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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
Bedhead has outlined the right technique for seeding from a donor tank.

If your donor tank has been running for a few months, donating the filter media to the new tank is no big deal -- or just donate half the media. Mini-cycles are not dangerous, especially if you're using Prime. Just take readings (both tanks) and change water as needed.

Don't donate water. There's not enough bacteria in the water to make it worth while.

If the donor tank is newly cycled (just a few weeks), I'd suggest leaving it be and cycling the new tank as outlined in the tutorial.

If you're in a hurry, add Tetra Safestart or equivalent (Dr Tim's One-and-Only, ATM Colony, Microbelift NiteOut II, API Quickstart).

Once it's established, crashing a cycle is not easy. The bacteria is pretty hard to kill unless you let it dry out or overheat or chill it.
 

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Hi Laki. Good to see you.

What sort of BB are you adding? Just adding bacteria won't get it. You have to feed the bacteria with ammonia in order for them to grow to a healthy colony. You can use the fish to provide the ammonia (fish-in cycling) or add ammonia yourself (fishless cycling).

Pure ammonia is not available at just any grocery store. It must be "Pure" ammonia with no detergents or other additives.Tru-Value Hardware has Janitorial Strength ammonium hydroxide (ammonia). Shake the bottle. If it foams, it has additives and you don't want it.

I’m interested in what you're adding because you show nitrate, which indicates a cycled tank. How long have you been dosing with BB and what kind is it exactly? I though by now that you would have a cycled tank that you could get seeded media from. If that's what you're using, I'd recommend getting a fish in there to keep the cycle going.

If you're not going to stock that tank soon, then you can cheat and just put a few pellets in there every day to generate a little ammonia, rather than buying a whole bottle. Be sure to clean them out every once in a while.

And, by all means, keep testing.
It's Nutrafin cycle. Everybody recommended the tetra brand but that's not sold in stores here and I didn't want to wait for it to come by mail. I have only set my tank up recently (a few weeks ago), we moved provinces last November so I tore my tank apart and sold off things, let my tank dry out for 7 months. So there were no seeding pads.

Based on consistent readings of 0 ppm ammonia (a few days ago it was 25 ppm) I believe my tank will be safe for a fish-in cycle, oh and I have been adding fish food as a slight ammonia source. I know it's not as good as pure ammonia. I will be testing the water and changing it as needed. I think I'll also throw in a hornwort if I can get my hands on some today or tomorrow just to be safe while I wait for my other plants to arrive. After my exercise today I'll be going to catch a bus out to look at the honeys. I already called and they have what I want, I just hope they're healthy!
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Nutrafin Cycle does not contain the bacteria that does the nitrogen cycle. It only keeps sludge from building up in the filter (of a highly-stocked tank). It won't hurt. But, once you stock you tank, just go with the normal fish-in cycling procedure. You know what you're doing.

Hornwort is good stuff. More plants are better. Be sure to keep a close eye on your readings while your plants are new and getting their roots under them -- so to speak.
 

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Yea I think I have gone so long without my tank that I did the whole thing wrong.. It seems it will be a fish-in cycle afterall. I picked up a trio of honeys today and the lady gave me a whole bunch of salvinia as cover and as a ammonia/nitrite sucker-outer.
 

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Hi,
If I tuck another, new filter in with my established, cycled tank's filter, how long before the new filter has enough bacteria to be moved to a new tank?
 

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When I set up my new tank, I ended up doing a fish in cycle. I did exactly as you described. Btw, AMAZING job with your sticky so detailed and so understandable thank you!!!
Anyway, I started my tank about almost 2 1/2-3 weeks ago, to help the process last week everyday, i added Stability to my water changing with my Prime for 7 days.
Now, I am still continuing with Prime everyday but i was just wondering how long until i can truly see my tank is completely cycled? is there a time frame? My nitrites and nitrates are reading 0. But my ammonia will still read .25. Does that mean it is almost done? Should I up my water changing? I am water changing 50% once a week
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Just keep doing your Prime every day and water changes to keep ammonia <0.50ppm. It takes more than 3 weeks mostly, sometimes as long as 8-weeks.

