Different products/ methods to cycle

Discussion in 'Water Conditioners and Supplements' started by cwb141, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    I used Microbe-Lift "Special Blend" to help cycle my tank and to maintain it for a couple months afterwords.

    I've had problems with ich disease, pH levels, overstocking and tannic acid, but my ammonia and nitrite/nitrate levels have always been 0,0,10-20. It took 3 weeks for me to cycle a 29gallon tank and didn't add Microbe-Lift until the 2nd week. After that I think the already established bacteria started to flourish and my tank finished cycling soon after.

    Here's a link:  

    I was able to find it at one of my LFS.

    Almost forgot, I try to use as few chemicals as possible and this product is supposedly chemical free.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  2. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    with respect to you , this product does NOT cycle a tank and does NOT have the bacteria needed to do so....it helps maintain plants and is more of a conditioning agent...it does nothing for the cycle process but will aide after the fact.....this line here says it all as far as the cycle "It also biologically maintains established aquariums and breaks down residue on gravel, plants and rocks" which means the tank must be established for this to aide in keeping waste down...dont be misled that it will cycle a tank though ;)

  3. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    Shawnie, my tank was already through the first part of its cycle so I didn't buy the other additive. The person who helped me out at the LFS explained it to me like so... There are two products you use. One has bacteria that breaks down waste and nitrates while the other ammonia and nitrites. My ammonia and nitrite levels were starting to drop after 2 weeks so she recommended to only use the "Special Blend".

    Bailey, I'm not sure what the other product was called but if your tank is already cycling I don't think you need it. You don't really need this product either, but you said you had goldfish and cloudy water and from experience this deals with waste and water clarity really well. I agree with the other members in that you should use an API Master Test Kit.

  4. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    with respect to you again, remember MOST fish stores are there to make money off you not offer advice to benefit you or your fish..they are out to make the almighty dollar....there is not 2 products that do as she explained...but there are tons that make you think so and even state it on their bottles...but there is one proven bottle that will do it all..tetra safe start....the product you have given a link for, is not one that will do anything but condition the water and its more on the lines of tetras nitraban   ...

    im even wondering if you using this product, can give you a false reading on your api test kit?
  5. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    Shawnie, I am confident that my LFS is not out there just to make money. You have to bring in a water sample before you can buy fish and they don't hawk products at you. Actually, they've stopped me from buying products that were unnecessary.

    I'm stating, from personal experience mind you, that this product worked for me. I found the 2nd part of the duo,

    Microbe-Lift: Nite-Out II
    "Select strains of nitrosomonas, nitrobacter, and nitrospira eliminate ammonia and nitrite."

    and here's safestart,

    Tetra Safestart
    "The patented mix of Nitrosomonas, Nitrosospira and Nitrospira is proven to work."

    to me it looks like these products are pretty much the same.

    Bailey, here's a link that shows how the different bacteria (in both products, I'm not saying one is better than the other) breaks down waste into ammonia into nitrites into nitrates. You really don't need to use any products to cycle your tank, but if you are trying to get some fish for x-mas then you might want to speed up the cycle. Have you considered buying real plants at all? They also help in removing excess N from your tank.
  6. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    im glad you have a trusted fish store!!!!! thats very rare in this hobby :( sad but true

    your "special blend" is like nitraban and your second product, "nite out" is like the product hagen makes which is called cycle....you must add over and over to get it to work.. which is why you are getting a 0-0-10-20 reading if you are still using it...its a false reading ...but again, thats just my experience with the product cycle and tetra safestart....

    but either way, im glad things worked for you .....
  7. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Hi, CWB141.

    I'm glad that the Special Blend worked well for you. We've also had a member who was able to successfully cycle using stability, which also isn't an aquatic bacteria source. If you get lucky and it works out for you, I think that is awesome.

    I don't want to speak for Shawnie, but I think that she's just trying to save people money on products they don't need or when there is a product out there that will do the job better.

    CWB141, even you said you added your product for 2 months. TSS will do the same job with one administration of it (when used properly), so that you don't have to keep buying it, even for 2 months. In addition to that TSS has a proven track record and is intended for the purpose of cycling.

