Can my tank already be cycled? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Can my tank already be cycled?

I know I'm a little early to think my tank is already cycled, but it sure is acting like it.

I filled it the day before yesterday and threw in a bunch of old fish food. I've tested yesterday and today and threw a ton more food in after each test. I am using an API Master Test Kit and following the instructions meticulously.
Yesterday: pH 8 Ammonia 0-0.25 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5-10
Today: pH 7.8 Ammonia 0-0.25 (little darker than yesterday; more decaying food in the tank) Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10
(The ones that are a range read somewhere in the middle. I got second opinions on all my tests and read them in different lighting to confirm the result.)

I'm running a new SunSun 402b canister filter with media from a cycled tank's filter (that has a catfish with a large bioload) and a HOB from a cycled tank. I added a little tank water from a water change, but it was only a fraction of the water in the tank.

With my cycled media and filter, is it possible that my tank is already cycled? I've been dumping tons of fish food in but I do have some weedy plants in there, so that may account for the low ammonia readings. But the nitrates have definitely risen.
I might make it to a fish store today, so I got a water sample ready so I can have them test it if I do.

Whether it's cycled or not, I won't be able to move fish in until the end of the week at the earliest, so I'll continue throwing food in and doing my daily water tests until then. Any thoughts?

(Also, please do not direct me to information on fishless cycling. I have read it already, before even attempting to cycle my tank.)

EDIT: I also have access to RO water if it would help at all for me to run a test on that and confirm that I'm not doing something wrong.
Also, I'll probably add test results here as the week goes by in case that helps too.

Last edited by Narelle; 05-22-2014 at 04:03 PM. Reason: More info
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 04:08 PM
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At first, I was prepared to tell you absolutely not, but then I got the part where you're running an established filter and have media from another. Knowing that, I'm going with yeah, you're good to go. Don't overdo it on adding the fish since there's no bacteria in the substrate or anything yet, but as long as you keep "feeding" the bacteria in the filters until you get fish in the tank, you should be fine. I did a full cycle on my first tank, but I've honestly not "cycled" another since (and I had 20 tanks running at one point). I always have an additional filter or two running that I don't actually need, then when I start a new tank, I just move those filters (or 1 filter, depending on tank size) to the new tank and start adding fish immediately. I've never had parameter spikes or fish losses doing it this way.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 01:38 AM
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Bringing in the media from a cycled tank has indeed brought a lot of bacteria with it. Keep on feeding these bacteria, then a big water change before you add the fish.

No, I won't add the fishless cycle, thanks for reading it.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Sweet! Thanks for the help! I'll definitely keep up with feeding the tank and doing my tests to make sure everything is still going smoothly. Then maybe this weekend I'll do a big water change and maybe think about moving the fish from my QT in. Very exciting, since this tank has been set back so much (got it before Christmas).

Thanks again!

Huge fan and collector of Asian catfish (particularly Bagrids).
My Display Tanks: 150g (+sump) planted tank, 60g (+sump) Sumatra blackwater tank, 30g Borneo blackwater tank, 55g hillstream tank, 30g H planted tank
In progress: 55g planted native tank
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