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Seeding The 55G


Sakura

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Since getting the 25 watt UV, I have noticed a big improvement in the clarity of the water and also the health of my fish. They used to surface-gulp a lot, and just generally act lethargic. But in the past few days, everyone has been acting super happy and swimming all around the tank like normal fish again! It's really nice to see. So I'm guessing that whatever the problem was (bacterial, parasitic, or viral) the UV has eliminated it, or at least decreased it to where it's no longer an issue.

So I've been considering using some bio-beads from those filters to seed my 55 gallon tank. I know that otherwise it's probably going to take a month and a half to cycle, but of course I've gone and bid on a fish at the auction. :rolleyes: When I get this fish, I will also be getting two replacement fish, and I might also buy another. So I'm planning for up to four fish in total. I was planning to ask Ken to hold the fish for me, but I don't actually know how happy he'll be about holding them for that long. :unsure: I'm a little worried about the possibility that there's still something nasty in that tank that the three remaining fish are maybe just immune to, but I don't know. I just wish I had a way of knowing for sure. I should mention though that when the vet did a scrape on Isis (one of the fish from that tank that died) she didn't find anything bacterial or parasitic. Not to say it wasn't there, but in that particular scrape she didn't find any. She didn't find any in the aspirate of fluid from her belly either.

I think if I did seed the 55g tank with media from the 75g, I would feel more comfortable about it if I bought a UV for the 55g tank. Of course I'd have to wait to plug it in until the bb's get settled, but once I could turn it on it would give me peace of mind. The only problem is that UVs are so expensive, so I might have to look for a cheaper one for this tank.

I've already sent an email to my vet asking her opinion, and I also plan on asking Ken what he thinks, but I wanted to get your guys' opinions too. What would you do?

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If you want to use the bbs to seed it I would seed it, and have it go a few weeks of fishless cycle - so whatever needs hosts already dies off. Once the cycle is established you can run the UV on it like a week before adding the fish. Anyways you are QTing the fish separate right?

This is how I think I will do it for my large tank once it arrives. I can't stand to go through a 3month cycle again.

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Personally??? People might hate me for this....but....I would seed from the bigger tank. But that is because of how impatient I am. The UV sterilizer for the 55 sounds like a good idea either way.

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Just thinking tho, that the 3 goldies you have now seemed sort of 'immune' to the problem right? And now you are getting fish from the same source as the weaker ones were.... Maybe you should start from scratch... I would hate for you to have all those awful problems again... Just the conservative part of me talking :)

I am starting to learn that with goldies - the longer and most painful route is usually the right one. :ignore

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I agree. The longer most irritating option is almost always the smartest. That said, I think Federica's first plan could work well. Seed it, run it a few weeks by feeding it without the fish in it, run the UV for a week before the new fish go in, then put the new fish in and QT them in there (make sure you move the UV back to the main tank first so you don't cross transfer anything). That means Ken is only holding the fish for a bit for you. I would also ask his opinion. I have a feeling that because you have had such a frustrating experience he wants to make things right for you. When I asked him about shipping he seemed fine waiting a few weeks before shipping out to me.

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Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm thinking about all the suggestions and my options still.

So Ken emailed me back in record time! He says he can probably only hold the fish for two weeks since he'll be moving soon and doesn't want to deal with moving already sold fish to his new place. Understandable. I'm just happy he's willing to hold them for at least two weeks, at least I have a little time. :) He recommends against seeding from the 75g tank just because he doesn't know for sure what went on in there. If only I had a microscope I might be able to figure it out. But he also said something strange; that he didn't like fishless cycles! I asked him for clarification on that, I'm not too sure why he wouldn't like them. It worked well for me in the past! Just took a long time, that's all. Also he says that a couple of fish should be okay in a 55g tank, even uncycled. Maybe... but I really don't want to risk it. I've done it before and it's not fun. And besides, I'm planning on getting more than just a couple!

So after this Sunday I will have about two weeks before the new fish will arrive. There will be three or four, probably all butterflies! I just have to decide what to do. Maybe I should do a condensed version of what you guys said; seed with a bunch of media from the 75g tank asap, and then run the UV on it until the fish arrive. I'm just so worried, and I want to do the best thing given the time constraints I have! What do you guys think about doing this? Do you have any better/other ideas? I've been wondering, wouldn't it be slightly possible for some bbs to survive being shipped to me along with the fish? (It's just overnight shipping.) I asked Ken about this, and I'll also ask him what he thinks of the 2 week seeding and UV plan.

