Tetra Safestart Plus and Nitrate Reading Already?

JPH1970

I set up a 29 gallon aquarium and before I really did anything, I tested my water(well water and not tap) and got zeros across the board.

I decided to use Tetra Safestart Plus(used more than what I needed, according to bottle directions and what I've been reading elsewhere) and added some fish on Thursday.

This morning, before my son woke up, I decided to test nitrates for some reason, and I got a reading of between 5 and 10 ppm.

How is that possible after just 2 days? Not even a full 48 hours since I added Tetra Safestart Plus and fish at 2pm Thursday (it's now 7am Saturday)

I'll run tests again but it's going to wait until my son takes a nap...he just woke up a bit ago
 

mattgirl

This is unusual but when bottled bacteria has been added we can get some unexpected readings. Do you have any live plants in this tank? If so have you added any kind of fertilizer for them? How many fish do you have in the tank?

Seeing nitrates up to this number so quickly leads me to believe they came from somewhere other than being produced by bacteria. Maybe even from the TSS+. I wouldn't be at all concerned with what you are seeing though.

When fish in cycling the most important tests are the ammonia and nitrite tests. We want both to be as low as possible. Keep an eye on your pH level too. Bacteria grows best if the pH is up to at least 7. Higher isn't a problem in most cases but lower can cause the bacteria to struggle.
 
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JPH1970

This is unusual but when bottled bacteria has been added we can get some unexpected readings. Do you have any live plants in this tank? If so have you added any kind of fertilizer for them? How many fish do you have in the tank?

Seeing nitrates up to this number so quickly leads me to believe they came from somewhere other than being produced by bacteria. Maybe even from the TSS+. I wouldn't be at all concerned with what you are seeing though.

When fish in cycling the most important tests are the ammonia and nitrite tests. We want both to be as low as possible. Keep an eye on your pH level too. Bacteria grows best if the pH is up to at least 7. Higher isn't a problem in most cases but lower can cause the bacteria to struggle.

I did a pH test earlier this week and I forget what it was but it was between 7 and 8. I remember it was identical to pH tests I did a few years ago when I had tanks. It had never fluctuated one bit....always steady.

I'm not willing to lower it....too much of a headache to lower it and for little reward. Constant pH is better, in my opinion. Fish will adapt just fine.


I'm running a Seachem Tidal 75 filter, with the output dialed back. I use one sponge on the bottom, chemi-pure elite is next, 2 bags of Matrix, then a polishing pad.

Since this is my first time with aquariums since 2018, I decided to go with fake plants and glofish(my 2 year old son goes nuts over them). Later this year, I want a 40 gallon.....made space for it already

Right now I have 6 glofish tetras and 6 glofish danios, and three sharks(didn't plan on putting them in at all but I haven't been ableto find a home for them yet)....yeah, I'm way overstocked for this point in time but the glofish company screwed up my order. I'm hoping for the best with what I have to work with.

From what I read about TSS plus(and I don't really believe this) don't bother testing the water for 2 weeks while the bacteria is working its magic.

I don't buy that so I'm going to test daily and will keep an eye on the parameters.

If the high nitrates is because of the TSS plus, it's probably because I added more than I actually needed. Since I was given too many fish to start, I thought I'd compensate by using double the amount.

I'll start testing everything tonight.

The only concern I really have is water changes....you're not supposed to do any for 2 weeks.

Oh and one of the danios has ich, so I'm treating the tank for it with aquarium salt and elevated heat
 
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mattgirl

I did a pH test earlier this week and I forget what it was but it was between 7 and 8. I remember it was identical to pH tests I did a few years ago when I had tanks. It had never fluctuated one bit....always steady.

I'm not willing to lower it....too much of a headache to lower it and for little reward. Constant pH is better, in my opinion. Fish will adapt just fine.
I totally agree. I wasn't suggesting you try to change it. A stable pH is much better than a specific number. I only mentioned it because sometimes the cycling process can cause it to drop. Run the test occasionally to make sure it isn't dropping. As long as it is 7 or above you should have no issues.
I'm running a Seachem Tidal 75 filter, with the output dialed back. I use one sponge on the bottom, chemi-pure elite is next, 2 bags of Matrix, then a polishing pad.
Sounds like your filtration is top notch. Good job on your choice of media.

Since this is my first time with aquariums since 2018, I decided to go with fake plants and glofish(my 2 year old son goes nuts over them). Later this year, I want a 40 gallon.....made space for it already
I also think this is a good way to start. Taking care of plants presents its own set of problems.

