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Starting A 2nd Bio Filter In An Established Tank/pond


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Hi All,

Happy Spring! .....

I have added an second underwater bio filter to my large tub/pond outside and another one to my inside tank ... in preparation of starting two more smaller outside tubs ... my question is this .... is the cycling time shortened when starting a new filter in an "Established Cycled" tank/pond? I'm pretty confused, as , unlike a new pond or aquarium I could tell by the testing whether my filter was cycling or not.... how do I tell with an additional filter in an already cycled tank/pond whether it is ready to move to the other location???? this would also apply when attempting starting another inside aquarium ... so I'm sure you gals&guys have dealt with this before ... sorry if I missed it somewhere ... thanks

washingtongoldfish

tom

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Hi All,

Happy Spring! .....

I have added an second underwater bio filter to my large tub/pond outside and another one to my inside tank ... in preparation of starting two more smaller outside tubs ... my question is this .... is the cycling time shortened when starting a new filter in an "Established Cycled" tank/pond? I'm pretty confused, as , unlike a new pond or aquarium I could tell by the testing whether my filter was cycling or not.... how do I tell with an additional filter in an already cycled tank/pond whether it is ready to move to the other location???? this would also apply when attempting starting another inside aquarium ... so I'm sure you gals&guys have dealt with this before ... sorry if I missed it somewhere ... thanks

washingtongoldfish

tom

It just occured to me that .... in a "Cycled Tank" there is "no" ammonia! ... the second filter will never be "Cycled" ... what an idiot I am for even asking this question ... the only reason I added these filters was that I have read in this forum that people have recommended adding "another" filter to an existing tank ... someone please help me out on this!!!!!

Tom

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The biobugs will just spread out onto the new filter media. If you have an established body of water, it won't take long. However, the length of time to have a strong colony of bio bugs on the new filter will also depend on what media you have in the new filter you are trying to colonize.

It should start right away, but you really need to make certain it is strong enough to start up and hold in the new container.

The only way you would truly know I guess is to put it in the new containter and test the water after a period of time.

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The biobugs will just spread out onto the new filter media. If you have an established body of water, it won't take long. However, the length of time to have a strong colony of bio bugs on the new filter will also depend on what media you have in the new filter you are trying to colonize.

It should start right away, but you really need to make certain it is strong enough to start up and hold in the new container.

The only way you would truly know I guess is to put it in the new containter and test the water after a period of time.

Grace!!!!

Thankyou so much for responding! I really think I have a good set up of ceramic donuts etc .... for the colonies to get established but the timing is what I'm most interested in ... a completely new tank would take , what?, 4 to 5 weeks ... I started these new filters last week but I'm hoping it will not take that long ... any guesses on the amount of time? ... if I wait 5 weeks it will be end of May and that will set back my outside plans for the Summer ... don't worry .. I will not hold you responcible for your advice because I know , in the end, I must keep a close watch on things ... thanks again .... really!!!

washingtongoldfish

tom

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Greetings Tom!

I also should mention that it depends on the load you plan to put in the new environment. If you stock lightly, you will obviously have less load possibly disrupting the transferred media.

Okay, I am going in reverse from the way I normally do it. When I add cycled media to small quarantine tanks, I get nitrate readings within a couple of days. I have yet to get ammonia or nitrite readings when I do this. Also, I am only adding a small amount of established media. Keep in mind these are small tanks though. But the cycles have held beautifully.

So I would guess within a couple of weeks you would have a decent amount of biobugs to transfer if you are lightly stocked. If I were doing this, I would feel better at 3 weeks, but I might try at 2. Now, I say this with a warning-I have a ton of backup media, so I can work myself out of a jam.

How many fish do you plan to put in the container in the beginning and how big is it?

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Greetings Tom!

I also should mention that it depends on the load you plan to put in the new environment. If you stock lightly, you will obviously have less load possibly disrupting the transferred media.

Okay, I am going in reverse from the way I normally do it. When I add cycled media to small quarantine tanks, I get nitrate readings within a couple of days. I have yet to get ammonia or nitrite readings when I do this. Also, I am only adding a small amount of established media. Keep in mind these are small tanks though. But the cycles have held beautifully.

So I would guess within a couple of weeks you would have a decent amount of biobugs to transfer if you are lightly stocked. If I were doing this, I would feel better at 3 weeks, but I might try at 2. Now, I say this with a warning-I have a ton of backup media, so I can work myself out of a jam.

