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The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

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The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:24 am

Thought I'd go ahead and try this after a seemingly knowledgeable man in my LFS advised it to me.

Tank currently has 2 Java ferns (I think) and 2 moss balls. Heater at 30 degrees C and a simple spray bar filter.
20L tank, 17ml of Tetra Safestart added.

Here are the readings after approx. 1 hour from my Nutrafin kit:
pH: 7.75
Ammonia: 1.2
Nitrites: 0.1
Nitrates: 7

3 small hardy fish will be added tomorrow, as per directions (probably cloud minnows).
Any feedback?

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by KalandraJane on Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:55 am

Adding fish with the ammonia that high will kill them or give them serious burns. Anything over 0.5 is immediately dangerous, and anything over 0.25 is dangerous over long periods. However, that's the point of filter start compounds, they contains ammonia to kick off the cycling.

Be very careful, test in the morning before you buy any fish, and only add fish if the ammonia is below 0.5 as this means the bacteria are working.

Moss balls are a great idea, as they'll absorb lots of nitrates Smile

Also, 30 is good for speeding up the cycling but too hot for the minnows, the maximum temperature you should be keeping them at is 26, ideally lower, so turn the heater down before you head out to buy them.

Other than that, I think three White Cloud Minnows is a good choice, they stay small, are docile and 20l should be fine for them in my opinion.
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:06 am

Eeep! I will check the ammonia again in a couple of hours, then again in the morning before I decide to go back to the store. Don't want to really hurt those little fishies Sad
I'll turn down the temp tonight before I go to bed Smile
The minnows will be returned to the shop in a month or two when the tank is nice and stable. Hopefully I won't grow too attached to them, as I presume I wouldn't be able to fit them and the betta in 20 litres.

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by KalandraJane on Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:12 am

Yeah I had a bad experience with a betta and small fish in a 20l, sometimes they'll coexist peacefully if it's a docile fish like white cloud minnows, but my male betta killed three albino glowlight tetras as soon as I put them in Sad you just have to try things to find what works for you I suppose.

That's good that your lfs will take them back after you've used them to cycle! Sounds like you're set on doing things properly so it should be a success Smile
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:26 am

Just tested again and as I've never done this before thought I should post a piccy of my results Smile
The result, in daylight: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Also, here's how the tank's looking at the moment:
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by KalandraJane on Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:27 am

Looks good! Looks like your ammonia is coming down too, I think that looks a lot more like 0.6 than 1.2. Hoorahs! Very Happy
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Vandraco aka Bronzecat on Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:49 pm

Now watch for the NitrIte to start rising. NitrIte is every bit as bad as Ammonia:(

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm

How much can I water change and how often? I want to cause as little discomfort to the minnows as possible whilst still allowing the bacteria to grow Smile

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by KalandraJane on Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:35 pm

You need to keep testing a couple of times a day, and do a change accordingly. Eg. if you test and find your ammonia is at 0.5, a 50% water change will bring that level down to 0.25, which is OK for a few days whilst cycling and still leaves enough in the water for the bacteria to feed on and multiply.

If you're finding your levels are a little too high but nothing major, I'd say about 20-30% per day would be ok, slowly reducing that amount as the bacteria colony builds up. After a couple of weeks your levels should stabilise then drop to zero/almost zero (you will probably still have nitrate though as your plants won't absorb it all, so it needs to be got rid of by water changes) you should be able to go a good few days without a water change, and just to 20% or so each time.

Hope this helps, it's just what I learned from my personal experience of cycling tanks, other peple can probably give you some better tips. Smile
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:22 am

Now got 3 Harlequin Rasboras in there!
Temp 28 degrees C.
Just letting them settle in, then gonna do a 35% or so water change in a little while and check all my levels. Did ammonia as I was adding them, I think it's about 5.

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:19 pm

Day 2 test after a 30% water change. Think I'll do 50% tomorrow to cut the ammonia right down.
pH: 7.75
Ammonia: 0.4
NitrItes: 0
NitrAtes: 10
Quite surprised by these results!

Temperature: 28*C

Fish seem content, are playing around by the spray bar's current.
Feedback much appreciated as always!

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:08 am

Just tested again after a 50% last night, ammonia still the same so going to do another 50%

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by silverrabbit on Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:44 am

Really do watch out for nitrite. I recently lost bettas due to a med afecting my filter and by the time I realised, the fish were already sick, even though the nitrite was 0.3. Never recovered Sad I feel that nitrite it worse than ammonia tbh
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:45 am

ammonia has gone UP after doing a water change for some reason, even though the tap water has no ammonia... will do a nitrite test right now

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:54 am

Ammonia is still much higher after the water change :/ Very dangerously high, I dunno what to do!
NitrItes at 0!

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Vandraco aka Bronzecat on Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:12 pm

Sounds to me like the Safestart isn't working and you're now entering a Fish-In cycle. However, the ammonia shouldn't be higher immediately after a water change.
From your first post, it appeared you had an ammonia & nitrIte reading after adding the safestart, which leads me to believe that it contains ammonia & nitrIte?
I'm always sceptical of the products they claim fish can be added straight away. The only product I've used with good results is Seachem Stability, but you don't add the fish till the small ammonia & nitrite spikes have passed which is normally after 6-10 days.

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:27 pm

Well, I just tested the fresh water with amquel and tetra safestart added, and there was crazy amounts of ammonia in there. In the morning I'm going to test plain water just with amquel, but what if the ammonia's still in it? I can't put normal tap water in, right?

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:32 pm

I've just been reading up and found an article that basically says amquel converts the ammonia so it's not harmful, but is still there and available for the filter bacteria... Because of this, are the ammonia levels in my tank less of a problem, because the type of ammonia isn't harmful for the fish? Is it true? My nitrites are on 0, and nitrates are on 10, which would suggest that the cycle is in progress, it's just the ammonia reading throwing everything off!

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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by KalandraJane on Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:10 pm

If nitrites have dropped and nitrite is being produced that's a good sign that your tank is cycling, I have no idea about the ammonia though if it's bound or converted somehow by the amquel.

To be honest I would stop adding the safestart, it sounds like it's doing nothing but filling your tank with ammonia and stressing your fish, and now you have your rasboras they'll be producing enough ammonia on their own to slowly build the bacteria colony.
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Re: The Tetra Safestart cycle diary!

Post by Mutsu on Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:26 pm

I got home today after a 2-day trip, my mum did a 50% WC for me yesterday and fed the fish, took measurements today, and I'll let them do the talking!

Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 1
pH: 7.7

Looks to me like it's cycled! If it stays the same for the next few days, I will hopefully be getting my betta very soon

All in all, I think the tetra safestart worked, I was putting extra amquel in each time because I'd read it didn't cause any harm in small overdoses and just helped to remove extra baddies from the water, and it was massively distorting the ammonia reading. If the readings stay stable, the tank has cycled in a very short amount of time thanks to the bacteria in the safestart.

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