Dwarf Puffers on the way but tank not ready - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Dwarf Puffers on the way but tank not ready

So long story short I thought (mistakenly) that I would be able to instantly cycle my new 20G tank with the bio-media from the 10G that it replaced. As it turns out it isn't that easy. So I already ordered 3 dwarf puffers who are will be here in the next day or so and the new tank is still cycling. I need some advice on how to get these guys through until the tank is cycled. I have an established 29 gallon but I can't really put them in there because of the other fish and aggression. I have one of those slotted breeder separators that floats on top of the water I could put them in but I don't think that is enough space for 3 puffers for week or so I still have in the cycling. I could set back up the 10G bare bones and do daily water changes until the other tank is ready. Or I could put them into the new 20G and just do the same thing with water changes to keep the ammonia down, I'm just worried that would slow down the cycling process. Its sad that I'm still learning from these mistakes.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 01:34 PM
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You are about limited to daily small water changes if ammonia/nitrites read anything other than zero.
PRIME would be my choice for water conditioner for it's ability to detoxify ammonia for brief period.
Some floating plant's would help also for their ability to take up ammonia.
Would NOT be adding liquid ammonia (just sayin).
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 02:15 PM
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Have you thought about Tetra SafeStart+ to get a boost in nitrifying bacteria in the tank? About as close to an "instant" cycle that you can get. Otherwise, daily small WCs until you start seeing ammonia and nitrates down to zero.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've used Safestart and other bacteria adding products, as well as squeezed out my dirty filters from the established tank into the new tank. Its been about a week now. Unfortunately the ammonia is still present and only small amount if any nitrite. Its just a waiting game now for the bacteria to build up to a point that they remove the ammonia and nitrite. Puffers are just so sensitive I don't think its an option to put them in if there is even a little ammonia.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogstar View Post
Yeah I've used Safestart and other bacteria adding products, as well as squeezed out my dirty filters from the established tank into the new tank. Its been about a week now. Unfortunately the ammonia is still present and only small amount if any nitrite. Its just a waiting game now for the bacteria to build up to a point that they remove the ammonia and nitrite. Puffers are just so sensitive I don't think its an option to put them in if there is even a little ammonia.
If you have an already established tank, use some media from it in the puffer tank. The established tank will recover quickly, as it has a healthy populatin of bacteria. And your new tank will cycle so much faster, because it has a good starting population to reproduce.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:10 AM
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I dont know your setup with your 29g, but I have taken my power filter from a established tank and used it on another, there is usually plenty of bacteria in the established tank to keep it going.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:55 AM
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I wish someone with money to waste would try and cycle two tanks next to each other, one with and one without safesart, so I can stop telling people not to waste their dough on it and simply place a link.
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Last edited by Nordic; 02-17-2017 at 04:19 AM. Reason: .
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:13 AM
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I wish someone with money to waste would try and cycle to tanks next to each other, one with and one without safesart, so I can stop telling people not to waste their dough on it and simply place a link.
lol this

just use some media from your established tank, monitor ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, and perform frequent water changes. you will be fine
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:46 AM
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Me think's OP may have did the right thing by borrowing filter media from established tank but maybe placed it in the tank day's before fishes were to be introduced .
This might have allowed a portion of the bacterial microbes to go dormant, or begin to die back to level's that are needed for amount of organic matter from soil's, fish food's,fish waste Present ,which beg's the question,,,what in the tank could be contributing to the ammonia levels that made OP think they didn't provide enough media from the established tank.(no fishes in it yet)
Could be there was no fishes in the new cycling tank with borrowed media so no food for bacteria to process.
Mention is made of established 29 gal (assume 10gal was tore down or is quarantine).
I would rob some more media from the 29 gal already established, and place it in the tank for the puffer's hours before placing the fishes rather than day's.
Would not expect three small puffer's to create much in the way of bio load assuming again(alway's a bad thing) that they aren't being over fed.
Maybe would still test for ammonia each morning or evening and perform water change as mentioned if ammonia test read's anything but zero.
Especially in brand new un established tank that is possibly already home for these three small fish despite what has been posted.
P.S. Would wonder if it's possible that a few snails perhaps in already established tank, could not be provided for the puffer's as regular portion of their diet and to help keep their little beak's in good shape?
Snail's can be a good sign in the aquarium if they are busily doing what snail's do, but can also be a bad sign if sudden movement's from the substrate area up the glass in large number's during daylight hour's.
It occur's I am rambling ,so must sign off and get to work .
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Last edited by roadmaster; 02-17-2017 at 05:03 AM. Reason: additonal
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 06:31 AM
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I pulled media straight from a filter and put it in my canister (It was a cartridge,from an established tank) and put another smaller amount down in the substrate to speed up my cycle. Went from 4.0ppm ammonia to zero inside of 48hrs (nitrates were another story... lol) If there is no ammonia already and you can do something similar and probably be fine. As a note: it was a direct pull of the media cartridge to the canister, so I wouldn't do it until you have something producing ammonia in the tank.

