Aquarium Setup • Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

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Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Wed May 06, 2020 6:03 pm

Hi,

I'm planning on cycling a second tank in about two weeks time once all my equipment and rocks are delivered. I'll be using ammonia, following the approach described in the library article here.

My existing tank has two external filters, one with 2 litres of biological media, the rest mechanical, and the second with 4 litres biological. I also have 40 kg of rock in the tank, all of which has algae growth that my Mbuna munch on. I'd be happy moving around 5kg of this rock out. The new tank will have two external cannisters and around 25 kg of new, clean rock.

I don't want to remove any sand from the existing tank, as it's a different colour to what I'm putting in the new tank.

Couple of questions:

- is it worth seeding the new tank from the existing to speed up the cycle? Or should I just start from scratch?

- if I was to seed, what would you suggest I take from the existing tank. Rocks? Biological media? How much would it take, and how much could I remove without disturbing the balance in the existing tank? I've read posts that say you really don't need much at all to give the new tank a head start. Is that the case?

Cheers
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby DJRansome » Wed May 06, 2020 6:28 pm

I was good until your last sentence. :)

What is the bioload planned for the new tank? If it is 14 saulosi juveniles, I would take 1/3 of the biological media and put it in one of the filters for the new tank.

They should both be fully cycled with no mini cycle, but test to be sure.

I have never done just a bit for a head start. All or nothing for me. :thumb:

I think if you took half of the biomedia from the established tank it might still work, but there would be more chance of a mini cycle.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby cyclonecichlids » Wed May 06, 2020 11:11 pm

I personally find fish-less cycling to be a PIA. You can simply connect one of your new canister filters to the existing tank, let it run for 1-2 weeks, and then move it over to your new tank once your fish arrive. The second new canister will be seeded from the first.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Thu May 07, 2020 3:26 am

DJRansome wrote:I was good until your last sentence. :)

What is the bioload planned for the new tank?


It'll either be two species worth of juveniles, or the 5 young adult callainos from the existing tank, or both. Or 5 callainos and 5 labs from the existing tank. I'm not 100% sure on how to proceed (as you'll see from my other thread :wink: ). I do suspect that I'll be reducing the bioload of the existing tank at the same time though, which I presume will help if I remove some of the media.

cyclonecichlids wrote:You can simply connect one of your new canister filters to the existing tank, let it run for 1-2 weeks, and then move it over to your new tank once your fish arrive.


That sounds neat and simple.

Maybe I'll combine both of your suggestions and move a third of the media to a new canister and run that canister in the old tank for two weeks... or is that overkill?

So it sounds like I should be able to do this without going through a full cycle in the new tank, which would be great. Would you recommend I have some Stability or something similar on hand just in case a mini-cycle kicks in, or do I just need to keep testing and doing daily water changes to keep it under control? We're still stuck at home here in the UK, so plenty of time for changing tank water at the moment! Any harm in just using a product like Stability anyway whilst doing this, or would it be wasted?
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Thu May 07, 2020 8:37 am

Too late to edit my reply...

I've stuck one of the new canisters on the existing tank in the meantime, with a new set of media. Will let that run until the new tank is ready, then probably swap some old tank media out into the second new canister when I'm ready to put the fish in.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 07, 2020 8:41 am

Running the new filter on the old tank should be sufficient.

Then you could swap more media if necessary, but I would not do that unless your test results on the new tank start showing ammonia or nitrite. Keep the established media in the original tank as a safety net.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Thu May 07, 2020 9:40 am

Cheers - I'll just go with the one new seeded filter, and keep an eye on the water parameters.

Thanks to you both. That's short-cut my waiting time to populate the new tank dramatically.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Sun May 24, 2020 6:45 am

Just thought I'd provide a quick update on this. I seeded one of the new filters on my established tank for 10 days, then moved it across. The new tank has been running for a week now with water parameters all good, nitrates were closer to 20ppm than 10ppm last night so I've just done a 50% water change. Will continue with daily parameter checks for another week.

The new tank only has 9 1.5" - 2" saulosi in at the moment. None of them are displaying as males yet, although this morning two of them were doing the mating dance and what appears to be the male had a blue tinge to his dorsal fin, and a darker head.

I was concerned about moving additional existing fish over at the same time as introducing these as I thought it may overload the capacity of the bacteria in the filter, although it looks like I shouldn't have worried. A lesson learnt for next time.

Seeding a filter like this definitely seems the easiest way to get a new tank up and running, assuming you've got access to an existing tank.

Thanks again for the pointers and suggestions.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby DJRansome » Sun May 24, 2020 10:00 am

Basically what you did was move established "bacteria"** to the new tank as opposed to seeding the new filter.

If you seed a lawn, you have to wait for the seeds to grow into plants. Your beneficial organisms were fully grown when you moved them...that is why you got no ammonia or nitrates. More like using sod for a new lawn.

Seeding is more like squeezing established media into a new filter, hoping a few mature organisms will take hold in the new media and reproduce. You still have to wait for them to reproduce enough to support the new bioload, but you eliminate part of the waiting period for the first organism to show up naturally.

**"bacteria"
A member has posted recent research that reveals the organism that we have been calling beneficial bacteria is not a bacteria at all. So maybe we need to start referring to the organisms that become established when we cycle a tank as beneficial organisms instead of beneficial bacteria.
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby aconite » Sun May 24, 2020 10:07 am

Makes sense, I've never actually thought about the semantics, and picked up on people using the word seeding.

So to be precise, I 'populated a new filter with beneficial organisms from an established tank' then moved it over to a new tank.

:)
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Re: Fishless cycle in second tank - seeding

Postby DJRansome » Sun May 24, 2020 10:19 am

Yes. And you did not have to cycle the 2nd tank because you moved established media.

The cycle is the growing period for first the ammonia eating organism, and second the nitrite eating organism. You skipped the cycle by moving established media.
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