10 Gallon Tank Just purchased Tetra Safe Start and want to add it, but got a few questions:

disturbedme
Member
I was reading around about this product. About how once you add it to your tank, don't do any testing or water changes until after a week. And cloudy water is okay because that means good bacteria are multiplying.

But what I'm worried about: Hasn't anyone worried about adding it and then having their fishies in the high ammonia or nitrate/nitrite levels??? I know I'm going to be going crazy not knowing how high the levels are with my fish in there possibly being harmed.

Also, I know you're supposed to start the TSS WITH the fish, but my fish have already been in the tank for about a week and a couple days. The cycle though hasn't really done much by itself. Still has low level ammonia reading and no nitrate/nitrite levels showing up. Will it be okay that I use the TSS now?

Thanks for the help!
 
Amanda
Member
Yes, add the TSS. It will add the beneficial bacteria needed to start the cycle. When this bacteria is established, it will eliminate the ammonia & nitrite.
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
Have you tried it? Were you worried about the build up of ammonia and such harming the fish?

Oh, another question: I was going to start this tonight. I was going to do a water change first and add in Prime. Would that be all right to do?
 
Amanda
Member
I use it when I cycle all my tanks.
I used it in my 55 gal., and I'm going to use it in my 20 gal. soon.
I wasn't worried, the bacteria will take care of the ammonia.
 
Amanda
Member
A water change & prime should be alright with the TSS. I'm not entirely positive about the prime though.
 
AlyeskaGirl
Member
disturbedme said:
Oh, another question: I was going to start this tonight. I was going to do a water change first and add in Prime. Would that be all right to do?

Yes, as long as the water is de-clorinated before you add the new water to the tank, since you have fish.
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
I don't have an airstone or anything like that - will my tank still cycle?
 
Shawnie
Member
yes your tank will cycle without an airstone..just do the water change with prime as you said, then add the tss and leave the tank be for a week...id back off just a bit on feeding ..maybe half of what you were until after the week..no need to add more ammonia ...then test after the week and go from there tss is amazing and does what it says
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
I know I leave the tank for a week, but I'm worried about the ammonia/nitrites getting too high. LOL. Worried about it hurting my fishies.
 
Amanda
Member
That's what the TSS is for. To prevent that exact thing from happening.
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
Okay, good to know.

Is there going to be enough ammonia to feed the bactera if I only have one fish in the tank right now with one mystery snail?
 
David C
Member
I've used TSS 3 times so far to cycle a 55, 10, and 6.6... it's the greatest product for us impatient sorts. You're definitely overthinking it, just dump the stuff in and don't check the readings for the week because they'll be outta whack and drive you nuts. The fish will be fine and you'll have a fully cycled tank even with 1 fish and a snail
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
LOL Thanks, David.

Yes, I am definitely one of those 'impatient sorts'.
 
Red1313
Member
The spikes are so brief I wouldn't worry about them. With only one fish in the tank just keep an eye on paramaters when you add the other one back in.
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
Okay, it's day three of the stuff and I did what I wasn't supposed to and tested the water.

Oddly - there was like no ammonia, and from what I saw no nitrates or nitrates. Unless there was a tad bit of nitrates, but I really don't know. They looked to be all 0 to me. I don't get it! What does that mean?!
 
Shawnie
Member
means leave it alone for 4 more days
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
LMBO! I just thought it would have been making some kind of nitrite/nitrates by now.
 
Shawnie
Member
disturbedme said:
LMBO! I just thought it would have been making some kind of nitrite/nitrates by now.
back away from the tank!!!
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
I'm lol
 
  • Thread Starter
disturbedme
Member
Ooohh, new question.

I got the 50ml bottle which is for a 15 gallon. Mine is only a 10 gallon, so I didn't put the whole bottle in, but most of it. Should I just dump the rest in? The guy at the LFS where I bought it told me to. LOL.
 
Amanda
Member
I would put the entire bottle in.
I bought a 25 gal. bottle for my 20 gal. tank.
 
haedra
Member
I apologize for posting in someone else's thread... but it is for the exact same thing. So please forgive me, OP for posting my same worries in your thread!

I am a worrywort. I called Tetra and asked them specifically two things: whether it was ok to stock my tank with 4 sterba corys while adding the safe start at the same time, and whether to use the whole bottle for my 10 gallon tank. He confirmed adding the whole bottle, and as well told me specifically that the product was designed to be added to a tank that would be fully stocked. So that's what I did.

I did not read anywhere on the instructions however, to not take any water parameter tests, so of course I did that anyway... and now I worry over readings I got 36 hours after the introduction of the both the fish and the safe start. I got .25 ammonia and .25 nitrite.

I love my fish already and would never have intentionally done anything to put them in harm, which is why I called Tetra and asked first.

I will now go spank myself on the wrist for hijacking your thread with my worrywart nature.
 
Red1313
Member
No worries haedra, what tss does is basically speed cycle the tank. In a normal cycle the spikes takes days/ weeks with TSS all of it is over within 7 days. That's why you don't test b/c the readings you get will drive you insane.
You're fish will me fine.

