Tetra SafeStart and Cycling

CJM

So I got a 10 gallon tank yesterday. It has some plants in it (anubias congensis, el nino fern, and java fern) and two pieces of mopani wood. I added a full bottle of tetra safestart concentrated. Then I threw in two aquatic arts algae wafers.

Today I tested the water. Ammonia was between 0 and .25 ppm (you know how accurate API ammonia tests are), nitrites were at 0, and nitrates were between 5 and 10 ppm. I threw in two more algae wafers and figured I would give it until nitrates reached more like 20 ppm. Then, of course, water change and add my betta.

Is the tank already cycled, or is waiting a bit more the right move? I'd like to move my decorations around between tanks and transfer my betta Finnegan to the 10 gallon as soon as possible, but I don't want to do it too quickly for it to be safe.
 

mattgirl

No, this tank isn't cycled. TSS helps but it doesn't instantly cycle a tank. The ammonia and nitrates were the result of adding the TSS. Is Finnegan in a cycled tank right now? If he is you can just move the cycle or some of the cycle from that tank over to this tank. The bacteria you have grown in your tank is a much better option than something that comes in a bottle.
 

CJM

Finnegan is in a cycled tank right now (I believe--it's been running since August.) I planned on moving a large rock decoration, a pipe decoration, and at least one piece of driftwood from his current tank into the new one just before moving him. Would this be sufficient to kickstart the cycle in the new tank? I can't really move filter media because the filter on the 20 uses cartridges still while the filter on the 10 is an aquaclear 20.
 

mattgirl

Finnegan is in a cycled tank right now (I believe--it's been running since August.) I planned on moving a large rock decoration, a pipe decoration, and at least one piece of driftwood from his current tank into the new one just before moving him. Would this be sufficient to kickstart the cycle in the new tank? I can't really move filter media because the filter on the 20 uses cartridges still while the filter on the 10 is an aquaclear 20.
Since the tank has been running since last August I have to think everything in the 20 is covered pretty well with bacteria so moving the items you plan on moving should definitely help cycle the 10. Is Finnegan the only fish in the 20 right now? The amount of bacteria in a tank depends on the bio-load in the tank. Meaning, If there is just one fish there will only be enough bacteria to remove the ammonia that one fish produces. The more fish in a tank the more bacteria there will be.

What I am getting at, just moving the items you plan on moving should help but I wouldn't count on them to instantly cycle another tank. I would suggest you cut the fiber off the cartridge in the 20 gallons filter, replace the cartridge with a new one and put that seeded piece of fiber in the new aquaclear but if you are also removing several pieces of decor it may cause a mini-cycle in the 20 to do so.
 

CJM

Finnegan is the only fish in the 20, but there also are some cherry shrimp and assassin snails in there.

I guess I will take your fiber suggestion now and then give the tank a couple more days at least before moving the decorations and Finn. That should give the 20 some time to have bacteria establish on the new filter cartridge.

Finn will also be the only fish in the 10, but I may move the assassin snails with him.
 

mattgirl

Finnegan is the only fish in the 20, but there also are some cherry shrimp and assassin snails in there.

I guess I will take your fiber suggestion now and then give the tank a couple more days at least before moving the decorations and Finn. That should give the 20 some time to have bacteria establish on the new filter cartridge.

Finn will also be the only fish in the 10, but I may move the assassin snails with him.
Since he is the only fish in either tank moving some decor and a bit of seeded media should keep the 10 safe for him. The algae wafers aren't going to help much at first for supplying ammonia. It has to decompose first and that takes a few days at least.

If I were in your shoes I would go ahead and move him along with the decor and media at the same time. There should be enough bacteria to handle his bio-load but since there isn't going to be a great deal of it I wouldn't move anything until I was ready to move him too. Once you move him just keep a close eye on both tanks. Should you see a spike of ammonia in either tank don't let it go above .5 before doing a water change.

If you can wait at least a week (longer would be better) go ahead and cut that fiber off the used cartridge ( I am just assuming that it is well used and not one that has been replaced recently) and put it and the new cartridge in the filter for the 20 gallon. This should give the new cartridge time to grow some bacteria on it. In the meantime keep the filter running on the 10 gallon. The algae disks may start producing some ammonia to feed the TSS you have already poured in there.
 

CJM

Since he is the only fish in either tank moving some decor and a bit of seeded media should keep the 10 safe for him. The algae wafers aren't going to help much at first for supplying ammonia. It has to decompose first and that takes a few days at least.

If I were in your shoes I would go ahead and move him along with the decor and media at the same time. There should be enough bacteria to handle his bio-load but since there isn't going to be a great deal of it I wouldn't move anything until I was ready to move him too. Once you move him just keep a close eye on both tanks. Should you see a spike of ammonia in either tank don't let it go above .5 before doing a water change.

