it's falling apart, or it's not the type you wanted in your filter, etc, or if you wanted to take a piece of media and use it to "insta-cycle" a new tank, I'd wait 6-8 weeks after you've added the new stuff to be sure there's plenty of BB established on all the media.


But remember, you'll only have as much BB as needed to take care of your fish's ammonia output, and not really any extra. So while it's great to add extra media to your filter- you really can't have too much so long as you're not clogging the filter!- you will still have more or less the same "amount" of BB. They'll just be more spread out over multiple pieces of sponge instead of crowed onto one piece. This is because the BB are alive and if there isn't enough ammonia for them to eat, they won't be able to keep growing their population larger but will instead find a steady balance of numbers.
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