Cycling With Bacterial Starter?

fyshfuud

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Hi, and thanks for reading. I'm getting ready to set up a new 10 gal tank. I know about the nitrogen cycle and have done a fishless cycle on other tanks in the past. I've used TSS a couple of times to jump start my cycle. I have a bunch of questions and hope that I can just lump them all together here.

Tap readings with API Master Kit are: Ph 8, amo 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0

I'm not 100% sure what I will be stocking. I'm new to this area and will be shopping around soon to see what is readily available. I want to get the cycle started in the mean time though.

My questions are:
  1. Are there major differences in the different brands of starter cultures? TSS is mentioned a lot here. Is that because that it is the best, or that it is the easiest to source and most recognized brand? Top Fin brand seems to be cheaper in my area. Will it work as well?
  2. I am dealing with hard water here. My ph is 8, I don't know the TDS but I know that calcium is high in this area. Will this affect the cycle?
  3. I've used a combination of RO and tap in the past (at a different location) to adjust the ph closer to neutral. I intend to do this again if needed. Can I do the cycle with just the high ph tap and then just adjust with a large water change before I stock the tank, or will that shock/kill my BB?
 

maggie thecat

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Safe Start is recommended because board users have had consistent results with it.

Messing around with pH generally isn't suggested unless breeding parameters or other specific scenarios require it. Most domestically raised fish are readily adaptable to hard and high pH water. Many users on the board (including me) have no issues with their tanks and have high pH and gH.
 
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fyshfuud

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Hello @maggie thecat and thanks for your answer. I'm aware that adjusting ph isn't necessarily needed or suggested. When I did it in the past, it was for the benefit of some wild cobitis at the suggestion of the importer herself. I had them at 7.6, well within the acceptable range, but when I dropped the ph slowly to 6.8 I couldn't believe the results. Not only were the wild loaches much more colored up and active as she suggested, but all of my domestics responded as well. My honey gourami and eye spot rasbora even started spawning. So, even though 7.6 was fine; 6.8 was clearly better.

That was a totally different scenario though. That was a 30 gal, and the change was done slowly over a couple of months in an aged aquarium. It's certainly not my intent to breed anything in the 10 gal, but if my fish will be more comfortable at a lower ph, I will adjust. I'm not sure how to equate ph to myself but I figure if I'm fine sitting here at 78 degrees, but am snug as a bug at 74, then why not turn on the fan? I feel the same for the fish. If I can make an adjustment that is of virtually no consequence to make them that much more snug then why not? Plus, since ammonia etc is more harmful at higher ph, that makes it a factor as well. I need all the extra wiggle room I can get in trying to keep a 10 gal balanced. They can fluctuate so quickly.

I'm rambling here...

What I mean to say is, my question isn't rather I should or should not adjust the ph. It's how it affects the BB. Obviously with fish in, the adjustment had to be made slowly, but does it have to be done slowly to not harm the BB? If I cycle at ph 8 then drop to 7 (or whatever) in 1 to 2 water changes, will that harm the BB? Will the BB cycle be any faster or slower at 8 than at 7?
 

Mick Frost

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Higher PH (within reason) increases the ease of certain chemical reactions, including both pieces of the Nitrogen Cycle. As for whether or not the BB can adapt to large PH swings, well, they do it twice a year in the wild.
 
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fyshfuud

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Sure they adapt in the wild; but say you have a population loss of 30% in the wild. With all the water volume in nature and other factors, everything bounces right back...and mother nature doesn't mind a few livestock losses. In an aquarium, if you loose a large part of your BB you can start a mini cycle or loose it entirely. That 30% can be the difference in whether or not your tank can handle the bio-load and your fish will be comfortable.
 

Ms rose

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i have zero input here as i am newish and not very well versed with ph and bb, BUT.... this is a very intelectual convo, and i am enjoying lerning from this thread.
 

Ms rose

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fyshfuud said:
@Ms rose Welcome in lol! Feel free to chime into the discussion with any related questions you have as well.
weel thank you very much kind sir lol. i will do so if i see something i need answers to as well. ph had not been a friend to me so im in this thread to beat the demon they call "ph" haha
 
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fyshfuud

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I am NOT speaking for or against adjusting ph for other people. As maggie thecat stated, it is generally not advised and can be quite complicated. I was lucky that my water buffered well and it was easily done. That is not always the case. It can be unstable and disastrous. I only did it with a lot of monitoring (daily water testing) and a lot of guidance from the owner of an lfs that I completely trusted. I am only saying that I have had success and will likely attempt it again. I will be very certain that it is stable before I add any fish.
 

Mick Frost

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fyshfuud said:
Sure they adapt in the wild; but say you have a population loss of 30% in the wild. With all the water volume in nature and other factors, everything bounces right back...and mother nature doesn't mind a few livestock losses. In an aquarium, if you loose a large part of your BB you can start a mini cycle or loose it entirely. That 30% can be the difference in whether or not your tank can handle the bio-load and your fish will be comfortable.
Mother Nature also has a couple billion gallons more than we do as a buffer.
 
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