Mini Cycles is Small Tanks Question 

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Donetta

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I've had my 6.6 gal tank cycled since June 13th. On Sunday, I did a 50% water change, vaccuumed the gravel and changed one filter. I actually have 2 filters in my tank to slow the water flow from the filter and to have a back up filter for my benefical bacteria. So today I tested my water and the parameters were AM=.25, NI=0, NA=0 (it was a tad bit orange but not enough to register .5). So, I'm in a minI cycle, my bio filter is a little overwhelmed at the momemt? I started to leave the water alone and wait for the good bacteria to eat up the ammonia, but didn't want to stress my fish. So I did a 25% water change and added prime for the first time. Will I go through this every time I do a water change? Are the good bacteria going to be able to build up if the Ammonia level is down? I've learned so much, but I'm still trying to connect the dots on some things.
 

Shawnie

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the water change didnt put you in a minI cycle as most bacteria isnt free floating...its on surfaces like your filter media / decorations/ gravel etc...so changing your filter , probably did it
 
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Donetta

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I had a backup filter too. The filter had been in there 4 weeks. Should I had waited? Now what do I do? Will the BB have ammonia to eat now that I'm using prime? Also I still have my other filter cartridge. I put it in a zip lock bag with filter water because I was nervous about taking it out. Should I pit it back in? It's been two days?
 
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jdhef

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Prime detoxes ammonia, but leaves it in a state that will feed the bacteria, so using Prime was the best thing you could do!

It wouldn't hurt to try putting the old filter media back in, the worst it could do is not help...but it can't hurt.

Since your tank was newly cycled, you probably only had enough bacteria on the two pieces of filter media to consume the ammonia. Once you removed the one, you suddenly had half the amount of bacteria, putting you into a minI cycle.

There really should be no need to change out the filter media. Just swish it around in used tank water when you do your water changes. It will clean out the gunk, but leave the bacteria. It should take a really long time before you need to actually change out the media.
 
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Donetta

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How long do you think I should wait before I change it? And when I change one of them in the future is there any thing that I can do to avoid a minI cycle? Also I checked out the water parameters and my nitrates are back up to 5 so I don't think I need to put the old filter back in. The BB will probably catch up with the ammonia in a few days? Also if I have an ammonia increase in the future at what point should I do a wc? Thanks
 

jetajockey

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That's also assuming that the bacteria spreads evenly over the filter surfaces. From what I have read, it colonizes mostly in the area with the best water flow/o2 and surface area. If it has had a steady amount of waste being processed on an already good working medium (old filter media), I don't see why it would quickly jump over to/ start a large colony on a secondary filter unless the need for it arose (more bioload). I'm sure it would eventually balance out, or keep the largest amount on whatever filter has the most o2/water flow, but it probably takes a long time.

However I'm certain that BB does spread out all over the tank surfaces, but it seems to take a long time to do so. This is exampled by using gravel from a newer tank (<6 months cycled) versus using gravel from a 2+ years running tank. The first one can sometimes have a negligible effect while the second seems to often give an instant cycle.

This is total speculation though so I can't say for sure.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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the only thing that should be changed out every 3-4 weeks is carbon, if you choose to use it. it just looses its effectiveness after that time. many ppl don't use it, and are fine. I am one of them. if you have a carbon pad thing....just cut out the carbon, keep using the filter.
 
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jdhef

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You can keep the filter media in until it is literally falling apart. Some members claI'm that they have gone years before changing the media. Having a well established tank will help stop a minI cycle, since over time you will start to develope bacteria on all the solid surfaces in your tank. Additionally you could put the new filter media in your tank for 3 or 4 weeks to seed it before putting it in your filter.

You should start doing water changes anytime you see ammonia, since any amount of ammonia is toxic.
 

lea

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All the about sounds like very sage advice - I recently upgraded my 10 gallon to a 15 gallon with an instant cycle (I moved all the old substrate, filter, heater, decor etc too which would have helped), but changed from my current conditioner to Prime - it's wonderful stuff .

For added insurance, I also added Seachem Stability to boost BB. All good so far and it's been almost 3 weeks running with no spikes in anything. So maybe purchasing something similar may also be a help with your tank?

I hear the best is Tetra Safe Start (TSS) and is readily available in the USA, but Seachem is the best I can really do in Australia and also has good reviews. Good luck!
 
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Donetta

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Do people go for long periods of time with the all in one floss carbon type of filter cartridge?
 
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jdhef

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They may, but they shouldn't. Carbon works by absorbing imputites in the water. After 3-4 week the carbon becomes saturated, at which point it at best stops absorbing additonal impurities and at worst starts releasing them back into the tank.

Since carbon isn't 100% necessary you can cut a slit in the cartridge and dump the carbon out. If you still want to use carbon, you can purchase loose carbon and media bags and put some carbon in a media bag and place the bag in the filter.

That is one reason I like AquaClear filters. They have separate sponge, carbon and ceramic rings, making it very easy to replace the carbon bag.
 

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I blew my 5 gallon's cycle when I swished both filter cartridges (Penn Plax Small World filters) in discarded tank water. I figured that since the Topfin 10 HOB had been on for a month that I'd be ok. Yeah, not so much (see thread entitled something like "ACK! What happened to my 5 gallon?"). It was stable and happy for over a month and then crash and burn. So I'm not doing diddly to that filter media again! I have the bag type like you do in the HOB and I opened it up to pour out the carbon. You can also add some 100% polyester quilting batting for some extra surface area for the bacteria.

-Lisa
 
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Donetta

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All this info has been so helpful! Much appreciation.

Donetta
 
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