F.Y.I it was a fish less cycle... I don't think any fish could survive 4.0ppm of ammonia.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic View Post
I wish someone with money to waste would try and cycle two tanks next to each other, one with and one without safesart, so I can stop telling people not to waste their dough on it and simply place a link.
If I free up my two 10 gallons and happen upon some safe start I'll give it a shot...
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, sorry I didn't say, I've been using pure ammonia drops to do a fishless cycle. I've also introduced some MTS and pond snails to be eventual puffer food. For some reason the media from the old tank and the established tank haven't caught up enough to drop the ammonia. So far I am seeing 0 Nitrites and 0 Nitrates. Ammonia has been holding at about 6.6 with the test kit without me adding any more to the tank. I have added Safestart, I have poured gross squeezed out filter sponge water from established tank in, and left old filter media from original 10G in the tank. Its only been about a week so maybe I am just expecting too much?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:34 PM
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Would reduce however much ammonia you are adding by 1/2 and see what ammonia read's after 24 hour's.
This tank will never see the amount's of ammonia used for fishless cycling and or the number's of fish that fishless cycling would allow for.
You are doing the right thing's but with borrowed bacteria culture from an already established tank there really is not much point in fishless cycling method IMHO.
Just need to not create too much in the way of fishes or fish food's and change 20 to 30 % of the water each day until ammonia,nitrites read zero .
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 03:55 AM
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With extremely high levels of ammonia, you can actually inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria as you are poisoning them. Although they consume ammonia, if it gets to high it is toxic

On the salt water side, a member of another forum set up two five gallon buckets each with equal amounts of sand, a heater, a power head for circulation, and the same volume of water. He fed the buckets a similar amount of flakes every couple of days to start the cycle and checked parameters twice a day (morning and evening). I wish I could find the thread as I do not remember the specifics of the water change regime. I may be confusing the details slightly with other experiments he was asking others to do to verify the results. He did a 25% (15%?) water changes on one of the buckets every day (maybe every other) and logged the results. He didn't see a significant difference in the time to fully cycle no longer read detectable ammonia. I believe the water change may have won out by a day or two, but this was by no means a scientific experiment and there were some variances along the way, so the difference is negligible.

If you are around frequently to monitor, you can do a very large water change to bring the ammonia to non detectable levels and add the fish doing daily water changes and closely monitoring parameters. One of those ammo alerts can help but are not a substitute for actual measurements. But this may drag the cycle way out and make he process tedious. Although if you are dosing enough ammonia to bring it up to 6.6, that is more than likely more ammonia than the two dwarf puffers would produce and there is potentially enough bacteria in the filter already to support their bioload.


In the past I got a little overzealous at an auction and ended up with more fish than could fit in my aquarium (also had compatibility issues). I ended up putting some of the fish in small buckets with air stones and did nearly 100% daily water changes twice a day as I got a tank set up and cycled. I could have probably gotten away with once daily as I was feeding sparsely, but I'm on a well and didn't need to adjust parameters, so it was quicker than testing (I did test the first couple of days to verify that levels weren't climbing between changes). The fish didn't seem any worse for the wear and were content hanging out in a dark bucket.


I'd probably use buckets and lower the ammonia closer to 1ppm and see how quickly it drops. A day to a day and a half should be sufficient. Add them and monitor after that.

I usually feel kind of guilty using the quick reply... my replies are rarely quick.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I ended up putting them right into the 20G as the 10G was showing ammonia already for some reason. It looks like it was more cycled than I had thought because I'm getting Nitrates. Still some ammonia build up so I am monitoring it every day and doing water changes when I see it start to rise. So far the little guys seem pretty happy and are always zooming around like little honey bees.
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