Cycling Starter Tank To Seed Larger Tank? Question 

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Shasteca

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I inherited a 5 gallon Fluval Chi tank, and as a huge fish lover am finally ready to have an aquarium after 8 years of wanting (and one traumatic full tank death). My LFS told me to add Seachem prime and then let the tank «cycle » for a week. After researching and reading all the helpful info on here, I’ve learned that that is not cycling! I’ve also realized that I could upgrade to a 20-29 gallon tank in just a few months (xmas present), so it probably makes more sense and would be less stressful for fish, to wait and establish a new, larger tank and keep the 5 gallon for quarantine.

Here’s what I’m thinking: I want to be as humane as possible, so my thought was to do an ammonia started, fishless cycle in my 5 gallon tank (which currently houses just sea grass and decontaminated driftwood), then in about 3-4 months use that filter as a starter in a new 20-29 gallon tank that will actually house fish.

Questions:
1. Does that make sense and will the filter contain enough bacteria from a cycle without it actually being in an established tank with fish?
2. If so, what would I do after the tank cycles and I’m still not adding fish for about 2 more months - i.e. do I need to do water changes, keep adding ammonia, clean the tank, etc?
3. Does it matter that I have a specific Fluval brand square filter, when I transfer to a larger tank (which won’t be Fluval as they doesn’t make a 29 gallon)?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Noroomforshoe

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This can work, I dont have all the answers, but -
The healthy bacteria do not care what company makes the filter cartridge. Healthy bacteria will develop on anything well aerated and porous in a tank with a filter and ammonia. The trick is adding things that can fit into the new filter. Any chemical free sponge, any craft foam, or go with bio balls or rings, or extra filter cartridges, load that filter up!
When you set up the new tank, you can move the biomaterial to the new filter, or just run both filters together. You don't need a 29 gallon filter for a 29 gallon tank, in fact, it is often important to have a larger filter, and more current and more gph "gallons per hour"

So, you will want more fish in the 29, then fit in a 5.
You are fishless cycling, add more than average ammonia/grocery store shrimp in nylon stocking/fish food... and turn the heat up to max.

1. you can fully cycle without adding fish, but if you stop feeding the filter a sorce of ammonia, nitrifying bacteria will die off.
2. IDK, But water in the tank should have Zero ammnio, Zero Nitrite, And 10-20 PPm Nitrate before adding fish. I prefer Salifert Test Kits BTW.
 
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jdhef

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Welcome to FishLore! I hope you enjoy the site.
 
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Shasteca

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Noroomforshoe said:
This can work, I dont have all the answers, but -
The healthy bacteria do not care what company makes the filter cartridge. Healthy bacteria will develop on anything well aerated and porous in a tank with a filter and ammonia. The trick is adding things that can fit into the new filter. Any chemical free sponge, any craft foam, or go with bio balls or rings, or extra filter cartridges, load that filter up!
When you set up the new tank, you can move the biomaterial to the new filter, or just run both filters together. You don't need a 29 gallon filter for a 29 gallon tank, in fact, it is often important to have a larger filter, and more current and more gph "gallons per hour"

So, you will want more fish in the 29, then fit in a 5.
You are fishless cycling, add more than average ammonia/grocery store shrimp in nylon stocking/fish food... and turn the heat up to max.

1. you can fully cycle without adding fish, but if you stop feeding the filter a sorce of ammonia, nitrifying bacteria will die off.
2. IDK, But water in the tank should have Zero ammnio, Zero Nitrite, And 10-20 PPm Nitrate before adding fish. I prefer Salifert Test Kits BTW.
Wow, this is so helpful, thank you so much!
 

oldsalt777

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Shasteca said:
I inherited a 5 gallon Fluval Chi tank, and as a huge fish lover am finally ready to have an aquarium after 8 years of wanting (and one traumatic full tank death). My LFS told me to add Seachem prime and then let the tank «cycle » for a week. After researching and reading all the helpful info on here, I’ve learned that that is not cycling! I’ve also realized that I could upgrade to a 20-29 gallon tank in just a few months (xmas present), so it probably makes more sense and would be less stressful for fish, to wait and establish a new, larger tank and keep the 5 gallon for quarantine.

Here’s what I’m thinking: I want to be as humane as possible, so my thought was to do an ammonia started, fishless cycle in my 5 gallon tank (which currently houses just sea grass and decontaminated driftwood), then in about 3-4 months use that filter as a starter in a new 20-29 gallon tank that will actually house fish.

Questions:
1. Does that make sense and will the filter contain enough bacteria from a cycle without it actually being in an established tank with fish?
2. If so, what would I do after the tank cycles and I’m still not adding fish for about 2 more months - i.e. do I need to do water changes, keep adding ammonia, clean the tank, etc?
3. Does it matter that I have a specific Fluval brand square filter, when I transfer to a larger tank (which won’t be Fluval as they doesn’t make a 29 gallon)?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Hello Sha...

Hey Girl. Don't waste your time with this small tank. They're really a disaster just waiting to happen. You can have your larger 30 gallon or even bigger tank right away and enjoy fish in it from the beginning. If you're really ready to "take the plunge" (Funny!), get that 30 G and cycle it with the fish. It's really easy and no harm comes to the fish. I'll help you!

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