Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Oregon State Beavers!
I am currently going through the same process with my 20L and ADA soil. I used established media from the start. I can't think of any reason why you would want to. Obviously super high levels of ammonia can kill off or inhibit bacteria, but starting with a nice colony, plus water changes can certainly prevent reaching such levels. I am only 4 days into the cycle and I'm registering about 1ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate at about 5-10 ppm.
Given the established media, the bacteria are able to process some degree of ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate, but I obvious did not include enough media to handle it all. I should likely see a nitrite spike as well, but perhaps not given that both bacterias will probably steadily increase over time.
All that to say you should definitely seed the new tank with as much established media, plants, hardscape, etc.
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