P.S.
WELCOME TO FISHLORE!!!!
 
haedra
Member
Thank you. I didn't realize how much I would love them already.

I searched the bottle of safe start carefully and could not find anything saying not to test the water.. Tetra should put that there, so people like me don't end up with an ulcer from worry!

To help out with nitrates and such, I already added a hornwort plant too, yesterday. The thing already grew an inch, on at least one "branch" I KNOW was shorter last night... I had heard it grew fast, but my lord.

In any case, despite my need to ask about these tests, the corys seem quite happy. They were a bit shy at first, but soon came out to explore the tank quite determinedly.

Actually this leads to one more question.. should I avoid any water change then for at least a week?
 
Red1313
Member
my bottle does say that I think. But anyway no water changes for at least 7 days. After 7 days do a test. If you're cycle isn't done yet wait 3 more days then test and do a change.

Glad to hear things are going well with you're tank. Fish do have a way of growing on you especially corys.
 
krismoore888
Member
HI guys, if tss is so good at what it does, what is the point in waiting? Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question
 
bettafish2816
Member
krismoore888 said:
HI guys, if tss is so good at what it does, what is the point in waiting? Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question
you mean, why bother ever doing a fishless cycle if you can use TSS? well, although most people seem to agree that there isn't any harm to the fish (and I agree with that as well), personally if I have the time and the patience i'd rather do a fishless cycle with ammonia. it's possible for products to not do exactly what they say that they do. from my understanding, TSS claims to make the spikes in ammonia and nitrite so short that they don't affect the fish very much, and to severely lessen the "toxic" amount in the tank. however, there is really no way for most of us to be able to prove or disprove that. if I can, I prefer fishless, but I do have a bottle of TSS as backup in case anything happens.
 
haedra
Member
I definitely see what you're saying here...

There is always a chance of a product being defective, or mishandled and thus ineffective, no matter what type of product it is. There is always a chance that will be taken by using safe start, no matter how good it is... because you never quite know if somebody screwed up in manufacturing, or if it was left in 90 degree heat in a shipment truck, etc.
 
krismoore888
Member
ah ok thanks
 
haedra
Member
Just to update...

I set up my tank on 1/31/09. 36 hours after it's been running (no fish at all in it) I ended up with a bacterial bloom. Of course I was annoyed because I did not know you could end up with that, even with no fish in there. But upon further research, I found that this was normal, and would clear itself up when the biological filtration established.

So now, 2.5 days after adding safe start and my four sterbaI corys, my cloudy water is starting to clear. While not COMPLETELY clear, it is very significantly better than it was. Hooray! And the corys seem settled and happy, albeit a bit shy only if we rush over to the tank like a bull. The rest of the time they seem to explore and spend quite a bit of time right out in the open, even though I have a lot of hiding space in my opinion.

One reason I went with corys, was that after tons and tons of reading, I had decided I might have the best chance of being able to house a betta with them. Now, I very much realize that bettas have very diverse personalities, and some just don't get along with any tank mates at all. I am prepared to separately house him if he is one of those types. I love both bettas and now am completely in love with the corys.

My last question I think, concerns those of you who do have experience with the safe start.

I added the safe start with the corys on 2/6/09. The betta I had planned on putting in there will not be here until tomorrow, probably. Would it be better to have temporary housing for him, at least until the first week is up while the bacteria are establishing, or would putting him in there 4 days after the safe start addition not add so much to the bioload that the balance won't be disturbed? I have a rather large container I could keep him in need be for a few days until that week is up.. but if I do not have to do that I'd rather not. What are your opinions?
 
krismoore888
Member
I suggest testing your water first, and to quarantine first, but if you don't have a quarantine tank obviously you can't. so check your readings and if all is good go for it, if not, ask the shop to hold him/her for you just until your comforatble your water is ready
 
krismoore888
Member
API master kit IMO is the best to use for water tests
 
Red1313
Member
The ideal recommendation would be to QT any and all fish before putting them into a new tank. I would say that this will be especially true if you're getting a cup Betta. When you bring them home their immune systems will likely be so stressed that it will tank a few days to get it up to par. During this time they could be harboring a new infection or could be vulnerable to bacteria ect. in the current tank that the cory's are healthy enough to fend off.

In regards to the TSS I don't think that adding extra ammonia this early would be a problem. More of the dormant bacteria would simply activate.

My advice is to temporarily house him for at least 2 weeks till he gets back into his full glory. During this time he will need a filter and a heater. If you have a air pump then with a t-valve, an air stone and an extra piece of filter sponge you can make a great little filter for almost nothing. Since you don't have a currently cycled tank that you'll have to do daily water changes till his QT is over. There's a link on the site for a really fast and cheap QT tank if you don't want to buy a little tank to QT him in. I'll find it and add it to this post for you.

Here it is: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/quick-and-dirty-quarantine-setup.34328/
 
haedra
Member
Thanks much for the info.

This particular betta I am adopting from a breeder, who is no longer going to be breeding half moons.. and thus needs the space for the other ones she will be breeding. To my knowledge, he has been housed alone the entire time she has had him.

