New 29G with filter question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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New 29G with filter question

Hi there. Last weekend I set up a new 29 gallon tank to which I moved a fully cycled Seachem Tidal 55 HOB filter; it has been a secondary filter on my 75G since March. It thought that because I was using this filter, which has only ever been cleaned in used aquarium water, that my tank would basically be cycled, cycled enough for a couple of fish to start things out anyway. However, it apparently is not since I am getting readings for NH3, NO2, as well as nitrate. Here are the readings as of yesterday:

NH3: 0.5 NO2: 0.5 Nitrate: 20ppm pH: 8.0 KH: 10 GH: 4

Tank details:

29 gallon glass Aqueon tank
BDBS substrate with Osmocote tabs added here and there (probably 8 - 10 I can't quite remember)
Seachem Tidal 55 filter (cycled)
Sponge filter (previously unused)
2 small pieces of Manzanita wood
Several river rocks/pebbles and 1 piece black lava rock
Plants, of course just planted so not doing too much yet: Bacopa, 2 x Swords, Rotala, Crypt. spiralis, Broad Leaved Chain Swords, Mayaca, Hygro corymbosa, etc. Plenty of plant melting going on.
5 x MTS from my 75G 2 nights ago

There are two possibilites for the ammonia and NO2 readings that I can think of.

1. Monday morning when I was leaving for work I checked the tank and the filter looked like it was about to overflow. Since I was in a hurry, I just unplugged it and left for work for the day. Could the bacteria have died because the filter was just sitting there for 10 hours with no water movement?

2. I way overdid it putting the Osmocote capsules in.

The problem: Out of, probably misplaced, pity I bought the last 2 baby girl Bettas from P... Sunday because I figured that they were better off with me than left in the store and I naively thought that I would have a cycled tank. So, I've been doing lots of water changes in little cups for little fish this week. I really want to get them into a real home.

Does anyone have any ideas other ideas about why my tank wouldn't be cycled or believe that one of my ideas is the reason?

Thanks so much for any help!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 06:12 PM
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So you're half right, yes the filter maybe cycled but the rest of the tank isn't. Seeding speeds up the cycle but you can't really skip it without transferring way more media over. That being said a 10 hour sit won't do anything to the bacteria, what you can do is start ammonia dose or putting fish food in to speed up the rest of the tanks cycle. Also while not ideal if you water change enough you can fish in cycle with the betta not that it's better than the cups. Also you could try seeding the tank do a water change on your main tank sucking up the soil to get that black goodness (or dump the canister filter reservoir) add that to the new tank and it should help the seeding.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying Robin! I guess that should have known better and not been so foolish. I didn't go to the chain store to buy a fish, so I shouldn't have looked, especially since I never normally buy fish from them. Stick with the cat food aisle!

I've read several times that you can consider your tank cycled if you use a seasoned filter and have plants, but I should have known that wasn't necessarily true. I don't really want to put any of the substrate from the 75 into the 29 because I am having an algae battle in the 75 and I'm not eager to have one in the new tank. I could put some water in, but I also read in the past that putting "dirty" water into a new tank is just that and doesn't actually accomplish anything.

What a pain. It took 15 days for the 75 to cycle back in March. I don't know if it's ethical to keep the betta fry in those cups much longer. I'm also not sure is why the cycle started without me putting in ammonia. I guess the plants and the wood? Should I start adding ammonia really? It seems to be gettng it on it's own. I have been adding Seachem Stability, but I have un unopened bottle of Tetra Safe Start that I guess I could also put in.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 09:57 PM
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I mean it won't take that long probably just a week but the betta can take the hit a bit just keep an eye on levels and water change until it tapers off.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2017, 06:13 PM
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I think you are correct on both counts! (*and you can start-up a new tank with a cycled filter, if you do it right).

First, Osmocote - a terrestrial fertilizer that some swear by, but I wouldn't use in an aquarium. I think you're seeing a LOT of ammonia from it right now.

Second, you had the Tidal on your 75g, But that tank had another filter AND substrate/decor. I don't know the bio-load, but beneficial bacteria populations are relative to food and O2. It's possible that the Tidal had a limited (perhaps very little) BB population.

Third, BB (Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira) are aerobic bacteria and dependent on a constant supply of oxygen. By leaving the filter off all day, some of the bacteria probably perished. Some may have survived as bacteria are pretty resilient, but the population requires time to rebound.

I'd do a couple of 50% water changes over two days and by then, the BB should be able to deal with the ammonia. (you might also take sponge material from the other filter on your 75g to additionally seed the Tidal [see below])

* Not long ago I setup a 10g with an Aquaclear 50 ( to grow out some fish as my 60g was too crowded). I setup the bare bottom tank and got the temperature stable. I took the sponges from one of my AC70's on the 60g and 'cleaned' them right in the 10g tank water. Two hours later I added 18 1/2"-3/4" fish. No problems - instant cycle works!
(A week later I installed a Hamburg Madden filter and although I left it on, I prolly could remove the AC50 now).

Good luck!

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10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Robin and AbbeysDad. This morning the readings are NH3 - 0.25 ppm and NO2 - 2.0 ppm, so the NH3 is going down and the NO2 is going up. I assume this to mean that the cycle is proceeding.

Yesterday I got a few new pieces of hardscape and a couple of plants came late in the mail, so I will do a 50% water change today and add in the new items. I might have to put the girls in later, or at least by tomorrow as it's finally cooling down here in NY so the house gets below 70 degrees at night now; they don't seem to mind, but it can't be good for them.

The 75G has a very large bioload with angels and festivums, as well as tetras and cory cats, so I would think that there are large, thriving colonies of the appropriate bacteria in place. I probably did kill a bunch off by unplugging the filter for that long. Darn work, getting in the way of fish keeping!

So, does anyone know if Seachem Stability actually works? It sounds pretty much like a typical new tank start up bacterial additive, but you have to keep adding it for 7 days after the initial dosing and the claim on the bottle is that you can add fish any time during those 7 days. I have been using it since I have it, but I'm not sure that it's doing anything.

Thanks again for your help, it is much appreciated!

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