Daughter getting a tank just like Dad....how to seed...? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Daughter getting a tank just like Dad....how to seed...?

So my youngest daughter has decided that she wants her own fish tank. Yesterday our LFS had a sale on this little nano tank:



With the sale and my veteran discount, it ended up being about $70 and includes the tank, light, filter (with ceramic rings, etc). I thought that was pretty good for a five-gallon tank.

Anyway, I want to use my existing tank to jump-start her tank and was reading that it could be done, but then there were some distractors saying that you should never seed a new tank with media from an existing tank, so I figured I would ask the brains here for some more advice.

On my current tank, I have an FX6 with a bunch of bio-media (ceramic and other porous materials) and a 406 filter with nothing but that material. I was just going to grab some media out of one of those filters, drop it in her filter and then grabs some of my substrate and mix it in with the same exact substrate we are going to use for her tank. She wants some plants as well so I figured I would just trim some of the plants from our big tank into her tank.

I guess my question is simple - is this a viable plan and how long after doing all of this should we wait to put in her few fish...?

Thanks everyone...

75 Gallon Planted Fresh Water Tank
Fluval FX6 & 406 Filters / 2 x Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Lights
CO2Art CO2 Regulator w/DIY Grigg Reactor
Seneye+ Tank Monitoring System / Atlas Scientific Hydroponic Monitoring System
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 06:25 PM
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It's a perfectly viable plan and lots of folks do this to jump start or even instantly cycle a new tank depending on the amount of media/bacteria transferred over and how much of it lives through the process. When you bring bacteria to a new tank where everything is sterile there is nothing there for it to eat. So you should either plan to add fish right away or add fish food to the tank and let it decay so it creates food for the bacteria. As to how soon can you add your fish? When your test kit reports no ammonia, and no nitrite. People have different opinions on this, some would say you need to wait a few days to make sure it still reads zero. Others will say that if you are using cycled media then you can add fish on day 1. What you decide to go with depends on how conservative your fish keeping practices are.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 06:37 PM
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Sounds like a viable plan. Do you have some generic, plain ammonia? If so, I would suggest the following;
Being a 5g tank with a built in filter it won't require much bio media. So, grab some from your FX6 and add it to the new filter.
Put the new substrate in first, then sprinkle some of your existing substrate on top.
Assuming you have access to ammonia and an API ammonia test kit (will have to get you the formula), bring the new tank up to 4ppm ammonia. Give it 1 or 2 days and then test for ammonia.
Add enough new ammonia to bring it back up to 4ppm (it likely will take very little in a 5g tank). Once enough bio builds up in the tank, it will typically remove the 4ppm ammonia within 24 hours.
This is step one. Once your tank is removing ammonia, now it's time to check for Nitrite. Kinda the same process - add 4ppm ammonia and let the bio media convert it to Nitrite. Once the Nitrite levels drop to 0ppm after 24 hours you are ready to add fish. How ling this process takes depends on many variables. If your bio media is pretty strong, it will take much less time. If you add some of your substrate on top it will take less time. If you add some of your plants it will take less time.
Entirely possible it could only take a few days to a week to get the tank ready for fish.
A lot of great reading in this thread. Near the bottom are some calculations if I remember right.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...seachem-6.html
And just for the record, I really did add 80ppm ammonia to a bare 10g tank with just a sponge filter in it - and 24 hours later the ammonia was gone ;-)


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 07:05 PM
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Do all you planned and get it set up with plants and running and then start ghost feeding like your feeding a couple guppy or a betta once a day. Need to keep that BB colony fed.

Then when you add a fish your basically just inserting it in that food web youíve already setup.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Guys -

Thank you for the great information. I don't have any ammonia but I can get some for sure.

@Immortal1 - Just read the post you sent, wow that was a lot of work doing all of that testing. I was absolutely shocked at how much ammonia so little media, that is crazy! ANd to think that we have an FX6 and a 406 chocked full of media plus all of the bioballs in our co2 reactor!!

So another quick question, how much of my substrate should I move over? Doing a rough calculation of about 3" of a substrate in the tank, I was going to grab a 20lb bag of the Carib Sea Eco-Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate which is what I put in my main tank. I just don't know how much of my existing substrate I need to add to make it beneficial.

Also, I assume per your comments @Immortal1 that I need to keep feeding the tank ammonia (or as @minorhero point out, fish food) until I am ready to add fish, otherwise all of my good bacteria will die off, is that a correct assumption?

75 Gallon Planted Fresh Water Tank
Fluval FX6 & 406 Filters / 2 x Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Lights
CO2Art CO2 Regulator w/DIY Grigg Reactor
Seneye+ Tank Monitoring System / Atlas Scientific Hydroponic Monitoring System

Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-09-2020 at 03:30 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-07-2020, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
Guys -

Thank you for the great information. I don't have any ammonia but I can get some for sure.

@Immortal1 - Just read the post you sent, wow that was a lot of work doing all of that testing. I was absolutely shocked at how much ammonia so little media, that is crazy! ANd to think that we have an FX6 and a 406 chocked full of media plus all of the bioballs in our co2 reactor!!
Ah yes, it is amazing how much bio material can be crammed into small spaces. Something else to note - the plastic parts within your filters, the hoses, and anything else that gets brown gunk on it is also part of the bio filter. At some point in all that testing, I sanitized all the plastic in a filter, then proceeded to cycle just the plastic surfaces of the filter - no sponges, or bio media. It worked (not very well, but it worked).

Something to consider, eventually the bio media gets plugged up with debris. If you had only a small hand full in your FX6 it would work just fine - for awhile. By having alot of bio media, it will be significantly longer before you need to begin replacing parts of it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
So another quick question, how much of my substrate should I move over? Doing a rough calculation of about 3" of a substrate in the tank, I was going to grab a 20lb bag of the Carib Sea Eco-Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate which is what I put in my main tank. I just don't know how much of my existing substrate I need to add to make it beneficial.

Also, I assume per your comments @Immortal1 that I need to keep feeding the tank ammonia (or as @minorhero point out, fish food) until I am ready to add fish, otherwise all of my good bacteria will die off, is that a correct assumption?
First question, lets assume the top 1/2" of your existing substrate has the beneficial bacteria. I would move over approximately the foot print of the 5g tank (if that makes sense)
Second question, yes, you will need to keep feeding the biological filter to keep it from starving. Also, think of it this way, biological part of the filter will expand or shrink to match the food supply. Continually feed it lots of food and the population will become huge.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-07-2020, 03:57 AM
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I've done this plenty of times. I would take the amount of media the new tank came with as a guide of how much to take from your established filters. Maybe put it in a mesh bag or some pantyhose since it looks like the filter could be tough to get into.

This instantly populates your new tank with all the necessary bacteria to complete the nitrogen cycle. You can certainly test the capacity with pure ammonia but you already know it's there so unless your daughter is old enough to learn about the specific testable parts of the cycle you can really just add fish at a similar level to your existing tank.

As for the substrate, adding some will help build the infauna of the substrate (bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms). But that will also come over on the plants though so my opinion is it's not a requirement.
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