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Old 06-19-2014, 06:32 AM   #1
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Vacuuming out BB??

I've been trying to cycle my 75g tank for 6 weeks (fish in) and am still waiting, just had a quick question. For my water changes, I've been using a Python gravel vacuum to take the water out and a 3g bucket to put dechlorinated tap water back in. I've been doing my pwc's every 4-7 days, typically 30-35% at a time, using the gravel cleaner extensively on the substrate to vacuum the waste/food that is settled in and underneath the gravel. My question is: by vacuuming the gravel, is it possible to actually suck out the BB along with the waste?? I'm trying to figure out if I am doing something wrong that is contributing to a stall in my cycle. My ammonia has been in the 1 to 2ppm range for the past two weeks, and I have been dosing with Prime. I don't vacuum every square inch with every pwc, so I can't imagine this would be an issue..
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:11 AM   #2
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I've mostly found with gravel vacs that it doesn't make much difference. I'm sure the bb are disturbed but the filter media carries the day and I've never seen ammonia. I have had mini-cycles where I've been too aggressive with the filter cleans.

Have you checked ph for the tank? Also have you checked if any ammonia in tap water?
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:22 AM   #3
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My PH has remained constant 7.6, same as my tap - which has no ammonia. My ammonia is actually between 2ppm and 4ppm at this point. The fish all seem perfectly healthy and lively, as I am still dosing with Prime every day. Maybe I need to be more aggressive with my water changes to get the levels down? Do I just have too much ammonia and am overwhelming the BB as it tries to get established? I'm at a loss..
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:09 AM   #4
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My PH has remained constant 7.6, same as my tap - which has no ammonia. My ammonia is actually between 2ppm and 4ppm at this point. The fish all seem perfectly healthy and lively, as I am still dosing with Prime every day. Maybe I need to be more aggressive with my water changes to get the levels down? Do I just have too much ammonia and am overwhelming the BB as it tries to get established? I'm at a loss..

I would drop it down otherwise nitrites will go through the roof. Any ammonia will be bacteria feed so you don't need much. Are you getting any nitrites or nitrates at all? Ph looks good. Ammonia isn't too high to stop bacteria establishing - that should also be fine.

What's in your filter can I ask? Plenty of bio-media and it's not getting disturbed? No other meds used for any treatments (just in case)?
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Vacuuming

Hello sam...

You don't need to vacuum up the organic material on the bottom of the tank. It will dissolve in the tank water. So, you just need to remove the water to remove the wastes. By removing only the water you don't remove the good bacteria.

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Old 06-19-2014, 12:23 PM   #6
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Hello sam...

You don't need to vacuum up the organic material on the bottom of the tank. It will dissolve in the tank water. So, you just need to remove the water to remove the wastes. By removing only the water you don't remove the good bacteria.

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I have to disagree, tilling up your gravel on a regular basis is a great way to avoid "old tank syndrome" and reduce nitrate production.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:39 PM   #7
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Gravel Vauuming

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I have to disagree, tilling up your gravel on a regular basis is a great way to avoid "old tank syndrome" and reduce nitrate production.
Hello en...

Everything you put into the tank will eventually dissolve in the water. By simply removing a lot of tank water regularly, you remove any toxins before they build to a harmful level. There's never a need to vacuum the bottom material, just maintain pure water conditions through an aggressive water change routine.

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Old 06-19-2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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I would drop it down otherwise nitrites will go through the roof. Any ammonia will be bacteria feed so you don't need much. Are you getting any nitrites or nitrates at all? Ph looks good. Ammonia isn't too high to stop bacteria establishing - that should also be fine.

What's in your filter can I ask? Plenty of bio-media and it's not getting disturbed? No other meds used for any treatments (just in case)?
I am running dual Fluval 406's that have 4 media trays each. In the bottom tray of both is BioFoam, in the 2nd and 3rd trays is BioMax and in the top trays are a water polisher followed by Purigen. I have not seen a single trace of Nitrites, ever. My nitrAtes are at around 2.5 to 5ppm range which is from my tap water.

I don't mean any offense to anyone and I really appreciate your replies and advice, but I think the thing I'm finding the most frustrating in this hobby is that it seems like nearly everyone has their own opinion of what is right and what is wrong in how to do things. I wish there were some sort of standard that the majority could agree on because it makes it incredibly difficult to choose which person to believe.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:43 PM   #9
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I am running dual Fluval 406's that have 4 media trays each. In the bottom tray of both is BioFoam, in the 2nd and 3rd trays is BioMax and in the top trays are a water polisher followed by Purigen. I have not seen a single trace of Nitrites, ever. My nitrAtes are at around 2.5 to 5ppm range which is from my tap water.

