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hello people I'm new to fish keeping i have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 3 neon tetras and 2 black phantom tetras i have 30gal fluval hob filter and gravel in tank no live plants my water test was a 7.6ph 1.0ppm ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate i do a 25% water change every 2 days light vacuum just for top surface food feed once a day lightly
ammonia has gone as high as 2.0ppm i do water changes to keep it 1.0 or lower just not sure how long until the 2nd stage begins? i keep tank a 75 degrees which is as high as the heater will allow any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi Zach441:

Every cycle is different, so it's hard to predict accurately when you could expect to see nitrites. In my experience with cycling, it's been anywhere from a few days to more than three weeks before nitrites showed up. I've even had cycles in which I never saw any nitrites at all; I went from the ammonia spike to nitrates.

The water changes, while important to protect your fish during the cycle, could be slowing things down a bit. That said, you should probably keep doing them. You might also consider using an ammonia neutralizer like Seachem Prime; that too might slow things down but would also protect the fish from the existing ammonia (and the nitrite, when it finally shows up).

Have you given any thought to trying one of the beneficial bacteria products like Tetra SafeStart or Seachem Stability? Many people (myself included) have had mixed results with them, but at least some folks have found that the products help with fish-in cycling. Tetra SafeStart, in particular, seems to be building a record of some success.

At any rate, sometimes the only thing you can do is practice patience (and water changes) and let nature take its course. :)

-Yorg

hello people I'm new to fish keeping i have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 3 neon tetras and 2 black phantom tetras i have 30gal fluval hob filter and gravel in tank no live plants my water test was a 7.6ph 1.0ppm ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate i do a 25% water change every 2 days light vacuum just for top surface food feed once a day lightly
ammonia has gone as high as 2.0ppm i do water changes to keep it 1.0 or lower just not sure how long until the 2nd stage begins? i keep tank a 75 degrees which is as high as the heater will allow any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Thank you for a quick reply yes i did use tetra safe start is it okay to add it again during the cycle?
 

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I'm sure it would be fine. The product doesn't seem to have anything harmful in it, just the bacteria and whatever medium they use to sustain them. If you do add some more SafeStart, you may want to hold off on water changes for a couple of days so that the bacteria can get established on surfaces (like your media, substrate, and so on), assuming your ammonia doesn't keep rising. If it does, then you should certainly continue water changes or else add an ammonia neutralizer.

-Yorg

Thank you for a quick reply yes i did use tetra safe start is it okay to add it again during the cycle?
 

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thats alot of water changes and heavy filtration!!! It seems like your micro mannaging that small tank.... You need to take a step back in my opinion, You are just doing the filters job for it so it can't build up much benificial bacteria. There is such a thing as too much love haha
 

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I agree with Yorg's assessment -- mostly.

There's not much bacteria in the water column; changing water (to keep ammonia under control) doesn't slow the cycle noticeably.

Neither does adding Prime. Prime merely locks the ammonia in a harmless molecule which can still be oxidized by the cycling bacteria. Any ammonia not oxidized is released slowly back into the tank as this molecule breaks down over the next 24 to 48 hours. That's why Seachem recommends dosing Prime every other day. In my opinion, every day is safer. And it doesn't measurably effect the cycle.

By the way, the API ammonia test reads all ammonia in the tank, whether free or locked up by Prime.

Tetra Safestart is being used successfully more and more often. As long as it hasn't been overheated or frozen, it usually works well -- according to the many members I've contacted on the forum.

Dump in all the TSS you have. You shouldn't have to dose it again -- ever.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Ok so its reasonable to assume that a 30 gallon filter will turn a ten gallon tank over six or so times in an hour. It is also reasonable to assume that adding chemicals would have a "negitive" effect on benificial bacteria. In my opinion adding prime for any reason other than conditioning city water is unessary. If you add anything to help the cycle out add seachem stability (liquid benificial bacteria). There are a few asian companies that put out bacteria seed balls that work better but good luck reading the packaging.
 

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What negative effect are you assuming chemicals would have on the bacteria?

Many conditioners handle chlorine/chloramine effective. Prime is among few conditioners that detoxify ammonia as well. This becomes important as a safety feature when fish-in cycling.

I've received much more positive feedback on TSS than on Stability. Maybe because Stability doesn't contain autotrophic nitrifying bacteria.
 

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negitive effects = stunting growth/killing off some (can't see this but its happening)
Aerobic bacteria: breaks down the ammonia (this grows first in the heavy oxygen enviroment)
Aneorobic bacteria: simply put completes the rest of the nitrogen cycle (only grows in low to no oxygen, aka in media or under other bacteria)
So giving this logic ya not gonna get aneorobic bacteria with seachem products (or others). I would say aneorobic bacteria needs to be grown not added with chemicals (which is why people say to hang old filter media in the tank)
My point is your filter needs to grow out like the rest of your tank (time for aneorobic bacteria to establish on smooth plastic....aka a few months)
 

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The cycling bacteria (Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira) are both autotrophic, that is to say aerobic bacteria. Other bacteria are mostly heterotrophs (aerobic and fast-growing), and anaerobes except for the facultative bacteria which grow with or without oxygen. These have other functions and lifestyles in the tank, some of which are antithetical to the nitrogen cycle. Anaerobes have a hard time on surfaces, media and normal, shallow substrate.

