55 gal startup cycle

  • #1
Ready to start my 55 gal Mbuna tank next week. As usual, I have multI questions, lol.
1)I left several used filters from my temp tank housing the Mbunas. They are in the temp tank water. Will they help speed up cycling?
2)will moving some substrate from temp tank to new tank speed cycling?
3)Are there any other tactics to speed cycling?
4)Given above actions, plus use of 5 Zebra Danios, and addition of Pristine to new tank likely allow cycling within 3 weeks?

I will be testing the 55 to assess cycle, but looking for input now to plan. Having difficulty with maintaining 20 gal temp tank water.
  • #2
not sure but I had my tank set for three weeks with all that you mentioned. I placed 8 Yellow labs and they are doing fine. I have seen many individuals state that more time is needed but it depends on a lot of things for what I gather however, I still watch the tank closely looking for spikes. etc. I use my master kit to continue to check the water as well as water changes using API. It is said that using the API and other additives to achieve this rapid success may give you false readings as it pertains to these balances as they could change within 48hrs. Again, still a newbie doing a lot of research and reading.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks, that's encouraging for me..
  • #4
RonP , I also have a 55 gallon Mbuna tank that I set up about 6 months ago.

You said you have a temporary tank set up with the Mbuna and has filters.

If you moved over the Mbuna and the filters (or filter media) at the same time, I would think your tank would be basically cycled.

When I set up our 55 gallon Mbuna tank, I literally put the water in the tank for the first time in the morning and dropped in the Mbuna I received by mail by lunch. I moved over a large cycled sponge filter and other cycled media into a canister filter.

The tank has been running great since then.

I did take precaution and tested the water frequently and also performed frequent water changes.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Good to know. I am struggling with water quality with 8 cichlids only in my quarantine tank. Want to get the 55 going fast. Thanks.
  • #6

I figured the temporary tank holding the Mbuna was already cycled when Inmade that suggestion.

If the Mbuna are currently in a smaller tank that in your words "struggling with water quality", in my opinion it would be better to move them over to the 55 gallon as soon as possible.

Even if the 55 gallon isn't cycled, it would be better than keeping them in the current smaller uncycled tank.

If it were mine, I would set up the 55g, transfer over the filters and the Mbuna, and keep up with frequent water changes. 50% WC 2x a week will probably be fine until it's cycled, or as needed according to your water parameters.

Get the API Freshwater Test Kit that NavyFish mentioned. Dont worry too much about pH. Keep your ammonia under control woth water changes.

You mentioned putting 5 danios in the 55g, do you already have them, or were going to buy them for a fish-in cycle?

Also, the Seachem Pristine you referred to is more of a water clarifier and supposed to have bacteria that helps take care of any build up of organic waste. I think the product you are thinking of is Sechem Stability, which is supposed to add beneficial bacteria to help jump start the nitrogen cycle.

You asked about speeding up cycling the tank.

Make sure you have the right media in your filters, so the beneficial bacteria have appropriate surface area to colonize. If you're using a cartridge based filter for example, my advice would be to discard the cartridges and use foam sponge blocks in the reservoir instead.

Also, using a large sponge filter is always a good idea for secondary filtration. They offer fantastic biological filtration and can pull an enormous amount of muck from the water over time. I'm always amazed how much muck comes out of mine when I clean them every couple of months.

The only biological cycle booster I've used was Tetra Safe Start, never used Stability. TSS doesn't cycle the tank instantly, but will help jump start the process.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
All good advice. Thank you. I am using an API kit for testing. I have the Danios in my community tank, I will move them into the 55 asap.

I also have a Topfin Bacteria Supplement, I will try that one today in the temp.

The main problem in the temp tank was nitrates, it has cycled. The nitrates were brought to zero with 60% changes over a week. Then I noticed ammonia at
.25 from a API test. Previously ammonia was never a problem. As you suggested , I'm focused on the ammonia, testing daily, and doing water changes.
The 55 is just not ready. It is gonna take me several days to finish starting it.
Again thanks for good advice.
  • #8
Good to know. I am struggling with water quality with 8 cichlids only in my quarantine tank. Want to get the 55 going fast. Thanks.
If you’re struggling with water quality in the temp tank the best place for the cichlids IMO would be to transfer them to the 55 gallon tank. Just match temp and ph and move everything over all at one time.
I agree if your temp tank is cycled that cycle will hold in the new tank. I’d transfer everything over then wait a few weeks to see how the water parameters are before adding anything new.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I will absolutely expedite moving to the 55...thanks.
  • #10
RonP , I think you are off to a good start. Your patience will pay off, Mbuna are great fish to keep!

When the 55 gallon is ready in the future for additional Mbuna to add to your 8, ask the forum for recommendations.

I've got 15 males in our 55 gallon and so far they are doing well.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Right now I have the 4 elec
Yellows and 4 Elec blue (Frontosas).
I hope to add 4 FryerI for the deeper blue.
I appear to have 2 males on the 2+ inch Yellows. Hope to Xchange the non dominate male for a female. The Frontosas are too small to sex yet.
I am looking for Fry from all 3 species over time.
That will put me at 12 Africans, plus I want to add 2 or 3 Tiger or RedFin Loaches to clean bottom.

What do you think of that stocking plan?
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Ammonia is still at .5 on the API test scale, I doing 25% changes daily. Is it possible that a week of 60% changes to eliminate nitrates has caused the 20 gal temp to lose its Bacteria and need to start a new cycle.
I know the cichlids need to get to the 55 asap.
I did double dose the temp with Prime 2 days ago, to try neutralize ammonia. The cichlids are active, look ok, and eating well.
  • #13
In my opinion, frequent and large water changes shouldn't really affect the nitrogen cycle. My larger tanks get 75% WC's without issues. The beneficial bacteria colonizes in the substrate and filter media, not the water column.

If the filter media was cleaned to thoroughly then that might upset the cycle.

I only keep all males, since I don't want fry and don't want males fighting over females, so I unfortunately can't comment on that.

As for the bottom feeders, my 1x Synodontis Multipunctatus and 2x Syndontis Petricola have been cohabiting the tank just fine w/ the Mbuna.

I don't have experience with the types of loaches you mentioned though.

I am sure another member will chime in with their experience with breeding Mbuna and keeping the loaches with them.

Similar Aquarium Threads

86 ssinit
  • Question


Top Bottom