So, my 15 gallon set up came with a big bottle of Nutrafin Cycle, Nutrafin food (a can not packet :shock:), and Nutrafin water dechlorinater.
According to the bottle, it's live beneficial bacteria that you dose over a period of like 3 days to start it.
Before I use it, I wanted to know if anyone can tell me their experience with it. Does it really help?
And I know this is not for an instant cycle, regardless of what the bottle claims. I plan on seeding the tank with filter media and gravel from another tank and also planting it 50+%. (The planting is about 2 weeks away, but will be seeding it tomorrow as right now the sand I just washed (took FOREVER) is settling. Then I will finish the set up in about 24 hours, as I want to make sure the sand is clean enough and settles otherwise I will be doing a water change and waiting again before adding any chemicals (water dechlorinater, bacteria boosters) and adding the filter, heater, decor, and seeding of other tank material.
I have always used API Stress Zyme as a bacterial booster, with some good results (just a quicker cycle). Would it be safe to use the Nutrafin Cycle AND the API Stress Zyme together at the same time?
As far as what method I will be doing the cycle, I think I am going to go with fish food until I can get all the plants. I have like 6 plants I could put in there now, (also leaves the other 2 tanks live plant-less) but only one is a stem plant and I dont think that is enough plantage to have a minimal cycle even with seeding...or is it? Thoughts, opinions, advice, experience...all welcomed.
Oh, the tank is a 15 gallon. Substrate is Super Naturals Sand SunSet Gold color. Fish that will eventually go into the tank for sure is my male crowntail betta, 5 neon tetra, my female african dwarf frog, and maybe my mystery snail (or would it be wiser to add the snail with the otos to my 29 gallon, the otos are for sure going so they wont starve in a new algae-free tank, but curious if I should take the same precausion with the snail?). Also, if any of my 3 remaining guppy fry turn out to be female they will be added to this tank. And weeks down the road looking at adding cories...or was thinking about 5 black kuhli loaches. (Have a thread already regarding possible future tankmates for this tank.)
Biological Supplements: Years ago I used Cycle when it was about the only such product available. I assumed it worked, but I had so many plants it may not have mattered. I was not aware it contains live bacteria, that is new. I won't say yea or nay on this product. For the record, Tetra's SafeStart and Seachem's Stability are both 100% live bacteria that will seed the tank. But as you (Amanda) correctly point out, none of these are miraculous "instant cycle done" products, they only seed the bacteria.
If you seed the tank in any manner, i.e., from an established tank and/or using a supplement, you should introduce ammonia at the same time, via a live fish or two, snails, food. Otherwise the bacteria will die off. It is arguable how long this takes, but the majority opinion I have researched is within 24 hours. So waiting a week after "seeding" before adding fish will mean no bacteria left.
I would not mix products like Cycle and StressZyme. On the latter, I do not recommend it. The blurb from API's website reads:
Improves the development of the biological filter and helps clean a dirty aquarium. Contains over 300 million live bacteria per teaspoonful. Breaks down organic compounds that cause dangerous conditions such as ammonia and nitrite poisoning and low oxygen levels. Continuous use assures an active biological filter, cleaner aquarium, healthier fish and good water quality.I find this disturbing. Any product that interferes with the natural bacteria and biology of an aquarium is something I prefer to avoid. Its the "cleaning" bit I do not like. Breaking down organics causes more ammonia, and it is best in my view if the aquarium is allowed to develop this process naturally, as it certainly will. The biological supplements i mentioned above are quite different things to this.
I don't know what plants you have, but several in a 15g would certainly handle a Betta to get the cycle going. And probably the neons alone. Also, by moving the plants (and other items like wood, rock, etc) from an established tank you are moving bacteria. Provided you add some fish at the start when the plants and items are moved, there will in my view be no issue.
I have set up dozens of new tanks with fish the first day and never an issue. Only this past month I tore down and rebuilt 6 of my 7 tanks, using new or tap-water washed substrate and filter media in all, and by moving plants and wood from established tanks I moved in all the fish on the first day. Ammonia and nitrite were zero throughout.
In theory, bio-seeding using bacteria supplements makes perfect sense just as seeding a tank using existing materials from an established tank (e.g. gravel, filter, filter media, etc.).
As I mentioned in another thread, I saw a YouTube of a fish shop (many dozens of tanks in the background) called instant cycle. They merely squeezed a sponge filter from an established tank into a cup, added it to a tank of fresh water and added fish.
After all cycling is merely the process of developing sufficient biology to handle the ammonia and nitrites for the target bio-load. Once established, the numbers in these bio-colonies will likely rise and fall in accordance with the available resources.
The 'trick' is ensuring we get a bacteria supplement with living bacteria. Since these are not refrigerated to better ensure dormancy, I'm not sure of the shelf life of these products - nor can we tell how old they are. They truly are a "pig in the poke".
I also share Byron's concern over a bioseeding product that recommends continued use. I am not concerned so much that it contains decomposition bacteria as this is to be expected in any such culture, but as we all know, once the biology is established, there is no need for continued use of any such product.
Given a choice, using our own bio-seeding material makes the most sense and only those with no established aquarium(s) should bother with commercial bacterial supplements.
Thanks for all the advice!! It helps a lot and confirms my thought that it was probably useless.
I put the sand in the tank last night after rinsing it forever! After a few hours I started the filter and added the clearifier that came with the sand...it did nothing. So today I did a 95% water change (boy sand sucks thus far! lol)... and once I turned the filter back on it clouded up super fast. So I added a clearifier and am letting it run. I added some fish food in case I dont have to do another water change so it can already start its cycle. I am running the filter with active carbon right now to help clear the tank. I wont be adding any decor or plants until I can see much less cloudiness. Right now its just the tank, water, sand, and HOB filter with carbon in it. Nothing else.
