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Borrowing Bacteria


Guest FishLikeSequins

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Guest FishLikeSequins

I have a 10 gallon tank that I just started running 2 days ago (7/2) with one red-capped oranda and I'd like to speed up the cycling. I am leaving the country for four weeks on July 26th, and although the person who will be house sitting has fish experience, I don't want to burden him a half-cycled tank. I'm one of the many who had no clue about cycling until I came to Kokos.

I've been changing about 25%-30% of the water everyday, and my ammonia is around .25 ppm. My ph is really high, about 8.4, and the water here is very hard.

Anyway, I don't want to use bio spira, I'd rather collect some bacteria from an established tank. But I don't know anybody that has goldies! Is it too risky to ask for filter droppings from a pet store (or chinese restaurant, lol) tank that looks healthy? My local library has an indoor koi pond that has been established for years (at least 16 years, that I know of)- would that be a safe place to collect some bacteria?

I read one post about how to collect the bacteria and add it to your tank, but now I can't find it. Can someone explain that again?

Thanks for the help! :D

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Hi FishLikeSequins,

The bacteria you want will be in the gravel or filter media.

If you're going to nick some, I'd suggest some gravel because it would be easiest. You wouldn't want to be blamed if a tank goes belly up and you touched the filter last :) :)

I'd be worried about introducing parasites, so I'd add salt to the tank before you put in the gravel. One teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon and repeat over 3 days, making a total of 3 teaspoons per gallon.

Hope this is helpful.

Slugger :D

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Guest FishLikeSequins

Great!

Good advice about not messing with the filter, I don't to have a bunch of angry librarians after me if I crash their pond.

So after I salt the tank for 3 days, do I just dump the gravel in? How much gravel? How long will it take for the tank to cycle after that? Can I go about my daily water changes like normal?

Sorry about all the questions, I just want to be sure I don't mess anything up- I'm terrified of huting my little Hoover (

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Nice to see you take care of Hoover. What type of goldfish is she/he?

When you add salt, keep an eye on Hoover, just make sure he doesn't react too badly to salt. The full dosage of salting will be for 2-4 weeks (I'm doing this right now ;) ), so you have just enough time. Every time you take out water, you should replace it with water of the same salt concentration. ie if you replace 1g, you should add 3 tsp of salt. One or two days before you leave, reduce it to 1tsp per gallon, or none at all.

You can add the gravel anytime, just lightly rinse it in tank water before you dump it in. Don't use tap water or rinse too thoroughly, otherwise you'll kill off the good microbes.

Try and get as much as you can, would it be too cheeky if you got enough for a 1" layer? If you can't, even a couple of handfuls is better than none at all.

Carry on with the daily water changes, but I wouldn't disturb the gravel too much for the first week to let the microbes have a chance to recover.

Post back if you need more answers.

Slugger :)

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I personally would not use gravel. If there is a filter, most of the bacteria will be in there. That is just my experience with seeding my tanks though. You should be very careful with where you get the filter material as well. I personally, keep extra biological media in my filter at all times just in case I need to help a cycle elsewhere. When I have tried using gravel, it did not take. Also, it doesn't take much filter material to get things moving. I bet a small piece would not touch their existing colonies enough for them to notice (especially a pond filter... mine is huge by comparison). Once you add it to your filter, the colonization only takes a day or so before you will see a change in your levels. That said, IMO, biospira is still your best and safest bet at this stage of the game, just for the sake of knowing it is clean. You don't want to trade cycling problems for parasites just before you leave or have your friend dealing with salt levels and prazi (which is as expensive as bio spira) while you are gone.

Good luck though! Let us know what you decide and how it works. :D

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Guest FishLikeSequins

Should I still salt my tank if I use a piece of filter media? How high do you think my risk of parasites is?

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I would watch for nitrites and salt to .1% once you see them. Salt will not affect your cycle but parasites will not like it. Your risk of parasites would have a lot to do with where you got your fish and if you decide to seed your tank from another source, what that source is. I would not do it from a lfs. I know I have read recommendations for quarantining every new fish and salting to .3% and doing a round of praziquantel to kill all possible parasites before adding a new fish to a tank. I think this treatment is so smart. Being proactive can save you and your fish quite a bit of grief in the long run. I am probably on the paranoid side, but I have been through a lot in a very short while.

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I would agree with akk0415 that filter material would cycle faster than gravel. It's just that I wouldn't poke around other people's filters. A responsibility thing ;)

I also think there is a risk of parasites, which may be troublesome once they get established in your setup. Short of nuking everything with bleach, I'm not sure if they can ever be kicked out.

I'm doing parasite treatment right now, and when I examine my filter media, it's crawling with parasites that have been shaken off my fish. :scared I'd imagine it would be the same for other parasite infested tanks or ponds. There may not be any external or behavioural symptoms because the fish can cope when unstressed.

So if you get gravel or filter media from another source, how sure are you that it is parasite free? Tough choice I'm afraid.

Other than that, Bio-spira as suggested by akk0415 is a good idea. (Didn't think of that. :) )

Slugger :D

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