Right now I have 6 glofish tetras and 6 glofish danios, and three sharks(didn't plan on putting them in at all but I haven't been ableto find a home for them yet)....yeah, I'm way overstocked for this point in time but the glofish company screwed up my order. I'm hoping for the best with what I have to work with.
Oh my, they really put you in a tight spot. It sounds to me like you are experienced enough to be able to work through it though.

From what I read about TSS plus(and I don't really believe this) don't bother testing the water for 2 weeks while the bacteria is working its magic.

I don't buy that so I'm going to test daily and will keep an eye on the parameters.
I've read that too but it would be next to impossible for me to put fish in a tank and do nothing for 2 weeks. I understand the reasoning behind it but I would not be able to do it.

If the high nitrates is because of the TSS plus, it's probably because I added more than I actually needed. Since I was given too many fish to start, I thought I'd compensate by using double the amount.
That is very possible. The good thing about bottled bacteria is you aren't going to overdose it. Adding extra was a good idea. Hopefully it will do what it is supposed to do and although over stocked will help keep the fish safer.

I'll start testing everything tonight.

The only concern I really have is water changes....you're not supposed to do any for 2 weeks.
This is why they recommend not testing for 2 weeks. If we test and see ammonia and/or nitrites we are going to want to get them down with a water change. If you decide to follow the directions and not do a water change for 2 weeks it might be best not to test.

Oh and one of the danios has ich, so I'm treating the tank for it with aquarium salt and elevated heat
Oh my. I know you didn't want to see this
 
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JPH1970

I totally agree. I wasn't suggesting you try to change it. A stable pH is much better than a specific number. I only mentioned it because sometimes the cycling process can cause it to drop. Run the test occasionally to make sure it isn't dropping. As long as it is 7 or above you should have no issues.

Sounds like your filtration is top notch. Good job on your choice of media.


I also think this is a good way to start. Taking care of plants presents its own set of problems.


Oh my, they really put you in a tight spot. It slounds to me like you are experienced enough to be able to work through it though.


I've read that too but it would be next to impossible for me to put fish in a tank and do nothing for 2 weeks. I understand the reasoning behind it but I would not be able to do it.


That is very possible. The good thing about bottled bacteria is you aren't going to overdose it. Adding extra was a good idea. Hopefully it will do what it is supposed to do and although over stocked will help keep the fish safer.


This is why they recommend not testing for 2 weeks. If we test and see ammonia and/or nitrites we are going to want to get them down with a water change. If you decide to follow the directions and not do a water change for 2 weeks it might be best not to test.


Oh my. I know you didn't want to see this

I fell in love with those seachem filters when they came out. I never owned one and when I was given this aquarium setup, I jumped at the chance at upgrading the filtering .

I'm going to test my parameters just to know what is going on(I need to make use of the money I spent for the test kit )and hold off on water changes. Actually I thoroughly enjoy testing water....keeping track of everything in a notebook

Speaking of water changes, since I added aquarium salt to the tank (and elevated heat) to treat ich, I did find an article that suggests being able to keep the fish in aquarium-salted water in the tank for two weeks which would coincide with not changing water with TSS+ involved.

If I do have to change the water, I can always add in another bottle of TSS+

Thank you for the advice
 
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JPH1970

I fell in love with those seachem filters when they came out. I never owned one and when I was given this aquarium setup, I jumped at the chance at upgrading the filtering .

I'm going to test my parameters just to know what is going on(I need to make use of the money I spent for the test kit )and hold off on water changes. Actually I thoroughly enjoy testing water....keeping track of everything in a notebook

Speaking of water changes, since I added aquarium salt to the tank (and elevated heat) to treat ich, I did find an article that suggests being able to keep the fish in aquarium-salted water in the tank for two weeks which would coincide with not changing water with TSS+ involved.

If I do have to change the water, I can always add in another bottle of TSS+

Thank you for the advice
Well I tested again and this is what I got.

pH 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

Again, I started everything with TSS+ on Thursday afternoon at 2 pm and now it's 11:15 pm on Saturday. I expected some ammonia to show up but nothing.

Oh and I forgot how much I love testing water. I need to get a notebook to keep track of numbers
 
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mattgirl

I know what you mean. I was like a mad scientist back when I first got my test kit.

A little hint: You can actually make both ammonia and nitrate go twice as far by only putting 2.5mls of water in the test tube and adding half the amount of drops each time you test. I have tested this out and get the same results as I do by testing with 5mls. Since it takes so little to run the nitrite and pH tests I go ahead and run the test on 5mls. Well that and it's hard to do half drops since it is 5 drops for one and 3 drops for the other
 
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JPH1970

I know what you mean. I was like a mad scientist back when I first got my test kit.