If you can wait at least a week (longer would be better) go ahead and cut that fiber off the used cartridge ( I am just assuming that it is well used and not one that has been replaced recently) and put it and the new cartridge in the filter for the 20 gallon. This should give the new cartridge time to grow some bacteria on it. In the meantime keep the filter running on the 10 gallon. The algae disks may start producing some ammonia to feed the TSS you have already poured in there.
So the plan right now, I think, is that I will move the old filter cartridge's filter floss over to the new tank. I will continue checking the 10 gallon's water daily to make sure there are no new ammonia spikes and to be sure the cycle is established from the safestart and the added old media.

I can't remember how old the cartridge in there right now is but it's old enough that I had to clean it in old tank water to keep the filter from overflowing lol.

I will continue adding algae disks in the meantime and will change the water (probably a lot of it) before adding Finn when the tank seems ready. I started it yesterday so the earliest I will start it up will be the coming Wednesday.

Thank you so much for all your help! If there's some major flaw in this plan please let me know.
 

mattgirl

Before you move anything from the cycled tank to this tank be sure you have some ammonia in this tank. With just the one fish, some shrimp and some snails you don't have a great deal of bacteria to start with. Without an ammonia source the bacteria won't grow. Even the bacteria in the bottle of TSS you poured in there will start dying off without a constant source of ammonia.

I will be perfectly honest with you here. Personally I don't think it is worth the headache of trying to cycle a tank before putting a single betta in this size tank. The bio-load will be negligible in the tank and water changes will keep the water safe for him. A cycle removes ammonia. Water changes remove ammonia. Eventually the tank will grow enough bacteria to handle the bio-load of the one fish but until it does you can do the smae thing a cycle will do by changing out no less than 50% of the water every week.
 

CJM

Before you move anything from the cycled tank to this tank be sure you have some ammonia in this tank. With just the one fish, some shrimp and some snails you don't have a great deal of bacteria to start with. Without an ammonia source the bacteria won't grow. Even the bacteria in the bottle of TSS you poured in there will start dying off without a constant source of ammonia.

I will be perfectly honest with you here. Personally I don't think it is worth the headache of trying to cycle a tank before putting a single betta in this size tank. The bio-load will be negligible in the tank and water changes will keep the water safe for him. A cycle removes ammonia. Water changes remove ammonia. Eventually the tank will grow enough bacteria to handle the bio-load of the one fish but until it does you can do the smae thing a cycle will do by changing out no less than 50% of the water every week.
So just do a water change and transfer him now?
 

mattgirl

So just do a water change and transfer him now?
I see you have Prime. That's good. Go ahead and do all the rearranging you were planning on doing. Make sure both ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are zero in the 10 gallon tank. Once you are through with that go ahead and put Finn in there.

Keep a very close eye on the ammonia levels. I would never let them get above .25 If there is enough bacteria on the decor and that piece of filter media you may never see any ammonia at all but be prepared to do a water change if it happens and use your Prime to keep it detoxed. If you can commit to changing out 50% of the water every week your little Finn should live a long healthy life. 50% may be overkill with only one little guy in a 10 gallon tank but if you are doing a water change anyway you may as well change out enough to be assured of your little guy always being in fresh water.
 

CJM

I see you have Prime. That's good. Go ahead and do all the rearranging you were planning on doing. Make sure both ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are zero in the 10 gallon tank. Once you are through with that go ahead and put Finn in there.

Keep a very close eye on the ammonia levels. I would never let them get above .25 If there is enough bacteria on the decor and that piece of filter media you may never see any ammonia at all but be prepared to do a water change if it happens and use your Prime to keep it detoxed. If you can commit to changing out 50% of the water every week your little Finn should live a long healthy life. 50% may be overkill with only one little guy in a 10 gallon tank but if you are doing a water change anyway you may as well change out enough to be assured of your little guy always being in fresh water.
I hope he does. I'm going to wait until tomorrow and until the temperature in the tank actually reaches 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The heater has been holding it steady at 76 despite it being set to almost 80. Hopefully with the amount I just bumped it up it will reach 78 (or closer to 78, at least--usually in the 20 gallon the temperature is between 77 and 79, so I'd like it to be close to that even if I'm going to be acclimating him for a bit to the water).

I'll be frank: 50% water changes weekly are unlikely just because my bucket is a 4.5 gallon bucket. I do weekly (or very close to weekly--occasionally off by one day) water changes already. He'll probably get 30-40% water changes each week; I go by eye so it can vary u_u.

I'll definitely closely watch water parameters for some time. Prime will be added whenever I add new water, though I probably will add a bit too much. (My bottle is massive and I don't have an eye dropper at this point.)

Again, thank you for everything!
 

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