Safestart 2nd cycle attempt - test results

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BrettXNA

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Ok so I decided to give safestart another attempt in my 29 gal tank.
First attempt I screwed up by adding the safestart with too much ammonia -
think it was about 4 ?

Anyway I did a series of 30 percent water changes on 4-12, 4-13 and 4-14 and got the ammonia down to .75. (It was over 7 when I started the changes!!!).

Rinsed the filters out and dechlorinated with Aquasafe about 5 pm on 4-14 and let the filters and air pump run till 11 pm and added the 8 oz bottle of Safestart to the filters and tank water (large majority went into the biomax filter media).

I know we're not supposed to test during a Safestart cycle but I couldnt resist!

30ppm - 40ppm nitrate from tap (well) water.

Here's my results so far:
4-14-2010
Before adding safestart:
amm .75 nitrite 0 nitrate ??? <--- forgot to test nitrate that night!

after adding safestart:
4-15-2010
amm 1.0 nitrite 0 nitrate 40
4-16-2010
amm 1.0 nitrite 0 nitrate 40
4-17-2010
amm 1.0 - 1.5 nitrite 0 nitrate 40 - 80
4-18-2010
amm 1.0 - 1.5 nitrite 0 nitrate 80+

Tank occupants:
2 convict cichlids - 3" each
2 jewel cichlids - 1.5" each
1 yellow lab - 2"
1 maingano - 1"

I know the tank is over stocked - I am getting a 55 gal soon and one
or both of the convicts is going in there or back to the LFS - one of them is getting territorial lately.

Filtration:
AquaClear 50 Number One:
Foam
Carbon
Biomax

AquaClear 50 Number Two:
Foam
Biomax
Biomax

I knew the tank would be overstocked so I thought the extra biomedia would be helpful.
 

Meenu

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Good luck. I kept messing up and went through 4 bottles before it worked, but work it did. Extra biomedia will be helpful, good call.

It generally is hard to get TSS to work in an already overcrowded tank. The ammonia builds up too fast for the bacteria from the TSS to be able to process it. I hope this time works for you, but if you have to try it a third time, I would suggest doing what you did this time with the frequent water changes to get ammonia down, and buying the bottle made for 75 gallons (instead of the 30g bottle) and dumping in the whole thing.
 
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BrettXNA

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Hi Meenu,
The 8 0z bottle (what I used) is for 75 gallon tanks.
The ammonia has gone up only very slightly so far and
the nitrates are rising so I think it will cycle.
Maybe a little more slowly because of the overstocking but
I am hopeful it will finish.
 
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BrettXNA

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Also so glad for the NHL playoffs - been great for taking my mind of the tank cycling !
Now if only the Capitals would stop going to overtime - its nerve wracking!
 

Shawnie

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bioload wise, you arent overstocked IMO for TSS at all.....space/territorial wise you are but that wont play an effect on the cycle

goodluck !
 
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BrettXNA

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bioload wise, you arent overstocked IMO for TSS at all.....space/territorial wise you are but that wont play an effect on the cycle

goodluck !
I know testing with Safestart during the first week of Safestart cycling is not recommended because the test results can look weird - but I have to ask do these test results look ok so far ?
 

jetajockey

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It looks promising, tetra doesn't say that testing is inaccurate but rather be prepared to see some numbers that would normally have you running for prime and a water bucket. It looks like its moving, they suggest a small bioload (although a full load is ok too) when using tss, and from the test I've been doing with the two tanks, the one with the significantly lower bioload seems to be the one making the quickest progress. Good luck.
 
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BrettXNA

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Ok its been exactly a week since I added the Safestart - my readings from tonight:
amm 1.5 - 2.0 nitrite 0 nitrate 80+
So what do I do now ? Water change ?
Oh havent done anything to the tank for the last week except light feedings for
the fish.
I do have more Safestart coming (aquired a 55 gal, wood stand and hood with lights from
a local off craigslist this weekend). 1 bottle for the 55 gal and another for the 29 gal incase it needs it.
 

jetajockey

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Call tetra on the phone tomorrow and talk to them about it. They'll likely tell you to do a 25% water change to get your levels down a bit lower but don't quote me on that.
 

Meenu

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I would wait another 3 days. It's been in there a week, but it really takes 10, sometimes 12 days. It skews test results, then people freak out and start doing weird stuff. It's why everyone recommends no testing.
 

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I don't think you should do any water changes just yet. Let the TSS work for the full 10 days then see where you're at. I know for some people it took 14 days to work. If you're still not cycled at that point then I would do a small water change, but no gravel vac so as not to disturb the bacteria on the gravel. It might be wise to add an extra air stone to your tank if you can. I read somewhere that high nitrate levels can deplete oxygen which could affect your cycle since the bacteria is O2 dependent, not to mention your fish.
Good Luck!
 
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