Used sponge filter to cycle tank?

Rafisunn

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Hi! I have a a 20 gallon I am currently cycling but I also want to have a smaller 10 gallon in the future. I plan to pick up the tank soon when the dollar per gallon sale hits since I have everthing I need for it except heater and lid. I plan for it to be a planted backup home for a betta and maybe some shrimp/snail pal(s).

I can't seem to get this plan out into words in a way that's not so cluttered so I had to put it out into steps >.<

1. add sponge filter to main 20 gal
2. finish 20 gallon cycle
3. slowly add all community fish to 20g
4. Let community fish settle in tank
5. run for a few weeks to make sure all's good.
6. set up 10 gallon tank and add sponge filter & plants, substrate etc.
7. let it run until cycled
8. add betta to main tank, observe how he/she does
9. move betta to 10 gallon if they're aggressive/can't handle the big tank.

And now questions lol

Could this work? How long would it take for it to cycle the 10? I also have a HOB filter from when I had my 5.5 (my dad threw the tank out :mad:) but I might be giving it to my sister if she also gets a tank (I don't think she should get fish but I can't stop her and I'd rather help than seethe in silence). Also, the betta isn't really a set fish for the 20 gallon as I have no idea what I'll actually have in there but it'd be useful to have this info if I ever ran into a betta I couldn't resist! ( those koI plakats are awfully pretty )
 

JettsPapa

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Thank you for making the list. That makes it much easier to follow. Now, it's probably my fault, but I'm not real clear on part of it. In your #6, is that taking the sponge filter out of the 20 gallon tank and moving it into the new 10? Because if yes you won't need to wait for the 10 to cycle since you'll have the bacteria in the sponge filter (assuming it was in the 20 long enough). It should be ready for at least a few fish immediately.
 
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Rafisunn

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JettsPapa said:
Thank you for making the list. That makes it much easier to follow. Now, it's probably my fault, but I'm not real clear on part of it. In your #6, is that taking the sponge filter out of the 20 gallon tank and moving it into the new 10? Because if yes you won't need to wait for the 10 to cycle since you'll have the bacteria in the sponge filter (assuming it was in the 20 long enough). It should be ready for at least a few fish immediately.
My plan is to have it in the 20 and then move it to the 10 gallon when its time :) If it would be cycled right away then I would probably set it up a day or so before I got the betta to make sure everything was running good.

Do you know how long it will take for the sponge to pick up enough beneficial bacteria if the 20 gallon was fully cycled? Also would it mess up the 20's cycle if I add the sponge filter before it's completely cycled? Sorry for all the questions, I am curious sometimes!
 

JettsPapa

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  1. I'm not sure how long it would take for the bacteria to colonize the sponge filter. Someone else might. Normally I'd suggest several weeks, but that would be after adding it to a cycled and at least moderately stocked tank. I assume it will take longer in a tank that's cycling, but I'd think it should have enough bacteria in it after several weeks for just a single betta
  2. I'm fairly certain it won't hurt the cycle in the 20 if you add the sponge filter before it's finished.
 

Mongo75

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Rafisunn said:
Hi! I have a a 20 gallon I am currently cycling but I also want to have a smaller 10 gallon in the future. I plan to pick up the tank soon when the dollar per gallon sale hits since I have everthing I need for it except heater and lid. I plan for it to be a planted backup home for a betta and maybe some shrimp/snail pal(s).

I can't seem to get this plan out into words in a way that's not so cluttered so I had to put it out into steps >.<

1. add sponge filter to main 20 gal
2. finish 20 gallon cycle
3. slowly add all community fish to 20 gallon
4. Let community fish settle in tank
5. run for a few weeks to make sure all's good.
6. set up 10 gallon tank and add sponge filter & plants, substrate etc.
7. let it run until cycled
8. add betta to main tank, observe how he/she does
9. move betta to 10 gallon if they're aggressive/can't handle the big tank.

And now questions lol

Could this work? How long would it take for it to cycle the 10? I also have a HOB filter from when I had my 5.5 (my dad threw the tank out :mad:) but I might be giving it to my sister if she also gets a tank (I don't think she should get fish but I can't stop her and I'd rather help than seethe in silence). Also, the betta isn't really a set fish for the 20 gallon as I have no idea what I'll actually have in there but it'd be useful to have this info if I ever ran into a betta I couldn't resist! ( those koI plakats are awfully pretty )
I agree with JettsPapa. I've never added a sponge during a cycle, but it seems that the sponge would start seeding as soon as water started flowing through it. I would say give it a couple of weeks after your cycle is complete and it should be able to start processing ammonia as soon as it goes into the 10g. If it were me, I would move it to the 10 gallon the same time you add your new inhabitants. If it sits for a day or two with no ammonia, some of the BB might either die, or go dormant without a food source. I would also test the water in both tanks for a week, just to make sure there's nothing wrong.

Saying it a little differently, set up your 10 gallon with everything but the filter. When you're ready to add fish to the 10g, put the sponge filter in with the fish, and you'll have a cycled tank in an instant :).

You may consider adding a bubble stone to the 10 gallon to keep the water moving a little.
 
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Rafisunn

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JettsPapa said:
  1. I'm not sure how long it would take for the bacteria to colonize the sponge filter. Someone else might. Normally I'd suggest several weeks, but that would be after adding it to a cycled and at least moderately stocked tank. I assume it will take longer in a tank that's cycling, but I'd think it should have enough bacteria in it after several weeks for just a single betta
  2. I'm fairly certain it won't hurt the cycle in the 20 if you add the sponge filter before it's finished.
Mongo75 said:
I agree with JettsPapa. I've never added a sponge during a cycle, but it seems that the sponge would start seeding as soon as water started flowing through it. I would say give it a couple of weeks after your cycle is complete and it should be able to start processing ammonia as soon as it goes into the 10 gallon. If it were me, I would move it to the 10 gallon the same time you add your new inhabitants. If it sits for a day or two with no ammonia, some of the BB might either die, or go dormant without a food source. I would also test the water in both tanks for a week, just to make sure there's nothing wrong.

Saying it a little differently, set up your 10 gallon with everything but the filter. When you're ready to add fish to the 10 gallon, put the sponge filter in with the fish, and you'll have a cycled tank in an instant :).

You may consider adding a bubble stone to the 10 gallon to keep the water moving a little.
Thank you! I will try to get the sponge filter in my tank as soon as I figure out where to put the air pump and keep it in there until I need to put it in the 10 :) I didn't even think about the bacteria dying. Setting it up without the filter beforehand is a much smarter idea than setting it up day of thank you!

Would a bubble stone bother a betta? I know they don't tend to like strong flow but I've never looked into bubble stones.
 

Mongo75

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Rafisunn said:
Thank you! I will try to get the sponge filter in my tank as soon as I figure out where to put the air pump and keep it in there until I need to put it in the 10 :) I didn't even think about the bacteria dying. Setting it up without the filter beforehand is a much smarter idea than setting it up day of thank you!

Would a bubble stone bother a betta? I know they don't tend to like strong flow but I've never looked into bubble stones.
I would think a single stone would be ok, but I've never kept a Betta before, so don't really know. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question, but I was talking about putting the stone in the 10 gallon so there would be some water movement in the absence of a filter.
 
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Rafisunn

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Mongo75 said:
I would think a single stone would be ok, but I've never kept a Betta before, so don't really know. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question, but I was talking about putting the stone in the 10 gallon so there would be some water movement in the absence of a filter.
I think I was the one who misunderstood what you were saying lol I will have to look into getting a stone for when there is no filter at first!
 

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