Starting up my tank...

  1. Lradke Initiate Member

    Hi Everyone!

    I have started up a tank this week and currently have 5 Zebra Danios in it. I started it up at the begining of the week and got the fish yesterday to help with the nitrogen cycle (as per the recommendation of a fish store manager I have known for about 15 yrs). CUrrently the bacteria is developing? (It's getting cloudy) Anyway, I am planning on getting a water test kit today, on of the liquid ones.

    I am really excited about the tank, I am glad I spent the extra money on a 29G, instead of a 20G. The only problem is that I know nothing about keeping freshwater fish. I grew up with my brother having 2 70-80G tanks (one salt and one fresh) but I only ever really helped out with the salt water tank (cleaning, PH test/adjustment, salinity levels, etc).

    I am wanting to establish a tank geared toward more tropical fish, as I think they are beautiful (Discus would be a dream, but I think that's where it will stay:().

    I am wondering what all I should have at my disposal right now (and after the tank cycles) for the tank, because all I really have is food for the fish. One thing I do have is a Safe Start treatment you put in before you go to add more fish after the cycle (newer in Canada). Should I be getting a dechlorinator, or any other treatments for after the tank goes through its cycle in the next few weeks? Is there any other equipment I should have on hand also?

    I should mention that I am planning on getting a bigger net, a better heater (one that actually tells you the temp you are setting it too), extra filter pads, and a few other things.

    If you guys/gals could give me some advice as to the specific items, that would be great! I have read through all your beginner threads and have learned lots already!

    I have tried to be as specific as possible, bu feel free to ask for clarification on anything, also I have entered as much information on my tank as I could on my profile, when I joined yesterday.

    Thanks for the help! :)
     
  2. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I think you have some misunderstanding about SafeStart. But first let me start by talking a little bit about cycling.

    There are to ways to cycle a tank, fish in or fishless.

    A fishless cycle would be where you fill a tank with water, then add an ammonia source of some kind to simulate the ammonia fish produce. Then in the presence of this ammonia, in the course of a 2-3 weeks, a bacteria grows in your filter media which consumes ammonia, but realeases nitrite.

    But like ammonia, nitrites is extemely toxic to fish, but in the presnce of nitrite in the water a second bacteria will grow in 2-3 weeks that consumes the nitrites and releases much less toxic nitrates

    So once cycled you have enough bacteria to process all ammonia, and all nitrite. Then you just preform regular partial water changes to keep the nitrates at low levels.

    Now a fish in cycle is where you put fish in a tank, and as the fish produce ammonia the bacteria starts to grow etc (as noted above). Now you could just let the tank go until it cycles, but ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to fish, even in small amounts. So to protect your fish when doing a fish in cycle you'll want to do daily partial water changes to keep the ammonia/nitrite levels low. And if you use an ammonia/nitrite detoxing water conditioner (such as Prime) it will totally detox the ammonia and nitrites keeping you fish safe from exposue.

    SafeStart is a fish in cycling method. SafeStart is basically a bottle of the naturally forming bacteria that grows in your filter media. So when using safeStart you fill the tank put in your fish and pour in the bottle of SafeStart. Then you just do nothing but feed your fish for the next 14 days. No water changes or adding chemicals. By days 14 you should be cycled.

    Also, you should always be using a dechlorinator if you water contains chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals etc (and most people's water falls into this catagory). The chlorine etc can kill both the fish and the bacteria that keeps your tank cycled.
     

  3. Lradke Initiate Member

    Thanks for the reply, I will go home and take a look at the safestart I have, what your saying sounds alot like what my friend was telling me; I think I must have just been overwhelmed (...I was..LOL) and misunderstood what he was saying. If it is as you say (put in at the begining and it takes the cycle down from a month+ to a few weeks?..please correct me if I'm wrong) then I should go and dump the bottle in right away correct?

    The startup kit I got came with an initial dose of a dechlorinator, so I will be sure to pick some more up today.

    Thanks again for the help! It is much appreciated!
     

  4. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    SafeStart is designed to be added the same time the fish are added, and SafeStart has the least risk of failure when used exactly per the instructions. But since you already have fish in the tank you cannot follow the directions exactly as instructed.

    But what you want to do, is get as close to as per the instructions as possible. So here's what I would do:

    Do a partial water change (or more than one if necessary) to get the ammonia levels as low as possible. Be sure to use a dechlorinator that does not detox ammonia. Tetra recommends AquaSafe, and since you need a new bottle of dechlorinator anyway, might as well get the recommended one.

    Then just follow the directions on the bottle which will be something to the effect of shake bottle well and pour entire bottle into tank. Then you get to be carefree for the next 14 days. Don't be alarmed to find your tank become cloudy. It is normal and will clear up in a couple of days.

    Fishkeeping can be overwhelming in the beginning. The learning curve is so steep because keeping fish is so different than keeping most other pets. Most other pets just live in our environment, but for fish we have to create an environment which mimicks their's.

    Good luck and feel free to ask any additional questions.
     

  5. t-ace Member Member

    Very thorough and informative jdhef! Just to throw it out there, do some research. There is an infinite amount of information for beginners on this site and others. Also, if your brother is an aquarist, just get some used filter media from him and kick start your cycle. I would recommend that approach over safe start any day (the less chemicals in your fish tank the better!).
     
  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Keep in mind SafeStart is not a chemical, it is a bottle of the bacteria that will form in your filter naturally over time when in the presence of ammonia & nitrite.

    It is very similar to putting a piece of seeded filter media in your filter.
     
  7. Lradke Initiate Member

    Thank you for the help. I have a bottle of prime...would that be alright to use? It states it removes ammonia but it detoxifies nitrite and nitrate. If this is no good for this purpose then i can pick up a bottle of the other one you mentioned.

    I'll also try to get some media from my brothers tank.

    Thanks again for the help. :)

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  8. Cichlidnut Fishlore VIP Member

    Prime is an amazing water conditioner but can prevent TSS from working. Finding something that only dechlorinates and that's it, would be ideal.
     
  9. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Yes, when using SafeStart you don't want to use Prime.

    Apparently the detoxed form that Prime leave ammonia in is not a good food source for the bacteria in SafeStart and can cause the SafeStart to fail.

    But after the tank finishes cycling, Prime is fine to use.
     
  10. Lradke Initiate Member

    I think it will be alright to add the TSS to the tank. My ammonia is currently around 0.6ppm. From the interview with the tetra rep, they mention that if it is under the 2.0 mark then it is safer to use.

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