Stability might help, at least some experienced keepers think so. My corespondents report mixed results. But it won't hurt anything.

The tank is cycled when both ammonia and nitrite read 0.0ppm and nitrate increases slightly every week.
 

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If I use Tetra Safe Start in a 5 gallon medium-planted tank with a betta, is that correct that I should not change my water the first 2 weeks ?

The paper test kit shows the ammonia between 0 and 0.25 after 3 days (hard to tell on the color)

Betta seems active, eats well (and build a big bubble nest in the corner not sure if this matter)
 

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Discussion Starter #32
That's what Tetra says to do. But it makes me nervous to watch ammonia build up, even when using Prime. Because so little bacteria is in the water column, I think there is no penalty for changing water whenever ammonia gets near 0.50ppm. So that's what I recommend. Creates peace-of-mind, if nothing else.

What brand strips are you using that features an ammonia test?
 

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Thank you, Hallyx

I used Jungle TK301W Quick Dip Ammonia Test Strips, 25-Pack (I "inherited" it from a friend)

What is the best liquid test master kit I should use ?
 

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So... my tank is almost three months old and hasn't cycled at all. It's a 4.5 gallon and has a filter. I've had the betta since I got the tank and added a mystery snail just over a month ago. I usually do 25%-50% water changes every Sunday, and ammonia usually reads 0.25 - 0.50PPM immediately beforehand and nitrite and nitrate are always at 0ppm. Late last night I noticed my betta flashing, couldn't see anything physically wrong with him so I dosed with prime and went to bed. He was still doing it this morning so I tested the water and ammonia was at 1.0PPM o_o Meanwhile nitrite and nitrate were at 0ppm... Just did a 50% water change, I'll test the ammonia again later today. Is there something I'm missing? >_> Or is the tank too small to cycle?
 

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So... my tank is almost three months old and hasn't cycled at all. It's a 4.5 gallon and has a filter. I've had the betta since I got the tank and added a mystery snail just over a month ago. I usually do 25%-50% water changes every Sunday, and ammonia usually reads 0.25 - 0.50PPM immediately beforehand and nitrite and nitrate are always at 0ppm. Late last night I noticed my betta flashing, couldn't see anything physically wrong with him so I dosed with prime and went to bed. He was still doing it this morning so I tested the water and ammonia was at 1.0PPM o_o Meanwhile nitrite and nitrate were at 0ppm... Just did a 50% water change, I'll test the ammonia again later today. Is there something I'm missing? >_> Or is the tank too small to cycle?

Gosh, that so weird. lol
What's your PH? and do you switch your filter cartridge out? which test kit are you using?
 

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Yeah, I've never tried to cycle a tank before. :p

I'm using the API Master Test Kit. I tested pH just now... the normal pH seemed very blue so I tried high range and it seemed very brown. So I guess 7.4 - 7.6 pH? I've never switched the filter cartridge. I do have a spare.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
A 50% weekly change is standard maintenance. So, other than a few drops of Prime every day, you should operate as if the tank were cycled. Keep ammonia <0.50ppm with changes. Do not replace your cartridge. It will cycle eventually.

As for the flashing, try a a large pwc and see what happens.

Any size tank can be cycled.
 

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Yeah, I've never tried to cycle a tank before. :p

I'm using the API Master Test Kit. I tested pH just now... the normal pH seemed very blue so I tried high range and it seemed very brown. So I guess 7.4 - 7.6 pH? I've never switched the filter cartridge. I do have a spare.

Can you try shaking those nitrate bottles like you're a mad man? Some times they need to take a beating to work properly...

how much are you feeding your betta and mystery snail?
 

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I have been, directions said for a full minute and I did that. :p My arm was tired after. lol

I feed the betta 2ish pellets twice daily (Omega One Betta Buffet). The mystery snail I've been giving a small shred of lettuce once or twice weekly (sometimes other veggies if I have them instead), removing uneaten portions after 24 hours (although I've finally gotten the portions to the point where he eats all of it now anyways). Snail also eats algae and uneaten food of course.

I have read that vacuuming the gravel can disrupt the beneficial bacteria and the cycle. I've been vacuuming the gravel every week, though not super intensely. Should I stop that for now, maybe?
 
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