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I'm afraid I disagree with Ken about fishless cycles. I think fishless cycles done well are great. Much preferable to uncycled tanks with even one fish in. Cycling has to be the single most long term damaging thing a fish can go through in my opinion. Cycling fishless with a media jumpstart from a healthy seeded tank can be a very smooth and safe transition in my opinion if done right.

So, I would also do what Federica says in her first post.

There are two basic kinds of aquatic bacteria; obligate and opportune and opportune bacteria will survive a long time without a host but are generally speaking

less life threatening than obligates which, like parasites need a host to live. Fishless cycles do not allow these bacteria to thrive, especially if the time is over two weeks, as they MUST

have a living host to breed/live, so this is another argument for the fishless cycle..

Did your vet do a bacterial culture as well as a fluid aspiration? Usually bacteria are not sufficient in numbers on fish to identify and an agar culture is needed to grow the bacteria to sufficient quantity to correctly ID.

I have not used a UV sterilizer myself, but I imagine from all I have read it must be a good advantage to use water or media from a tank that has one.

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Thank you for stopping by Imo! Actually come to think of it, the vet did not do a bacterial culture. She only looked under the microscope at the aspirate fluid and the face area scrape. Strange huh? But she acted like she knew what she was doing, so... :idont

My main issue now is the time constraint. It turns out Ken can only hold the fish for two weeks. And I think there will be four fish total, in the 55 gallon tank. With this time constraint, what do you think would be best to do? I don't think two weeks will be enough time to finish the fishless cycle. :( I was wondering if it would work for him to send some seeded media along with the fish (overnight shipping), but I'm afraid most of the bbs would die on the way. Do you think it would work?

Or I could use some of the media from the main tank to seed the 55 gallon, and then run the UV on it for 1.5 weeks, like what Amy and Federica said.

Let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly... You're saying that it would be pretty safe to seed the tank using the old media as long as I wait at least two weeks before the fish go in? Because by that time the bad bacteria and/or parasites would be dead anyways without a host? And using the UV sterilizer on that tank would help kill them off too.

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Yes.

Okay, what I would do..given the two weeks only..is get another filter fixed up NOW ASAP on the 75. Pack it with media. Also add more media to what you already have on there.Then set up the 55 with a fishless cycle and a small amount of media from the 75.

In two weeks time the new filter on the 75 should have a nice colony of good bacteria going. You can transfer the whole thing.

BBs don't travel well. They need so much oxygen. Remember shipped fish arrive stressed and are very vulnerable to opportune bacteria.

If you can manage a UV for the 55 too go for it.

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Okay, thanks Imo!

So here's my thoughts... I already have two huge filters on the 75g packed to the brim with more media than three fish could possibly need. So it seems like it would be okay to take some from there (maybe 1/3?), and replace it with some new media for the bbs to re-colonize. I would decrease feeding and increase water changes of course during this time to avoid a major cycle bump.

Then I can add the cycled media to the new tank right now, and also transfer the UV to it. Then I will continue to feed it with ammonia so the bbs survive until the new fish get here. That means that for two weeks whatever nasties are possibly there won't have a host to live on, so they will hopefully die. Any nasties that persist anyways will hopefully be killed by the UV. Since I don't think I can afford another UV just yet (I'll have to see about that), I will transfer the UV back over to the 75g just before the new fish arrive. I think I feel pretty good about this plan. Sound good? Anybody feel free to point out any problems with it :)

:testkit:

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Just as a side note with the UV. I think you are only suppose to use it once the cycle has been established for a few weeks. I just turned mine on yesterday on the 85Gal after the fish had been in like 2 weeks and I know the cycle holds. This is because any bacteria that will be around the tank looking to hang on to the filter might get sucked up in the UV and get exterminated before. I am not sure how fast the cycle would kick in after you seed it. But I think you should wait a few weeks after it has to start the UV.

I was thinking, you don't salt your fish as QT process right? Why don't you just QT them with Zeolite? That way you can take your time with the fishless cycle - not get anxious about them being in uncycled or parasite full tanks. I have my Jumbo Ryukins each in their own 40Gal plastic tub with a filter (mostly for mechanical filtration) and a large bubble wand. Then I have 1-2 handfuls of Zeolite handing on top of the oxygen from the airstone in a stocking. This is really working great. The params are always 0. You can do water changes when you like - I like to do them every few days in QT. But not because it is necessary and the fish are stressed. I really recommend it. And if you don't use salt it is perfect. While I was salting them right when I got them I had to do 3x daily 50% water changes because the ammo would be at 0.25 so fast! And with our high pH that is really not a good thing.

Oh and don't worry about moving the UV. I just sterilized mine yesterday as it had been unused for a while. If yours is like mine all the pieces come apart and are real easy to clean. Then I just replaced the tubes (you could have a set of tubes for the large tank and a set for the small tank).

