Moving Cycles Between Tanks

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by RyleighJ, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. RyleighJValued MemberMember

    Hello! I currently have two tanks set up, an established 10 gallon and a 15 gallon I set up a few days ago. I'm really eager to move some of my fish over to my new aquarium, but I obviously want to make sure it's cycled first. I know you can take out the filter media and move it to the new tank's filter, but I have some problems with that.

    1) I'm keeping both tanks set up. Don't I need to keep that filter media in my old filter to keep my cycle there?

    2) I barely know what that means. How do I move filter media? What's the "media" part of the filter? I know that's a really dumb question, but I'm super new to all of this. I wasn't the one who set up my 10 gallon, and I'm just now starting to maintain it on my own. (Like any good college student, my mom used to do that But she doesn't know much about cycling aquariums either, so she's not sure how to help with this.) I didn't buy the old filter, or even the filter for the new tank. We got that one at a yard sale. So I'm not sure what kind of filter it is.

    Any help would be really appreciated! Here are some pictures of my filters!

    Filter on the old tank (10 gallon)



    Filter on the new tank (15 gallon)



    (Sorry those last two pictures are bad, the top of my aquarium sits up too high for me to get a good picture)

    Basically, what do I take out from the old filter and where do I put it?
  2. musserump09Well Known MemberMember

    The beneficial bacteria lives on the the sponge and filter pads. You can transport these simply by running your new filter on your established tank. After a month transport over and test
  3. fishychachkiValued MemberMember

    The filter media are basicallt anything that's supposed to hold your beneficial bacteria: any cartridges, any sponges, any ceramic rings, any bio balls, any stuff like that.

    If you're not currently planning to keep anything in the older 10g, I'd say transfer the whole established filter over to the 15g to have an "instant cycle" done with all the beneficial bacteria intact. Then you can slowly let your 10 gallon cycle again for like maybe 1 month (depending on your cycling method) with the new filter. Otherwise, you can just move over some of those old filter media to your new filter and shorten your cycling process of the 15g hopefully without losing the cycle in your established 10g
  4. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I would take the white sponge from the old filter (10g) and shove it into the new filter (15g). You may need to cut it down some to make it fit, but as long as you keep it damp, it shouldn't hurt your cycle any. That way you leave some media in the old and transfer some media to the new. I would also get some bottled bacteria and pour it into your filter for a few days in a row, just to help boost it for a couple of days. You can buy replacement sponges at the pet store or online to add back to it at a later time.

    You should be able to move your fish the same day as your filter media. I would let your filter run for a couple of hours, be sure the temperature is the same in both tanks, and move them.

    Hope this helps. I had to watch about 10 YouTube videos on modifying filter media before I figured it all out. I had no idea what the difference between filter and filter media was when I started either.

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  5. RyleighJValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much! The filter cartridge (which I assume is the blue thing) versus the filter media (the white sponge, right?) is mostly what I was confused about.
  6. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Yes. That is right, well sort of. The cartridge is considered media also, but when talking about it, it is just easier to call it a cartridge so it is less confusing.

    You don't really even need the cartridge itself. The part you really need is the blue fluff on the outside. The carbon inside the filter is really not necessary. I have heard of people just cutting the fluff part off, getting rid of the rest of it, and using that to seed a whole new tank with it. I don't use the cartridges at all in my filters. I just set them up with new media. It is supposed to last for years, versus just about a month that the cartridges last. Plus after a month the carbon can become toxic to your tank if you don't change it. I have left it out of my filters.
  7. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I haven't heard the carbon becomes toxic, just that it is no longer effective. Its purpose is to remove impurities from the water, just not ammonia or nitrite, the main reasons we use filters. That's why we add biomedia. Carbon also removes medications from the water. After a month it's pretty useless.
  8. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    This is the article I read that talks about it possibly leaching phosphates back into the tank if left in for too long without changing it.

    Activated Carbon for the Aquarium
  9. RyleighJValued MemberMember

    What other kinds of filter media are there?
  10. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    The two videos in my previous post listed several different types of media and ways to actually set up your filters with that media. I'm talking tons of info.
  11. RyleighJValued MemberMember

    Thank you! (Sorry, I completely forgot you had linked a video before I asked that :p)