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I do not plan on going that route, so don't even start. I am just curious cause I have seen shows and heard about adding bacteria to water right before fish.

So how do they do it and does it work?
 

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I actually wondered this same thing as well....I assume you are talking about shows like Tanked? They set up a 100+ gallon tank and then add 20+ fish within minutes. I assumed it was just for the sake of the show and then they were removed to allow the tank to cycle properly?? I guess they could have used established filter media in addition to the bacterial in a bottle.....they don't normally go into depth on the filtration systems.
 

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Ifi remember correctly on one of the shows they did say something about adding seeded filter media to the filters as well as adding the benificial bacteria. But yu have to remember that they dont just fill the tank and then drop the fish in immediately. There is a waiting time while the tank warms up and they drip the fish to acclimate them and find the correct ph. They just don't show that on the show. Who wants to sit and watch the fish acclimate for 3 hours? There is another thread about the tanked show around the forum somewhere...
 

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1) Get the bio filter going
2) Set up tank
3) Add fish.

If you want to use one of the 'cycle in a bottle' products READ THE LABEL. You want Nitrospira species of bacteria to be one of the ingredients. All the other 'bacteria in a bottle' products have the wrong species of bacteria.

The basic steps are:
Set up tank, make sure equipment runs, tank does not leak...
Add bacteria. This can take anywhere from 3 weeks (fishless cycle) to 3 minutes (add bottled bacteria, let it circulate or somewhere in between: some variation of using bacteria you have already grown prior to setting up the tank, for example, sharing cycled media from another tank)
Add fish.

The problem with using the bottled products is that the correct species of bacteria do not enter any sort of dormant phase, they are always sensitive to temperature. If the bottle has been mishandled during shipping the bacteria may be dead. You might find you have a tank full of fish, and no bio-filter. '
If you intend using one of the bottled products, I would plan on it taking longer, and using that time to fine tune the aquascape, let the plants get better rooted and so on. Add the bottle of bacteria, then start doing the fishless cycle. If the bacteria are alive the fishless cycle ought to run its course in about 48-72 hours. Then you can add fish.
Another way is to add some to the tank, test it with a little ammonia (24-48 hours) and if it is OK then a small load of fish. Then let that much bio filter/fish load stabilize, then add more bacteria when you add more fish. Keep the bottle of bacteria in the fridge.

The problems with using cycled media from an established tank is if you take too much of the media you are upsetting the bio filter on the older tank, and if it is a heavily planted tank there may not really be all that much bacteria in the filter. Sharing a small amount of media from several tanks is better.

Growing your own biofilter, such as doing the fishless cycle in a bucket is a guaranteed way to get a really big colony of bacteria ready for use in the new set up. Takes a little planning, of course.
 
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