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goldylove

established filter media in new tank... how long to cycle?

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i'm planning on upgrading my goldfish to either a 3 or 4 ft tank very soon. it will have new filter & gravel. i will use some of the plastic plants from the old tank & some of the old filter media will go into the new filter. are there any rules to how long the new tank will take to cycle when adding established filter media etc. or is each tank different? will adding water from the old tank be beneficial in helping the new tank to cycle? i wanted to add my goldies to the new tank straight away if possible (matching ph & temp of course). do i need to test the water params daily & what would be the main indication of the need for a water change (ammonia??)? when all the levels are steady/good for a few days would this indicate my new tank has successfully cycled? sorry for so many questions, im sure its all been asked before

Edited by goldylove

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Congrats on the upcoming upgrade!

Cycling is different for each tank so daily water testing is your best bet. I tend to do a large water change (50% or more) whenever the ammonia or nitrites reach 0.50 or higher. As long as you're not adding any new fish when you do the upgrade and you're seeding with filter media from your established tank, it shouldn't take too long to cycle.

Because a large majority of the beneficial bacteria live on the filter media (some in the gravel) and not free floating in the water, whenever I upgrade or change tanks around I don't use old tank water. That being said, if your tank water vs your tap water are very different as far as pH, you may want to use some of your old tank water so as to avoid a large change in pH. My tap pH and tank pH are usually within 0.2 so I use all new water. You should be able to add your fish to the new tank as soon as it's set up. Again, just be sure to watch the parameters closely.

How many gallons are you hoping to upgrade to and what do you have now? Remember the general rule of thumb is 10X filtration. So for a 50 gallon tank you'd need at least 500 gallons per hour filtration.

Have fun and I look forward to pics of the new tank!! :)

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You've gotten excellent answers above. I would just like to add a couple of minor things:

1. The best way to transfer the cycle is to move your existing filter(s) with media to the new set up, to run alongside the new equipment. If you want to remove the old equipment later, let it run for at least 2 weeks before doing so. As Fantailfan said, don't forget the 10x rule. :)

2. If your old tank has gravel, and you are not transferring that over, then there is a small possibility of a cycle bump. Check your parameters often at the beginning to make sure conditions are good. If you experience a bump, that should resolve fairly quickly.

3. Fantailfan made a great point about the pH difference with the tap. Another way to not have to use old tank water is to fill up the new tank and let it sit for 24 hours. This "aging" of the water should help to equalize the pH.

Good luck, and :Congrats:

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thanks for the tips people! especially with filtration & using the old filter in the new tank combined with the new filter. i was going to use the old tank for tetras & guppies but it wont hurt to drain it out, clean it & start it up again 2 weeks later with the old filter again. currently i have a 15 gal. looking to upgrade to a 50 or 58 gal. i know the starter tank is small but like a lot of people, i came into this fairly uneducated & have since learnt better! my goldies are only small at the moment, less than 2 inches but are getting bigger, especially my fantail who has absolutely no problem competing for food with the common! i want them to have more room & perhaps get another 2 once the new tank has cycled. cant decide between a ryukin, black moor & yellow comet! decisions, decisions!! but that's a little way off yet... looking forward to a smooth transition for my babies & will put up some pics once we are up & running! :)

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Keep in mind that single tails require more room vs a fancy. The general rule of thumb for fancies is 20 gallon for the first fish then 10 gallons for each additional. I don't have any single tails but I believe it is recommended at least 20 gallons per fish.

Good luck with the cycling and please post pics once you're up and running! :)

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You should stick to 3 goldfish in a 50-58 gallon tank. Four as an absolute max. Bear in mind that with four fish, each one has less than 15 gallons. If any of your fish get large -- like that fantail will probably do -- they will outgrow that tank. Then you will be doing very large, very frequent water changes.

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