AM I cycling or not?

  • #1
HI all,
So at the advice of the LFS associate (maybe stupidly) I purchased instead of TSS. I had every intention of doing TSS, but he convinced me that this was newer and better.
Anyway, I bought 2 platies and the ATM Colony. Followed directions (shook well, added Colony, then added fish) I decided that 2 platies in my 28g hex tank might not be enough to produce the necessary ammonia, so I added 2 more the next day. The test kit (strips) I bought at first didn't have the ammonia test, so I wasn't able to test for ammonia until today (day 3 after adding Colony).
I am now using the API Freshwater Test Kit.
Ammonia is 0.25, Nitrites and Nitrates are 0. Ph is pretty high- 8.0. Not sure if that is because of the stuff, or how it comes out of the tap. If it matters, I can test the tap water.
Does this mean that my fish and/or the Colony are not producing enough ammonia? Should I get the TSS and add it at this point?
  • #2
I'm sorry, I do not have experience with ATM Freshwater Colony. My only advice is be patience and read up on "ATM Freshwater Colonly" maybe you need to give it time and not test the water.

With TSS it is highly suggested that you don't test the water for at least 14 days.
  • #3
With a fish in cycle , you don't want the ammonia to jump sky high. The ammonia is the start of the cycling process.
I have never heard of that product before. The directions on how to use it would be a good indicator of if it has a shot at working. If you only need to dose it once or twice, it might be worth a try, however if it suggests you add the product with each water change, then I wouldn't bother with it.

If there are fish in a tank, it starts to cycle, whether or not it finishes and the fish survive is up to you.
  • #4
I have a bottle of the Colony here and haven't used it yet. Someone gave it to me but I am nervous because there's so little instruction on it compared to the TSS. Perhaps try emailing or calling the company and ask them what you should be seeing? Tetra is really helpful when it comes to using the TSS, and I'd hope ATM would be too.

  • Thread Starter
  • #5
It is a "dump the whole bottle in" for an "instant cycle" like TSS. Apparently, it is fairly new. Good to know that TSS says not to test water for 14 days. Does that mean that I should test but not worry?
Should 4 platies be enough fish to produce the necessary ammonia levels?
How high is too high for the ammonia levels with a fish in cycle?
I was intending to do a "pure ammonia" fishless cycle, but after looking at 2 grocery stores and 1 hardware store, I couldn't find ammonia without surfactant.
  • #6
With the cycle product in there , since there aren't clear directions, I would test but not worry. My statement about the ammonia was ment to say not to expect it to jump sky high right away, and that you are cycling. Give the product a couple weeks then if it doesn't seem to be working I would start to reconcider the options.

4 platies is plenty.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Got a really quick reply from ATM:
"Colony is a cultured nitrifying bacteria. It speeds up the cycling process by adding all the bacteria that traditionally one would wait weeks to accumulate.
Colony can take up to about 4-5 days to get attached, comfortable and begin converting. Sometimes sooner, sometimes longer as it depends on the water parameters as noted on the bottle. Make sure you feed sparingly during this time.
If you can supply me with your pH, alkalinity, and aquarium temperature I can better assess your system."
  • #8
You should ask them if the bacteria is self-sustaining, or will it die off over time. Many bacteria additives contain bacteria that will convert ammonia into nitrites and bacteria that will convert the nitrites into nitrates, but sadly they are not self-sustaining and die off after a week or two. You are then required to add more, or your tank will be uncycled once again.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Yikes, I will definitely ask! If the answer is that it is not self-sustaining, can I get TSS and add it to make it "all better"?
Or will my little platies have to suffer through a stressful cycle?
Today's numbers: ammonia: less than 0.25, nitrites: 0.25 and nitrates: 0

My ph is very high between 7.6-8.0. Should I get ph down? (and it is just as high coming from the tap.)
  • #10
So long as you acclimate your fish slowly to your tank, your ph is fine. Having a stable ph is more important than hitting a perfect number. My ph is betwen 7.8 and 8.0, and I keep several fish that supposedly need soft acidic water.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Wow, super speedy, late night replies from ATM!
"The bacteria in Colony are self sustaining. They will keep dividing to a number that will support your system. Yes, the bacteria has established the permanent bacteria colony. As long as ammonia is present in the system they will be supported ongoing."

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
Top Bottom