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Old 05-30-2020, 08:36 PM   #1
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Help cycling with seeded media please

I recently acquired a juvenile axolotl, and unfortunately didn't have the ability to cycle his tank prior to his arrival. I currently have a fish-in cycle going with him now. I was doing water changes twice a day to keep his ammonia levels down. Even with his small size, he is producing a lot of waste. I figured I could let the cycle run it's course naturally on its own with daily water changes, but I also don't want to unnecessarily stress him out and delay my cycle in the process as well. I have been dosing every 24 hours with Seachem Prime to detoxify any ammonia he is sadly living with right now. Current parameters are as follows:

Ammonia-Hovering between .5-1ppm. Was 1ppm this morning so I did a 50% water change (maybe 60%) to bring that level back down, and dosed with Seachem Prime as well.
Nitrites-0
Nitrates-5ppm?
Ph-7.6

I had 0 traces of nitrites and nitrates, until I purchased a pre-seeded sponge filter from Angels Plus. It came in a bag of pretty dirty water, that I also added to his tank. It has been running for about 48 hours now,and there has been no change in the ammonia levels. Nitrates originally started at 0 (finnicky test so it's hard to tell whether I tested right in the first place or shook the bottle enough), but are now at 5ppm. Ammonia hasn't been decreasing at all, aside from when I do a water change. When I've done a water change, I have dosed with Seachem Stability as well, to try to replenish anything I might have removed, even when there is little beneficial bacteria in the water column itself. I do have a couple of questions about the process I used, or what I could be doing to help push my cycle along.

When placing the sponge filter in the tank, I did not acclimate it to the temperature of my tank, like I would with other aquatic life. My axolotls tank is usually around 64-68 degrees. Would this have killed off, or slowed down, the nitrifying bacteria in the sponge?

Is there anything that could potentially be interfering with the ability of the bacteria to consume the ammonia in my tank?

Would purchasing another sponge help expedite the process, or would that simply kill of beneficial bacteria because my bioload with just the one little guy is so small?

Am I just being impatient in expecting "instant cycling" because I used seeded media?

Is there a rough timeline I should be looking at regarding whether the seeded media is going to make a difference in my tank in general, or is it just a crapshoot and when it happens, it happens?

Cycling can be so frustrating
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:06 AM   #2
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Sounds like adding extra seeded media will help (Iím not sure on cost and how much you got but assume room in a filter) and that will help as you still have an ammonia reading.

Lower temperatures and products that detoxify ammonia will slow down cycling but it will happen still. Iíve only read one or two cases where prime, etc seemed to stall a cycle.

Some water changes to maintain ph / kh but that should be right as already doing.

Iím not sure how quickly the bacteria adjust - perhaps someone that has used seeded media more will know.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:11 PM   #3
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My ph has been pretty consistent. When this sponge filter didn't initially give me any positive readings, I tested my ph to ensure I didn't kill off the bacteria somehow. Stays at 7.6 (both on high range ph test and regular ph test) at all times. His tank is fairly empty, aside from a sufficient hide, a couple of decorative rocks, and the sponge filter. I removed my HOB because it blew the little guy around the tank with the current and he wasn't super thrilled with that. I went ahead and purchased another sponge filter, and expedited the shipping to an overnight delivery as opposed to the 2 day delivery I used last time, to see if that makes any difference. I'm also going to try floating the bag in his tank so there isn't a noticeable decrease in temperature, if that could have effected the way this is working out for me. I didn't expect instantaneous results really, but I expected some sign of improvement by now. I did a water change of about 60% again this morning as ammonia was back up to 1ppm. Got it down again to .5. If neither of these sponges help push my cycle along, looks like I'll be doing a fish-in cycle the "old fashioned" way. I wanted to save him the stress of the constant water changes, but if that's the only way to cycle and keep him safe at the same time, so be it
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:56 AM   #4
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Stupid question (and sorry if missed in thread) - I assume your tap water has 0 ammonia?
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:33 PM   #5
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0 ammonia for tap water. Tested again this morning just to be sure. I purchased a second sponge filter as sort of an experiment to see if it was something I did in the process, or the sponge filter itself not being fully cycled. Placed the sponge filter and dirty water in yesterday around 2:45pm. Today’s water parameters:
Ammonia-2ppm!
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-0-2ppm? Not quite yellow not quite orange
pH-7.6

I assume my tank will go through some type of mini cycle so the ammonia spike I presume can be expected in my situation? I did a 50-60% water change to get the ammonia down and dosed with prime as well. Tap water has 0 nitrates as well. I currently have both filters in my tank, the newest one as the primary. Funky sediment as the bottom of the tank today too, after placing the sponge. I haven’t siphoned that out just yet. I’m reluctant too as I don’t want to remove any nitrifying bacteria that could assist my cycle.
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Old 06-05-2020, 02:04 AM   #6
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Sounds disappointing(?) - I must confess I thought the cycled filters would do better than that.
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Delapool View Post
Sounds disappointing(?) - I must confess I thought the cycled filters would do better than that.
Definitely disappointing. I didnít really want to go the full fish-in cycle route, but it looks like thatís where Iím at at this point.
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