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Old 02-16-2006, 10:34 AM   #1
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Moving from 20 gal to 55 gal with cycling questions

I have a 20 gal with 17 inches of fish in it, so I have purchased a used 55 gal tank. I thoroughly cleaned the new tank and filter with liquid dish soap and water, and thoroughly rinsed and wiped down. I rinsed my rocks and added them with declorinated water on 2/11/06. I put in a rinsed new decoration and a large fake stump from my 2 year old 20 gal tank, along with several fake plants (with bacteria on them). Then I added Cycle Boost per the directions for the next 3 days. Going back to the second day, I added 3 Columbian Sharks (aka white tip sharks, aka black tip sharks) - 2 inches long each. I also added 10 teaspoons of salt per directions for fresh water. I have a large heater and two sources of air bubbles. My filter is an Aquatech 40-60 (300gph) with no biowheels. I plan to add my Penguin 125 with bio wheel when I transfer the other fish. Cycle Boost claims it will cycle the tank in 3 days, which I was doubtful. However, here are my numbers for the last 3 days:

Day 3: PH-7.2, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia-1.0, Nitrate-0 (adjusted PH, added PH buffer tablets)
Day 4: PH-7.0, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia-0.25, Nitrate - 2.5 (no adjustments)
Day 5: PH-7.0, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia-0.0, Nitrate 2.5 (no adjustments)

On Day 3 I got a pretty substantial Bacterial bloom (white cloud). Today, day 6, it has almost totally cleared up. I haven't done a water change yet because my numbers didn't wwarrantone. I will do water changes if the Ammonia gets to 1.0 again, or if nitrite gets high. My thought is that the bacteria laced decorations and the Cycle Boost gave my cycle a jump start. I plan to watch the numbers for quite a while before transferring the other fish (and other filter). What opinion do ya'll have on this cycle and when do you recommend that I transfer the other fish?
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:30 PM   #2
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Everything you are doing is absolutely fine. You just have to wait until you have nitrites
and ammonia are zero and nitrates start building before moving your fish... but you should have enough nitrifying bacteria in your 20g tank which could be transferred to your 55G.

Assuming your 20g tank is well cycled and you haven’t changed/cleaned media in your Penguin in the last couple of weeks… you could move all the all fish now.

I would:

1) do 50% water change in the 55g

2) make sure the PH is similar in both tanks

3) move the HOB filter from the 20g to the 55g and run both filters on the 55 concurrently. Do NOT change/clean the media in the 20g tank filter

4) move all the fish from the 20g to the 55g

5) add as much gravel/sand from the 20g to the 55g (do not rinse the gravel). If using the same color/size gravel in the 55g as the 20G transfer it all, if using a different gravel that you don’t want mixed with the 55g tank gravel, 55 fill a clean stocking or two with gravel from the 20g tank and put it in the tank

6) If you have any Cycle left, add it as per the instructions. It may not help, but won’t do any harm.

As nitrifying bacteria lives primarily on the gravel and filter/filter media, you should have enough bacteria for your current bio-load. Continue the careful monitoring of your water, and I would expect the any residual nitrites and ammonia to disappear in a day or two.

In the remote event that the ammonia or nitrites spike, you'll be stuck having to do a lot of water changes as you won't have the cycled 20g tank to fall back on. If you don't want to take that chance, keep on doing as you have, and everything should work out fine, it will just take a little longer. Good Luck.

P.S. Quite an eclectic community of fish you have. Do they all get along? I would expect a lot of harassment, particularly the parrot to the angel and neon.
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments. I think I will watch the numbers a little longer just to play it safe. Although adding an established filter with biowheel would probably be safe enough. As for my fish, I have updated my profile. The parrot is at least 3 inches and is very nice. I understand that half of them are mean and half of them are nice. He will practically jump out of the tank when you feed him. My angel is the biggest fish and have no problems with him. The rainbow shark is the mischievous one who chases the neons a little. I think they will like the new tank. I welcome further advice about whether this tank can actually be cycled and safe so soon.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:07 PM   #4
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I agree with Johnmc I would move the filter and the fish right away. It should be cycleless. Ater a month move the fiter back to the twenty and you have two cycled tanks. I cant believe that parrot hasn't picked any neons off yet. Good luck. When do we get pics?
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:07 PM   #5
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Thanks very much, I will bring a picture tomorrow. Any other opinions are totally welcome.
Rob
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Old 02-17-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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I moved all the fish last night without problems. I also moved the other estabished filter with bio wheel to the 55. Everybody is happy. I have added some pictures to my gallery if anybody is interested. Nothing fancy. I want to keep it open because I am considering a Tea Cup FW Sting Ray later this year. However, I will have to make some changes including removing the Pleco. My LFS advised me on my gravel (small, not sharp) and other things, and can order a small ray for like $79. I will wait and do some more research. Thanks for the great advice.
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:40 PM   #7
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I just wanted to give an update and get some opinions. For the last week since I put my other fish and other biowheel/filter in the tank, I have had the following readings every day:
PH-7
Ammonia- 0.5, maybe 0.7
Nitrate- 5-10
Nitrite- 0
I have done a 10-20% water change almost every day. My assumption is that the nitrate eating bacterias are established, but the ammonia eating bacteria is still balancing out. I vacuumed once or twice because I was afraid that some food was rotting, however, I didn't want to over do it and remove any bacteria. The fish are not being over fed because they go into a frenzy when I feed them and eat most everything. Any opinions?
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