55 Gallon Tank Plans for fast cycling

Champanier

Member
Here’s my plan for fast cycling my new 55-gallon tank. I’d appreciate feedback on whether this will work. I have two goldfish in separate cycled 20 gallon tanks. I am running Aquaclear filters with sponge prefilters - one 50 and one 70. I plan to add a second Aquaclear 70 to one of the tanks and let it run for a week or so. Then I will take the filter that has been running (assuming it has more bacteria) and put it on the 55-gallon tank and add some ammonia to the water and keep testing for a week or as long as it takes to be sure that the ammonia is clearing and my nitrites and nitrates aren’t going high. Then I’ll start moving their decorations and plants into the new tank over a couple of days. I could also scoop up some substrate (sand) to add to the new tank. Finally I will move over their airstones and everything else and add the fish. Does this all make sense? Will I have to wait for the nitrates to rise and do a large water change before adding the fish or will the cycled media in the used filter just take care of the ammonia and nitrites?
 

Fishstery

Member
Champanier said:
Here’s my plan for fast cycling my new 55-gallon tank. I’d appreciate feedback on whether this will work. I have two goldfish in separate cycled 20 gallon tanks. I am running Aquaclear filters with sponge prefilters - one 50 and one 70. I plan to add a second Aquaclear 70 to one of the tanks and let it run for a week or so. Then I will take the filter that has been running (assuming it has more bacteria) and put it on the 55-gallon tank and add some ammonia to the water and keep testing for a week or as long as it takes to be sure that the ammonia is clearing and my nitrites and nitrates aren’t going high. Then I’ll start moving their decorations and plants into the new tank over a couple of days. I could also scoop up some substrate (sand) to add to the new tank. Finally I will move over their airstones and everything else and add the fish. Does this all make sense? Will I have to wait for the nitrates to rise and do a large water change before adding the fish or will the cycled media in the used filter just take care of the ammonia and nitrites?
That won't work out right for a few reasons. First, its going to take longer than a week to build up enough BB to cycle a 55. For example, if I go the pre-seeded route I seed my media for at least 3 weeks but usually I try to do 4 or 6. It also speeds things up to have already seeding media running alongside new media, so if it were me, I would add the second filter to the tank. Split up the media between both filters to be half new media and half old. Make sure the water flows through the old media first and then the new media second. Let it run for 3-4 weeks and be patient. Then put one filter on your new tank, add 2ppm ammonia, and test the water after 24 hours. If ammonia and nitrite are 0 then you're good to go. If you have 10ppm nitrates or below there's no need to do a large water change.

This method you're technically cycling both filters. But if you only cycle your new filter for a week then remove the old one, you're gunna be stuck in a fish-in cycle on a tank you've already had for a long time and that would definitely screw things up for you.
 

mattgirl

Member
Is the 20 gallon well established? How long has it been running with these fish in it? If the 20 gallon is well established and if you are upgrading their home and just plan on running the 55 gallon tank instead of going through all of this you can just move the cycle from the 20 gallon over to the 55.

Go ahead and move everything from the 20 over to the 55 including water and fish. You will be leaving some bacteria behind on the walls of the tank and on the sand but moving the filters and decor should be moving enough bacteria. Once you make the move feed lightly. Keep an eye on the ammonia in case there is a low spike. Be ready to do a water change should the ammonia level go above .25ppm.
 
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Champanier

Member
mattgirl said:
Is the 20 gallon well established? How long has it been running with these fish in it?
The most established tank has had the fish in it for at least six weeks. It has an Aquaclear 70 filter, along with an undergravel filter, pre-filter sponge, and an air pump with two airstones. I had previously had a Penguin Biowheel filter and when it stopped working. I took the floss filter from it and stuck it on top of the Aquaclear filter. I thought I would run the second Aquaclear 70 alongside the first one in the established tank, then move the older Aquaclear to the new 55 gallon tank, assuming it would have the most bacteria, and do the fishless cycle in the 55 gallon as described. If I understand your suggestion, I can just move everything and watch it. (I’m going to leave the under gravel filter in the 20 gallon tank, since it won’t fit the bigger tank. I am thinking of trying to keep one 20 gallon running at least for a while until I see how the fish get along, in case I have to move one. I think it would be nice to have a cycled spare tank on hand anyway. Is that feasible?) Thanks for your help!
 

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