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[APD] cycling water for water changes

I'd like to know more about how people set up their water barrel that 
they use for cycling their changing water.  Regarding those who do this.
Any and all opinions and thoughts on the subject are welcome.

Do you just filter it through media?  carbon?  add dechlorinator?  would 
throwing some floating plants on top be a good or bad idea?
(I'd put mine outside, when/if I do this)
and about how large of a pump (gph) would be preferred for 50g?  since 
there wouldn't be any fish in there..
or perhaps a better question, how small of a pump(gph) can I get away 
with?  just something to keep the surface moving and the water cycling 
from top to bottom?  or more?
and any other questions I've yet to think of.

Part of the reason I ask, is that my tap water may be coming in with 
ammonia to about 4ppm occasionally, according to a fellow local 
aquarist, I've been too lazy to verify that.  That, and the other 
advantages are causing me to think seriously on the subject.  Presently 
my water changes either come straight from the tap after going through 
an under sink carbon filter, or from the same tap but stored in gallon 
jugs for the tank at work and drinking water at work... and small tanks 
at home. So, another question then, does carbon filter out ammonia?  Or 
are those white pellets the only thing that does that? (besides plants 
of course)

-derek parr

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