Cycling fishless-Using already cycled fish tank water

momo9700
  • #1
Okay, so I got a new 10 gallon tank and I already have a 29 gallon that is cycled. I heard you can cycle a fish tank using already cycled water. How do I do this? (And also does it speed up the cycling process or what?)
 
tzqng8
  • #2
The bacteria in a cycled tank live mainly in the filter media, decorations, and gravel (substrate) of the tank, not so much in the water. Sometimes, when you first cycle a tank, you'll see a cloudiness in the tank, this is sometimes said to be a bacteria bloom and are the bacteria multiplying before settling into and onto the surfaces mentioned above.

So, I don't think you would see much of speed up using this method. Taking some of the gravel and putting it into pantyhose and hanging that on the back of the new tank? Now, there's a method that could work.

Hope that helps!
 
Lucy
  • #3
The water doesn't contain all that much bacteria, if any.

You can use a peice of filter media, decorations or gravel (placed in clean pantyhose or net and hung from the side) from your established tank.

I cycled a 5 gallon this way, I tested it for 3 days first with pure ammonia to make sure the bacteria was viable.
Good luck.
 
Shawnie
  • #4
or even cut off some of the filter of the established tank and put it in the new tank

congrats doing it fishless!!!!!!
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
thanks! and I wanted to know, if I do the gravel in pantyhose, how long will it take to cycle? I just got like a handful of gravel and stuffed in my fish tank pantyhose(i've needed them before for my fish) and tied it in a knot then put it in the 10g. is that okay? this is my second tank, but I cycled the first one with fish.
 
Shawnie
  • #6
No one can ever guess how long a cycle takes every tank is dfferent..certainly the smaller the tank, the faster...but it also depends on what method is used to cycle it...the panty hose, was it new? or has it been washed before? Just have to be careful about the detergents we use ...fish are so picky with that stuff LOL
 
tzqng8
  • #7
Now you can add some ammonia and see if it is turned into nitrate within 24 hours. Add x drops until you get the reading up to 5 ppm. Check the tank 24 hours later. If you get 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 5-20 Nitrates, that sock with rocks is full of bacteria.

Then you can add some fish (start slow, of course) and continue monitoring water conditions. If they stay good for a week (good meaning 0, 0, 5-20) then start removing a little bit of gravel from the pantyhose each week until it is all gone and the pantyhose can be removed.

By removing a little at a time, you'll ensure that the tank will make up for the loss of the abcteria by having it grow elsewhere (in the gravel of the new tank, in the filter, on decorations, etc.)

You can read about fishless cycling here. Your only difference is that you will be seeding the new tank with some bacteria to help speed along the process.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I don't know if it was washed or new. I just found it in my drawer. I know I have some unworn pantyhose that haven't been washed, but I don't know if this was one of them. i'm hoping it won't take more than a month, but idk... my first tank cycled pretty fast.
 
Lucy
  • #9
Yes, you did fine putting the gravel in the pantyhose.

I tested mine for 3 days with pure ammonia and each day it was gone by the following day. So, really, I feel like I could have gone ahead and added my betta the first day.

If you're not adding fish right away, don't forget to feed the bacteria or it will die off. Otherwise, add fish slowly like you normally would to give the bacteria a chance to catch up to the bio load.

I would test the first few days, with or without fish just to be sure.

What are you going to put in the tank?
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
okay. I guess I need to go get myself I new water testing kit then. my ld one broke last week so...yea...I just hope my mom will lend me enough money! I already owe my parents 40 dollars...hehe
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I'm going to put in my neon tetra and platy fry. i'm considering adding my amano shrimp in there. would it be safe to put the neon in tomorrow? if the ammonia and nitrate levels and stuff are good.
 
Shawnie
  • #12
I'm going to put in my neon tetra and platy fry. i'm considering adding my amano shrimp in there. would it be safe to put the neon in tomorrow? if the ammonia and nitrate levels and stuff are good.

I don't think your tank is cycled that fast...get the testing kit first and then you can make your decisions..as tk said, 0 ammonia & nitrites, ad 20 or lower nitrates means its safe to add fish
 
Lucy
  • #13
If your tests are good, I would add them..a couple at a time and continue to test for a few days.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
okay. I want to be really safe when I add the platy fry in. I do have a question about the testing kit, my dad keeps saying I can use his chlorine kit testing thingy(the ones you use for pools) for my tank. can I really use that? or do they only test for chlorine and amonia
 
Lucy
  • #15
I don't think your tank is cycled that fast...get the testing kit first and then you can make your decisions..as tk said, 0 ammonia & nitrites, ad 20 or lower nitrates means its safe to add fish

If the end result of cycling is growing beneficial bacteria to consume ammonia, and you add that bacteria, it needs ammonia to live....either fish or another source.

