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Original poster
May 18, 2019
So I'm starting to think that maybe I'm not doing something right.
I've added safe start (100ml) and about 10ml of aquasafe+ to my 20gal. I'm not seeing any changes in my ph levels.

Is there anything else I need to do or add so I can add fish my tank.


...and over the edge.
Staff member
Dec 30, 2005
Real Name
Mr. Normal
Why are you trying to change the pH?
Apr 2, 2002
New York
Safe Start is one of the very few bacterial starter products that will do the proper job. A better choice would be the similiar Dr. Tim's One and Only. These are products one can use to jump start a fishless cycle or to allow one to start stocking gradually right away. AquaSafe Plus is a dechlorinator which will detoxify some metals and includes something I personally will never use in any of my tanks, something which "Provides a slime coat to help wounds heal and protect fish from abrasions." Neither of these products should have any effect on pH levels nor are they designed to do so.

If you are doing a fishless cycle, you will need to be adding ammonia in some form to the tank in order to "wake up" the bacteria and to get them multiplying. I would suggest using Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride. You can find this on Amazon etc. It comes in two ways. One requires adding 4 drops/gal. to get to 2 ppm of ammonia-n and the other is stronger, and requires only one drop/gal. to get to the 2 ppm. This should make a tank ready for a full fish load in a week or less.

Finally, re AquaSafe Plus, it does not contain an ammonia detoxifier, but it does break down chloramines. When chloramines are btorken down they revert to their two main ingredients- chlorine and ammonia. The AquaSafe Plus cause the breakedown and then neiutralizes the chlorine. However, because it is lacking an ammonia detoxifier is will release ammonia into a tank.

I have cycled something in the neighborhood of 150-200 tanks over the years. I also have run my own bio-farm for filters on and off over the past decade. I use very few things to do this.
1. Filter squeezings from cycled tanks (I may move over some cycled media, decor or substrate to start a new tank when the bio-farm is not up and running.)
2. Dr. Tim's One and Only.
3. Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride.
4. For the bio-farm only, a bag of crushed coral to supply carbonates.

I do 50%+ water changes on the bio-farm weekly or more often. I am about to pre-cycle 15 Poret foam cubes for my summer use tanks (about 6 tanks holding about 220 gals.)

Before somebody asks, I have amazing well water and have never used any form of dechlorinator or detoxifier etc. unless I am selling fish at a weekend event and must use hotel water.