Can I change the filter now?

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Around May 16th I set up a 20 gallon tank for my two balloon mollies. They were living in a 2 gallon for a few months, until the female began getting extremely stressed, and despite doing 50% water changes daily, she wasn't getting any better, so I put her and the other molly in the tank 20 gallon tank before the cycle was entirely cycled. Last week the female molly died & now there is currently one fish.

About 24 hours after I started running the filter, the water became cloudy. I know this is normal for a new tank BUT when I had 2 fish I did 50% water changes daily, even in the 20 gallon (now I only do 25%), and the water never cleared up. Now that I'm doing 25% its getting a little more cloudy.

My question - I'm wondering if I should change the charcoal in the filter pad to see if that clears up the water, or do I need to wait until I have nitrate readings before I can change the charcoal?
 

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Okay. What did you do with the filter media from the 2 gallon tank when you moved the fish to the 20?
 
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Jaysee said:
Okay. What did you do with the filter media from the 2 gallon tank when you moved the fish to the 20?
put it in the 20 gallon... but it wasn't until a few days later.
 

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_ said:
put it in the 20 gallon... but it wasn't until a few days later.
Oh. Well, the bacteria probably didn't survive. Hopefully some did.

The cloudiness is a bacterial bloom and is common with new tanks. The bacteria that is in the water is consuming the ammonia. However, it's not the bacteria you need for your biofilter. That is a much slower developing bacteria. There's nothing to do but wait - it'll burn itself out.

I'd read up on cycling with fish and considder the option of giving up the 1 fish you have and doing a fishless cycle. Fishless cycle is easiest on you as well as the fish.
 
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Ehh, I've had this fish since March. I don't think I can bring him back now & I don't know anyone who else who keeps fish so no one can hang onto him for me. I'd feel like a jerk putting him back in his 2 gallon tank now...
 

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he wouldn't be any better off in the 2. Just read up on how to cycle with fish. With 1 fish, it'll take a while but it won't be that hard.
 
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