PLEASE remember.....(cycling with established filter media)

  • #1
That although using established media as a source for an instant cycle in another tank, you have MANY factors that should come into play .....and anyone else feel free to add to this thread....heres just 2 of the ones that I feel REALLY play a huge part as we have had a few fish tanks having issues from relying on such a source

*** How long the tanks been established for, depends on how reliable the beneficial bacteria is....the longer the tanks been set up, the stronger the colony of bacteria is, (I wouldnt use anything less than 3 months of continued cycled readings) the better chance of an instant cycle you will have......

*** The type/amount/size of fish in the established tank, compared to the type/amount/size of fish going into the new tank, can greatly effect the success/failure of an instant if you have a 3 gallon tank with a shrimp colony, betta, glolights, neons etc (not all together I'm talking one type) , that has been running for years, and you use some of that media/subtrate/decorations/plants etc, to start up a 20 gallon tank with a few neons, guppies, platies etc, the likelihood is that its not going to work very well....although it certainly will not hurt using anything from that shrimp tank, you can't expect a 20 gallon tank with guppies, neons, platies ect, to have an instant cycle as the bioload is just too much compared to the tank the established media came from.there IS NOT enough bacteria with low bioload fish, no matter how long the tanks been running, to expect a bigger tank, with higher bioload fish, to have an instant MUST keep a close eye on all water parimeters for at least a week or more, and stock very slowly IMO to make sure things took off ok..

Certainly there are many other factors, and I'm sure we will have some membes share their views, but PLEASE DO NOT assume because you used something from a tank that's been running forever, is cycled, and has no issues, that its an instant cycle for any new tank and inhabitants you might be upgrading to....
  • #2
Great points. Also consider that even if the bioload will be the same, you can't transfer ALL of the beneficial bacteria so most likely, no matter what, your tank will still need at least a few days to re-establish. Keep in mind that nitrifying bacteria grow VERY slowly with a doubling time of about 15 hours in IDEAL conditions (but how many of us actually run our tanks at 95F?) So understand that in the conditions that we keep our tanks, the bacteria take even longer to grow, which is why cycling takes a looong time. As Shawnie said, the best thing you can do is test your water constantly and keep a close eye on the parameters to make sure everything is ok (and keep a bottle of prime or amquel+ on hand just in case )
  • #3
Good summation Shawnie. Not a lot to add, as those are the 2 most important things to considder.

One thing I'll add, is that when using media from a small tank to start a new large tank, it's a good idea to grow the colony before adding fish. This can be done by adding ammonia to the tank. So in a sense, it would be a combo media/fishless cycle. If you are doing the shrimp fishless cycle, add the media after ammonia appears.
oscar wilde
  • #4
thank you all for the great advice, it's a daunting task for a novice who just has the fishes best interest at heart. Lots to think about! fish keepers are really nice people, probobly because they have to think of not only themselves. once again, great site and thank you.
  • #5

I seed all of my new aquariums for an instant cycle. Has worked great for me.

Use caution that you do not remove so much beneficial bacteria from the established aquarium that is causes a minI cycle with increase ammonia levels.

The more you can transfer over such as substrate, (some) filter media, ornaments (porous is best), plants, the greater the chances of having an instant cycle.

NOTE: Beneficial bacteria is attached to all surface areas of the aquarium with the highest concentrations of it being in your filter.

Add only a few fish at a time, wait 2 weeks, then add more. You do not want to over load the new aquarium with too many fish at one time as the new cycle may not be able to keep up.

Test your water parameters daily for at least a month. If you do not receive and instant cycle, the beneficial bacteria you have transferred over will surely cut down the time it takes to cycle. If you do not get an instant cycle then daily water changes with Prime Water Condition will be necessary until the aquarium finishes cycling.

If you can add another filter to your established aquarium and run it for at least 1 month, then you can move this filter to the new aquarium and you should have an instant cycle, however, nothing is ever guaranteed!


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