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Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

This is a discussion on Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help! within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi everyone! :) I'm a newbie at all of this, so forgive me if this question is a little dumb! ...

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Old 20th February 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

Hi everyone! :)
I'm a newbie at all of this, so forgive me if this question is a little dumb! I'm cycling my 30 gallon tank (and have been for about two weeks now!) And I've read that adding a filter cartridge to my tank from an already established aquarium will speed up the cycling process.
My sister offered to give me her old filter from her already cycled 25 gallon tank, but her fish recently just got over a case of fin rot and ick.
My question is that would the bacteria that caused fin rot/ick in her tank transfer over to my cycling tank through me using her old filter? Or would it be safe for me to use the cartridge to help along my cycling process?
I currently don't have any axolotl in my tank as I am not live cycling! So I just really want to be sure before I use it and accidentally contaminate my new tank!
Thanks in advance! :) :)



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Old 20th February 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

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Originally Posted by SammyTheLotus View Post
Hi everyone! :)
I'm a newbie at all of this, so forgive me if this question is a little dumb! I'm cycling my 30 gallon tank (and have been for about two weeks now!) And I've read that adding a filter cartridge to my tank from an already established aquarium will speed up the cycling process.
My sister offered to give me her old filter from her already cycled 25 gallon tank, but her fish recently just got over a case of fin rot and ick.
My question is that would the bacteria that caused fin rot/ick in her tank transfer over to my cycling tank through me using her old filter? Or would it be safe for me to use the cartridge to help along my cycling process?
I currently don't have any axolotl in my tank as I am not live cycling! So I just really want to be sure before I use it and accidentally contaminate my new tank!
Thanks in advance! :) :)
Don't risk it with that cartridge. it's really not necessary to use an old cartridge, especially if you've already been cycling for 2 weeks. You can go to a pet store and pick up a bottle of beneficial aquarium bacteria for a dollar or two if you really want. do you have live plants in there? Live plants, especially moss balls, are good for extra biological filtration. If your tank grows green algae, let it stay. green plants help remove nitrates and add oxygen to the water, which your axolotl will appreciate.




Last edited by bellabelloo; 22nd February 2016 at 17:08. Reason: Capital letters added.
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Old 20th February 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

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Originally Posted by axolodemia View Post
don't risk it with that cartridge. it's really not necessary to use an old cartridge, especially if you've already been cycling for 2 weeks. you can go to a pet store and pick up a bottle of beneficial aquarium bacteria for a dollar or two if you really want. do you have live plants in there? live plants, especially moss balls, are good for extra biological filtration. if your tank grows green algae, let it stay. green plants help remove nitrates and add oxygen to the water, which your axolotl will appreciate.
Okay, perfect! I just wanted to be sure before I royally screwed it up and contaminated everything! I've been testing my levels with the master test kit and most of them are normal, my ammonia is a little high (0.25-0.50) but everything else seems fine! I've used the Nutrafin Cycle bottled bacteria to get my cycle going and it seems to be working! :)



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Old 20th February 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Okay, perfect! I just wanted to be sure before I royally screwed it up and contaminated everything! I've been testing my levels with the master test kit and most of them are normal, my ammonia is a little high (0.25-0.50) but everything else seems fine! I've used the Nutrafin Cycle bottled bacteria to get my cycle going and it seems to be working! :)
Sounds good, just make sure there's no ammonia in the tank at all before you add an axolotl. good luck!




Last edited by bellabelloo; 22nd February 2016 at 17:09. Reason: Capital letters added.
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Old 20th February 2016   #5 (permalink)
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sounds good, just make sure there's no ammonia in the tank at all before you add an axolotl. good luck!
Thank you! :) My levels are a little high right now like I said, but I've been doing weekly 25% water changes in hopes that eventually the ammonia will go down to 0. Any tips on reducing my ammonia besides the water changes? :)



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Old 20th February 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

Use an aquarium water conditioner on the new water before adding it to the tank. They usually contain ammonia neutralisers as well as chlorine neutralisers. Add plants, and if it gets to be 3-4 weeks and you still have ammonia, try adding some more beneficial bacteria. also don't forget to add some aquarium salt before adding axolotls. The salinity reduces the risk for bacterial infections and doesn't affect the axolotl.




