Seeding a new aquarium has become a popular practice. So what does seeding involve? It's the process of transferring nitrifying bacteria from an established aquarium to a new aquarium. Seeding gives the new aquarium a jump start on the cycling process. It is not unusual for seeded aquariums to fully cycle in half the time it would normally take, thus allowing for stocking the tank sooner.
Reduces stress to fish
Reduces or eliminates fish loss due to startup cycle
Reduces total cycle time
Reduces the time it takes to fully stock the tank
Where Bacteria Live
Seeding a new aquarium requires a means for transferring the nitrifying bacteria from an established aquarium, so it's important to know where the bacteria live.
Filter media (ceramic rings, filter floss, sponge)
Rocks, artificial plants, other porous surfaces
Not in the water
Contrary to some reports, significant amounts of nitrifying bacteria are not present in the water itself. Therefore, transferring water from an established tank won't do much good. The lion's share of nitrifying bacteria resides in the substrate and filter media. Getting your hands on some is why more people don't seed their new aquarium.
Procuring Seeding Material
If you have at least one aquarium running already, seeding material is easy to get a hold of. If you don't have another established tank, there are still options.
LFS – Fish shops may accommodate a customer's request for seeding material
Fish Clubs – Any fish club worth its salt will assist a new fish owner by providing seeding material
Friends – If a friend has an established tank, ask them for some
Transporting Seeding Material
Always set up the new aquarium and allow it to run for a day to stabilize the temperature and water chemistry. Once that is done, get your seeding material and use it within the hour.
When transporting seeding material, be sure to keep it covered with a small amount of water from the tank it was originally in. Don't allow it to be subjected to significant temperature changes, and move it as quickly as possible.
Allowing seeding material to sit for more than an hour can result in the death of the nitrifying bacteria. In the event, something happens and your seeding material sits for several hours or is subjected to extreme hot or cold, discard it and get fresh seeding material.