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Alright, well I just seeded the 55 with media from the 75! I'm so hoping it works out okay and I don't end up regretting this!

Federica, I was planning on using the UV only after giving the bbs a few days to "settle". I don't think I will have to wait to weeks though, since the bbs are already settled on the media that I added. :)

I've tried zeolite before, and it just didn't work well for me. I'd rather not deal with it right now. But it was a good suggestion!

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Since Youve just seeded the 55 with media from the 75 , Keep it cycling with 4-5 ppm of amonia . Also raise the temp to 88-90 degrees for the 2 weeks to aid bacteria production . No water changes yet .

When the New fish arrive , do a massive water change , and lower the temp . If You have a way to store and age water , I would have some ready in a tub . You could use it to both hold the new fish , and fill the tank .

With Your low stocking rate , you can easilly maintain safe parameters with water changes while the new cycle progresses .

I was cycling 2 tanks at the same time .

Tank 1 used the fishless cycle .

Tank 2 had 3 fish and was started from scratch with everything new.

For tank 2 , I used water that was conditioned and aged 24 hrs and did 50% water changes every other day .

Tank 1 cycled in 6 weeks , tank 2 cycled in 4 weeks

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Thanks for the tips Garibaldi!

I just re-tested the ammonia and it's already down to almost 1ppm! It took care of almost 1ppm of ammonia in only 5 hours! Sweeeet :) I didn't test nitrite or nitrate, but I will do those tomorrow. What ppm should I aim for getting it to process within a 24 hour period? I'm planning for 3-5 fish, so I'm thinking at least 6ppm ammonia in 24 hours? Or is that number too low?

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I remember reading somewhere that if You do in excess of 5 ppm , the ammonia could hamper the growth of the bacteria .

It's a very sensitive balance , the ammonia is more toxic at higher temps , but the bacteria prospers better at those higher temps.

You want to be able to process 4-5 ppm of ammonia in 8-12 hrs . You will probably not get it to process that much ammonia in the 2 weeks that You have , but You can give it a good start . Once Your fish are in , Your cycle will slow down to the natural levels of ammonia that They produce , then maintain it with water changes once the new fish are in .

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Okay. Hey something just occurred to me. Since I removed some (about 1/3) of the cycled media from the 75g tank, should I unplug the UV for a few days to let the bbs settle? Or will they just be able to slowly grow over to the new media without having to enter the water column? This is what I assumed I guess, but I'd like to be sure.

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The Nitrosomona's and Nitrobacter's are in the filter media so You should be ok , unless the UV was inside the filter , or inline before the filter. Usually , the UV is after the filter when sharing the same pump ,and in that case does not effect the filter bio.

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Sounds like it is working! I will be watching this thread closely as I also have to decide how to start my new 200gal once it arrives!

I would do like Garibaldi said - don't exceed 5ppm. That should be like 2-3 medium fish. Then you can always add the remaining a few days later.

Are you sure you want to QT them together tho? Didn't you have problems with that the other time? Or am I remembering wrong? :o

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Yep I'm QTing them together. I don't have any other choice! I should be getting at least three fish, and possibly as many as five. Normally I've never had any issues QTing them all together. They're all from the same place and have been exposed to the same cooties. I don't really know what happened last time, but both fish had something odd going on with their fins when they arrived. :(

Today's stats are...

ammonia: 1ppm (still haven't added any)

nitrite: 0ppm

nitrate: ~10ppm

My beneficial bacteria that convert the nitrite to nitrate always seem to be more on top of things! Whenever I've had cycle bumps in the past I've always only had ammonia showing up, no nitrite at all. I guess that's good :) Maybe they like the high pH or something.

In a few days I'm going to move the UV over to this tank and run it on there until the new fish arrive. Maybe I'll even leave it on there after they arrive, we'll see how it goes.

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I am always the freakish super paranoid QT person, but it occured to me that with all my paranoia I always seed my QT tank either from my main tank or my friend's healthy tank. So right there I am exposing my new fish to stuff in my main tank. And then it also occured to me that if I did win a fish in this auction I will be putting my new fish in the main tank and my plan was to sterilize the QT for the auction fish, but really what would be the point as it is already cycled and the cycling medium would stay?

Anyway, the entire point of me just hijacking your thread was that I do think we need to be careful, but in many ways we are working to be more protective of our existing fish than anything else. Eventually the new fish are going to have to face the cooties from the main tank, so I don't see the harm in seeding the tank. And they will have to get used to each other's cooties and all come from the same source, so again it seems fine to QT them together. I just realized that this was a lot of unnecessary babbling.:oops:

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