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Old 04-08-2019, 12:10 PM   #1
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Recycling a Previously Set Up Aquarium

Hello -- I have recently re-set up a 15 gallon tank that I'd allowed to dry out for a period of time. The tank has a homemade undergravel filter consisting of "egg-crate" plastic light shield material, thin foam air-conditioner filter material, and gravel. I've used this type of filtration in the past with great success. I've never allowed one to dry out completely, sit dry for a length of time, then try to restart. I wrote my Master's paper on aquarium maintenance 40 years ago, including a section on cycling the tank developing Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas bacterial colonies, etc. Researching this topic, I'm gathering that both bcteria are facultative spore-formers. My questions are these:

1. Do the spores survive dessication?, and

2. Will having the spores already in the system accelerate the cycling process?

I've put only a few plant materials in the tank, java moss, moss balls, a few baby Crypts (not doing well), hornwort (it disintegrated), and a straggler Java fern from another tank. I have no animals in the tank.

The water chemistry seems odd. Currently, the ammonia is reading @ 4 ppm, nitrites 0 ppm, and nitrates between 5 - 10 ppm.

I'm a bit stymied and just wondering if anyone has any insights.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:26 PM   #2
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How fast is the ammonia converting to nitrates?
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Old 04-08-2019, 01:34 PM   #3
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Hi King Fisher -- I'm honestly not sure: this morning was the first time I've tested during this cycle. I'm just puzzled by the presence of nitrate in the absence of nitrites at this point. That, and my curiosity about the vegetative budding rate of spores and the possible acceleration of cycling.
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Old 04-08-2019, 02:48 PM   #4
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It's my understanding that anytime BB is left out for a length of time and especially dried out it is dead. Also the fact that it needs a food source (ammonia) would be another reason it wouldn't survive.

If your tank is converting ammonia at 2-4 ppm within 24 hours then it's cycled. If it isn't I'd say you are in the middle of the cycle. It is possible to have an Ammonia and nitrate reading without a nitrite reading......yet. This could change.
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