Last edited by bellabelloo; 22nd February 2016 at 17:10. Reason: Capital letters
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Old 20th February 2016   #7 (permalink)
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use an aquarium water conditioner on the new water before adding it to the tank. they usually contain ammonia neutralizers as well as chlorine neutralizers. add plants, and if it gets to be 3-4 weeks and you still have ammonia, try adding some more beneficial bacteria. also don't forget to add some aquarium salt before adding axolotls. the salinity reduces the risk for bacterial infections and doesn't affect the axolotl.
I have an aquarium water conditioner, "Nutrafin Aqua Plus Tap Water Conditioner"! It seems to be doing the job right.. Should I add this to the new water right before I add it to the tank, or do I need to leave it to sit for a few minutes first?
I had no idea about the aquarium salt, how much do you think I should add? :) Does it need to be dissolved in water before I add it or can I throw the granules right in?
Sorry for all the questions, haha!



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Old 20th February 2016   #8 (permalink)
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I have an aquarium water conditioner, "Nutrafin Aqua Plus Tap Water Conditioner"! It seems to be doing the job right.. Should I add this to the new water right before I add it to the tank, or do I need to leave it to sit for a few minutes first?
I had no idea about the aquarium salt, how much do you think I should add? :) Does it need to be dissolved in water before I add it or can I throw the granules right in?
Sorry for all the questions, haha!
No, it's good to ask questions. don't be sorry!

That water conditioner should be fine. Add it to the new water before adding it to the tank. No need to let it sit, just shake up the jug (or stir the bucket, whichever you're using) after you add the conditioner. It's also a good idea to let the salt dissolve before adding it to the aquarium, but it takes forever to dissolve, and there's really no harm in adding it directly to the tank. I add it to the tank even while my axies are in the tank and I've never had a problem with them ingesting it because I don't feed at the same time. just follow the directions on the package in regards to how much to add. be sure to test your water hardness and pH before adding more. Dissolved salts will increase pH (in this case making it more alkaline) and hardness, and axolotls prefer a neutral to slightly basic (alkaline) pH, around 7.2 to 7.6, and they like water on the harder side.




Last edited by bellabelloo; 22nd February 2016 at 17:12. Reason: Capital letters
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Old 20th February 2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

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no, it's good to ask questions. don't be sorry!

that water conditioner should be fine. add it to the new water before adding it to the tank. no need to let it sit, just shake up the jug (or stir the bucket, whichever you're using) after you add the conditioner. it's also a good idea to let the salt dissolve before adding it to the aquarium, but it takes forever to dissolve, and there's really no harm in adding it directly to the tank. i add it to the tank even while my axies are in the tank and i've never had a problem with them ingesting it because i don't feed at the same time. just follow the directions on the package in regards to how much to add. be sure to test your water hardness and pH before adding more. dissolved salts will increase pH (in this case making it more alkaline) and hardness, and axolotls prefer a neutral to slightly basic (alkaline) pH, around 7.2 to 7.6, and they like water on the harder side.
That's great.. Thank you so much for all the advice! :') It really helped me a lot. Is there any way you know of to check for water hardness?



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Old 20th February 2016   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

Yeah, no problem at all!

Most big name pet stores (Petsmart, Petco) will test your water for free if you bring them a sample. They should give you a sheet which explains what all the numbers mean too.If they don't, ask them about anything you're not sure of. You can also get a test kit from most pet stores, but the good ones are $25+, so if you're on a budget I'd recommend just taking them a sample.




Last edited by bellabelloo; 22nd February 2016 at 17:13. Reason: Capital letters
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Old 20th February 2016   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

Forgot to mention, axolotl.org is an invaluable resource for learning all about axolotls. While you're waiting for your tank to cycle in anticipation of your new feathery-gilled friend, read up and get excited!




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Old 20th February 2016   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

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yeah, no problem at all!

most big name pet stores (petsmart, petco) will test your water for free if you bring them a sample. they should give you a sheet which explains what all the numbers mean too. if they don't, ask them about anything you're not sure of. you can also get a test kit from most pet stores, but the good ones are $25+, so if you're on a budget i'd recommend just taking them a sample.
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Originally Posted by axolodemia View Post
forgot to mention, axolotl.org is an invaluable resource for learning all about axolotls. while you're waiting for your tank to cycle in anticipation of your new feathery-gilled friend, read up and get excited!
That's awesome, I had no idea they would do that for you! I do have API's "Master Test Kit" but I know that doesn't test for water hardness. Perhaps next time I'm at Petsmart or another store in my city I'll see if they can check it for me! :)
Ooh, that's perfect! I'll definitely be doing some reading on that website! I'm already so excited to meet my little lotl!



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Old 22nd February 2016   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

The 6-in-1 test strips test for water hardness. I use them every couple of days and use the API liquid test kits every once in a while and when I suspect (from the test strips) that I have a problem.



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Old 22nd February 2016   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

I only use the API freshwater master test kit, its well recommended. test strips can give inaccurate results. Pet stores usually give bad or conflicting advice. There have been too many stories about their poor advice and the negative outcomes.

