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New 20 Long With Tetra Safe Start Plus - First Fish

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by FishMommer, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. FishMommerValued MemberMember

    So after planning since February or before? And Giving the green light to my son (after overcoming the Algae bloom in tank #1). We finally set up and kicked off tank #2. A first for me.

    Initially the plan was to have the tank fully cycled before adding fish, but somewhere in the midst of promises made, life, and having TSS+, we now have 2 Honey Gourami in his first tank.

    So far it's 20 Long, Aquaclear 30 with extra sponges, Finnex light (may swap as it is a bit longer than the 20 long? :( ) Stocked with 1 Vallisneria, 3 Godzilla Buce. ;) (seriously that was the name).

    Last night I needed to clean tank 1 so I put about 5? gallons of it's water into tank two. Out of curiousity, I tested the water, didn't see much (maybe very slight color for Nitrates?). Added the TSS+ before going to get fish. Tested water again before putting them in. Ammonia .25 or less (same reading I get regularly with tank 1) and Nitrates 5 ppm.

    I understand they say TTS takes a week maybe 2 to be fully cycled. So should I keep an eye on water parameters maybe every day? And as I understand it Do Not Overfeed (this can delay the process)? Then as long as all looks good in 2 weeks we can add more fish yes?
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  2. surajkValued MemberMember

    If tank 1 is cycled, you could kick off your tank 2 cycle by using some media from tank1 filter, or some gravel, etc. Putting some water would have helped, but media would be tons better.

    I managed to cycle my first tank fishless with a different starter, but if TSS+ is as effective, you should be fully cycled by end of week 2. I did dose ammonia to 2ppm levels to get a large bb established, which you can't since you have fish.

    I'd hold off on adding more fish and yes, would watch ammonia and nitrites everyday. If you see them ride past 0.5ppm, do an immediate 30% water change. Dosing TSS+ helps but you really want the filter to get established, right now the best you can do is try and keep the fish from getting poisoned by ammonia and nitrate while that happens.

    And a little learning I gained from my own cycling process: Showing nitrates is not the point of cycling- you want to get to 0ppm ammonia and nitrites all the time. Nitrates are only the indicator that you have bacteria working for you, which you know because you're putting them in. When they are established in the filter, they will keep ammonia and nitrites at zero all the time, which your fish will thank you for.

    Hope this helps and all the best!

    Oh, and yes, don't overfeed .. overfeeding would create more ammonia that could poison your fish.
    Unless you mean don't overdose TSS+, I'm actually not sure what that would do. I did overdose a little when starting my tank, didn't seem to do any harm.
  3. FishMommerValued MemberMember

    @surajk Thank you! I did add a sponge from tank 1, but didn't think it was worth mentioning as it had only been in tank 1 for like 4 days. Not sure what I was thinking with all this. Had really wanted tank 2 to be fish less cycle, life just got in the way and kid was getting anxious. Also, tank 1 was fish in not knowing any better (B.F. Before Fishlore) and went smoothly with no water testing even (something from Fluval? no BB dosing just the Fluval), so I figured we would see. I would have used the sponge that has been in tank 1 from the start, but I was worried about removing it and messing up tank 1? I just rinsed out that sponge and was worried maybe it needed to recover some BB itself having done this? Also Tank1 is gravel, Tank2 is sand. So wasn't sure.

    Re: Ammonia, nitrites etc. ok! The Ammonia was over 0 less than .25 (which is what my water always is here?). The Nitrites were 0 ppm (which is also what I usually have here when my Nitrate is at 5.0?). I will keep testing, but as for water change at .5 ppm, according to Tetra - I let it go until 1.5 ppm.

    Hmmm... just Found the following on TSS Q&A post.

    "You can test the water any time, but really, you should probably wait at least 48 hours. We expect TSS to start slowly seeding the tank, and making a difference in about that time. You have to have some ammonia occur in the tank to provide the cycle needed, so it will usually create levels or reduce levels to around 1.0-1.5 ppm, and they should stay there for a week to 14 days, and then come down. Sorry, these levels would be for both ammonia and nitrite. These are considered stress, but not toxic, levels, and should not cause any long term damage to the fish."

    Wondering, could I/should I take that original sponge for Tank 1 and put it in Tank 2 now and put the other new sponge fromTank 2 back? would that be ok? OR do I risk more problems and/so not worth it? Cross contamination or anything?

