Using used substrate or filter cards to jumpstart bacteria growth??

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Tunaboy

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Hey guys I was wondering,

I heard on some YouTube videos and aquarium posts that it’s ok to use gravel, substrate or media filter from an established tank.

I don’t know anyone that has an established tank that I can borrow or use from, so I was wondering if you guys think it’s a good idea to call up my local fish store and ask if I can pay for some of their used substrate? Have any of you done that?
 
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Gone

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The largest part of the bacteria colony is in the filter media, but the biofilm also grows on surfaces like gravel and other surfaces. Even if you add just gravel or even live plants, even though it probably won't be an instant cycle, it will provide seed bacteria and will accelerate the cycling process. You still have to be patient, test frequently, and do water changes to keep combined ammonia and nitrates at 1 ppm or below. You'll probably have to change out some water every day or two at the beginning, but if you have seed bacteria you should be cycled in two or three weeks.

I would definitely ask the LFS if they have anything they can help with. They probably get that question a lot. I'll bet they can provide something to help. And it never hurts to establish a connection with a good LFS person. Just this week I visited my LFS guy for the first time since the pandemic hit, and bought a bunch of stuff I didn't really need right away. It's an uphill battle for the small stores to compete with the large box stores. Loyal customers who don't mind paying a couple extra bucks for stuff and value good advice are what keep the LFS's in business.
 
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Tunaboy

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GuppyDazzle said:
The largest part of the bacteria colony is in the filter media, but the biofilm also grows on surfaces like gravel and other surfaces. Even if you add just gravel or even live plants, even though it probably won't be an instant cycle, it will provide seed bacteria and will accelerate the cycling process. You still have to be patient, test frequently, and do water changes to keep combined ammonia and nitrates at 1 ppm or below. You'll probably have to change out some water every day or two at the beginning, but if you have seed bacteria you should be cycled in two or three weeks.

I would definitely ask the LFS if they have anything they can help with. They probably get that question a lot. I'll bet they can provide something to help. And it never hurts to establish a connection with a good LFS person. Just this week I visited my LFS guy for the first time since the pandemic hit, and bought a bunch of stuff I didn't really need right away. It's an uphill battle for the small stores to compete with the large box stores. Loyal customers who don't mind paying a couple extra bucks for stuff and value good advice are what keep the LFS's in business.
Hello! Thank you so much for your advice!!
 
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