I don't believe this is considered cycling with fish because you've added bacteria.

I agree continue testing.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
If the end result of cycling is growing beneficial bacteria to consume ammonia, and you add that bacteria, it needs ammonia to live....either fish or another source.

I don't believe this is considered cycling with fish because you've added bacteria.

I agree continue testing.



So...what your saying is....?
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
also, how do I "feed" the bacteria? i'm not sure if I can get any pure ammonia for my tank...I'm really underbudgeted rite now.
 
Lucy
  • #18
So...what your saying is....?

I'm saying you're adding bacteria, it needs a source of ammonia to live....meaning fish poo.
If you want to be on the safe side you can use fish food and wait to add fish until you're sure of your water parameters.
I really think it's safe to add 1 or 2 small fish.

also, how do I "feed" the bacteria? i'm not sure if I can get any pure ammonia for my tank...I'm really underbudgeted rite now.

You can use fish food....or you can add a couple of your neons, their poo will be a source of ammonia.

Oh, and the tests your dad uses on the pool are probably strips, which aren't accurate and probably won't test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
so should I wait until tomorrow to put in my neons? or is it ok to do today, I set the tank up like only two hours ago.
 
Lucy
  • #20
It's up to you whether you add them now, I can only give you my experience with this type of cycling.

I think you'd be ok doing it today if you only add 1 or 2 neons.

Be sure to test tomorrow though, and everyday for a while.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
okay. thanks guys! i'm going to go put one neon in now I think.
 
Lucy
  • #22
Let us know how you make out.

Good luck.
 
Shawnie
  • #23
first of firsts, get an apI liquid test kit, and do all the tests required for a cycled tank..then go from there....NO its not ok to use a pool test kit...you aren't looking for chlorine as you should have treated the tap water with prime or some other de-chlorinator...you want something to tell you what the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are...If you just got your tank as your original post says, there's no way it can be cycled in a day unless you used something like bio-spira ...even if you used media from another tank...
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
okay, I put in one neon, and he seems to be doing okay. tomorrow I'll try to get myself a new testing kit and then I will be all ready to go. thanks for the help. also, how long should I wait to put in my amano shrimp? he molts alot, but he's pretty hardy. should I wait until I'm 100%sure my tank is completely cycled, or just until the ammonia and nitrite levels are roughly 0 and nitrate are less than 20
 
Shawnie
  • #25
when you have ammonia, and nitrites at 0 with nitrates at 20 or below, you are cycled!
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
like, I mean most of the time. like where the ammonia is anywhere between 0-2 or sumthin like that.
 
Shawnie
  • #27
ANY ammonia or nitrites is poisionous...
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
just...nvm
 
Shawnie
  • #29
I'm sorry...I didnt mean to confuse ....I was trying to tell you that any ammonia or nitrite readings you get, could kill your fish....even the little amounts are deadly....its only safe when they are at 0 and nitrates are under 20 ..goodluck!
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
It's only been one day and my fish tank water is looking cloudy-ish. I did a 10% water change this morning just in case, but does this mean the cycle is almost done?
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
If the nitrate is 0, does that mean the tank is cycled? (amonia and nitrite are both 0) if that means it cycled, I can proudly say my 10 gallon cycled in less than 5 days!!!
 
Lucy
  • #32
Unfortunately, probably not, as Shawnie said when your tank is cycled your readings will be 0 for both ammonia and nitrites with some nitrates showing.
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
okay, so when I get some nitrates it will be cycled then? Because I checked yesterday and it was all at zero.
 
Lucy
  • #34
That's right, 0 for both ammonia and nitrite with some nitrates showing.

What are you using to test?
 
Shawnie
  • #35
cloudyness is usually a bacteria bloom or "new tank cloudyness" ...DAILY water changes and treating the tap water with a conditioner, will speed that process along and save your fishies...
 
momo9700
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
i'm testing it with an API master test kit.
 
Lucy
  • #37
Ok, cool, glad you got one.

Keep your eye on your levels, I just had a failed attempt at cycling my 1.5g q tank with used filter media. I don't know what happened, it worked perfectly for my 5 gallon and 10g.
 

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