Cycling with BIO-Spira

pamd
  • #1
I have a new six-gallon Eclipse tank and a packet of BIO-Spira. I have not yet set up the tank. Most of what I've read says to start right off the bat with fish, but I'm afraid to do that in case the BIO-Spira is dead. It was refrigerated when I bought it and I brought it straight home and put it in the fridge. But of course I have no way of knowing how it was previously handled or how old it is. (Strange Marineland doesn't provide an expiration date.)

Could I just put some ammonia along with the BIO-Spira in the conditioned water? If so, how much ammonia in a six-gallon tank? I figure I'd need three drops per dose for regular fishless cycling with ammonia, but would the use of BIO-Spira change the equation?

Would I only need to add a couple of doses of ammonia? I guess I can figure this out myself as I go along because I have an AP master test kit and understand the basic principles of cycling. But I'd like to know what to expect.

Also, it appears that it might be difficult to find pure ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) without added agents for sudsing, etc. I only had a chance to try a couple of places. If I can't find it, would it work to drop in about a third of a frozen shrimp? I read that as one fishless cycling technique here on FishLore.

Someone who hadn't actually used BIO-Spira suggested pouring it straight onto the filter media. In my case, that would be the bio-wheel. Sounds like a good idea to me. Is it?

I'm sorry if these questions have been answered. I spent at lease two hours online -- mostly here, my favorite fish place -- trying to figure this out. Thanks in advance for any advice!
 
Dino
  • #2
Add the fish and Bio spira at the same time.

Add the biospira to the tank water.
 
genxy2k
  • #3
I am also looking for more info. about bio-spira. where did u get it? can I find them at petsmart or petco?
 
john&jen
  • #4
Refrigerate Biospira and add with one or two fish. Used it like it. Got mine from That Fish Place I live locally, they carry it, so does. Expect high dollar overnight shipping because its alive.
 
Dino
  • #5
No need to just add one or two fish.
Stock the tank, reasonably, and add the biospira.
 
susitna-flower
  • #6
Be sure to use the whole packet. I cycled my 125 gallon with it and put all the fish in that I wanted. It was fine.

Just be sure to follow the directions, and test your water. You can use prime if the ammonia or nitrites go up before it levels out. This shouldn't happen though.
 
voiceless_kat
  • #7
I use it all the time, and it is a great product. I added almost all of my fish into the 55 gallon at the same time as the bio spira. I know it seems kinda scary, but I have never had a problem. Marineland has techs that will answer any questions also.
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I am also looking for more info. about bio-spira. where did u get it? can I find them at petsmart or petco?

Thank you for bumping up this thread, as I still have/had unanswered questions, but as topic starter didn't want to bump it up myself.

To answer your question, I picked up BIO-Spira at Petland (refrigerated), which has stores in about 2/3 of U.S. states plus some in Canada. Neither Petsmart nor Petco carries it in my area. It cost about $16.

However, as I was worried about, I think the BIO-Spira might have been expired or weakened. Either that or more likely I used it the wrong way. Since my tank is only six gallons, I only used about half the packet and tossed the rest. Marineland says to use the whole packet and that it's impossible to overdose, but with something strong enough for a hugely bigger tank I figured a half-dose would work for my six-gallon and didn't want to over-do it. The instructions are quite sparse.

The tank did not cycle as expected, but again, I'm trying to cycle it fishless because of suspicions about the previous handling and age of the BIO-Spira.

I found pure ammonia, BTW, at Ace Hardware. At least I think it's pure. One tip I read that makes sense is to shake the bottle and make sure there are no soap suds. That's what I've been using, along with a few freeze-dried bloodworms, to "feed" the tank. I started it around 12/28/07.

Test results (API master kit):

1/3/08 ammonia .50, nitrite 2.0, nitrate 5.0
1/5/08 ammonia 0, nitrite 2.0, nitrate 10
1/7/08 nitrite 2.0, nitrate 10
1/8/08 ammonia 0, nitrite 2.0, nitrate 40
1/10/08 ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 (oops are we back to Square One? Didn't "feed" enough? Added 3 drops of ammonia.)
1/11/08 ammonia 8.0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0
1/14/08 ammonia between .25 and .50, nitrite 0, nitrate 0
1/16/08 ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5.0, added 3 bloodworms
1/17/08 ammonia 0, nitrite .25, nitrate 0, added 3 more bloodworms

I thought I was perhaps back on the right track, looking at the 1/16/08 test results. But seeing the 1/17/08 results tonight ...

