Weird cycle

AggressiveAquatics

Member
mattgirl i need some help on this one. I’m so confused on this I setup a new 75 gallon about 2 weeks ago. But I recently threw out all the filters in that tank and decided to start fresh with a canister. I seeded with about a handful of media and for a whole week ammonia wouldn’t budge but then I stopped testing for about 5 or so days and I just tested and 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and 30 nitrate how did this happen? I just tested my Tap and it has 0 nitrates so something has to have been creating this. I didn’t think that one handful would cycle a whole 75 gallon this fast is it cycled? Thanks
 

mattgirl

Member
You say this is a new tank but then go on to say you threw out the filters on it and started fresh. If this was an established tank and you simply removed the original filters and replaced them with a canister with a handful of seeded media I would expect to see what you are seeing. As long as you didn't clean everything in the tank you left a lot of bacteria in there.

Bacteria grows on every surface in our tanks. Removing the filters just removes part of it. How much ammonia was in this tank? If it was just 1 or 2ppm ammonia the handful of well seeded media could very well process the ammonia. To get that amount of nitrates though it would have had to process quite a bit of ammonia.
 

John58ford

Member
Bacteria is magic stuff. I don't know what your handful contained exactly, but; to cycle my 29 matten tank I took a wet/dry medium sponge out of a tank, about twice the size of a dish sponge, and squeezed it/rinsed it into the new tank while running, 3 days later it was to be half stocked, and full stocked a week later. It made it up to about .5 ammonia at one point, but within 2 weeks of running it was perfect.

I also use ceramic media in many of my tanks, and to keep 3 gallon fry tubs(they are temporary as needed here) running ammonia free for 3-5 day stretches It only takes about 6 pieces of dirty ceramic to seed the tiny filters that hold 12-15 pieces total.

Using these methods, I think I've only gotten a spike in the source tank once, and that was while borrowing 100% of the media, and trying to let the substrate carry the lightly stocked momma tank. True, aged, seeded media crushes the stuff in the bottle.
 
  • Thread Starter

AggressiveAquatics

Member
mattgirl said:
You say this is a new tank but then go on to say you threw out the filters on it and started fresh. If this was an established tank and you simply removed the original filters and replaced them with a canister with a handful of seeded media I would expect to see what you are seeing. As long as you didn't clean everything in the tank you left a lot of bacteria in there.

Bacteria grows on every surface in our tanks. Removing the filters just removes part of it. How much ammonia was in this tank? If it was just 1 or 2ppm ammonia the handful of well seeded media could very well process the ammonia. To get that amount of nitrates though it would have had to process quite a bit of ammonia.
I meant it was new but all the filters in the tank just weren’t working to good so I took them off and added a canister so the tank has only been up for 2 weeks. I also kept the ammonia at 3ppm
 

mattgirl

Member
AggressiveAquatics said:
I meant it was new but all the filters in the tank just weren’t working to good so I took them off and added a canister so the tank has only been up for 2 weeks. I also kept the ammonia at 3ppm
Gotcha. It is very possible the well seeded media will have cycled this tank this quickly. It isn't going to be a strong cycle until the bacteria colonizes everything in the tank. Strange as it may sound there is a difference between cycled and established. A newly cycled tank is still prone to glitches. Once a cycle is firmly established and bacteria has grown on everything, glitches are less likely to happen.

Either add fish now or continue to feed the bacteria
 
  • Thread Starter

AggressiveAquatics

Member
mattgirl said:
Gotcha. It is very possible the well seeded media will have cycled this tank this quickly. It isn't going to be a strong cycle until the bacteria colonizes everything in the tank. Strange as it may sound there is a difference between cycled and established. A newly cycled tank is still prone to glitches. Once a cycle is firmly established and bacteria has grown on everything, glitches are less likely to happen.

Either add fish now or continue to feed the bacteria
Thanks! Just to be safe I’ll continue to add ammonia for the next week
 

mattgirl

Member
AggressiveAquatics said:
Thanks! Just to be safe I’ll continue to add ammonia for the next week
Sounds like a plan. During this week I would be adding a very small pinch of ground up flakes daily. By doing so you will be feeding the bacteria some of the same food they will be getting once you add fish. I could be way off base with this but I think it will grow a more natural cycle than simple bottled ammonia can.
 

John58ford

Member
Adding that food will help develop some heterotrophic bacteria and micro organisms that are an often overlooked key in how our tanks actually turn over nitrogen based nutrients from organic carbons/sugars.
 
  • Thread Starter

AggressiveAquatics

Member
mattgirl said:
Sounds like a plan. During this week I would be adding a very small pinch of ground up flakes daily. By doing so you will be feeding the bacteria some of the same food they will be getting once you add fish. I could be way off base with this but I think it will grow a more natural cycle than simple bottled ammonia can.
I can add some flakes but should I still be using my pure ammonia?
 

mattgirl

Member
AggressiveAquatics said:
I can add some flakes but should I still be using my pure ammonia?
Yes, you can better control the amount of ammonia. You just need a small pinch of fish food. It won't be adding all the ammonia you need to grow enough bacteria in this size tank.
 

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