Possibly a dumb idea
So I was thinking, the only Los around here is petco, but is it a bad idea if I were to take a cup of water up there from my tank and ask if they would do a filter squeeze in the cup, then add that water to my tank to cut down cycle time?
No no no no no!
It is absolutely not worth the risk. Petco is infamous for keeping unhealthy fish!
There is no substitute for doing the cycle yourself.... only ever use a bacterial culture seed from YOUR OWN tanks.... the reason is simple..... how do you know what they are doing with their tanks?... all of them? ....
Ill explain....quite often big chains have a linked sump filtration system....so when a tank undergoes quarantining for an ill fish... the medication they use ends up in all of the tanks..... THIS is the key reason why so many big local fish shops looks so shambolic..... they are trying to make maintenance easy but in the process making life difficult.
SO the answer is no.... because you don't know whats been happening in EVERY SINGLE ONE of their tanks.
Do the cycle yourself..... over the years i have learnt that there is no short cut in this hobby that leads to happiness and healthy fish.
With perhaps some rare exceptions, you should never add water from one tank to another. This is a best practice even with your own tanks. If/when you add new fish or plants to any tank, you potentially introduce disease organisms which could be a disaster for that tank - why risk other tanks you may have?
(an exception, for example, would be if you have an established tank with healthy stock and haven't added anything new in the last 6 months).
Nowadays relatively inexpensive bacteria in a bottle products have come of age. Products such as Tetra SafeStart, Seachem Stability, API QuickStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, Aquabella. These products will 'seed' a new tank with beneficial biology to jump start the necessary colonies.
Some have suggested that these products are snake oil and don't work. Ten years ago that may have been true and even today, bad shipping and/or bad storage can create problems. Others claim that aerobic bacteria can't survive in a sealed container, not realizing that bacteria is very resilient and achieves a stasis like dormancy when packaged.
Note: the same rule of not transferring water holds true when introducing new fish. Float the bag to equalize the temperature and/or empty the bag into a smaller container inside a larger container. Create a drip line siphon using airline tubing to acclimate the fish to your tanks water chemistry. The drip should be slow and can be simply controlled with a single knot in the tube (tightened to reduce the drip). The two containers allows the container with the fish to overflow without making a mess. Once the fish are acclimated, you net them and transfer them to your tank (minimum water exchange). Toss ALL of the water away from the containers and top off the tank if necessary with fresh, treated water.
For plants, always rinse well under a faucet before adding to a tank.
These precautions better ensure that stock is slowly acclimated to your water conditions as well as better protects your system from anything that may have come along in the transfer water.
If bacteria in a bottle product's worked well for simple majority,then there would be no need for the cycling process that many still endure, and manufacturer's could not keep the @#$%$# on their shelves.
Most of it in my view/ expierience is indeed snake oil, or at very most,,dead organic's that do indeed stimulate bacteria growth by providing food source.
I like your suggestion using a drip line siphon into two containers instead of floating the bag. Learn something new everyday.
This morning a family of deer were enjoying the last of my flowers for breakfast.
Run deer run……
Lets consider commercial aquariums and professional installers. They don't setup tanks and wait two months to add stock. They use bottled beneficial bacteria (and/or in some cases live rock and live sand).
Experts agree that aside from the potential risks of improper transport and/or storage, beneficial bacteria supplements work and dramatically reduce the cycle time.
Dr. Timothy Hovanec led the team of scientists that discovered the true species of nitrifying bacteria after decades of hobbyists and even biologists thought they were something else. Other scientists have come to the same finding, and it is now unquestioned.
As part of this work, "Dr. Tim" (as he calls himself) also perfected the "bacteria in a bottle" method. There is not one shred of scientific evidence against this. And the fact that the true bacterial supplements do work speaks for itself.
The fact that such a product may not seem to work for an individual aquarist is likely due to one or more mitigating factor. Aside from the factors AD already mentioned, there is the big issue of the individual aquarium and what it contains. We all know that even in normal cycling without these products, there is considerable variation and in some cases the cycle does in fact get stalled. These factors can also play into the equation when bacterial supplements are used.
Here's a video on this very topic in which Dr. Tim explains things.
After having used many of the previously mentioned products in this thread, I can honestly say that Dr. Tim's One and Only does work, and does provide the necessary bacteria to cycle a tank. It is so easy, that is the only way that I will cycle a tank now. I keep a bottle in stock at all times.
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