Using tetra safestart and water changes

BettaLove2021

I am cycling a fish tank using tetra safestart bacteria. I waited two weeks and ammonia 0, nitrates 20 and nitrites sky high. I changed the water using prime. 24 hours later nitrites have not changed. I have read the threads on here about using tetra safestart for a fishless cycle but I could not see an answer to my issue. I was wondering if I should carry on with water changes or just wait? I have not been adding any ammonia.
 

mattgirl

Were you adding ammonia during those 2 weeks? oops, I missed the last sentence.
 
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BettaLove2021

Were you adding ammonia during those 2 weeks?
No. I did not add any. Was I meant to?
 
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StarGirl

Im pretty sure if you dont have fish you have to add ammonia of some kind. How high are your nitrites?
 
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mattgirl

No. I did not add any. Was I meant to?
If you are doing a fishless cycle you have to add ammonia. If there is a fish in the tank the fish is adding it.
 
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BettaLove2021

If you are doing a fishless cycle you have to add ammonia. If there is a fish in the tank the fish is adding it.
I am doing a fishless cycle. I did not know ammonia was needed with this as I have nitrates.
Im pretty sure if you dont have fish you have to add ammonia of some kind. How high are your nitrites?
They are 20.
 
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Netti

You will have to carry on with water changes as you find high nitrites. Bacteria build slowly regardless of what the bottled bacteria manufacturers say. I do use seachem stability even though I'm saying this.

It took me about 6 weeks to cycle my 15g tank, 4 weeks to cycle my 5g tank and my third tank which is a 10g is on its third week of cycling. For each tank I did 50 to 70 percent water changes every second day to reduce nitrites.

Don't despair, be patient and stick with I would say a 30 to 50 percent water change every time and you will succeed.
 
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BettaLove2021

You will have to carry on with water changes as you find high nitrites. Bacteria build slowly regardless of what the bottled bacteria manufacturers say. I do use seachem stability even though I'm saying this.

It took me about 6 weeks to cycle my 15g tank, 4 weeks to cycle my 5g tank and my third tank which is a 10g is on its third week of cycling. For each tank I did 50 to 70 percent water changes every second day to reduce nitrites.

Don't despair, be patient and stick with I would say a 30 to 50 percent water change every time and you will succeed.
Thank you. Does this mean I do not need to add ammonia? I am not in any rush to add a fish. I just wanted to make sure I was carrying on the cycle.
 
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mattgirl

I am doing a fishless cycle. I did not know ammonia was needed with this as I have nitrates.

They are 20.
Unfortunately this very important piece of information isn't included in the instructions for using TSS. I have to think they assume there will be fish in there providing the ammonia.

Have you run the nitrate test on your tap water to see if there are any there.
You will have to carry on with water changes as you find high nitrites. Bacteria build slowly regardless of what the bottled bacteria manufacturers say. I do use seachem stability even though I'm saying this.

It took me about 6 weeks to cycle my 15g tank, 4 weeks to cycle my 5g tank and my third tank which is a 10g is on its third week of cycling. For each tank I did 50 to 70 percent water changes every second day to reduce nitrites.

Don't despair, be patient and stick with I would say a 30 to 50 percent water change every time and you will succeed.
This is a fishless cycle. Instructions are different if no fish are involved.
 
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BettaLove2021

Unfortunately this very important piece of information isn't included in the instructions for using TSS. I have to think they assume there will be fish in there providing the ammonia.

Have you run the nitrate test on your tap water to see if there are any there.

This is a fishless cycle. Instructions are different if no fish are involved.
Oh dear. Thank you for explaining. My tap water is 20 nitrates. It has 0 nitrites though so I thought the tank was cycling as the tank shows high nitrites. Do I have to start adding ammonia to cycle the tank?
 
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mattgirl

Oh dear. Thank you for explaining. My tap water is 20 nitrates. It has 0 nitrites though so I thought the tank was cycling as the tank shows high nitrites. Do I have to start adding ammonia to cycle the tank?
Yes, ammonia is bacteria food. How high are your nitrites? Off the chart is high to some folks. .5 is high to others. :)
 
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BettaLove2021

Yes, ammonia is bacteria food. How high are your nitrites? Off the chart is high to some folks. .5 is high to others. :)
The nitrites are dark purple so I would say 5. I have pure household ammonia so I can add that.
Tetra safe start is different than other bottle bacteria. You do need an ammonia source for any cycle to happen. Im pretty sure you need to do water changes to get the nitrites down below 4ppm I believe it says for the TSS.
There is a link at the end of the fish- in Q&A that is for fishless cycling with TSS.
Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 58116
From reading that it sounds like I dont need to add ammonia. I may be just getting confused though.
 
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StarGirl

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Netti

Thank you. Does this mean I do not need to add ammonia? I am not in any rush to add a fish. I just wanted to make sure I was carrying on the cycle.
Apologies I did not see that you were doing a fishless cycle. I did one myself on my 5gal but after doing research, I found that a lot of people recommend against it and have stories like "after the fishless cycle I added fish and got amonia spikes". Although that might be the case for you as well, the spikes will not last as long as you've already built a colony of bacteria. So personally I opted to add some snails so they could eat the film on my driftwood and produce amonia naturally.

