Freshwater Nitrifying Bacteria in a bottle?
Does anyone know if any of these bottle methods work? I was thinking of trying it to instantly cycle the tank.
I've heard varying opinions about this in regards to the long-term stability of the system, but as a short-term cycling aid, Safe Start did wonders for my tank (I can't say whether or not it will lead to long term results but the bacteria have definitely converted my ammonia and nitrites to nitrates and my levels have been very stable since adding the Safe Start...it took about a week to "kick in").
When I used a cycling aid that wasn't refridgerated, it didn't work. Only the refridgerated BB in Safe Start seemed to work. I feel like Safe Start should be paying me to write this : )
Safe yourself the $ for it, buy plants instead and let them do the job for ya...Long term effect this way: Nicely planted tank :-)
I put the biggest bottle I could find in my 45 gal hex after I waited forever for it to cycle (fishless). After adding, I waited another week and altho. it helped, I still needed some used filter medium from my lfs which I threw in my filter. The tank was fully cycled two days after that.
However, I don't recommend that you get used filter medium unless you know it comes from a healthy disease free tank.
I would not depend on any bottled product off the shelf. If you are in desperate need of any specific bacteria, I would oredered them Overnight from laboratory and even then it was hit and miss due to factors which contributed to their activeness such as temp, etc.
I have read Jungle's Turbo Starts are shipped overnight and must be kept refrigerated to be active, so look into it if you REALLY need to. Otherwise, I would just take some waterand media(gravel) from well established tank and add couple of fish to cycle new tank, provided you have access to such.
As mentioned in previous responses, there is differing opinion among aquarists on this issue. There is however scientific fact that can't be ignored.
First off, there are two different things: one is 100% pure bacteria, the other is a chemical substance. "Cycle" is the latter, and although I have used it (back in the 1990's) I wouldn't now because there are pure bacteria products available and they are preferable in my opinion. I like keeping chemicals out of my aquaria.
Dr. Timothy Hovanec developed the process to keep bacteria alive in a bottle. Here's a link to his website: DrTims Aquatics Homepage
Seachem market a product called "Stability" which they state is 100% pure bacteria. I have used this, although in a planted aquarium and plants, as Angel pointed out, eliminate the "cycle" problem anyway so I can't say whether or not the Stability did anything. But I am aware of other aquarists who have used it in new tanks and added a few fish the first day and had no losses. In my view, this is exactly the same as "seeding" a new tank with existing bacteria from an established aquarium. Provided there is enough bacteria added to handle the amount of ammonia and nitrite produced by the fish, it will work. I would recommend very few fish to avoid overloading the capability of the bacteria, whether seeding the tank with bacteria or using a bacterial supplement.
If you add the bacteria before there is sufficient ammonia to "feed" it, will the bacteria die off? Is it reasonable to wait a day or two after adding the fish? Or add it over a period of time?
At the same time, adding bacteria with no source of ammonia will result in the bacteria dying off, I understand within hours. I have always used Stability when I put in the first fish, together.
Also remember there is a life span to the bottled bacteria; check the manufacturer for which ever product you choose. Some is frozen, some refrigerated, one has a 6-month shelf life, etc.
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