I don't mean any offense to anyone and I really appreciate your replies and advice, but I think the thing I'm finding the most frustrating in this hobby is that it seems like nearly everyone has their own opinion of what is right and what is wrong in how to do things. I wish there were some sort of standard that the majority could agree on because it makes it incredibly difficult to choose which person to believe.

I find each of us has different experience. We pass on what we know has worked for us in the hopes a piece in there will help.

I've heard of cycling taking 2 months and from memory 3 on a few occasions but 6 weeks and nothing going on does seem slow to me.

Prime should not prevent the cycle developing although I would think it slows it down. Are you dosing just the normal amount or over dosing to cover the high ammonia?

The two filters sound fine. Nothing is jumping out there. The fish in cycle should be providing any minor nutrients needed by bacteria so that also should be ok.

I would see if you can get a handful of gravel from the lfs to seed the filters just in case. Next up I would actually try running one filter in a garbage bin of old tank water. No fish so you could leave off the prime.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:16 PM   #10
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I've been trying everything under the sun to get my tank cycled its been almost a month now and nothing
but I have learned a lot from this site its just a waiting game
what works for some tanks DONT work with others so if you take a little bit from each person then you can make your own game plan
I feel less is more just leave it alone and make sure water is safe
next time it will be fishless
so thanks everyone for your help

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Old 06-19-2014, 10:29 PM   #11
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I am running dual Fluval 406's that have 4 media trays each. In the bottom tray of both is BioFoam, in the 2nd and 3rd trays is BioMax and in the top trays are a water polisher followed by Purigen. I have not seen a single trace of Nitrites, ever. My nitrAtes are at around 2.5 to 5ppm range which is from my tap water.

I don't mean any offense to anyone and I really appreciate your replies and advice, but I think the thing I'm finding the most frustrating in this hobby is that it seems like nearly everyone has their own opinion of what is right and what is wrong in how to do things. I wish there were some sort of standard that the majority could agree on because it makes it incredibly difficult to choose which person to believe.
"There's more than one way to skin a cat"

Also, the short answer is you can't really vacuum out BB because they live primarily in your filter. My bare bottom tank is cycled with nothing but the filter, so the gravel is not a huge factor when it comes to the bacterial side of things.

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Old 06-19-2014, 11:05 PM   #12
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I find each of us has different experience. We pass on what we know has worked for us in the hopes a piece in there will help.

I've heard of cycling taking 2 months and from memory 3 on a few occasions but 6 weeks and nothing going on does seem slow to me.

Prime should not prevent the cycle developing although I would think it slows it down. Are you dosing just the normal amount or over dosing to cover the high ammonia?

The two filters sound fine. Nothing is jumping out there. The fish in cycle should be providing any minor nutrients needed by bacteria so that also should be ok.

I would see if you can get a handful of gravel from the lfs to seed the filters just in case. Next up I would actually try running one filter in a garbage bin of old tank water. No fish so you could leave off the prime.
Sorry for this long post, but I may as well give you the whole scenario:

May 7th - Set up 75g tank with single Fluval 406 filter, 200W Aqueon heater, 2 airstones.
May 9th - Added 6 Black Skirt Tetras.
May 12th - Added 4 Angelicus Botia Loaches
May 20th - Added 6 Red Wag Platies, added 3rd airstone
May 27th - Added 4 Yellow Guppies
June 3rd - Added 2 additional Angelicus Botia Loaches, also added 2nd Fluval 406 Filter, changed out starter carbon in top tray of original filter as well as placed into the new filter for 2 bags each of Purigen. Changed out starter carbon in 2nd trays down with additional BioMax. Cleaned original filter with dechlorinated tap water. Began dosing tank with Seachem Prime.
June 10th - Added 4 additional Black Skirt Tetras

Ammonia has been steadily climbing over the past few weeks and is now in the 2 to 4ppm range. I have been doing approximately 30% pwc's every 4-6 days. I am done adding fish for now until the tank cycles. Tomorrow (Friday June 20th) will be 6 weeks to the day since I added the first fish in. I decided to try Seachem Stability starting this past Sunday but so far have seen no results. I'm thinking the product is either ineffective or just that I waited too long to add it and the ammonia levels are too high for it to be effective. As for Prime, I am dosing two capfuls per day which is enough for 100 gallons. Unfortunately I don't have much in the way of LFS aside from PetCo, PetSmart and a small hole-in-the-wall place that doesn't offer much of anything other than fish. I asked them about getting some gravel and they said they don't offer that service. All he would do is test my water which I don't really need.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enrgizerbunny View Post
"There's more than one way to skin a cat"

Also, the short answer is you can't really vacuum out BB because they live primarily in your filter. My bare bottom tank is cycled with nothing but the filter, so the gravel is not a huge factor when it comes to the bacterial side of things.

