Dosing with Bacteria
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Dosing with Bacteria

This is a discussion on Dosing with Bacteria within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Good Afternoon I was wondering what everyone's oppinions/experiences are with the beneficial bacteria additives that are on the market. Are they safe? Do you ...

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Old 02-06-2014, 12:19 PM   #1
 
Dosing with Bacteria

Good Afternoon

I was wondering what everyone's oppinions/experiences are with the beneficial bacteria additives that are on the market. Are they safe? Do you find them effective? If yes, which are the best brands? Do they really help reduce cycling time?

Thanks ahead of time for your input.

~Christine
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #2
 
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Originally Posted by CStevens1967 View Post
Good Afternoon

I was wondering what everyone's oppinions/experiences are with the beneficial bacteria additives that are on the market. Are they safe? Do you find them effective? If yes, which are the best brands? Do they really help reduce cycling time?

Thanks ahead of time for your input.

~Christine

I do not recommend any bacterial additives on the market.

But then I don't recommend addives in general either.

I just don't feel they are effective and that I shouldn't have to pay money for bacteria that will show up for nothing anyway.

my .02
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:36 PM   #3
 
My only experience is with Nutrafin Cycle. It seemed to help with the ammonia, but it was definitely NOT effective in controlling nitrIte. I had five Zebra Danios in the tank, at the time, and they were exposed to a dangerous concentration of nitrIte for about two weeks. I lost one fish, and the remainder may very well have latent problems.

Next time, without question, I will do a fishless cycle. Others will join me in recommending the same for you. You won't need a bacteria additive, but you do need a source of ammonia... and a dose of patience.

If there are children involved in setting up your tank, it will be very tempting to try the well-promoted shortcuts. Resist. I speak from experience when I say that having to wait for fish is less dispiriting than the death of a new fish.

To be fair, there are folks in this forum who have had success with these products. Most seem to promote SafeStart from Tetra as having the right strains of bacteria for the cycle. You can use it in an attempt to accelerate your fishless cycle.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:10 PM   #4
 
Thank you both.

Actually my tank has been set up for quite some time (3 years). About 8 months ago, I started having ammonia spikes for unknown reasons. The tank is not overstocked, the filter is twice the necessary size, no one has died and gone undiscoverd and I am the only one who feeds the tank, so no over feeding.

About 8 months ago, I started having some deaths. When I tested the water I found an alarming amount of ammonia. I did nothing, waiting for the tank to recycle itself. Months went by with no change. I talked to an emplyee of petco (there are, sadley, no independent shops where I live). The suggested the Amquel (plus) I was using was binding the ammonia, therefore starving the bacteria, and not allowing the biological filter to function properly. I switched to regular Amquel, and did some small water changes to rid the tank of the bound ammonia and allow bacteria to repopulate. Though the ammonia has reduced, it is still not at zero. I was thinking dosing with bacteria to repopulate.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:26 PM   #5
 
I jumped to conclusions... sorry about the sermon.

My understanding of Amquel is that it works similar to Prime (which I use) in that it binds the ammonia and nitrite (making it more difficult for the fish to absorb) but does not eliminate them. The bacteria will still consume those compounds.

Are you measuring total ammonia (NH3 and NH4) or just free ammonia (NH3)? And have you seen any change in the pH of the water you are using for water changes? A higher pH would release more NH3... which is more toxic to fish than NH4.

Another thought... Is your tank planted? And have you made any changes to the plants that would reduce the amount of ammonia they are consuming?
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:27 PM   #6
 
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Tetra SafeStart worked for me just fine.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:01 PM   #7
 
I have a basic API master kit, so I'm not sure if it tests for NH3 or 4 to be honest. Very low nitrates.

The ph of the water I'm using for water changes is neural. The ph in my tank is fairly high. I had some Malaysian drift wood in there, which I removed in order to bring the ph down. My tank does have some plants. Some amazon swords and java moss, nothing new. I tested the ammonia today and it's still hovering between .25 & .50. :-/
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
 
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I have a basic API master kit, so I'm not sure if it tests for NH3 or 4 to be honest.[/i][/size]
The API kit tests for total ammonia: NH3 + NH4.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:32 AM   #9
 
Ok. So then total ammonia is between .25-.50. Closer to .25
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:46 AM   #10
 
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The ph of the water I'm using for water changes is neural. The ph in my tank is fairly high. I had some Malaysian drift wood in there, which I removed in order to bring the ph down.
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Fluctuations in pH can manifest different levels of ammonia, and can also stress the fish.

Did you observe a change in pH when you removed the driftwood? If so, can you describe what happened? Did the fish loss occur afterward?

What is the difference in the pH of your replacement water (which you say is neutral) and the pH in the tank? If that difference is great, I wonder whether a large gradient is created during a water change that becomes problematic. I'm speculating on this one... someone with more expertise should weigh-in.
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