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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,

I have a few questions regarding colonizing filter media bags in the aquarium but outside of the filter. I've searched online and this forum but can't find an answer. I want to get a couple media filter bags setup so I have them on hand for new tanks. My questions are:
1. What is the best media to fill the bags with? Sand? Sponges (cut into smaller pieces)? Bio balls? I have sand and sponges on hand.
2. Can I get the filter bags properly colonized if I just drop them in my main tank that has been running for about three years now or do I have to put them in that tank's filter? I know the beneficial bacteria starts to colonize almost everything in the aquarium but I'm not sure if it works better or faster in the filter or more importantly does the water moving through the bag in the filter allow for colonization deeper in the bag vs in the aquarium maybe only the surface of the bag gets colonized?
3. When starting a new aquarium can I just drop these in the tank or do they have to be added to the new filter? I was thinking I would setup the new filter with new media, etc and then drop the seeded bags in the aquarium to aid in the cycling and hopefully the BB from the seeded bags will colonize the new filter.

Any thoughts/insight would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers.


Karen
 

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Medical a bags just placed into a tank will be quite fine after 48hrs or more for good measure, as for media; the more surface area the better; lava rock, matrix, porous ceramics, plastic dish scrubbies, from be sponge media (just not the dishes/car wash type).. and though it does not need to be directly in any type of flow to colonize, the way I understand it is that more circulation will help colonize faster, and with more populous but you can still easily cycle a new tank just using the water you'd remove from other tanks water changes. In either case, I don't use media bags or ammonia to cycle


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Just do what I do, do a big water change on your tank or tanks. Use that old water and put it in your new tank. Take out all the media from your established tanks and dip, swish, squeeze out all the gunk. Wait three days and test for ammonia, if not ammonia is detected test for nirite if that is also 0 then you are good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Jeepcarpenter and coldmantis!

I tried cycling a tiny 2.5g (for a fry tank) using just tank water from my established tank as well as some Nutrafin Cycle for the beneficial bacteria but I couldn't get it to cycle properly. I don't know what went wrong which is why I thought I would do these media filter bags. What I should have done was used water from my main tank and squeezed out the sponge from my filter.

I'm going to start it again doing what both of you mentioned.

Cheers.


Karen
 

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I actually don't know why my post actually posted.. I was very busy yesterday and was writing at each stop I had to make, and before I finished writing ColdMantis had posted his excellent advice, and I thought I deleted mine before completing, lol.

The same as ColdMantis, my water changes to cycle new tanks just as he explained, involve squeezing out the filter sponges and media from the pre-existing filters and maybe a bit of mulm from the tank bottom; and have not had a problem yet. Sometimes things don't always work out properly, and that's why it's recommended to test a couple days after just to be sure before you start prepping for adding populous/inhabitants but so far I have not yet had an issue doing so this way. My 75gal was cycled in less than 48hrs from one of my longest running 20's with 2 of the 3 undersized filters.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For other members reading this thread, Please don't think that using old water and squeezing old media to a new tank will cycle the tank in under 3 days, if the old tank is smaller then the new tank. So if you have lets say a 2 year old 10g and your upgrading to a 100g it won't cycle in 3 days, maybe 2 weeks.
That's a good point, especially if you have to time it for new arrivals. Mine is much smaller so hopefully it will work. I swished around the sponge from my existing tank (15g) into the 2.5g yesterday after I read these suggestions so I will test it Friday. I also have about two weeks before I need it so even if it took longer than three or four days to cycle I'm fine.

Any recommendations on how to keep it cycled if I don't have fish in it? Will a a couple drops of ammonia or a bit of fish food every day or every other day be enough? How long can the bacteria live without being fed?

Thanks again!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fish food is fine so are some snails. I just recently did this, setup a 20g waited 3 days tested and everything was fine so I dump in 50+ cherry shrimp. It's been a week or so and I don't see any dead shrimp. Since shrimp are more sensitive then fish it was a success.
Excellent. I will be testing my water later today. I will post an update with my results.
 
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