    As of this morning still less than 24 hrs with TSS (and sponge 2 from Tank1) but more than 24 hours since Tank 1 water added (it did bring with it debris from Tank 1 as I can see it on top of the sand) Ammonia @ .25 Nitrite @ 0 and Nitrate @ 5ppm again (.or maybe just slightly more but Not 10 ppm) but again I guess I should not sweat it until tomorrow night and see what's up then.

    Yes, I understand on NOT overfeeding. Thanks! Tetra says you can't overdo the amount of TSS+? Either way the bottle can handle very large aquariums and I used half, so hopefully good there.

    I guess. If all goes well 2 weeks or so we should/hopefully be ready to go. Will see. I just saw something else about quarantining...lot's to learn!
  4. surajkValued MemberMember

    Have a 2.5yr old, so believe me, I understand how children can take your best laid plans and stomp all over them :)

    Kudos on getting tank 1 cycled without losing any fish. What kind of fish did you stock and how many? It must have cost the fish some though, kinda like living in a toxic waste dump for a few weeks. Not blaming you, I did that to fish for years before I learned about the cycle.

    Now tank2, I'd say don't swap out your main Sponge from tank 1. The 4day old Sponge is fine, you'd see some colonization for sure. And anyway with tss+ you're dumping a load of bacteria in there. In general, if you already have a cycled tank, I'd just use media from that instead of a bottle starter. I keep a couple of extra sponges in there and I have a cheap pump and box filter I keep going for emergencies.

    from your post, it sounds like tss+ already has an bacterial food source built in. When cycling a tank, the bacteria need food to grow and establish themselves, which is either provided by fish(fish-in cycling), by the owner (like me, dosing ammonia) or by the bottle itself (like tss+). I'd assume that if it's from the bottle, it's in a form that's safe for the fish, i.e ammonium not ammonia. Depending on where your Ph is, that could change with Ph of 7.5 and up becoming more dangerous as the ammonium converts more and more to ammonia. The API test kit measures both ammonia and ammonium together, so you don't really know if that 1.5ppm is killing your fish or is completely safe. In general, in a fully stocked tank thats cycled, 1.5ppm would not be acceptable. In your case, go with what the bottle says.

    With all that the best advice I can give is - Watch the fish carefully - if you see them listless and gasping at the surface, do a 30% water change.

    Fish-in cycling is complex and hard on the fish and hard on the owner, no matter how you slice it. You seem to be doing all you can, now fingers crossed!
  5. FishMommerValued MemberMember

    Ok thank you! They seemed ok today. Kept checking in here n there. Out of curiosity I tested again tonight and still the same. As they say 48 hrs. to test expect I will see more as the week goes on. Will see. The last time I started with 4 Tetras and Fluval Cycle? I think I had to add a larger amount right away with the fish and then weekly with a lesser amount (and with every water change after it was recommended). I didn't even test the water then and had no idea it was dangerous. Although they did tell me they would recommend next time set up the tank first. I just followed directions and thankfully all went well. The fish did get ich? 1 then another, but I treated them and all was gone before we added the next fish. Thankfully!

    Back when I had aquariums many many years ago, I don't remember any special method. But maybe I just forgot as much has happened since then! ;)

    Interesting though. Tetra mentioned to only feed fish like 1 flake a day. Not sure fish 2 even ate at all? But fish 1 had a bit and has been caught 3 x pooping today? Maybe they ate well at the LFS. ;) Will see what the next few days bring. Also hoping maybe the small Bucephelandra Vallisneria will help a little? The Vall already has an 2 offshoots that definitely grew over last night.
  6. surajkValued MemberMember

    the fluval cycle is also a bottle bacteria BB starter, like tss+. I guess that worked well to cycle the tank and keep the fish safe while doing it. Also 4 small Tetras wouldn't poop enough to send ammonia up too far in a 20g, assuming big, regular doses of starter.

    Yeah, all this info seems to have come up in the last 10-12 years.. I've killed fish for years by dumping them straight into a new tank, and by cleaning a tank fully. Just never knew why they were dying.

    Fish don't actually need as much food as you might think. They use a lot of energy searching for food and escaping predators in the wild which they don't need to in an aquarium, so food reqs go down even more. I'm a softy and tend to overfeed - plus the toddler wants to watch them eat. Neon Tetras are fun when they eat pellets - it's like watching soccer. :)

    A fast growing plant would suck up some of the ammonia and nitrates so it's likely helping.
  7. FishMommerValued MemberMember

    Yes! :) Good to hear on plant! :)