    My other thought is this: if it takes adding the product for 2 months, how do you know that the product cycled the tank? A tank going through a fish-in cycle will usually cycle within 2 months anyway, so how do you know if it was just nature or the product that did the job? I'm not knocking your product, since I've never heard of it before. Just curious.

    Bailey, don't let this debate scare you off of this forum, ;)
  8. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    Hi Mommybaby, I had my tank running for a couple weeks before adding sb. It cost around $6 so it's not like it was expensive. I'm not sure what size the bottle was but it was less the 8oz. I used around 1/4 of the bottle in the first week after dosing twice. When I tested my water a couple days later it came back with 0 ammonia and nitrites where a week earlier they were fairly high, but dropping slightly.

    After that I wasn't planning on using it anymore but I also didn't want it to go to waste so I just added around a teaspoon whenever I did a water change. It's not like you have to add the product continually. I just wasn't able to water changes every week so I thought I might as well add it.

    I'm not sure if my LFS was out of stock or Safestart or just doesn't carry it (I'm sure the larger one does), the staff member just recommended it for me for reasons listed before.

    If I happen onto some unforeseen cash I'll try an experiment with SafeStart and Microbe-lift in 10 gallon tanks. The look to cost the same overall and it will be interesting to pit them against each other. I'm all for buying established products, but if they offer the same things I'm not going to worry too much.

    Bailey, once again, there really isn't a need for a time reducing cycle product unless you want fish asap. I would still recommend not adding fish right away though until you're sure the tank has completed the cycle.
  9. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Pretty much the same and being the same are two different things.
    I'm glad this product worked for you.
    However, many members on the forum have had luck using tetra SafeStart which is why we feel confident recommending this product.

    Although quite and interesting discussion about the different products lets not confuse Bailey. Cycling is confusing enough as it is.

    We can always start a new thread to debate cycling products.
  10. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    Maybe that would be best.

    GL Bailey!!!
  11. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    I have moved out the discussion on different products/methods as i dont want to confuse bailey :)
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  12. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Great idea Shawnie, thanks!
  13. dave.brandon7New MemberMember

    I just want to bring this thread back into the light. this special blend is suposed to be ace!!
    I no people who swear by it, they have cycled a tank in less than 2 weeks and I also know someone who used it for a week and brought there nitrates down from 40 to 0ppm in a week. I've seen a reef tank that was so covered in red algae that his corals were dying due o a problem in nitrate and within a a month zero nitrate and no algae, all of his corals began to come back.
    there is a guy that comes in the LFS that i use and when this product was being promoted he went to china and witnessed them bring lakes and rivers back to life, they had been dead for years, anyway i've put a dose in my tank today for the first time so I'll see for myself, fingers crossed
  14. cwb141Valued MemberMember

    Hi Dave (and Brandon...?), Is this a common product in England? Which bottle did you use, Special Blend or Nite-Out II?

    This is long so grab some popcorn:;ha
    ~Thought I should get down exactly what I've done... Firstly, I've used both products in my 29 gallon.
    ~I started cycling my tank (with plants) using fish food (no fish), after 2 weeks (ammonia and nitrites falling, no nitrates yet) I added a dose of Special Blend, my tank finished cycling by 3rd week. Stocked tank over 2 weeks. Continued to use rest of bottle of Special Blend during water changes (once per month) because of long time between changes.
    ~I changed quite a bit of stuff during a week period (took pleco back, added 3 rainbow sharks 2 days later, took 2 of them back 2 days after that, changed filter media, rearranged tank.) which caused some problems in my tank, most noticeably a rise in ammonia and nitrites that remained for a few days. I bought a tiny 30mL bottle of Nite-Out II and added entire contents to tank. Ammonia and nitrites started decreasing next afternoon. Gone fully in a week.
    ~This is my experience with these products thus far and both times they have performed as advertised.
    ~I have not added either of these products in quite some time and my readings are still 0, 0, 10.


