Excessive Nitrates With Tetra Safe Start

Should I do a water change immediately or wait 2 weeks to wait for tetra safe start plus to finish

  • Water change RIGHT NOW

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • Water change in 2 days

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Water change after 2 weeks

    Votes: 1 33.3%

  • Total voters


New Member
What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? 4 weeks
Does it have a filter? yes, Hygge sponge filter with 2 sponges and 2 areas for bio ceramic media
Does it have a heater? yes, it is supposed to stay at 78 degrees, but varies between 77.7 and 78.6
What is the water temperature? currently 78.6
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 betta fish

How often do you change the water? during fishless cycling with ammonium chloride 75% change weekly, prior to getting fish, 95% change 2 days before, 95% change 1 day before
How much of the water do you change? see above
What do you use to treat your water? used SeaChem prime. For the Tetra Safe Start plus, I used prime, and then waited 42 hours prior to adding tetra safe start plus. I have 10 gallons of prime treated water from several days ago in my buckets in case I need to do a water change.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I *thought* I did. I was down to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, varying amounts of nitrate within 12 hours of adding 0.25 grams of ammonium chloride which measured to about 2ppm.
What do you use to test the water? API Master Test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 40-80ppm not sure
pH: 7.6 on pH test (maxing out), 7.4 on high pH test

How often do you feed your fish? fed fish once! will feed again after this post.
How much do you feed your fish? 5 pellets of Northfin betta bits, also own Daphnia food and fluval bug bites but haven't fed
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Northfin betta bits
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? only fed northfin betta bits so far

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? since 3pm yesterday
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 08/23 0300pm
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? dramatic loss of coloration from purple fish with red/blue fins to white fish with blue-ish fins with red, very very high nitrates
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No. Not sure if nitrates at this level are an issue or not, I have only seen posts for water changes for high nitrites or ammonia both of which seem acceptable according to posts by tetra
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Very pale coloration, seemed lethargic out of box, water looked dirty and yellow, seemed fine an hour after
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Behavior seems fine now, has picked up some color

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

I am concerned about why my nitrate is so high after only having the fish since 3pm yesterday in this water. I did not pour the dirty bag water into the tank. I put a betta fish net over a bucket, and poured fish and water into net. I then put the net into the tank. Could this have transferred excessive ammonia into the tank that went from the netting or the dirty fish and is now accounting for my very high nitrate? I know with tetra safe start plus, you are not supposed to do water changes for 2 weeks, but if this forum recommends, I'd rather waste the money and do a water change and try the product again.

My question is, is it safe to leave the water alone and not do a water change, and if so for how long? I worked an overnight shift, so I will be sleeping and unable to reply, but I will have my husband monitoring this thread so he can wake me if needed if everyone thinks I should change the water asap.

Thank you very much!!
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Welcome to FishLore!

How long ago have you added the TSS? I'm getting the impression you have just added it. If that is the case, I would try to wait the 14 days. It ,5ppm of ammonia, your not going to end up with that many more nitrates by the time it cycles. Fish can actually tolerate higher nitrates than you would think, but what they don't tolerate very well is large nitrate swings. So after the tank is cycled, do a smaller water change (maybe 20%) wait a day do another(maybe 25%) repeat as necessary to get the nitrates down to around 10ppm. All of this is assuming you have 0ppm nitrates in your tap water.

Of course if the fish seems to be going into distress, your going to have to start doing some water changes with Prime. It will cause the TSS to fail, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.


Fishlore VIP
Hi, this might be for your husband so he doesn't have to wake you up. I've worked night shift, so get it. Could you dI'm the lighting or even turn the aquarium light off and just ambient room light until the betta gets used to it's new home?

I'm stumped why nitrates soared like that in a few hours. I suggest you test your source water, just to make sure there are no nitrates in it.

A pothos plant growing with roots in the water would help with nitrates if they become as issue.

For TSS, I usually add half the dose when I add the fish and the rest the next day if I need it (there is an ammonia reading). Also I pour the TSS on the filter media and into the tank water. Don't know if it helps any, but it makes me think it does


Fishlore VIP
Test your source water for nitrates ...
He looks healthy ..
Change water every week at least even after cycle ..
With only one fish I suspect you have trates in your source water ?
If not change 50%. Same as most do weekly regardless of readings ...
I change more and never test ?
Welcome !


Well Known
I think it depends on when you added it. I haven't used TSS for many years but if I remember correctly they said it would cause some weird water test results, which cause people to start doing things that are not needed. If your fish don't show any signs of suffering I would wait the 14 days, test your water, and then act from their.
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7


New Member
HI thank you everyone!

Regarding when I added the tetra safe start plus, I added it at 3pm when I got the fish from eBay. I used the whole bottle when I poured it in. I then float acclimated the fish for half an hour prior to adding the fish to stay within the two hour window. I tested my source water prior to trying to do the fishless cycling, and I got a result of zero. I have tested it again now for a result of zero nitrates again. I am also confused as to the result, but it's reassuring to know that that it's unlikely that nitrates will spike too much more dramatically.

I will keep testing the water twice daily to make sure no dramatic spikes, and observe betta and if all the same will change water at 2 week mark.

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