Cycling new 10 gallon tank with established media or gravel

lizlemon525

My 16 year just set up a new 10 gallon tank (I woke up one morning to a two page rationale as to why she should get a tank and she has a job to pay for everything). She has friends with tanks so I told her to ask them for gravel or filter media (if they have a healthy tank). It’s been a while since I’ve had a tank. We got the API test kit—the one with the test tubes, water dechlorinator, and some bacteria starter ( not sure what it’s called). What is the process for cycling with something from an established tank? Do we still add ammonia? Approximately how long will it take?

I appreciate the help! I want her to have a successful start (and I am afraid this will lead to a bigger tank for me to enjoy!)
 

carsonsgjs

Using media from an established tank is a good way to get a new tank cycled, or at least get the process moving along. However, a lot will depend on the bioload of the tank donating the cycled media - for example if you are taking some media from a 5 gallon tank with a single betta and looking to use it to cycle a heavily stocked 10 gallon then the media alone may not be sufficient to cycle the tank instantly.
 

lizlemon525

Using media from an established tank is a good way to get a new tank cycled, or at least get the process moving along. However, a lot will depend on the bioload of the tank donating the cycled media - for example if you are taking some media from a 5 gallon tank with a single betta and looking to use it to cycle a heavily stocked 10 gallon then the media alone may not be sufficient to cycle the tank instantly.
Thanks. I will make sure she finds out what size tank. As far as her tank, I am having her start with one fish at a time to wait and see how things go.
 

Dunk2

Thanks. I will make sure she finds out what size tank. As far as her tank, I am having her start with one fish at a time to wait and see how things go.
Any idea what kind of fish she wants to get?
 

Azedenkae

What is the process for cycling with something from an established tank? Do we still add ammonia? Approximately how long will it take?
Yep, same way. It will be far faster (hopefully), but the process is the same.

I.e.
  1. Dose 2ppm ammonia.
  2. Dose bottled bac (this is optional because you already got established biomedia, though since you already got the product might as well use it if you can't return it).
  3. Measure ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate every 24 hours.
  4. Re-dose 2ppm ammonia if it took more than 24 hours for both ammonia and nitrite to read zero, and repeat step 3.
  5. Once both ammonia and nitrite reads zero within 24 hours of dosing 2ppm ammonia, your tank is cycled.
Depending on how much established biomedia, tank size, etc., it may be very fast or even 'instant'.

If you measure 0.25ppm ammonia, treat that as zero for all intents and purposes.
 

lizlemon525

Yep, same way. It will be far faster (hopefully), but the process is the same.

I.e.
  1. Dose 2ppm ammonia.
  2. Dose bottled bac (this is optional because you already got established biomedia, though since you already got the product might as well use it if you can't return it).
  3. Measure ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate every 24 hours.
  4. Re-dose 2ppm ammonia if it took more than 24 hours for both ammonia and nitrite to read zero, and repeat step 3.
  5. Once both ammonia and nitrite reads zero within 24 hours of dosing 2ppm ammonia, your tank is cycled.
Depending on how much established biomedia, tank size, etc., it may be very fast or even 'instant'.

If you measure 0.25ppm ammonia, treat that as zero for all intents and purposes.
Sounds easy enough! Thank you so much.
 

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