Tank looks relatively healthy and is now in the brown algae part of the cycle.

So should I start over completely, or could I pick up another packet of BIO-Spira, add it, hope it's live, and add a couple of Cory Cats almost at the same time? My intuition is that it's better now than a brand-new tank starting from scratch, but don't know.
 
voiceless_kat
  • #9
Pam, I usually buy Bio Spira in the small packs, and used the whole pack for my 10g. However, when I did my second 10g, I had used 1.5 packs for my 55, and kept the rest in the frige. I used what was left in my 10 gallon and it was fine.

I really like the product but up until the last use, still panicked when I put it in, and then was testing everyday. I just made it all into a drama for no reason. Here is a copy of an email I sent and received back from Marineland when I had one of my bettas in a 3 gallon tank. My letter is at bottom, their reply on top.

From:
Date: 8/15/2007 7:44:08 AM
To:
Subject: RE: Bio Spira


]
HI and thanks for the inquiry! I have used Bio-spira on 1 saltwater and 3 freshwater tanks myself recently, also with excellent results. We do not provide an expiry date on these. I have been told that is because since it is a live product the lifespan can be somewhat variable. Also since it is refrigerated, thus putting the bacteria in a suspended metabolic state I have been told, again it can be nearly impossible to predict an actual expiry date. That being said. I have been informed that the product should be good for at least 6 months refrigerated and about one week at room temperature. The bacteria can be destroyed by very high temps, above 90F and freezing temps, below 32F. I started a small 3 gallon Betta tank using about 1/6 or slightly less of a small pouch. That is probably slightly higher than needed but it worked out very well for me. I introduced a male and 3 females immediately with no ammonia or Nitrite spikes recorded. I hope this helps! Be sure and shake the bag before adding as the bacteria tends to settle.


Tetra Care
United Pet Group, Tetra Office
3001 Commerce St</SPAN>
Blacksburg, VA24060
1 800 526 0650
1 800 433 8914 fax



From: Val
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 1:01 AM
To: US Marineland Consumer
Subject: Bio Spira


Hello,



I have used this wonderful product only once, after attempting a fishless cycle that was still not successful after 6 weeks! This product is a godsend and I was happy to find it at a small pet shop in BemidjI ,Minnesota. This was at considerable savings to me, since otherwise I would have had to order it online and pay for overnight shipping . I used it to cycle a small 10 g tank for 2 bettas and it was wonderful not to have to worry about anything and just have the cycle completed.



I bought 2 pouches of it today, since I have to make a 4 hour round trip drive to buy it. The merchant and I were unable to find an expiry date on the package, only a Lot Number.



I have always heard that this product does have an expiry date and also if left unrefrigerated will not be any good. I transported mine in a small cooler with a piece of ice in it, so I believe that it will be okay as far as refrigeration goes.



Would you please comment on the expiry date.



Also, I will be using it next on a small 3 gallon tank, ( also for a betta) and bought the package that will treat 30 gallons. How much do you suggest I add to the 3 gallon??


Now another reply from Marineland when I was panicing at the water readings, again their reply first, my question second.



From:
Date: 9/27/2007 1:44:13 PM
To: Subject: RE: Bio spira Help - Urgent


Hello,
Ammonia does not become toxic to fish until it hits 2ppm. So you’re still pretty good. You should not have done the water change, as this removes some of the bio-spira you put in. This may be the reason for the larger spike. You really don’t have anything to worry about at this point.
Regards,
Robert Huber
United Pet Group, Aquatics Div.
Senior Consumer Relations Specialist

1-800-526-0650 ext. 6126


From: Val \
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:38 AM
To: US Marineland Consumer
Subject: Bio spira Help - Urgent

On Sept 21st I added Bio Spira to a 3 gallon Eclipse tank, filled with water that had been conditioned with NovAqua. I added 2 small guppies at that time.

On the 25th of Sept parameters were:
Ammon .5
Nitrite .25
Nitrate .5


I kind of freaked out, worrying about the spike, so did a small 8 c water change of conditioned water
Yesterday I added 2 more very small guppies ( this is a temp hold only until the end of next week)


This morning parameters were:
Ammon 1.0
Nitrite 5.0
Nitrate 10

The fish are swimming around, ate, nothing out of the ordinary. However, I am concerned that this spike , on day 7, is going to be too much. The pkg says to do part change on day 7, which is actually tomorrow, since it was late on the 21st that I added fish & bio spira.

Please advise as to what course of action I should take. The water is from a well, PH 7.6, has no chlorine.
Will these fish be able to ride this spike out?? Did I screw it up by doing that small water change??





