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Cycle with active bacteria from other tanks?

Discussion in 'Filtration and Water Chemistry' started by jasmine, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. jasmine

    jasmine Egg

    Jul 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Hi AFT team.

    I've had quite a lot of experience with breeding/housing fish over the years. I
    currently have 2 outdoor ponds, a small 2ft guppie fry tank and a large frog tank with 6 natives housed.
    Looking now to get a 4×2×2 tank for my daughter's 8th birthday. She's been begging for a turtle for 2 years.
    My question is, can I cycle the new tank this month and kickstart the cycle with the pre-existing beneficial bacteria from my other various ponds/tanks in preparation for her birthday in September?
    That way l can watch all water changes/test for spikes etc before bringing home a new pal?

    She's already picked names out "shelly" haha oh the pun!
    I'm experienced with frogs, guppies (they're easy) and actively bred African cichlids for years. (They are fun.)

    I've information overloaded on all threads for care/precautions etc involved with raising new turtles.
    My next question would be do I have enough experience to warrent raising a Macleay? Only wanting one for all obvious reasons I knew prior to signing up to this forum 2 turtles is a big no no.
    If not a Macleay, which would be my best bet forward (short neck.)
    I have ample duckweek and elodea and various other plants growing plus actively breed guppies and have lots of fry in my grow out tank. The kids and I love going down to our local creek and catching the water bugs and fish with our shrimp net as well. (My son loves them in the frog tank water to watch) so we are equipped to catch live food for the enjoyment.

    Really looking for to this journey.

    Thanks so much,
  2. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
    Staff Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Hi Jasmine and :aftwelcome:

    You'll need to cycle your new tank with fish in the tank. Adding beneficial bacteria from existing established tanks or ponds via water or filter media is only half OK as without a food source to keep them alive in the newly setup tank, (ammonia & nitrite) the bacteria quickly dies off.

    I suggest setting the new tank up completely as per AFT's recommendations and cycling it from scratch with fish.

    It does seem judging by your post that you have quite some experience with fish however turtles are very different and far more involved. I never recommend Macleays as first turtles for anyone. They are extremely sensitive, demanding and very unforgiving when it comes to husbandry, especially as hatchlings and juveniles.

    Seeing as you're in QLD, some hardy, recommended beginner's short-necks would be either a Krefft's turtle - Emydura macquarii krefftii or a Saw-shelled turtle - Myuchelys latisternum. You could also opt for a Mary River turtle - Elusor macrurus (if you found anyone with hatchlings which is most unlikely) or even a Brisbane River turtle - Emydura macquarii signata.
  3. jasmine

    jasmine Egg

    Jul 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Yeah I figured that would be the case.
    I was looking into the Kreffts as a suitable option.

    I did intend to seed the filter with another and add guppies in the mean time.
    I'm extremely vigilant on water quality levels etc. I used to work in a pool shop and water testing was my 8 hour job almost. So I am very comfortable with maintaining levels and in the occurrence of an issue confident in my knowledge to fix it.

    I'm put off by the Brisbane River turtles mainly for growth and size. Ideally want something slow growing.
    I'm looking for the most natural habitat and approach.
    I've had an Australian native 6 foot tank that I aqua-scaped from start to finish wanting to create something similar that simulates nature as much as possible for our pet. (in the safest set up possible e.g. plants/driftwood)
    ideally didn't want guppies in there I may go catch some fish locally to make it look more realistic but not natives as I don't want them to be eaten in future.

    I only ever use Seachem prime in all my tanks and their line of products, I did purchase Purigen today you suggested in another post so that will be added.
    My filtration is an Ehiem 2217 canister filter. Can I run an internal as well? I'd prefer overkill than not enough even though the external is more than sufficient.

    Any aquatic plants I should avoid that aren't good for turtles?

    I have the upmost respect for you guys and all your priceless knowledge.
    Very grateful to say the least.

    Thank you.
  4. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
    Staff Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hey Jasmine, yes you can run an internal as well, in fact many of us do that to eliminate dead spots. The main thing is to have at least 7x your water volume turned over per hour, any extra is bonus.

    Most of us have found that given the high pH and salt levels of turtle tanks, the only plants that survive that turtles can eat are plants like vallisneria and elodea, and floating ones like duckweed and azolla. There's a safe plants list on the forums though if you want to give others a go, but from experience I can say my attempt with anubias only led to disappointment!
  5. Harry Desai

    Harry Desai Hatchling Turtle

    Jun 25, 2017
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    Hi there, I am currently running Fluval 406 and Fluval u4 internal filter. I noticed that flow rate and power of u4 is quite high. My turtle gets dragged away due to high water fellow from outlet. My advice is that if it is a 4 foot tank then you can add an internal filter similar to Fluval u2 along with your Eheim 2217.
    If the internal filter is on the opposite end of the canister filter intake, water flow coming from internal filter will help keep the tank clean as most of the waste will be pushed towards intake outlet of canister filter.