How many fish do you plan to put in the container in the beginning and how big is it?

[/quote

Grace, Thanks again for the great info .... I want to move my little white 3 inch baby from inside to my outside 40 gal crock, I will then add one other fish from my large tub to that crock....all of my outside tubs/crocks/ponds will be planted with water plants ... I'm planning on moving the filter from my inside aquarium to that crock along with some of the water from the inside aquarium ..I have another "Crock" which is 70 gals ... which I want to take 6 3-4inch fish and move them into .... the secondary filter in my large tub will be moved into that crock. Leaving 4 fish in the large tub ... after everything has settled down ... I want to move my two big fish(5-6 inchs) from my inside 55 gal tank outside to join the 4 smaller (3-4 inch) fish already there .....whew!!!!!! this is soooo complicated!!!! anyway ... things seem to be hinging on how well my secondary bio-filters are doing ... and this is a big question mark to me .....

washingtongoldfish

tom

here is a link to some pics .... http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/g376/backyard11/

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Lovely pictures! And big plans!

If you plan to move 6 fish into the 70 gallon crock, I would start slowly. Maybe move a couple and see how the cycle holds. Then slowly add more. I'd be worried that if you put that many in right away that you would have issues with the new cycle.

The other crock, if you are planning to only add 2, then you should be okay, unless the second fish is huge. Trying to move the aquarium water isn't really necessary and it won't help with cycling.

Also, if you have any other extra established media to use from another tank, you can always put that in the 70 gallon and hang it in a mesh bag.

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Lovely pictures! And big plans!

If you plan to move 6 fish into the 70 gallon crock, I would start slowly. Maybe move a couple and see how the cycle holds. Then slowly add more. I'd be worried that if you put that many in right away that you would have issues with the new cycle.

Also, if you have any other extra established media to use from another tank, you can always put that in the 70 gallon and hang it in a mesh bag.

Grace ... great info .. thanks ... I know I'm pushing things but the plants have been such a positive thing over the past 3 yrs .... I will take it slow as you advise .. thanks again ...

tom

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Lovely pictures! And big plans!

If you plan to move 6 fish into the 70 gallon crock, I would start slowly. Maybe move a couple and see how the cycle holds. Then slowly add more. I'd be worried that if you put that many in right away that you would have issues with the new cycle.

Also, if you have any other extra established media to use from another tank, you can always put that in the 70 gallon and hang it in a mesh bag.

Grace ... great info .. thanks ... I know I'm pushing things but the plants have been such a positive thing over the past 3 yrs .... I will take it slow as you advise .. thanks again ...

tom

And I edited to add the second crock while you were posting. Haha. Timing is everything. Take a look again.

I don't know that you are pushing it. You should be okay as long as you are careful and don't put too much of a load on the new biobugs.

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I certainly didn't follow those moves, LOL. But if your old and new filters are similar, I'd split the old and new medium between the old and new filters. I wouldn't be surprised if both filters were functional immediately. The number of bacteria in a cycled filter should be much more than is required to oxidize all of the ammonia currently produced. Cells keep dividing until they run out of nutrients, so the bacteria of a stable population will be "hungry" and thus able to use more nutrients even before they divide and increase in number.

If you put both filters in the current pond, could you add the fish that will be in the "new pond" (one at a time) to that pond? That would provide additional "food" to the nitrifying bacteria. Once you have the full number of fish in the pond and have good parameters, both filters should be ready.

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Oh, and how many times I , myself, haven't followed those moves. LOL

The simplest and quickest way, if you can do it , as shakaho wrote is to split the media and put it in the new filters. That's what I do with my quarantine tanks. Put a fish in and then check your readings regularly to see how they are. If you aren't getting good readings, you can put both fish and filter back.

My concern here, and why I am being overly cautious , is that I have seen people who have seeded filters who don't get the readings that I get when I seed.

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Oh, and how many times I , myself, haven't followed those moves. LOL

The simplest and quickest way, if you can do it , as shakaho wrote is to split the media and put it in the new filters. That's what I do with my quarantine tanks. Put a fish in and then check your readings regularly to see how they are. If you aren't getting good readings, you can put both fish and filter back.

My concern here, and why I am being overly cautious , is that I have seen people who have seeded filters who don't get the readings that I get when I seed.

Great info .... OK , so I will definitely split the medium in my outside similar filters and to be on the cautious side, I'll try and add the fish one at a time after checking the parameters.... thanks again for all the good info .....

Tom

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