A little hint: You can actually make both ammonia and nitrate go twice as far by only putting 2.5mls of water in the test tube and adding half the amount of drops each time you test. I have tested this out and get the same results as I do by testing with 5mls. Since it takes so little to run the nitrite and pH tests I go ahead and run the test on 5mls. Well that and it's hard to do half drops since it is 5 drops for one and 3 drops for the other
Thanks!!

Instead of using a notebook, I'm looking around for an app I can use to keep track of testing results and other stuff
 
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Kellye8498

From what I read about TSS plus(and I don't really believe this) don't bother testing the water for 2 weeks while the bacteria is working its magic.

I don't buy that so I'm going to test daily and will keep an eye on the parameters.

I can promise you that as long as your pH is good, that’s not wrong. You really do need to leave it alone. If you test and get the highs in ammonia from the safe form of ammonium and change water or get some other weird (to you) result you will end up changing water for no reason and ruin everything. Just watch the fish. Leave it alone unless the fish are behaving in a way that shows they appear to be in trouble and Dave yourself the stress. TSS+ works well but you really do need to leave the tank alone.
 
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JPH1970

I can promise you that as long as your pH is good, that’s not wrong. You really do need to leave it alone. If you test and get the highs in ammonia from the safe form of ammonium and change water or get some other weird (to you) result you will end up changing water for no reason and ruin everything. Just watch the fish. Leave it alone unless the fish are behaving in a way that shows they appear to be in trouble and Dave yourself the stress. TSS+ works well but you really do need to leave the tank alone.

I just like to test water for fun sometimes HA!
 
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mattgirl

So I shouldn't test at all? What if I promise not to change one drop of water?

I just like to test water for fun sometimes
I would say test to your hearts content
just try not to panic and start doing water changes

Watch your fish. As long as they look to be alright all should be well.
 
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JPH1970

I would say test to your hearts content as long as you don't panic and start doing water changes Watch your fish. As long as they look to be alright all should be well.

I'm not going to change one drop of water...scout's honor HA!
 
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Kellye8498

I'm not going to change one drop of water...scout's honor HA!
I always avoid testing because the test results aren’t reliable with TSS+ anyway but it really couldn’t hurt if you’re not messing with it. The worst that could happen is each test contains some of the bacteria that you just paid a bunch for and then you’re dumping them down the drain but it’s definitely up to you.
 
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JPH1970

I always avoid testing because the test results aren’t reliable with TSS+ anyway but it really couldn’t hurt if you’re not messing with it. The worst that could happen is each test contains some of the bacteria that you just paid a bunch for and then you’re dumping them down the drain but it’s definitely up to you.
I understand that. It's expensive stuff.
 
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JPH1970

The nitrate reading is still the same 5 but the ammonia has finally showed a bit. It's. 25. That could be because the filter was accidentally unplugged for 20 hours yesterday.
 
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JPH1970

The nitrate reading is still the same 5 but the ammonia has finally showed a bit. It's. 25. That could be because the filter was accidentally unplugged for 20 hours yesterday.
I tested again this morning and I got...

pH 7.6
Ammonia somewhere between 0 and .25. Difficult to see sometimes.
Nitrite 0
Nitrate somewhere between 10 and 20

Last night I tested just the Ammonia (mostly because I wanted something to do before bed) and it was closer to .50

Fish seem happy and healthy.
 
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mattgirl

Seeing those nitrates going up is a very promising sign that the TSS+ is doing what it is supposed to do. Only one more week to go. Hopefully the tank will be cycled even if not yet firmly established in one more week and having to do the gravel vacs to remove the ich won't disturb it too much.
 
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JPH1970

Seeing those nitrates going up is a very promising sign that the TSS+ is doing what it is supposed to do. Only one more week to go. Hopefully the tank will be cycled even if not yet firmly established in one more week and having to do the gravel vacs to remove the ich won't disturb it too much.
Thank you!

This week will go fast. I'm keeping myself super busy with my best pal(2 year old son), and doing chores around the yard(that time of year) and of course, maintenance on my tank (just testing really).

This really is a pretty tank. As plastic as it is, it is extremely colorful and eye catching
 
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mattgirl

This really is a pretty tank. As plastic as it is, it is extremely colorful and eye catching
I saw the photo of you and your best pal (what a cutie he is). You gotta know we love pictures of tanks too
 
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JPH1970

I saw the photo of you and your best pal (what a cutie he is). You gotta know we love pictures of tanks too
Thank you!

I will post tank pics later today...I promise. BTW, I did post two videos of my tank

I have several things going on now and I gotta get them done before I pick him up from day care.
 
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