To actually complete the nitrification cycle requires using anaerobic denitrifiers in a deep substrate (like sand) bed. This is much easier to do in wild, natural environments, but somewhat difficult to achieve in an aquarium. That's why >99% of aquarists deal with nitrate by changing water, thereby cutting off the full nitrogen cycle.

Certain chemicals can have an effect on the cycling bacteria: chlorine kills them; too much ammonia or nitrite can put them into hibernation or, rarely, kill them. None of the chemicals in Prime, nor any of the other conditioners with which I'm familiar, are in any way bad for bacteria. Some medications are.
 

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My tank is 12 or 14 gallons (packaging said 14, math tells me 12) I've gone through two bottles of the TSS unsuccessfully, but the seachem stability seems to be effective. Not sure if it's because I bought the TSS from a national chain but the seachem came from a LFS (possibly leading to more careful handling by the retailer) or if there was something else at play, but if you're going to buy the bacteria, go to the mom and pop local shop if you have the option. I've had more problems than it's worth with buying living things for an aquarium from the chains.
 

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My tank is 12 or 14 gallons (packaging said 14, math tells me 12) I've gone through two bottles of the TSS unsuccessfully, but the seachem stability seems to be effective. Not sure if it's because I bought the TSS from a national chain but the seachem came from a LFS (possibly leading to more careful handling by the retailer) or if there was something else at play, but if you're going to buy the bacteria, go to the mom and pop local shop if you have the option. I've had more problems than it's worth with buying living things for an aquarium from the chains.
If go this way make sure to seed the bacteria directly into the filter not into the water directly.
 

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TSS contains living organisms which can be killed by heat or cold. They have a long but limited shelf-life. Retail chains don't take this into account during shipping and storage.

Stability prepares a good environment for the cycling bacteria. It does not contain the actual cycling bacteria.
 

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TSS contains living organisms which can be killed by heat or cold. They have a long but limited shelf-life. Retail chains don't take this into account during shipping and storage.

Stability prepares a good environment for the cycling bacteria. It does not contain the actual cycling bacteria.
I completely agree with the first part. The chains employ retail associates, not given the specialized training to understand their products.

I do, however, think you might be thinking of another product in their line when you state that stability only prepares the enviornment. The Stability packaging itself says that the compound "...contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria..." and makes no other claims to its function aside from providing the bacteria.
 

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I completely agree with the first part. The chains employ retail associates, not given the specialized training to understand their products.
Yes, exceptions to the contrary notwithstanding, their "associates" are frequently ignorant and ill-trained. I'm talking about the logistical protocols (ordering, shipping, storage). Living bacteria are given no special consideration. They're treated just like a SpongeBob ornament. Seachem Stability can withstand this treatment because their bacteria in not "alive" in the sense that Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira, the actual cycling bacteria, are.

I do, however, think you might be thinking of another product in their line when you state that stability only prepares the enviornment. The Stability packaging itself says that the compound "...contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria..." and makes no other claims to its function aside from providing the bacteria.
If you were to dose Stability then seal the tank so that no cycling bacteria can get in, the tank will never cycle even if provided with ammonia. TSS will cycle if given ammonia, even in a sealed tank.

Not all bacteria are created equal. Manufacturers are very sloppy in their terminology. Terms like beneficial bacteria and nitrifying bacteria are thrown around casually in advertising copy. While not outright lies, these terms are misleading in that they can be applied to many bacteria that do not actually perform the nitrogen cycle.

Even though it may contain aerobic, anaerobic, facultative, beneficial, nitrifying or any other non-specified bacteria, if the product does not contain live Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira bacteria, it will not cycle the set-up.

This is the website of Dr. Timothy Hovanec, the man who developed the first bottled bacteria product.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/
 

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looks like we need to test a few products.... I have heard the bacteria stays alive longer in shipping if its suspended in gell or a "bio ball" (only able to find the "bio ball" at my local pet shop and its not in english)
 

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Dr. Tim suspends his bacteria in a proprietary liquid which extends their shelf-life to a year (he claims). Freshness can be determines by the "sell-by" date. TSS, invented by Dr Tim, also carries this date. I'm sure each of these products are useful after 6-months.

I can't remember them all, but these products contain live bacteria:
Tetra Safestart
Dr. Tim's One-and-Only
MicrobeLift NiteOut
ATM Colony
TCM Smartstart (?)
Drs. Foster &Smith product

I've gotten feedback about the first four of those as being effective in accelerating the nitrogen cycle. Most often reported were TSS and Dr Tim's.

I don't know of any live bacteria products preserved in gel. There is a small company that sells bacteria-infused sponges (sponge filters) that work well. The same cautions about heat and cold apply.

I'm not familiar with the "bio-ball." Could you provide a link?
 
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