I have never used aquarium salts since I have hard water, test your water and find out, if you need to harden your water use this as a reference: Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity

The bottled 'bacteria' that has been suggested is not worth it, its been shown to be ineffective or gives strange outcomes to test results when cycling, better to cycle your tank naturally.

You don't necessarily want to be lowering your Ammonia. Depending on how high it is you ideally want to let the beneficial bacteria that is growing in your tank to feed on the Ammonia to filter it into Nitrites, then another beneficial bacteria will develop to feed on the Nitrites to turn them into NitrAtes.

What are the exact test results for your Ammonia, Nitrite, and NitrAte?

For information on cycling:

Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling
Caudata Culture Articles - Water Quality

Valuable articles:

Caudata Culture Axolotl Articles
Axolotls: The Fascinating Mexican Axolotl and the Tiger Salamander



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Old 22nd February 2016   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

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Originally Posted by AxolotlChris View Post
I only use the API freshwater master test kit, its well recommended. test strips can give inaccurate results. Pet stores usually give bad or conflicting advice. There have been too many stories about their poor advice and the negative outcomes.

I have never used aquarium salts since I have hard water, test your water and find out, if you need to harden your water use this as a reference: Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity

The bottled 'bacteria' that has been suggested is not worth it, its been shown to be ineffective or gives strange outcomes to test results when cycling, better to cycle your tank naturally.

You don't necessarily want to be lowering your Ammonia. Depending on how high it is you ideally want to let the beneficial bacteria that is growing in your tank to feed on the Ammonia to filter it into Nitrites, then another beneficial bacteria will develop to feed on the Nitrites to turn them into NitrAtes.

What are the exact test results for your Ammonia, Nitrite, and NitrAte?

For information on cycling:

Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling
Caudata Culture Articles - Water Quality

Valuable articles:

Caudata Culture Axolotl Articles
Axolotls: The Fascinating Mexican Axolotl and the Tiger Salamander
Thanks so much for all the tips! :) I read about the inaccuracy of the strip testing before I bought my aquarium so I've only ever used the API Master Test kit!
Just a (potentially dumb) question though, you said I should "let my tank cycle naturally", how would I go about doing that without adding any bacteria? I read before that the bottles of cycle have mixed reviews, I've seen some people swear by them and others say they're garbage!
As of last night, my parameters are this:
Low PH - 7.6
High PH - 7.8
Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5.0



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Old 22nd February 2016   #16 (permalink)
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The 6-in-1 test strips test for water hardness. I use them every couple of days and use the API liquid test kits every once in a while and when I suspect (from the test strips) that I have a problem.
Oh, I didn't know you could get strips that test for water hardness! I'll have to see if my pet store carries them! I love the API kit, it's super easy to use and accurate as far as I can tell!



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Old 22nd February 2016   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

Cycling naturally means not trying to add bacteria stored in a bottle. Meaning allowing the beneficial bacteria to naturally occur on its own by providing Ammonia for it to feed on.

I take it you are doing a cycle with no fish in the tank?



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Old 22nd February 2016   #18 (permalink)
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Cycling naturally means not trying to add bacteria stored in a bottle. Meaning allowing the beneficial bacteria to naturally occur on its own by providing Ammonia for it to feed on.

I take it you are doing a cycle with no fish in the tank?
Ah, that's what I thought you meant but I wasn't sure! Yeah, I'm doing a fish-less (or, amphibian-less I guess!) cycle!
I wasn't sure what to use as a source of ammonia, and I read on another thread that using flakes of fish food will help your cycle along, since the flakes will decompose and give the growing bacteria a food source, therefore enabling the cycle! Does that make sense or am I way off the mark?




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Default Re: Old filter cartridge for cycling - Please help!

I don't use the test strips for exact numbers. haha. I just use them to get a rough estimate. If something is off (for example, my one tank has had some nitrite lately), it clearly shows up on the test strip and then I might use the liquid kit to get a more precise reading. Plus, like we've already said, the liquid test kits don't tell you anything about hardness (or chlorine, although that's the easiest thing to get rid of and it isn't going to just show up randomly).



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Old 23rd February 2016   #20 (permalink)
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I don't use the test strips for exact numbers. haha. I just use them to get a rough estimate. If something is off (for example, my one tank has had some nitrite lately), it clearly shows up on the test strip and then I might use the liquid kit to get a more precise reading. Plus, like we've already said, the liquid test kits don't tell you anything about hardness (or chlorine, although that's the easiest thing to get rid of and it isn't going to just show up randomly).
Okay, that makes sense! :) All good things to keep in mind!



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