    -This product (pair) is designed for cycling tanks.
    -It has no added benefits for plants nor is it a conditioner like Prime or AquaSafe. SafeStart also claims to be a water conditioner, but it is also not like Prime or AquaSafe. Microbe-Lift and SafeStart are bacteria cultures.
    -The quote you bring up can also be found on SafeStart, "SafeStart can also be used after a water change, when adding new fish, or after medicating."
    -When you say established this is misleading. What that quote is saying is that Special Blend needs a source of waste and nitrates as food for the bacteria. Therefore, it does aide in maintaining an established aquarium that produces waste and has bacteria present that breaks down nitrites into nitrates
    -It is not necessary to continue to add it though
    -Would SafeStart work if there was not a continuous source of waste? No, that is why they recommend adding fish at the same time.

    -A false reading is impossible. This product does not have chemicals that reduce the readings, there is only bacteria.
    -In fact, the bacteria is kept in a food supply of ammonia so a reading of high ammonia is possible, but not a false positive (or negative, not sure which one works here).

    -Nitraban is different in that it is specifically for aquarium maintenance (can't be used like Microbe-Lift products to cycle).
    -Nutrafin Cycle is like Nite-Out II in that it contains Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. Seeing as Cycle states you must have ammonia and nitrites present in order to activate the bacteria I'm assuming it could be used in replacement of Nite-Out II, but it is twice as expensive.
    -Once again, false reading not possible because product does not eliminate on contact, it is removed biologically not chemically.

    -To be honest, I feel a little hurt by this comment. I don't appreciate you demeaning my experience by claiming I was lucky. I used the product in the correct manner and the results were what the products are designed for.:'(
    -The bacteria in this product is aquatic.
    -I did not have to continue adding the product, I just didn't want to waste it. As mentioned above, most products say to add them during water changes, when adding fish, or during major changes to aquarium.
    -I only bought 1 bottle which was more than enough for my needs.
    -I was doing a fishless cycle, and began adding fish gradually once tank was cycled.
    -Adding Special Blend during fish additions and water changes probably helped to keep the tank from being overloaded, though SB does not remove ammonia or nitrites (plants probably helped with that).

    -I agree that they are not the same, they aren't, but...
    -Comparing Microbe-Lift cycling pair to SafeStart is like comparing Pepsi to Coca-Cola. They taste the same and they both provide the same results (refreshing sodas).
    -Microbe-Lift pair actually cost less than SafeStart when comparing quantities for tank size.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  15. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello. :animal0068:I have moved your thread to the Aquarium Water/Water Conditioners section of the forum.
  16. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I'm sorry you felt hurt. I never even considered that you would find me saying someone was lucky to be an insult. I think a large part of fishkeeping is "there by the grace of God go I." You can do everything perfectly and still have fish die, and you can do nothing right and have your fish survive for years. There are people who also used TSS recently according to the instructions on the bottle (they really don't have enough directions on their bottles), and the TSS failed. I would consider them to have been unlucky. Just like I don't mean "lucky" to be an insult, I don't mean "unlucky" to be a compliment.
  17. dave.brandon7New MemberMember

    evryone has there own product that they like to use, some people dont have any cycling product and believe they are a waste of time and money, some are, Ive had no look with safestart and I did everything by the book and that was with 2 tanks they both cycled in around 6 weeks. however microbe lift special blend will speed up the cycling process I dont know why people say otherwise, I quote from the packet ''A new tank starter for biological cycling and boosting'' I know cycling is not its main purpose and that there are other reasons for using it ie: cloudy water, plant grown etc. and this may be why people dont use it for the cycle.

    yes you are recomended to add special blend for the remainder of the tanks life, which is different from TSS. this is because this type of bacteria will die off, whereas the bacteria that grows with natrualy cycling a tank (no products used) or TSS will not,
    Now by decreasing the amount of special blend you add each month, will allow the natural bacteria to take hold. do this over 4 months intill you dont add any special blend and bobs your uncle, no mini cycle no spikes nothing.

    I'm going to keep using it because it does help in other ways.

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