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If I follow correctly -- you removed all your bacterial colony in the gravel when you switched out your substrate and then you put a filter with your bacterial colony on a 10 gallon, unclear if that tank had any fish in it, but it certainly wouldn't have the load of a 55 gallon and thus would diminish if not entirely kill off the colony in the filter. (BTW, moving the tank water from the old tank to the new doesn't help with bacterial colony.)

So, yes, you're starting from scratch.

I, too, have had an issue with ammonia levels in tanks even without fish in them. I'm at a loss to explain that either. (Such as when restarting a QT tank and getting ammonia readings right away.)

In any event, I strongly recommend you use Dr. Tim's One and Only to jump start your cycle. It's the only thing in a bottle I've used that works . . .
 
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