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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, I have never done a cycle with fish, but yesterday I decided to redo one of my aquariums and now the tank is not up to snuff. I moved the fauna(a school of rummynose tetras and a few amano shrimp) into a temporary plastic bin with a heater and air pump. Now I am wondering what is a better option: keep the fish in the bin (with daily water changes) OR move them back into their home and add ammo lock to the tank. The main tank has the filter so it will cycle.

I already have the ammo lock because I use it with each water change since my tap has 1.5ppm ammonia, but that dissipates by the next day to zero usually. The tank has been set up for a couple days and is at 3ppm ammonia. Will ammo lock make it completely safe for them or is their "vacation" in a plastic bin better?
 

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I might suggest tetra safestart to get the bio filter going rather than ammo lock. Also using seachem prime will detoxify ammonia while leaving it available to the bio-filter.
 

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Existing filter and media so that the bacteria was and is still there? But then doing some work has knocked it back so that ammonia is building?
I keep Ammo-lock or Ammo-carb for just this sort of event. I can use it to hold off the harm from ammonia while the filter bacteria recovers. I find once fully established, it bounces very quickly. Days rather than the weeks it takes to get going on first cycle.
Adding a second established filter and media is great and water changing can get you by also but Ammo-lock is easy and cheap. Depends on time/effort balanced against what else life has going on?
We COULD (in theory) get by without a tank cycle if we did enough water changing. Just that most of us don't want that much time and effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not sure that safestart is needed, since I'm using the existing filter, substrate, and plants. Only the hardscape has changed. Unfortunately, water changes add ammonia since my water source contains ammonia straight from the tap. At my old place, I was able to do daily water changes for events like this, but now...

The only other filter I have running right now is on my betta tank's 10g, and since it is small, I could just clean that tank daily and use two filters on the larger tank with the ammonia problem?
 

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My apologies, I thought you were concerned you had killed part of your bio-filtration off.
 

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How big is the tank in question? If it's 20 to 40 gallons, you could use RO water for water changes until your bacteria have rebound. I would also dose a nitrifying bacteria. I use microbacter and cycle tanks in days with it. I just believe that you will need enough bacteria to eventually handle water changes. You probably don't want to use ammo lock forever.
 

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I would do really big water changes and use the Ammo-Lock right away. Then go got Nitrospira species of bacteria. If it is not available locally, see how long it takes to get it. If more than a few days, forget it.
Test the tank and the storage bin the day after the water change. Keep the fish in whichever you can maintain at the optimum level. The fish will need water circulation, warmth, biofiltration etc in the bin just as much as they would need these in the tank.

Where is the ammonia in the tank come from? Did you add new substrate such as one of the ADA products? If so, the ammonia production is going to go on for several weeks and you will have to keep the fish in the storage bin. Order the Nitrospira. And add it to the storage bin.
If it is just from stirring up the substrate then a couple of water changes ought to drop it down, and the bacteria that are still in the system will recover quickly. Move the fish back to the tank and stay on top of the water changes. Nitrospira would be helpful if you can pick it up today, but the system could recover in a few days so ordering it may not be any help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The tank is 20 gallons, storage bin is probably double, but only filled 1/2-way because I didn't trust the thin plastic to not break. I didn't add new substrate to the tank, but I did mix everything up when I built the hill back up and I took out some rocks, wood. The substrate is around 4-year-old eco-complete. I ended up not putting my fish in the tank out of laziness the other day and I'm glad I didn't because it suddenly spiked to 8.0+ ppm ammonia the next day. I assume it's from dying roots and all the stuff that was hidden in the dense plants that I couldn't vacuum up. I have done 80% water changes daily since, but since my water source has 1.5ppm ammonia, it's not a perfect solution.

Later I will buy water for the storage bin since there's no filter on it and it hasn't been cleaned yet...oops. I don't have a spare filter, but the bin has a heater, air pump, and the old hardscape(minus substrate). I will also check my LFS for the bottled bacteria that you guys are talking about. And I was thinking to get some floating plants like duckweed temporarily to help clean the water, just so my fish don't stay in the bin for so long.

Thanks for the help, guys!
 
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