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I thought it sounded ridiculous, but I had read a few places that it was a possibility so it got me wondering. I'm probably just overthinking it..
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:29 AM   #14
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I know this has nothing to do with vacuuming bb but more on point to the ammonia levels in your tank, obtaining established media will do wonders for your situation. I would contact fish clubs in your area. AA member MrFisher sells established sponges that can be cut to fit your canister filters.
I transferred some filter media (sponge + ceramic media) from an established filter to a new filter in a new tank and did a fish less cycle; by end of day 6 it was converting 4 ppm of ammonia within 24 hours.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:51 AM   #15
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I know this has nothing to do with vacuuming bb but more on point to the ammonia levels in your tank, obtaining established media will do wonders for your situation. I would contact fish clubs in your area. AA member MrFisher sells established sponges that can be cut to fit your canister filters.
I transferred some filter media (sponge + ceramic media) from an established filter to a new filter in a new tank and did a fish less cycle; by end of day 6 it was converting 4 ppm of ammonia within 24 hours.
Yeah, maybe I'll have to do some looking around then. But on the other hand, don't I run the risk of obtaining a disease?
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:36 AM   #16
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Yeah, maybe I'll have to do some looking around then. But on the other hand, don't I run the risk of obtaining a disease?

Not any more of a risk when purchasing fish or plants. Find a reputable provider that has reviews and user feedback.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #17
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Yeah, maybe I'll have to do some looking around then. But on the other hand, don't I run the risk of obtaining a disease?
Purchasing established media you probably run less risk because the bacteria are grown using pure ammonia.

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Old 06-20-2014, 08:17 AM   #18
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Sorry for this long post, but I may as well give you the whole scenario:



May 7th - Set up 75g tank with single Fluval 406 filter, 200W Aqueon heater, 2 airstones.

May 9th - Added 6 Black Skirt Tetras.

May 12th - Added 4 Angelicus Botia Loaches

May 20th - Added 6 Red Wag Platies, added 3rd airstone

May 27th - Added 4 Yellow Guppies

June 3rd - Added 2 additional Angelicus Botia Loaches, also added 2nd Fluval 406 Filter, changed out starter carbon in top tray of original filter as well as placed into the new filter for 2 bags each of Purigen. Changed out starter carbon in 2nd trays down with additional BioMax. Cleaned original filter with dechlorinated tap water. Began dosing tank with Seachem Prime.

June 10th - Added 4 additional Black Skirt Tetras



Ammonia has been steadily climbing over the past few weeks and is now in the 2 to 4ppm range. I have been doing approximately 30% pwc's every 4-6 days. I am done adding fish for now until the tank cycles. Tomorrow (Friday June 20th) will be 6 weeks to the day since I added the first fish in. I decided to try Seachem Stability starting this past Sunday but so far have seen no results. I'm thinking the product is either ineffective or just that I waited too long to add it and the ammonia levels are too high for it to be effective. As for Prime, I am dosing two capfuls per day which is enough for 100 gallons. Unfortunately I don't have much in the way of LFS aside from PetCo, PetSmart and a small hole-in-the-wall place that doesn't offer much of anything other than fish. I asked them about getting some gravel and they said they don't offer that service. All he would do is test my water which I don't really need.

It's possible (even with using old tank water for any washing) that this killed off bacteria. Just speculating here. I've done that where I have had the impeller block just after cleaning and in breaking the filter down twice somehow caused a mini-cycle.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:11 AM   #19
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Hello sam...

Welcome to what I call "the water keeping" hobby. This hobby isn't an exact science, there are many ways to succeed. The only thing you can rely on in this hobby is that 99.9 percent of the things that can go wrong are water related. If you maintain pure water conditions all the time by removing and replacing a lot of tank water and doing it regularly, your fish and plants will take care of themselves.

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Old 06-20-2014, 01:40 PM   #20
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while in a cycle when canI replace the filter cartridges on an over the top filter they been on for a month with an occasional dip in the water
is it better to dip the new cartridges in bucket with old tank water or the prime bucket.

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