Fishless Cycle Stuck - No Nitrites

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,374
1,785
200
SF Bay area, CA
I have more experience of chlorine & chloramine in tap water than TTA ;). Most city water has 1ppm of chloramine (or chlorine), but it doesn't matter too much. Just dose Prime dechlorinator for the entire tank water volume. A bit extra doesn't hurt anything. I dose into the refill water flow but I have lots of plants that help too. Don't overthink this!
 

Andy90

AC Members
Oct 21, 2020
16
1
3
31
Thanks for the reassurance about the conditioner! What I've been using is the API tap water conditioner, does that work as well as the Prime?

Edit: Just noticed I had two packages of tetra aqua safe water conditioner as well that together would treat 60 gallons. I know tetra does good for the safe start/bacteria but is their conditioner good too or should I just skip it?
 
Last edited:

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,374
1,785
200
SF Bay area, CA
Yeah, it's too early to be worried about which dechlorinator you use, any is fine for the early stages of cycling without fish. But when it's time to buy more get Prime ;), to me it's worth the slight increase in price...I buy it by the gallon, lol.

I don't know the difference between Safe Start & Safe Start Plus, I'll have to search tomorrow...did you? What did you find?
 

Andy90

AC Members
Oct 21, 2020
16
1
3
31
Thanks for the info!
It looks like the only real "difference" is that the plus claims to have "twice the amount of bacteria" but I don't know if that's just an obvious marketing ploy to make you buy a newer (and slightly more expensive) product or what.
 

Andy90

AC Members
Oct 21, 2020
16
1
3
31
So I'm in the buying process now. So far I ordered the Dr Tim's ammonia directly from his site and now I'm looking at the Tetra safe start plus and I'm a little confused. The pictures that different sites use of the bottle (and the descriptions that match) are conflicting. One description says a 3.38 oz bottle will cycle up to 200 gallons. Then another description/picture says the 8.45 oz bottle will cycle up to 50 gallons. That's a...pretty big difference that seems backwards. They're both safe start plus but the only difference is the pictures being used. I'm not sure which one to get. Obviously the cheaper one (3.38 oz) would be preferable if that's all I need. But if not, then I need to get the 8.45 oz bottle plus a 1.69 oz bottle.
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,950
487
92
New York
You only need one of them, they are essentially the same bacteria. Unless you wear a belt and suspenders :p I prefer the Dr. Tim's and have never tried the SafeStart. But the company that owns Tetra also shares the patents on the product with Dr. Hovanec aka Dr. Tim. He developed it.

Also, they have different instructions for how to use their respective products. When using Dr. Tim's it can take a week to have a fully cycled tanks but is usually more like 10-12 days. What you will be doing is waking them up and then cranking them up. In the bottle they are dormant. Having oxygen and ammonia available cause them to go back to work.

There are three ways you can use either of these products. One is as directed, i.e. using the right amount for one's tank. However, the second way lets one buy less and save money and take a bit more time to get them to double. That is, if one has a 50 gal tank, they would use a bottle for 25-30 gallons and use ammonia to get them to double. the third way is to accellerate the process by getting more than the normal amount and buying more. For example you get enough for 60 gallons to put in your 30 or 40 gallon tanks.

However, if you buy the correct size the only reason to add ammonia is to wake them up. That should be enough to stock the tank pretty quickly. Not everybody has similar parameters and tanks. So what is in one's tap water will vary. A Enough oxygen and carbonates (what makes KH) matter as well. Finally, one's water temperature an pH can have an effect as well.

Pretty much any of the cycling products that contain live nitrifying bacteria tell users to maintain pH above 7 and up to about 8 I think. Most tell you to turn off tank lights and UV. All that do not contain Nitrospira (they use Nitrobacter) also want you to do multiple additions in the first few days of weeks. The ones with Nitrospira will tell you to shake the bottle well and then pour the entire thing into the tank. But they also want more of your money and will usually suggest yo can add it if wou add new fish or water a water change. You do not need to, save your money.
 

Andy90

AC Members
Oct 21, 2020
16
1
3
31
Thanks!
After looking around and comparing it looked like I could get a better price for the Dr. Tim's 4 oz. bottle on Amazon as opposed to trying to buy the Tetra safe start. So I ordered that. As for measuring, I have this (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013DHJRPU/ref=twister_B01DSH66DQ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1) which I bought for my original fishless cycle. It's pretty large though and I'm totally confident in my ability to measure things 100% accurately with it so should I order a smaller one like you suggested or is this one alright? As far as pH and alkalinity, as I made mention to earlier my pH from the tap is about 7.6 though my alkalinity is low at only 30. How much should I be raising my alkalinity to for best results?
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,950
487
92
New York
You do not need to raise it, you just need not to let it drop. The best way to give it a mild bump which will react to the pH becoming acid is to put a bag or crushed coral in a filter. I used to keep a bag with a 1/2 cup in my high tech planted 50 which had pressurized co2 added 24/7 which might have dropped the pH. I eventually took out the bag and things never got to a bad place afterwards. But that may be because I do weekly water changes and ran a somewhat leaner level of co2 than most.

You would likely need that for only a few weeks, if at all. Just keep an eye on the pH. If it stays put then do not worry about the KH.
 

Andy90

AC Members
Oct 21, 2020
16
1
3
31
I'll keep a close eye on it during the process. Still waiting for USPS to deliver my stuff...they've evidently lost it somewhere. Well, it's "arriving late" now, was supposed to be here Friday and still no word on when I can expect it. Ugh.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
11,374
1,785
200
SF Bay area, CA
I've lived (twice) with low KH & like TTA added crushed coral to the filters. I did (do) much less than he does...more like ~1/8-1/4 cup crushed coral in a 55-75g tank to keep pH stable. In several years I've never run out of it in its original pantyhose bags...but there can be other factors...so many variables in tap water everywhere. I aim for at least 50ppm KH or so (3 GDH) but more is not necessarily bad...up to a point...but I'm not sure of what the "too high" amount is...We didn't test for KH back in our hard water first 20+ years...or much of anything other than pH, lol. The more we know...the better we can do!
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store