Nitrogen cycle question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Savel101, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. Savel101New MemberMember

    The only way I knew how to cycle a tank was with fish. After reading many threads on here I see that, that is old fashioned and not the most efficient way. If I would have known about this I would have done the "fish less" cycle but it is too late. I have a 29 gallon tank that is currently being cycled by 5 zebra danios. They have been cycling the tank since late June. I bought whatever test kit they had at Petsmart (Not the strips because people say those are useless). It tests PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. After weeks of having the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels all at 0 ppm, July 19th my Ammonia samples went from being clear to a light green (about
    .50-1.0 ppms). I tested again today and the ammonia level was a solid 1.0 ppm, with the Nitrite and Nitrate levels at 0. I was just wondering is there a certain level that it gets to where the good bacteria takes over and converts it to nitrite? Is there anyway I can speed this process up? Thank you in advance!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  2. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    You can speed it up by buying a bottle of Seachem Stability and following the directions on the bottle. You should have a cycled tank within 2 weeks of this :)

  3. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    The best way to cycle with fish is using a product like Tetra Safestart or Dr. Tim's One and Only. These products contain live bacteria that will immediately start the cycle in your tank while protecting your fish from dangerous ammonia and nitrite levels.

    They're easy to use, too. Just do a water change, and the next day, add the TSS. Then no water changes or testing for two weeks. One light feed for the fish every day, and in 14 days, you're cycled. Unless something has gone horribly wrong with your bottle of bacteria, or if you do a water change on the tank, that is ;).

  4. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    You mean nitrate, right?

  5. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    I think the OP means nitrites, since they are still getting a 0 reading for them.
  6. Savel101New MemberMember

    I meant nitrate yes I'm sorry! Thanks guys all your advice was great! My ignorant self thought that once you had fish in you couldn't add any of that stuff to speed it up because it harmed the fish but I'm glad you commented and said it doesn't. That you so much!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  7. Savel101New MemberMember


    I went to Petsmart today and purchased Top Fin Bacteria Supplement. The reason I bought this instead of the Tetra Safestart was because I got a bottle double the size of the tetra brand solution for cheaper. When I read both the bottles it seemed like they do the same thing. So I did a 25% water change then added the vaster is supplement. Now my question is, do the same rules apply as the Tetra Safestart. As in waiting two weeks before doing anything or are the rules different? It says nothing on the bottle about this.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  8. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but Top Fin Bacteria does not contain a self sustaining form of the bacteria that cycles a tank and therefore will not cycle your tank. Sometimes spending more, is actually cheaper, because now you will have to still buy a bottle of SafeStart if you want to cycle with a bacteria additive.
  9. Savel101New MemberMember

    It's alright better tell me now then find out when the cycle crashes and all my fish die! So what do I do from here? Just add the tetra safe start?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

    Is the tetra Safestart a one time thing that I add? Or do I continue to add it in when I do a water change?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2015
  10. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Yes, SafeStart only needs to be added one time.

    Okay, here is your problem. Since you added the TopFin stuff, you probably do not want to add the SafeStart right away, because if the bacteria in the TopFin actually is converting ammonia and nitrites, that bacteria could starve out the SafeStart bacteria. But even if the TopFin bacteria is working, it will probably only work for a week or so.

    So if it were me, I would watch my water parameters closely for the next week. If ammonia or nitrites start to rise, do a water change to get them back down. Do this as often as required during the week. Then do a large water change to get ammonia/nitrite as close to 0ppm as possible. Wait 24 hours (very important, since water conditioner will cause SafeStart to fail if used within 24 hours). After 24 hours add the entire, well shaken, appropriate sized bottle of SafeStart Plus.

    Then do nothing but lightly feed your fish for 14 days. On day 14 test your water and if all worked correctly, you'll have a cycled tank.

    Best of luck!
  11. Savel101New MemberMember

    Thank you so much! My ammonia levels are already at 1 ppm so if they rise over that do the water change? When do I do the large water change? After a week?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    With an ammonia level of 1ppm, I would recommend doing a water change now. Hopefully you are using Prime as your water conditioner. The reason being is that Prime will detox up to 1ppm of ammonia for 24 hours. (Detox means to put the ammonia in a form that will still feed the bacteria, but also in a form that is not toxic to fish).

    I would say that after a week it would be safe to assume that all the TopFin bacteria is no longer working, so it wouldn't interfere with the SafeStart at that point. But if your ammonia is rising a fair amount every day or two, it would appear the TopFin bacteria is not working, and therefore would not interfere with the SafeStart, so you may be able to do the large water change, wait 24 hours and add SafeStart even sooner.

    I think you are going to have to use your best judgemnet on how long you really need to wait before adding the SafeStart.
  13. Savel101New MemberMember

    I am using Tetra AquaSafe Plus Aquarium Dechlorinator Water Conditioner. Is this a problem?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  14. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Well it's not a problem per se, but unlike Prime, the AquaSafe does not detox ammonia or nitrites, so your fish are being exposed to toxic ammonia/nitrites. If you were to use Prime, the Prime would fully detox any ammonia and nitrite (up to 1ppm) keeping your fish safe from exposure
  15. Savel101New MemberMember

    So keep an eye on water levels and do water changes when needed. Then once top fin bacteria dies, do a large water change. Wait 24 hours then add The Safestart? Just so I got everything clear. Thank you!!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice