Tetra safe start..have I added too few fish?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Ally, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. AllyNew MemberMember


    I'm trying to cycle my 33gal tropical freshwater tank by using tetra safe start. I followed the instructions (vague as they were) and today added 3 Zebra Danios.

    Now I'm sat here looking at how lost and tiny they look in the tank and having doubts, can they be producing enough ammonia for the bacteria in safestart to feed off? I must have spent hours on google looking for answers to this but am getting nowhere! Should I have added more? It just seemed like a big risk to take...

    Any advice much appreciated!
  2. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    It takes around 6-10 zebras to equal 1 small fish as far as waste goes. What do the directions say?
  3. OP

    AllyNew MemberMember

    They just say to add fish..I did not want to add too many incase safestart failed to work and I ended up having to do a fish in cycle. The email link on their website does not work and no U.K phone number. Not sure what to do :confused:

  4. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Never tried. I have an unopened bottle, let me go read.
  5. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

  6. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    I just looked for that link. LOL. Says 1 small fish per every 10g. So 3 small fish in a 33g.
  7. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    That should be good. Since the bacteria in the SafeStart is in a dormant form, it takes a little while to wake up and start processing ammonia. So by the time it wakes up, there should be enough ammonia.

    Good Luck!
  8. ploopy

    ploopyValued MemberMember

    I have used safestart a several times to see how it works and have had good luck with it.Adding a few more fish wouldnt hurt in my opinion,but you should be fine with what you have.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  9. SedubiusValued MemberMember

    I first started my 37 g tank with 2 bettas and 6 feeders with TSS. Not knowing what I was doing the TSS didnt work and I just kept adding fish because I was anxious. The next week I had lost a betta (due to fighting) and added 3 bumble bee cichlids to my un-cycled tank. Still over anxious the next week I added a few more cichlids. My tank did eventually cycle and I had lost no fish at all due to cycling.

    I would'nt worry too much just keep a close eye on the ammonia levels and do plenty of water changes (50% every second day) if they rise too high. Thats what worked for me but I am still very inexperienced compared to almost everyone here.
  10. OP

    AllyNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice much appreciated and that link was a great read. It will be good to get some more danios in there at some point as the big one keeps chasing the little ones around poor things! I'm sure they will be happier in a shoal. Great little fish though so active!
  11. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember


    I have used TSS with muchluck on a couple of my tanks. The rest I did the old fashioned way, water changes. I would not any more fish, you don't really need to risk them. Good Luck with your TSS and fish.:;hurryb
  12. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    Personally I would increase your stocking list a bit so that the TSS will grow a larger colony. Here are my thoughts on it. The tank will cycle with only the three zebras in it but the filter will only be able to handle the small bio-load of the three fish because only a small amount of beneficial bacteria is going to grow in the media. I would personally add more fish in the next few days so that a larger bacteria colony will be formed.

    A 30 gallon tank will give you plenty of room to add more fish. If you plan on keeping the Zebras I would get a few more. Zebras are a schooling type fish and should be kept in a school of at least 6 to 8. You can substitute GloFish if you like because they are the same fish just genetically engineered for color. The next step would be to decide what other fish you would like to keep so take some time to read the profiles of the fish you are interested in so that you can make an informed decision on what to purchase.

    If you want a tank with lots of fish stay away from the larger waste producers like Mollies. I keep Dainos with a wide variety of Tetras and they all get along very well. Now if you want to have a tank with just a few fish that are larger I would go with something like 2 Angels, 6 to 8 Zebras and 6 or so Ottos. This would give you fish that swim in all areas of the tank and not over stock it with too many fish or too many in one area of the tank.

    In other words, do your homework before running out just to purchase more fish. You and your fish will be happier for it.
  13. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I successfully used safe start in a 75gal with I think it was 7 Serpe tetras before and it did work.

    The 3 may be a bit on the small side for it, but give it a chance.

    The Q and A link above is a great read for the product as well. Highly recommend it.

    IS your 33 a long tank? If it is I have one, they are GREAT tanks!! I wish I could find some more of them. I have one currently stocked with about 4 diff species of Danio in it and they love it.
  14. Meeps83

    Meeps83Well Known MemberMember

    Don't do water changes for 2 weeks with the TSS and in that time frame don't do any water tests either. At the end of the 2 weeks, you can do a big water change. Also, if you used Prime as your conditioner before the TSS it will not work. All of this information is in the link from above. I've had great luck with it, but you do have to follow the instructions EXACTLY or you could have some issues. Good luck!
  15. OP

    AllyNew MemberMember

    Wow thanks so much advice. Meeps83 I used a tetra water conditioner and I waited over 24 hours before adding TSS so it should be fine. I'm suprised you say not to do any water tests for two week, is this because you may get inaccurate readings? pirahnah 3 yes it is a long tank, the danios seem to be enjoying it-they are swimming really fast in the current of the fliter and then getting swept away like they are on a treadmill, very funny to watch!
    Bowcrazy, you make a good point and that is what I was worried about..if I were to add a few more danios in the next few days would I need to add more safestart (hoping not as it isn't cheap!) As for other fish, all I know is I really want some corydoras catfish, maybe about 6 and then perhaps a pair of larger fish. I had considered angels but thought they may be too small for my tank?
    I had no idea what you meant about glofish, wow I don't think they sell them in England never seen anything like it!
  16. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    I have used tetra safestart before and they are a great product (just using them for my 55), but you have to know how to work it. I'll try to help you with my post. First in a 30 gallon acquarium you need 2 small bottles (I have 4 for my 55). I don't know the size it should tell you the amount on the bottle.

    What tetra safestar is is bacteria which allow you to add your fish right away. So here is what you do. Near the filter pour all the tetra safestart, you want it to get sucked up by the filter. Next wait one hour and add some fish, not a lot, just enough to add some amonia to the tank regularly which is what your bacteria need. If they don't have food they day out. You should already have your fish when adding safestart.

    Next after you wait your hour slowly put in your fish. Feed them regularly. Test your ammonia levels (API Freshwater Master Test Kit works great)., and after a week if your ammonia levels is remaining at around zero you can begin to add the rest of your batch (I highly recommend using a quarintine tank for the rest of your batch. If you are not sure what that is, look it up:)).

    Congratz! and best of luck.
  17. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    You would not need to add more safestart, the bacteria should of rooted in your filter by now and you should be fine.

    Angels will probably be too small.

    Add some catfish, but be careful on the larger fish.

    Glofish and Neon Tetra's are small. They are schooling fish and look great, so I recommend putting in around ~6-8 of one type. If you want to add both types be careful, though they have a small bioload. I will be adding both to my 55.

    You may also want to try some cherry red shrimp. You can add ~8 in a 30, they are small, have very little bioload and are great scavengers for left overs.
  18. blu3dragon619Valued MemberMember

    if you want to go with fish waste i would get like gold fish or guppies, they are really hardy fish and pretty much can live in dirty water, thats how i cycle my tank, i start with 10 goldfish like 20 cent per goldfish for my 60 gal tank and it was good to go in like 3 days or so
  19. OP

    AllyNew MemberMember

    Incase anyone is interested I thought I would update, we added four more Danios last Sunday bringing us to a total of seven, they certainly seem happy now there is a gang of them charging around in there! I tested the water today 5 days later (couldn't help myself..) and ammonia and nitrites are at 0 with nitrates at about 10 so all looking good, seems the tetra safestart has worked, although prior to adding it I had begun fishless cycling my tank for about 3 weeks (before accidently overdosing on ammonia, killing half my plants and getting impatient) so i guess this would have affected the results.

    I'm wondering when I will be safe to add some more fish, I would like to add some peppered corys, around 6, would I be best waiting a week or two? Should I add all 6 at once? Thanks again for all your advice
  20. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I would wait one week (assuming parameters stay good) add three cory's, then wait 10-14 days and add three more. This should ensure that you don't end up experiancing a mini-cycle.

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