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fishorama

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If I ever have to start from scratch again I'd consider Dr. Tim's or Tetra Safe Start if I was in a hurry. You can pretty much fully stock quite soon.
 

FreshyFresh

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Has anyone here had success fully stocking right away by using something like Tetra safe start? I see disaster lurking in the shadows with that one. Be interesting to see how it goes with very light stocking.
 

FishAddict74

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Has anyone here had success fully stocking right away by using something like Tetra safe start? I see disaster lurking in the shadows with that one. Be interesting to see how it goes with very light stocking.
I have had success doing that, but I wouldn’t recommend it except for the most experienced keepers. Every small mistake will become magnified
 
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john1959

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I recommend tetra safe start along with established media and substrate or at least a mix of new and established substrate then start off with small bio load and add whatever fish slowly
I’ve used this method many times without any issues
filtration media or substrate don't have any have to cycle some other way
 

FishAddict74

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filtration media or substrate don't have any have to cycle some other way
Then I would use tetra safe start, just stock very lightly in the beginning, feed very lightly and test your water daily. I would use a fish that is Hardy amd and inexpensive like a convict, even if you don’t want a convict you can give it away afterwards.
You could also hit up a LFS for media and/or substrate or even put an ad on CL. Someone might have a filter cartridge from a HOB they’re getting ready to throw out. It doesn’t have to fit your filter, you can even set it in the tank to seed it.
 

dougall

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I would never recommend using filter media or substrate other than from someone you know and trust.

Who knows what sort of infection or parasite it might possibly contain.

Unless, you know, you plan to quarantine it too. Unless it came from the same tank or water system as the fish you are getting there's no reason to double your chances of an infection
 
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FreshyFresh

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I think we've established the OP has zero access to established media or substrate.

As tempting as some random back alley media can be, just say no.
 
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I would not suggest one fully stock a tank immediately after adding Dr. Tim's or Safe Start. To do this one should wait about a week. During this week I do a mini-fishless cycle. I use ammonium chloride for this. I will add between 2 and 3 ppm of Total Ammonia and then test in 24 hours. It is rare that the tank will be ready for a full load of fish in that short amount of time. One could add fewer fish, however.

As soon as the tank shows 0 ammonia, I dose it again and test in 24. When the tank can 0 out ammonia in 24 hours, a full fish load can be added. Notice I do not test for either nitrite or nitrate. The reasons are simple. The bottle arrives with an established balance between the two types of bacteria. Whatever ever amount of ammonia it can process out of the bottle, it can also process the amount if nitrite that amount of ammonia will become. I do not care about nitrate as whatever it is will be gone when I do the huge water change before i stock the tank. The time is takes to be able to stock fully is never more than 7 days and is usually more like 5.

I more often use the Dr. Tim's to jump start my bio-farm- 10 foam cubes in a 29 gal. tank with a bag of crushed coral (to keep the KH up), Because I have time and like to save money, I do not add enough bacteria to create 10 filters each able immediately to handle a 25-30 gal. tank fully or over stocked as soon as the tank is set up. I will not buy enough bacteria for 250-300 gals. because ammonium chloride is cheaper. I may start with 1/5 of the bacteria I will ultimately need.

What I do need is a clean set of filters that I know are disease free. Most often I take these filters to a weekend event where I am selling my fish. The tanks get heavily stocked, minimally planted and they rely on the cycled filters. I also use the bio-farm when setting up summer tanks outside on the screened terrace. I put up a 50, 2 x 40b, 29, 3x20L and a regular 20. All are ready to hold a full fish load as soon as they are filled and brought up to temperature.

More often than not, when I need to set up a single new tank, I just steal things from my 20 other tanks to create a new one ready to stock. I know if my tanks are healthy of not. I can not say this for certain about other folk's tanks. If I do not want to do this then I may use the appropriately sized bottle of Dr. Tim's.

We all know that stress is a major doorway to illness in a tank. So, here is a question for folks. Do you think that doing a major water change in a tank is at all stressful for the fish? If so, do you believe that fish newly added to a tank might find such water changes, and other in tank work, more stressful after they first go into the tank but, over time, they become a bit more accustomed to things and are less stressed by our working in their tank?

How do you think this might effect a fish being used in a fish-in cycle? How do you determine that fish used in cycling have suffered no harm what-so-ever? How do you know they will not have a shortened life span of be more susceptible to illnesses?
 

FishAddict74

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TwoTankAmin has used Dr. Tim's more than once as have some others. TTA, I guess I'm calling you out, but in a good way :)
There’s a risk getting media or substrate from outside sources, but you can limit the risk by checking out where it’s coming from. If it’s from a healthy tank with healthy fish, it’s most likely ok, but there’s a risk. I have many tanks to pull from and I’ve given old media to people, a couple times people I met at petsmart getting bad info and I couldn’t help but step in.
 
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