Help Cycling 5.5 Gallon

Becki

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Hello fish people!

Just got a 5.5 gallon a week ago and am cycling the tank with fish in. Before the fish, the tank was filled with old tank water from my 29 gallon and I let it run for 2 days with new gravel and a couple live plants. Also, I added a bottle of safestart plus to provide some BB and jumpstart the cycle. So, the tank has been running about 6 days, and there has been two small platys in it for 4. I've been adding prime every 24 hours to protect the fish. Today, I figured I'd test, and the perameters were ph: 7.5 ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 and Nitrates: 30ppm.

I guess my question is...is this tank cycled? And, if so, how could that be?

thanks for any advice or opinions
 
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Becki

Becki

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Haven't used any media from the bigger tank as I have regular HOB filters (came with tanks as a package deal) that require the store-bought, prepackaged, insertable cartridges. Is there a way I can use this? Maybe break it open or something?

I've heard that using gravel from old tanks can help to bring over some good bacteria, but I have sand in the 29 gallon and wanted stone gravel in the 5.5, so I just used the old, filtered water and figured I'd be waiting a month or so for the cycle to complete. Just thought it weird the numbers were reading as such so early. thanks for your thoughts, guys!
 

Algonquin

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The cartridges likely have a plastic frame, floss and then carbon bits inside. You can cut the floss and remove the carbon bits (it's messy, and you might want to wear rubber gloves - the carbon will stain your fingers). Cut a square of the floss out and put that in your new filter. The remainder can go back into your 29g filter.
Carbon only lasts a few weeks at best, so you really only want to keep the floss that the beneficial bacteria is living in. You can add sponges and bio-rings to your HOB as well, this gives more surface area for BB to grow on.

most of the BB lives in your filter media, not in the water. There will be some in your sand/gravel, but the majority is in your filter.
 
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Becki

Becki

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The cartridges likely have a plastic frame, floss and then carbon bits inside. You can cut the floss and remove the carbon bits (it's messy, and you might want to wear rubber gloves - the carbon will stain your fingers). Cut a square of the floss out and put that in your new filter. The remainder can go back into your 29g filter.
Carbon only lasts a few weeks at best, so you really only want to keep the floss that the beneficial bacteria is living in. You can add sponges and bio-rings to your HOB as well, this gives more surface area for BB to grow on.

most of the BB lives in your filter media, not in the water. There will be some in your sand/gravel, but the majority is in your filter.
This is very helpful...thank you!
 

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You may want to consider moving away from the cartridges and using a different type of media in your HOB filter. Once done and established the media should last for a very very long time. Some of it forever.

For example: I have 2 media bags in each of the 2 HOB filters running on my 55 gallon tank. One bag has a mixture of matrix and ceramic tube looking media in it. The other one has a mixture lava rock and chunks of coral in it. I have a piece of foam on top of the media bags and then put poly-fill on top of the sponge.

I don't depend on the poly-fill as bio-media so can just replace it as needed. I usually replace it a couple of times a week. I rinse the sponge each week in some of the waste water I have pulled from the tank after a water change.

I clean out the HOB's every few months by removing and rinsing the media bags in some tank water and rinsing out the filter itself at the sink under running water. I don't do both filters the same week.

By doing something like this you will never have to buy cartridges again and when you need to set up another tank you can just move some of the seeded media over to the new tank for an almost instant cycle.
 
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Becki

Becki

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You may want to consider moving away from the cartridges and using a different type of media in your HOB filter. Once done and established the media should last for a very very long time. Some of it forever.

For example: I have 2 media bags in each of the 2 HOB filters running on my 55 gallon tank. One bag has a mixture of matrix and ceramic tube looking media in it. The other one has a mixture lava rock and chunks of coral in it. I have a piece of foam on top of the media bags and then put poly-fill on top of the sponge.

I don't depend on the poly-fill as bio-media so can just replace it as needed. I usually replace it a couple of times a week. I rinse the sponge each week in some of the waste water I have pulled from the tank after a water change.

I clean out the HOB's every few months by removing and rinsing the media bags in some tank water and rinsing out the filter itself at the sink under running water. I don't do both filters the same week.

By doing something like this you will never have to buy cartridges again and when you need to set up another tank you can just move some of the seeded media over to the new tank for an almost instant cycle.
I will look into this further. found some good stuff on chewy already. thanks for the advice. like the idea of enhancing the HOB filter rather than going for a whole new filtration system but i wasn't sure how to go about doing so. thanks!
 

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When you get all the new media just cut the fiber attached to your cartridge off the frame. Toss the carbon and the plastic frame. Put that piece of fiber in the filter along with all the new media. That piece of fiber will seed the new media. You can remove it after about a month.
 

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I'm sorry to have to tell you, but the TSS probably didn't work (which doesn't mean your not cycled, just that the TSS did not help. With TSS you have to add an ammonia source (in your case fish) within 2 hours of adding the TSS. Additionally, you need to wait at least 24 hours after Prime was added (or any other water conditioner that removes chloramines and as far as I know they all remove chloramines) before adding TSS. Then after adding TSS you are not supposed to do and water changes or add any chemicals for the next 14 days.
 
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Becki

Becki

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I'm sorry to have to tell you, but the TSS probably didn't work (which doesn't mean your not cycled, just that the TSS did not help. With TSS you have to add an ammonia source (in your case fish) within 2 hours of adding the TSS. Additionally, you need to wait at least 24 hours after Prime was added (or any other water conditioner that removes chloramines and as far as I know they all remove chloramines) before adding TSS. Then after adding TSS you are not supposed to do and water changes or add any chemicals for the next 14 days.
still showing that it's cycled, never had a spike in amnomia or nitrites. 0, 0, 5. recently swapped the two fish for my male betta who the tank was intended for. if the bacteria didn't work then, oh well, waste of $3 haha. still crazy that it cycled so fast tho... not complaining!
 
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