Cycling progress and questions

jmccune3

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Hello all,

I am on day 22 of fishless cycling (using fish flakes) and my numbers are now:

Ammonia: 3.5(going down)
Nitrite: .50(going up)
Nitrate: ~0

Just two days ago, I put in a used filter from my lfs. ( I had a 0 nitrite reading and >4 ammonia that same day before adding filter) I felt I could trust them and the tank they gave it to me out of was all live plants and snails, no fish. My questions are:

1. Since the tank they gave it to me had no fish, would it have the bacteria I need?

2. Do you think I might have picked up some diseases or anything else bad I shouldn't have?

3. How much longer do you think I have before I could add fish?

Thanks alot
 

Isabella

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Hello John, and welcome to FishLore!

You're doing a very right thing by cycling your tank first, before adding any fish Your tank will be cycled and ready to add fish when ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, and your nitrate is as low as possible. You can remove nitrate by water changes. However, when your tank is ready to add fish, please do not add all fish at once. Buy fish gradually, one or two at a time, and add them to your tank once a week or so. Adding a lot of fish at once can cause ammonia or nitrite to suddenly go up and make your fish very sick or even kill them. That is why a gradual stocking of a tank is the way to go.

What do you mean by a filter from your LFS? The entire filter, or just the filter media (like the sponge, etc)? Anyway, since you say your filter is mature - meaning it contains the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the water, I don't think it should be dangerous for you. Unless (1) the LFS tank had sick fish before in it (perhaps without the store's knowledge), or (2) somehow some snail gets caught in the filter sponge and somehow escapes into your tank. I don't know what are the chances of these 2 happening, but you can certainly conceive of such possibilities. If all should go well for you, however, a cycled filter is OK to use on an uncycled tank. It will speed up the cycle process.

P.S. (1) Suppose that the LFS tank had some sick fish in it before. And suppose you get the filter from it. In this case, you SHOULD wait at least a month just to make sure any disease is eradicated. During that month you should continue to feed the tank with fishfood to keep it cycled, and you should be doing regular water changes to get rid of a disease if any got transferred from the LFS tank.
P.S. (2) With respect to snails: if you accidentally transfer one from your LFS to your tank, it could multiply very fast and overtake your tank.

Oh, and a question: how large is your tank?
 

Isabella

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That's a nice size. Which filter do you have? Is it a Whisper Tetra, or some other kind? If it's some other kind, the sponge usually goes in the bottom of the media compartments, then activated carbon (if you use one), and then bio-cubes. In a Whisper Tetra filter, you only have a bio-bag filled with carbon, and a thin sponge attached vertically to the bio-bag. The bio-bag is placed vertically in a filter. So if you have that bio-bag, just have it the way it should be in a filter of the Whisper Tetra type.

When you cycle fishless and when your cycle is done, add many fish only when you think you have enough of bacteria to deal with the wastes of many fish added at once (you'd do it on your own). I can't tell you if your tank will be fine after you add many fish at once for I cannot know how many bacteria you have. I'd personally stock my tank gradually, even if my tank had enough bacteria - just to stay safe. However, you may want to wait for someone else's opinion on all of this, ok? Yet, I'd ask you to stock gradually - it really is safer to do so.
 
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jmccune3

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I have a marineland with a bio wheel. It has slots for 2 media cartridges and then the water runs under the bio wheel.

P.S. I have you to thank, Isabella, for buying that tank. I was going to get a 20 gallon. But you talked me into getting a bigger one in your reply to one of my questions.
 

Isabella

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No problem The reason I always recommend bigger tanks is because (1) they're more stable in terms of water temperature and chemistry, and (2) they provide your fish with more space, plus you have more possibilities with a bigger tank. If there is a power outage and it is cold outside, a bigger tank cools much more slowly than a smaller one. Quick temperature drops (or rises) can be detrimental to fish, so that's why bigger tank is safer. Also, remember not to overstock a tank - just because a tank is bigger does not mean you can pack as many fish as you want into it, lol.

As for Marineland's Biowheel filter, I'm sorry but I have no experience with it. I hope someone else will be able to help you with that.
 

chickadee

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Marineland's Bio-Wheel is an excellent filter but the media is not where the bacteria grow. They grow on the bio-wheel itself and that is going to take some time. It takes a bit more time to seed a filter that has a bio-wheel completely and be able to put a full load of fish in the tank. You will have to test the water parameters every day just like you would with any other fishless cycle and watch for the ammonia spike to disappear and then the Nitrites to clear and then when the Nitrates start to be present and the Ammonia and Nitrites are at 0 you can start adding a couple of fish. You will not be able to add a full load at one time as the filter does take a time to mature. I know that this is probably not what you want to hear but believe me this filter is one of the more stable of filters once you get it cycled so the extra effort is worth it many times over. I have used Whisper filters, and PennPlax and even EHEIM and my bio-wheels are still my favorite for ease of maintenance and stability. The people at Marineland are great if you ever have questions or comments too. I have called them many times just to talk about a product they have and they are the best.

If there are questions I have not gotten answered you may let me know as it is late here and I cannot promise that I am getting everything completely but if you will let me know I will find the information for you.

I do hope this has helped a bit.

Rose
 
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jmccune3

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OK today the results are:

Ammonia: 2
Nitrite:2
Nitrates: 5

So I think the used filter is definatly helping.
 

Isabella

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Ammonia is decreasing and nitrite is increasing - which is the right order of the nitrogen cycle. Yes, your tank is on the right track It may be cycled quite soon
 
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