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Hey all,

I recently purchased a Cichlid setup from someone on Craigslist. It is a 75g tank and along with it I got the sand substrate, decorative rocks, and the SunSun 304b filter that had been running on the tank. I then purchased 40lbs of Aragonite and took out about 25lbs of the prexisting sand and mixed the Aragonite with the remainder. I purchased a second (new) SunSun 304b and set that up 3 days ago to start running in the tank. I have been adding Seachem Stability as per directions daily and am not sure if this is enough prepwork to be ready to start stocking the tank. Do you guys have any advice? I am looking to get started stocking on Sunday when the Cichlid club in my area is having a meetup but I don't want to put fish into a tank that isn't ready for them! Let me know thoughts or anything that I can do to get ready by then.

Thanks!
 

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Hi there - generally speaking, setting up a tank that has been up and running should shorten your cycle time, but I wouldn't trust it without testing.

Go to a hardware store and buy 100% pure ammonia - with no surfactants. Then, pour just a tiny bit in. It's best to measure it, but a capful or two at a time is probably ok for a 75g. Let it mix for 20-30minutes then test ammonia. You want the ammonia level to be up around 3-4ppm. Then, let it go overnight and test it in 24hrs.

If the ammonia is gone, AND there are no nitrites then you're good to go. If it's not cycling the ammonia, OR if there are nitrites, then you're not good to go. It's really that simple.

If you kept the original filter media then your cycle time should be very short. New media, however, means you're basically setting up a new tank as not a whole lot of bacteria lives in the gravel. Of course it's better than nothing, but you're still going to cycle for a bit.

The absolute worst thing you can possibly do - and I mean don't do it - is add fish without making sure your filters are properly cycled. They will either die, or live miserably. Just don't do it. Resist the urge. It's not worth it.
 

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True about the original filter media. Ideally you would have also kept it wet and put it in the new tank within 24 hours of the seller turning the tank off. No washing with tap water as the chlorine can kill the bacteria.
 
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