Once the water clears in the next few days...I am going to pull all the live plants from my other two tanks...which will be 4 Cryptrocoryne Wendtii, 1 small pennywort, and I might throw in the big mondo grass from the 29 gallon. And I will be adding the decor for the current 5 gal tank (just a big bridge), and I will be taking the gravel from this tank and putting a light layer of it over all the sand. I was also thinking about adding the entire filter from the 5 gal to the 15 gal to work with the new filter and fully seed the tank, as then everything minus the tank walls and lower powered heater from the 5 will be in the 15. (The 5 gal filter is the Tetra Whisper 10i for a 10 gal...and the new tank came with the TopFin 20 HOB for a 20 gallon.)
After getting all that in the tank, will it be enough to support (safely) the betta & 5 neons, right away? And should I put the snail in the 29 gallon or will he be okay going to the 15 gal right away too? (Sticking the otos in the 29 gal so they wont starve since this is a new tank.)
And any tips on how to get the tank unclouded from the sand? Or is it just a waiting and water change game?
And any tips for later on when doing water changes on how to not cause a sand storm in the tank? (New to sand, I have always used gravel.)
Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate it!!
15 gal set up and in use now...
So this evening I ended up doing 2 more water changes on the tank. Thankfully before the last water change, I figured out what the issue was. I forgot to drain the water in the new filter that was full of the orange colored sand debris. So after I drained and cleaned the inside of the filter there was such a great improvment on visablilty I decided to go ahead and get it all set up, seeded, planted, and houseing a few animals.
I took a panty hose foot and filled it with as much gravel from the old 5 gal tank as I could squeeze into the new filter. I also drizzled the old gravel over the sand (that was planned as that was kind of the look I was going for). I used the bridge decor from the old 5 gal too. I also decided to go ahead and add the filter from the 5 gal to the 15 gal (with all the lovely bacteria completely intact, as I switched it from tank to tank in seconds).
So, I figure it was seeded well enough. I also planted in it my 4 cryptrocoryne wendtii and my little pennywort. I didnt plant the mondo grass (I know its only partially aquatic, but its still going strong since getting it like 2-3 months ago, I dont expect much more life out of it, but it may surprise me), but I didnt plant it because my mondo grass is much taller than my 15 gallon (its still in the 29 gallon tank).
So I put the 2 otos from the 5 gal into the 29 gal. I only put the betta, the frog, and the snail into the new 15 gal.
So, my questions are...
1- Is that enough seeding and live plants for the moment to hopefully keep the levels safe?
2- Is it okay to have the snail in such a new set up or should I move him to the 29 gallon like I did the otos?
As always, thank you!!!
I would say add the fish and snail. But first, a caution on that "clarifier." I would do a major water change [if you haven't already since using the clarifier], say 2/3 to 3/4 of the tank, before adding any fish. Those clarifiers work by binding together minute particles into larger particles than can then more easily be caught by filter media. Unfortunately they also bind the gills of fish. I speak from first-hand experience before I knew this.
On the sand cleaning, don't touch it. I never vacuum substrates in planted tanks, except the open areas if it is gravel. My sand tanks, I just run the water changer siphon over the top maybe an inch or so above so as not to dislodge the sand but it does pull up some stuff, just to keep it tidy as I have my dwarf cory species in the sand tanks. Of course, I have a multitude of snails as well, and especially the Malaysian Livebearers that keep the substrate well conditioned.
I don't know if my experience will help or not but here goes....
Last Sunday I completely broke down my 5 gal. betta tank and re-did the entire thing. Nothing was saved from the old tank including the filter media.
I added new gravel, a large bunch of wisteria, 2 swords and a crypt. The fish was added back the same day I set up the tank.
I couldn't find Seachem Stability so I used the Nutrafin cycle for the first three days. After the 3 days my readings were ammonia 0, nitrIte 0, nitrAte 0. At that point I added some of the mulm/floss from my 75 gallon tank to the filter and readings this morning were amm. 0, nitrIte 0, nitrAte = 10 or less.
So I'm not sure if the Nutrafin Cycle actually did anything since I had zero readings after three days. I guess it's hard to know if enough time went by to have ammonia show up on the test after 3 days with only one fish in 5 gallons of water.
Yes, a water change was done after using the clearifier as it wasnt working as I had hoped...and I didnt want to put the fish in the tank cloudy like that. Didnt know about that messing with their gills, good to know! I did two water changes between the chemicals for the sand before I added fish (totaling like 4-5 water changes ranging between 50-95%).
So far so good on the tank. I did get an ammonia reading today of 0.02ppm, but without a water change it went back to zero in like 15-20 minutes.
I am concerned about the snail. He is sticking to the tank walls, but isnt eating...not even looking for the sinking shrimp pellets he loved to attack in the old tank. I hope he eventually eats, or at least comes out of his shell far enough to look for food. He has moved around the tank, started on the floor, dont know if he didnt like the sand or what as he went for the walls and has stayed on them switching from one side of the tank to the other every few hours.
I have decided to keep the neons in the larger tank for now. And am considering setting up the 5 gallon again for the betta solo as I dont think the betta would be too happy with what I am planning on putting in the 15 gal now. I think I want to do about 6 dwarf neon rainbows and 4-5 black kuhli loaches in the 15 gal. (the black kuhli loaches were the biggest reason I did a sand substrate, that and because I was going to heavily plant it). I know my 15 gal is the minimum tank size for the dwarf neon rainbows, but if its just them as the only fish for the most part I thought it might be okay. And I dont think the betta would appreciate the fast rainbows. I havent decided on it yet. Any chance the betta and the rainbows would get along well?
Thanks for the tip regarding the water changes/gravel vac...I will be sure not to go in too deep with the gravel vac when doing water changes.
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