switching from fishless to TSS Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Zia, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. ZiaValued MemberMember

    I have been fishless cycling for 45 days, and, enchanted as I initially was with the concept, am giving up before I lose all joy for this hobby. (There is also a tearful preschooler involved.) I have a bottle of Tetra SafeStart due to arrive tomorrow. I'd like to preserve some of my bacteria to help with the TSS. How should I proceed?

    My tank has been stuck at Ammonia .25 / NitrIte 2 / NitrAte 80+ for the past few days -- even when I bring the Ammonia up to 1 ppm, it comes down, just never clears. My current plan is to...

    1) Tonight, perform the 1-2 water changes required to bring NH3 and NitrIte levels to 0, and NitrAte to < 20, using Tetra AquaSafe to treat any new water going in.

    2) Remove my filter cartridges (I have 3 -- 2 stuffed in my larger filter, and 1 in my smaller), place them in a 5-gallon bucket, and feed them 1 ppm Ammonia, and continue to test that water

    3) Thursday morning, add the TSS, put filters back in, and add fish (6-7 zebra danios has been my short-term goal all along)

    4) Sit back and relax for the first time since early February and enjoy my fish!

    Please, is there anything glaringly fatal about this plan? I do hate giving up on the fishless, but I feel I have reached my end. :(

    (You can see my fishless cycle -- and all the little mistakes I've made --  .)
  2. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    everything sounds fine ....but dont remove anything.....the bacteria you have going, will be fine for a day until you add the tss.....

  3. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the quick response! I'm trying to make sure I understand...

    1) My uncooperative bacteria can survive ~24 hours without a meal? (I must time this all very carefully!)


    2) Must I wait 24 hours to add TSS after dosing with AquaSafe? (I know chlorinated water will kill my bacteria.)

    Still harboring the fantasy that I'll test tonight and see yellow and blue...

  4. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    yes and yes :)
    and you want your ammonia/nitrites as low as possible when using tss..that way it gradually is introduced to the bacteria .....I remember those days of testing....it was nail biting watching those colors LOL ...took me 9 weeks with fish before I found bio spira (old version of TSS )

  5. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Seriously... it is starting to make me insane! Comparable to being pregnant past my due date, and then, my daughter's sad looks... but the end is near!

    So Day 1, 9 am, massive water change(s), add AquaSafe, then Day 2, 9 am, add TSS and fish.

    THANKS! for your help!
  6. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I think if it were me, I'd empty the tank and refill it with fresh water. Especially since your nitrates are at 80ppm, and you won't be doing water changes for at least two weeks (assuming the SafeStart works) Also that way the SafeStart is used in the manner it was designed to be used, which I think would give you the best chance of success.

    I think I would probably put new filter media in my filters also , although probably not necessary, but I think I would want to make a fresh start of it.

    After adding the SafeStart and fish, don't give into the temptation of testing your water for a full 7 days.

    I still think there is something wrong with your test kit, or you are reading something wrong, because it just doesn't make sence that your ammonia drops from 1ppm to .25ppm consistantly, but won't hit zero. It also seems odd that your nitrates are stuck at 2ppm and nitrates at 80, even after a water change.

    Good luck!
  7. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Yes, well, not only that, but my nitrItes ROSE after the water change. My ammonia used to drop within 12 hours, just not the past few days. Hence: my complete insanity.

    Kit is less than a year old... but it's all water under the bridge (haha) now! Undecided about changing the media -- part of me thought a "fresh start" would be best too, but I also want to optimize my odds of success...
  8. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    have you tested your tap for all 3?
    and the lot numbers on each bottle...what are they?
    GOOD point john!
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I think your odds of success are to best if you try to use the SafeStart in as closely to the manner as it was designed to be used in.
  10. ZiaValued MemberMember

    My tap is .25, 0, 0 but previously was cycling all my ammonia with no problems.

    I have checked my lot numbers before -- all end in 0809.

    Still taking suggestions for this episode of "Can this Cycle be Saved?!" until 9 am EST Wednesday. :)
  11. ZiaValued MemberMember

    jdhef -- rethinking things and considering tossing my filters. Maybe I've grown some strain of cycle-resistant bacteria.... :/ Just hard to see 7 weeks of waiting thrown out.
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Well of course no one wants to put in 7 weeks and come up empty...it's very frustrating and I have a lot a sympathy for you. But to paraphrase a line form the 3rd Indiana Jones movie:
    "You lost today, but it doesn't mean you have to like it."

    Buy trying to salvage your 7 week investment, you are more likely to have the SafeStart fail, at which point after 8-9 weeks you would come up empty. Sometimes it's just better to regroup and try again.

    Hang in there and good luck!
  13. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Thanks, everyone. I have been a little bit hard on myself over giving up, but I do feel like it's the best thing right now. You all have made me feel much better, and helped me rethink my TSS plan!
  14. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Tell me if you'd heard this one before.

    I do one final water test before breaking things down. NH3 .75 <<yawn>>

    Nitrite 0

    Blue. Blue as a winter sky.


    I told my daughter tomorrow was the day. But I feel so close to the finish. What of those pesky NH3 levels?

    **This** is why fishless cycling makes me iN$@n3!
  15. 1hawaii50Valued MemberMember

    Just a side note on the TSS...I used it when my tank went into a mini-cycle, and it took 14 days before it kicked the cycle over. The bottle says 7-10 days, but you may have to wait as many as 14. Good luck!

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