Seeding a new filter - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Seeding a new filter

So here's the story, I have a fairly lightly stocked 60 gallon tank with a fairly heavy plant load (See attached image).

Stock is:

8 Sterbai Cories
5 Dying Neon Tetras
1 Bloodfin Tetra
7 Glowlight Tetras
1 GBR
7 Otocinclus
Misc Neocardina Shrimp, 4 Nerite Snails.

Anyway, long story short.

It's been running with a Tetra Whisper EX70 power filter (HOB) and I purchase two Aquaclears to replace. I put one Aquaclear on as I want it to get seeded. I'm a firm believer there is tons of beneficial bacteria on the hardscape, but I don't want to just change filters cold turkey.

How long would you let the new aquaclear be on the tank before feeling secure your biofilter is adequately built up from the bacteria already present before removing the long term previous filter and putting in the second aquaclear?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 03:49 AM
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When I seed filters this way, the shortest time I allow for is a month. Squeezing gunk from the Tetra filter into the new Aquaclear will help move things along a bit quicker, but I would wait at least 2 weeks before removing the Tetra filter entirely. Adding the new bio media bag from the second new filter to the one you are seeding will also make the process much easier, faster and smoother.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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A month was the number I was playing with in my head, just had not rhyme or reason for it and wanted to gather opinions to see if there was a good consensus.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 03:58 AM
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I don't have a specific reason for a month either. I find it easier to be safe than sorry.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 06:54 AM
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I am going through the same process on 2 tanks and my, non-sientific, time frame is roughly 1 week.

Part of my approach comes from my prior experience with both established and brand new tanks. In an established tank, I consider filters to be back-ups and not the primary biological filtration. Having several tanks with no filters at all reinforces my trust in the plants and in-tank bacteria to handle the job. I also do not do frequent or large water changes, even on very high light tanks. With brand new un-cycled but heavily planted tanks with a virgin filter, I dunk the media from an established filter in the new tank in the evening of the set-up. It does create quite a mess but the next morning the new tank is crystal clear. The plants in the new tank usually come from my other tanks but they get washed under a kitchen faucet with no de-chlor, probably killing all of the bacteria they might had. I have a thread or two on TPT where I sort of document how this "method" gets me to a cycled 20-60 gl tank in 3 to 5 days, with brand new AS.

That's why I feel 1 week is more then a reasonable time frame. In rare cases where I feel I'm rushing things a bit, I might add some extra Prime for a day or 2 to smooth potential ammonia spikes.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 03:44 PM
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In a heavily planted tank most, if not all, of the ammonia is processed by the plants which is why many planted tanks have little, if any filtration. You could prolly just remove the old filter and put the two new ones on and it would be fine. Conservatively, one to two weeks should be fine.
BTW, I have two AC70 filters on my 60g, but have AC30 impellers for reduced flow.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 04:32 PM
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Hook new filters up to old tank. Scrub the inside glass clean and let the filters pick up the bacteria from the water column to seed it. It will still take some time to cover all the bio media, but it will speed it up.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 05:19 PM
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As some others have mentioned. I don't think an HOB on a 60G with substrate and plants is going to have any real impact on the bio-filter. There's nothing really magical going on in the filter that would allow it's small footprint to be the dominant source of biological filtration over that size tank.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 05:34 PM
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I always take half the dirty uncleaned media from old filter and use it in conjunction with new media in the new filter.
Never had an issue or mini cycle.
(However I am pure canisters)

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 06:12 PM
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Sometimes stuff happens. Don't know how but the tank literally closest to me, decided to spike ammonia like crazy this week. The fish were fine one minute, then I started noticing clamped fins, edges of fins showing white burns, fish lying on the bottom, all the typical ammonia poisoning signs. Thank god for methylene blue, they are for the most part looking a whole lot better now. You can normally eat off the bottoms of my tanks they are that clean.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic View Post
Sometimes stuff happens. Don't know how but the tank literally closest to me, decided to spike ammonia like crazy this week. The fish were fine one minute, then I started noticing clamped fins, edges of fins showing white burns, fish lying on the bottom, all the typical ammonia poisoning signs. Thank god for methylene blue, they are for the most part looking a whole lot better now. You can normally eat off the bottoms of my tanks they are that clean.
What? Methylene blue is an anti-fungal that will kill beneficial bacteria!

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:32 PM
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Nothing else to do once the ammonia hits them that hard- dose methylene blue at 3ppm Its an unplanted growout tank, so its ammonia conversion levels are already pretty knife edge balanced. It normally gets about 45% water change every second day or so, which I may have skipped over the weekend. The only thing that changed was that I swapped in a stronger air pump for the filter.

I have never seen mb do anything against fungus with eggs, apart from cleaning wounds, I simply don't bother with it for anti fungal purposes.

After about 8 hours they are all much better, they are hanging around looking for food now, still some markings on the fins but no one is waddling any longer, and no fish on tank bottom. I hate it when stuff like that happens with juveniles, they just take a knock growth wise and never reach their true potential. Luckily these are fast growing large strains.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
In a heavily planted tank most, if not all, of the ammonia is processed by the plants which is why many planted tanks have little, if any filtration. You could prolly just remove the old filter and put the two new ones on and it would be fine. Conservatively, one to two weeks should be fine.
BTW, I have two AC70 filters on my 60g, but have AC30 impellers for reduced flow.
I try to push flow in my tank. Actually for the first time forced my circulation pump downwards and the fish are digging it. The Sterbai's finally get in the flow and school

I don't have Angels though, nice looking tank. My biggest wish is that I hadn't pushed MTS. Now I have an overabundance.

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