I hope this puts your mind at ease, apologies if too much info
Val
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I hope this puts your mind at ease, apologies if too much info
Val

Not at all

Thank you!
 
susitna-flower
  • #11
You are causing yourself stress where you just to take one long breath and relax....

Do a 50% water change. STOP with the ammonia. Go get some more bio-spira, put in the whole package and some Prime just for good measure.
Then put in your fish. RIGHT AWAY, but I wouldn't use corys at first as they are a bit sensitive. Danios are tough, I don't know what you will eventually use this tank for, but most fish should be ok with the cycling with bio-spira and prime.
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I'm planning to go acquire a couple of Cory-cat friends tomorrow for my so-called cycled tank. Then add a betta, probably a girlie. I'll add some BIO-Spira before introducing them. The tank has lots of brown algae. That's not bad, is it? Exact same test results as of last night:

Ammonia = 0
Nitrate = 0
Nitrite = .25 (ooops)
 
voiceless_kat
  • #13
Pam, if I could give you one piece of advice to help you maintain your sanity...don't check the water every day. It is good for at least 7 days, there will be little bits of fluctuation, but nothing the fish can't handle.

(LOL, I say that, but I still always get nervous...but I don't check any more until 7 days has passed.)

Funny how these things get us so strung out....we are all crazy fish people.

Once again, good luck!. Val:;sman
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Thank you to all! I think you're right that I'm being a bit too micro-managing the tank. We'll see how it goes.
 
d0ggiem0mma
  • #15
I just setup a 50 gallon freshwater tank using Bio-Spira to help cycle the tank. I've looked EVERYWHERE for details on what the heck I'm doing! Here's my questions:

1) Do need to do anything else to cycle it such as adding ammonia etc?
2) When should I start adding fish? I've heard I need to add them fast or the bacteria will starve to death and I've also heard I need to wait because the cycle will take weeks.


Thanks in advance! x
 
luna
  • #16
1. Add your full planned bio-load of fish right away or the bacteria in the Bio-Spira WILL starve.
2. Waiting for weeks before adding fish is only if you're cycling the old-fashioned, slower ways.
 
voiceless_kat
  • #17
Hi! Using Bio Spira makes it so much easier. Once you add it, add the fish, as Luna said.

You don't have to add anything else. After 7 days, as per instructions, do a partial water change. Don't do as \I did and do a part change prior to that because you have seen a spike in ammonia. It is ok.

When I first used it, I went to the Marineland website for more info, and also emailed their techs.

Good luck with it, I have never lost a fish. We are lucky to be able to find it, so many cannot!

Val
 
d0ggiem0mma
  • #18
A little more specific?

OK, so I need to add the fish sooner rather than later. I setup the tank and added the bio-spira last night. Should I add fish today? Tomorrow? Next Sunday?

I looked at the marineland site and couldn't find anything about bio-spira...
 
luna
  • #19
ASAP. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to have the bacteria starve, from what I understand.
 
d0ggiem0mma
  • #20
Thanks everybody!

Thanks so much for the input! x

I'm going to pickup a small school to add to the tank this evening!
 
voiceless_kat
  • #21
Kate, I couldn't find the link to PM you, read this from Marineland. I can't get the proper link, it seems to be under construction. Read it from the bottom up 0- I know, how confusing is that.
I highlighted the guys name in red you can contact: Robert Huber

the whole message woundl't copy/paste...I had tested the water before 7 days and freaked out cuz the parameters were up...they were supposed to be - I freaked and did a water change - not supposed to do that.


You should add the fish same time as Bio Spira. If you didn't do it last night, you should do it today, or the bacteria will starve. Do as Luna advises, it is correct.

If you want to contact Marineland, use the email address in this message.

Good luck. Val




From:


Date: 9/28/2007 8:06:35 AM
To:
Subject: RE: Bio spira Help - Urgent


>Hello,
Just leave it alone. The water changes will remove bacteria while it is growing and settling. Bio-spira is too expensive to suck out and pour down the drain. J
Regards,
Robert Huber
United Pet Group, Aquatics Div.
Senior Consumer Relations Specialist

1-800-526-0650 ext. 6126


From: Val

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 3:08 PM
To: US Marineland Consumer
Subject: RE: Bio spira Help - Urgent


Thanks for your reply..........should I go ahead with a 25% water change tomorrow, or leave it for a couple of days? ( This fish thing is new to me, I appreciate the help)



Val
 

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