Ive never fully cycled a tank. Need help.

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by CanadianMade, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. CanadianMade

    CanadianMadeValued MemberMember

    Do i have to have a TSS+ or seachem stability to get a tank cycle started? Or can i add conditioned water to a tank turn the filter on and start adding flakes everyday untill i buy seachem stability?

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

    And its a fishless cycle

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2015
  2. happygolucky

    happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    If you want Seachem Stability, then just get a few of your most hardy fish. It is meant for fish-in cycles, and so if you REALLY want to fish-less, you are going to have to use pure ammonia and dose it often to keep feeding the bacteria. I recommend fish-in with the Stability if you are going to buy it, but remember Seachem Prime! You must dose it often because it protects fish in a cycling tank from ammonia and nitrite. It is a water conditioner as well as a neutralizer for ammonia/nitrite.
  3. OP

    CanadianMadeValued MemberMember

    my existing setup was given to me already cycled and fully functioning. i dont necessarily need to use stability i just use prime when i do water changes so i wasn't sure if i needed to stick with all seachem products. what would you suggest to use in order to do a fishless cycle?
  4. happygolucky

    happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    A product called Janitorial Ammonia from ACE Hardware(it's what everyone recommends for an ammonia source, much better than food). If you buy this, you need to dose it daily, each day dose it to 2-3 ppm, and make sure it stays at that level. Soon nitrites will show up(maybe a few days to a week after), continue dosing. Once nitrates begin to appear, try dosing it to 2-3 ppm, and then test again in 24 hours. If there is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5+ nitrate, your tank is cycled. Once this happens, do a large(upwards of 40%) water change to get rid of the many nitrates, and you can begin adding fish. :) good luck (I have never had the patience to fish-less cycle lol)
  5. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    TSS+ behaves pretty much the same.

    You add it once, at the start of the cycle, and add your fish with it.

    The fish provide the ammonia, and the TSS+ provides the bacteria.

    Over a couple of weeks, the bacteria attaches to various surfaces and establishes colonies. Because it takes a few weeks for that to happen, you need to avoid water changes for that first few weeks so you don't throw the bacteria away.

    During that time, the idea is that the bacteria, both already-attached and free-floating, will eat the ammonia from the fish, and keep the aquarium safe for them.

    But if you do water testing during that time, you will get disturbing readings. That leads to confusion.

    The speculation is that the TSS+ bottle has fish-safe ammonia and nitrite compounds in it to keep the bacteria alive in the bottle.
    Many of us further speculate that those fish safe compounds are still picked up by many of our home aquarium test kits because they are not that specific or refined in their ability to distinguish dangerous ammonia or nitrite "species" from safe ammonia or nitrite compounds.

    This is one hypothesis of how TSS+ works for "fish-in" cycling so successfully as long as people follow the directions and do NOT panic and do things to derail the process before a couple of weeks have passed.

    On the other hand, we read about failures with TSS+, but in those cases, from what I've seen, the people have done home testing, been alarmed by the readings, panicked, and done water changes, or started adding conditioners, etc.

    TSS+ is sold to be used for fish-in cycling. And it works. If you don't wreck the process by intervening too soon.

    You can also use it for fishless cycling. But you have to remember that the early readings you will get from most test kits may be incorrect because those tests will "see" both the ammonia you are adding, plus the ammonia compounds that may have come from the TSS+ bottle.

    So this complicates things!

    If I was going to use TSS+ or other bottled bacteria products for fishless cycling, I would be tempted to buy the Seachem Multitest Ammonia Test Kit, and use the "free ammonia" test procedure as well as the "total ammonia" procedure. That should allow you to see the levels of both free and combined ammonia, which might make it easier to know when to dose the tank.

    I would then just add the TSS+ and then start taking readings. If the readings show plenty of total (combined plus free) ammonia right off, then I wouldn't add any ammonia until I saw the total ammonia level drop down to, say, 1ppm. That way, we would see if the TSS+ alone gives a total ammonia reading, and if so, how long it takes for the bacteria to consume what comes in the bottle with it.

    That might be a more reliable way to use TSS+ for fishless cycling. I wonder if people might be stalling their fishless TSS+ cycles right at the start, by dosing the tank with ammonia when it will already start out with plenty from the TSS+ bottle. So they end up with too much total ammonia at the very beginning.

    I also wonder if people might not avoid some of their panic, when doing a fish-in cycle with TSS+, if they used that free ammonia test instead of our usual total ammonia tests (like what the API kit gives us).