I will definitely keep all this in mind. You might think we're nuts.. but we actually keep our home temperature close to 80 degrees! lol I'm sure I could work up a simple QT solution.
 
krismoore888
Member
might be a bit of a shock going in with other fish then, but as you said you already have a backup plan, keep us updated and post photos, love to see new bettas
 
haedra
Member
Indeed... I've heard stories about how different they all can be. But that variability in personality is one of the reasons I love them.

I already have one betta now, in his own tank, which I knew would have issues going into a tank with other fish. He is a snarky one, which is why I avoided even trying him in there. I'd like to think that he loves me, but he flares at my fiance when he gets the chance.
 
Red1313
Member
lol My 1st boy gives my boyfriend evil glares all the time.
And as soon as someone comes in my room that they haven't seen before they all start to flare and snarl <rofl>. They're very possesive of "their" room. they tolerate me b/c I feed them.
 
krismoore888
Member
lol, full of personality
 
haedra
Member
This is my one guy in his own tank:



And the new guy coming soon:

 
haedra
Member
Looks like the QT might be in protection of the betta, rather than the corys...

One of my corys is flashing against the gravel, every so often. At least, he was earlier in the day. Now, I'm fairly certain it's only one of them. If I had to guess, I'm maybe 90% sure it's only one of them.

This same cory, seemed a little lethargic today. He didn't seem to start flashing until a couple hours later. I had thought he was uninterested in food too... but this evening, he hasn't flashed now for at least an hour, and is zooming along the tank with his friends. In every other way besides the flashing and the brief bout of lethargy earlier, he seems healthy. But the flashing is worrying me.

I don't know what to think. There are no other signs that would indicate an ammonia problem, no one is gasping, no gill redness, no clamped fins etc. Just the one guy flashing a bit today.

If I hadn't witnessed it I never would have noticed anything wrong; because now he is acting like he is fine.

Any suggestions?
 
krismoore888
Member
what are your readings?
 
haedra
Member
Sorry for the long delay in getting back! I already had this written out elsewhere, so I'll copy/paste everything (it's a lot of info.).

And for clarification, I think the contact with Tetra was just before I posted here originally.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
12 hours after the addition of safe start and the fish, I had readings of: 0ammonia, .25nitrite, and of course my obscene almost 40ppm nitrate.

Hornwort plant was added 3 hours after the last test. And it's growing!

36 hours after the addition of safe start and fish: .25ammonia, .25nitrate, nitrate unchanged.

At this point, I contacted tetra and told them of these results; at which point I was told that the product would prevent the ammonia/nitrite from reaching toxic levels, and I could leave the tank alone unless my ammonia reading ended up at 1.5ppm; and if that happened I could do a PWC.

So I left the tank alone until this morning; while watching closely the corys I had in there, for any signs of problems.

This morning is day 6 since the addition of safe start+ corys and 5 days since adding the hornwort. I now have readings as such: 1ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, and get this... my nitrate has to be at least 10-15ppm lower than it was (hooray for hornwort!).

Now the 1ppm ammonia concerns me... but with the last contact with tetra I understood that I wasn't to be concerned with it, unless it reached 1.5ppm; and as well, that a PWC not only wouldn't be necessary until it reached that level, and also might lengthen the cycling process with the safe start.. and in the end produce more spikes. Should I trust tetra with this information? Should I trust that I have a level of the first type of nitrifying bacteria in there, if it's taken 6 days to spike that high? Would it have been even higher after 6 days without the safe start?

I've been watching the corys very closely since they were put in there, for any signs of distress or illness. On day 2 I think it was, one cory (I am about 90% sure it was only one.. tough they look mostly alike) who did flash against the gravel a few times. I inspected him as closely as I could when he was in the front of the tank for me to see up close. I saw no evidence of parasites, or ich to the best of my knowledge. And he hasn't flashed since then. After doing some research, I hadn't been aware of the fact that fish might flash if the by products are too high, notably nitrates when it comes to corys. Might this have been why I noticed a brief bout of flashing? After 6 days, I can best describe them like the following: no clamped fins, no excessive breaths at the surface (in fact very little), no external abnormalities that I can see; no more flashing that I've noticed, clear eyes; while a little shy if you rush up to the tank, mostly out in the open, zooming around in their school of 4 with some brief moments of separation; inquisitive, checking out the tank in its entirety; no redness around the gills, nor labored breathing; In the AM's and PM's notice the food smell when I drop it in there, and immediately go looking for it. Barbels and finnage completely intact on all of them. There is no leftover food in the tank when I go looking for some. That is all I can pretty much think of to describe the situation.

Sorry for the extremely long run-on sentence. Hope none of my old English teachers read it!

*edited to add the following:

Today, noticed what I believe to be a female due to the larger, rounder shape "nibbling" at my aquarium glass and some decorations. Could this be "cleaning the glass" behavior for egg laying already?? I understood corys not to be algae eaters, so I was puzzled by this behavior.
 
jsho
Member
Seriously, no touching the stuff works great. I used it on my 55g, no problems at all.
 

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