Anyway for a fishless cycle, amonia is definitely necessary, you can add enough to slightly raise the amonia between 4 and 5 parts per million if I remember correctly and try to keep it at that. You should not do water changes unless you have kind of botched the input of amonia. For my part I added fish food in the tank and let it decompose into the water column, eventually sinking onto and into the substrate so I can't really help with the amonia input. You will know that your cycle is coming right once you start finding nitrates in the water and the cycle will be complete when you both amonia and nitrites are at 0. Also remember to keep the water well oxygenated as bacteria do need oxygen to survive.
 
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BettaLove2021

Is that the link for fishless? The first page is for fish-in cycles. When you add fish right away. One of the comments has a link for fishless cycle.
Thank you. I think it says to dose ammonia no higher then 2ppm. Do you know if I should do that? I wonder why I have nitrites in the tank if it is not cycling.
 
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mattgirl

The nitrites are dark purple so I would say 5. I have pure household ammonia so I can add that.
I do have to wonder where the nitrites are coming from if you've not had an ammonia source in this tank. Please show us a photo of your tank. I have to wonder if something in there might be causing the reading you are seeing. There was one young lady I was helping and although she was doing everything right even 100% water changes would not keep her off the chart nitrites down. I finally had her remove her decor and the nitrites were gone.

The decor was marketed as aquarium safe but apparently weren't. It was unfortunate because both pieces were very nice looking resin pieces.

If the ammonia you have is pure ammonia with no other cleaners added to it it should work. Shake it and if it doesn't foam and the bubbles immediately disperse it will work just fine as your ammonia source.
 
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Netti

Unfortunately this very important piece of information isn't included in the instructions for using TSS. I have to think they assume there will be fish in there providing the ammonia.

Have you run the nitrate test on your tap water to see if there are any there.

This is a fishless cycle. Instructions are different if no fish are involved.

Yes I saw that when I came to read the reply mattgirl.

Again, sorry about that BettaLove2021!
 
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BettaLove2021

I do have to wonder where the nitrites are coming from if you've not had an ammonia source in this tank. Please show us a photo of your tank. I have to wonder if something in there might be causing the reading you are seeing. There was one young lady I was helping and although she was doing everything right even 100% water changes would not keep her off the chart nitrites down. I finally had her remove her decor and the nitrites were gone.

The decor was marketed as aquarium safe but apparently weren't. It was unfortunate because both pieces were very nice looking resin pieces. That is a good point.

If the ammonia you have is pure ammonia with no other cleaners added to it it should work. Shake it and if it doesn't foam and the bubbles immediately disperse it will work just fine as your ammonia source.
I just have silk plants and an aquarium cave made by rosewood.
 
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mattgirl

Thank you. I think it says to dose ammonia no higher then 2ppm. Do you know if I should do that? I wonder why I have nitrites in the tank if it is not cycling.
2ppm should be plenty for this tank.
I just have silk plants and an aquarium cave made by rosewood.
Neither of those should be causing what you are seeing unless I am misunderstanding. I understand you to be saying the cave is made of Rosewood.

I would go ahead and change out most of the water in this tank. Refill it with conditioned water. Once done add enough ammonia to get it up to 2ppm and wait. If the nitrites spike back up to the level you are seeing right now something other than the cycling process is producing them. If it happens remove the cave.
 
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StarGirl

I was just looking up rosewood and it is on lists of aquarium safe woods.
 
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BettaLove2021

2ppm should be plenty for this tank.

Neither of those should be causing what you are seeing unless I am misunderstanding. I understand you to be saying the cave is made of Rosewood.

I would go ahead and change out most of the water in this tank. Refill it with conditioned water. Once done add enough ammonia to get it up to 2ppm and wait. If the nitrites spike back up to the level you are seeing right now something other than the cycling process is producing them. If it happens remove the cave.
Sorry no, the company is rosewood. It is ceramic. I am embarrassed to take a picture because the water changes uprooted all the plants so it is messy. Thank you for all your help.
 
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mattgirl

Sorry no, the company is rosewood. It is ceramic. I am embarrassed to take a picture because the water changes uprooted all the plants so it is messy. Thank you for all your help.
No problem. If after the big water change the nitrites spike back up I have to think the cave is causing what you are seeing. If no ammonia has been processed the nitrites you are seeing didn't come from the cycling process.
 
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BettaLove2021


rosewood-cave-complex-aquarium-fish-ornament_500x.jpg
This is the cave. I have used one in the past too.
 
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StarGirl

I have seen a bunch of people use those caves so it is worth a shot with the big water change and see what happens. You may be starting all over again with the TSS though. The Nitrites may have killed it off.
 
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BettaLove2021

I have seen a bunch of people use those caves so it is worth a shot with the big water change and see what happens. You may be starting all over again with the TSS though. The Nitrites may have killed it off.
Thank you for all your help. That is okay as I am not in any rush. I will test the water tomorrow and if nitrites are the same I will start adding ammonia.
 
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