New tank with old filter bacteria

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Joel2036, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Joel2036

    Joel2036Valued MemberMember

    Hey everyone, i just set up a new tank with some of the stuff I ha lying around
    I took some gravel from a tank I had already had set up for about a year and I took an old heater I had, but I bought a new filter, it has carbon in it, but what I did was chop the filter material in half and I also done that with my other tank that really needed new media in it so the new filter has half of the old filter media in it and it also had 2 anubias plants from another tank, would doing that speed up the cycling process ?
    I ran out of the test strips and I won't have the money for more until after Christmas, what do you think ?
  2. Rejectedbread87

    Rejectedbread87Valued MemberMember

    That should speed up the process. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, the bacteria only needs a starter colony (aka the old filter media and gravel) to start replicating and start a nitrogen cycle. It being there instead of starting from scratch would make the process faster. This is my understanding and they have a great nitrogen cycle section On the front page of the website that I think actually has something in there about doing this. Older members will correct me if I am wrong.
    Good luck setting up that new tank!
  3. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    If I understand you correctly you put half of the media from your established filter into the new filter in the new tank. If that is the case as long as you stock lightly at first and slowly you probably will get an instant cycle.

    To be honest I would probably wait until you can afford a good test kit to set up the new tank, without it, you will have no idea if you're cycled or not, or what if any corrective action to take.
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  4. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    you are not wrong
  5. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  6. AlanGreene

    AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    Hi guys,

    Okay I am about to do the same thing, put some of my current filter media in my new tank, if I do not stock my tank immediately after I add the filter media to my new tank won't that bacteria die off? I do not want to put fish into an non cycled tank but I also do not want to add bacteria and then let it die off before I stock the tank, so I guess I am asking:

    1) any tips on how long it takes to spot if the bacteria has taken a good hold of the tank?

    2) Any certain readings I should look out for with my test kit?

    3) How long would the bacteria stay alive with out there being fish in the tank to provide it waste to feed on?
  7. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    There are differing opinions on how long the bb can live w/o food, just to be safe, I would move your whole filter over with your fish to the new tank and run both your old filter along with the new one for 4-6 weeks to seed the new filter.

    Alternatively, if you will still be using the old filter, removing half the media and moving it to the new filter along with a small amount of fish and then testing every day for a week or so to insure you get no ammo or nitrites, and that you DO have nitrates would be okay. Then stock slowly allowing a couple weeks between additions for the bb to catch up.
  8. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I routinely leave my quarantine tanks empty for weeks at a time. Once I left a filter off for 5 weeks - the media was kept wet. I did not lose the cycle.
  9. AlanGreene

    AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    So I should move my fish and old filter over to the new tank with my new filter? then I can remove my old filter once I see I have no ammonia and nitrites and some nitrates? Great to know I didn't think of that, I was just gonna wring my filter sponge in the water xD
  10. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    You shouldn't have any ammo or nitrite off the bat doing it this way since the filter you moved over was used to the bioload already. The important part imo, is preparing the new filter to handle the bio load on its own. This can be achieved by letting it run alonside the old filter for about 4-6 weeks. When you remove the old filter is when you may get a spike and need to test frequently. You can lessen the chance of a spike if you leave any old bio media with the new filter when the old is removed.
  11. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I would just put media from the old filter in the new filter and be done with it.
  12. freak78

    freak78Well Known MemberMember

    When I started my new 55 I took the old filter media from my 20g and put it into the new tank along with some danios. The tank cycled within 2 weeks. No loss of fish.
  13. AlanGreene

    AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    My old filter is tiny lil 150w internal one, new one is big tetratec ex1200, I would have thought it'd get the baceria in it in no time doing around 6 times the tank filtration in an hour!!
  14. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Not to disparage Freak78 but once you have a cycled filter you should never have to cycle a tank again. If it took two weeks with established media and you got ammo or nitrites either the stock was introduced too fast/too much or the media wasn't well established.

    With well established filter/media and slow stocking you should insta cycle, Ie: no measurable amounts of ammo or nitrite at all and the appearance of nitrates.

    Alan, browth of bb can be sped up with increased temps and darkness but the higher flow of the filter doesn't have an effect I know of.
  15. AlanGreene

    AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    Okay, should I add in all my fish to the new tank? its a 63G and I have 1 discus 5 guppies and 9 cardinals or should I add in only a few? Only thin is I need to put both filters new and old on new tank to get it cycling so I wont be able to filter old tank while I'm doing this, so I guess all fish will need to go in at once with old filter and new tank.
  16. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    If you move the whole filter move all the fish with it, you should be fine. Keep testing daily for ammo and nitrite though until you get nitrates so you know you instant cycled.
  17. brodylane1122

    brodylane1122Well Known MemberMember

    Here is my method of starting a new tank.

    1) I always keep two filters on every tank I run. Both of these filters are filled to the brim with media. That way, I have beneficial bacteria spread out over a lot of media.

    2) A month before setting up the new tank, I start seeding some media in my established tanks.

    3) After a month, I'll take the media I seeded and some media that had been in one of my established tanks for a long time and put them in the new filter. Daily or every other day partial water changes on the new tank just to make sure I keep clean water in case it's not fully built up with enough bacteria.

    4) And sometimes, just for the heck of it, I'll even add some more seeded media from my established tanks a week or two later.

    Hope this helps. I have had no issues with this at all. And my tanks have been cycled at the end of that first week.
  18. AlanGreene

    AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    Is seeding just putting it in the water so it gets bacteria-y?
  19. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    It would get some bb that way but nowhre near the amount it would get from being in the filter. The constant flow of oxygenated water laden with waste yields much much higher concentrations than if you just hung it in the tank. Thats kind of pointless imo.
  20. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Seeding is placing the media in the filter.