Does Seachem Stability work??? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Does Seachem Stability work???

My tank start up and cycling efforts are stalled.
The Stability directions say to add 4 cap fulls of the product on the first day for a 38 gallon tank. Two caps each day after that for 6 more days.
I'm on day 8 and the nitrites are, and have been, locked at 2.0 ppm. Nitrates were mostly at 20 ppm (this is the same as the source tap water).
I added ammonia to 0.25 ppm 3 times which goes to zero over two days (seems a little slow).
The last two days saw the nitrates drop to 5 ppm.
The directions also say fish can be added at any time during this 7 day period.
I see no cycling progress and would think this water would be toxic to any fish.
Am I missing something? Has anyone used this product?

Tank is dirted, fishless and heavily planted.
Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 07:06 PM
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The Seachem directions make no mention of adding ammonia - so I wouldn't follow them entirely. You definitely need to wait until the nitrites are gone before you add fish. The bacteria that consume the nitrite are slower to arrive.

Last edited by lee739; 11-20-2014 at 07:48 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 07:15 PM
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Just a bit confused. Are you adding ammonia as well as Stability?

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 07:42 PM
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Tank Cycling

Hello fish...

You can add 3 to 4 hardy fish for every 10 gallons of tank water you want to cycle. The "Stability" product is no substitute for a steady source of ammonia you need to cycle the tank. The fish will provide it. Platys are a good choice if you prefer livebearers and Danios are good if you like egg layers.

You set up the tank and include a good floating plant to help filter the water. Hornwort or Anacharis are likely the best.

Once the fish are acclimated and in the tank, you feed just a little about every other day and have your water testing kit ready and test daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have a positive test, change out 25 percent of the tank water and replace it with treated tap water. Follow this testing procedure for a month or so, or until you get several daily tests with no traces of the above toxins. At this point, the tank is cycled. Then, remove and replace half the tank water every week to maintain safe water conditions for the fish.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 08:35 PM
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You can add fish food instead of fish to start the cycle along with a bacterial additive [like Dr Tim's or Stability].
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 10:03 PM
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I think 8d into a fishless cycle, biological additives or not, its early days - just wait it out.... I'd keep adding the ammonia at the doses you are doing in the meantime.
What is the waters KH?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 10:44 PM
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Stability does work. I have used it twice, once on my reef and once on my planted tank. I'm not sure why you are adding ammonia. Obviously if your nitrites are reading I would not add fish. If you have an issue with nitrites you might have a problem with your test kit. If it does not improve I would drain the water and start again this time not adding ammonia. If it doesn't work the second time your test kit is bad.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 11:05 PM
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You can do a fishless cycle with the 'bacteria in a bottle' products.

a) You are not adding enough ammonia. Bringing the ammonia to only .25ppm every few days is a very low amount.
b) The bacteria that remove nitrite (Nitrospira species of bacteria) are very slow growing. 2 ppm nitrite is not a toxic level for them, though. One week into a fishless cycle they are just getting started growing.

I question whether Seachem Stability has the right species of bacteria.
If I were doing a fishless cycle with a bottle that contains Nitrospira I would expect the cycle to be complete in 24-48 hours. Tank would be able to handle 3 ppm ammonia overnight, with no nitrite showing.
I suspect that you are basically doing a fishless cycle with no source of starter bacteria. This is not a problem, the right species will find the tank even if you are not adding them from a bottle or any other source. Cycle should take 3 weeks with no starter culture.

Here is the fishless cycle.
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 11:10 PM
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Stability is a bottle of good bacteria. The bacteria is responsible for turning ammonia to nitrite and and then nitrite to nitrate. The nitrate is then removed by water changes or plants.

I have cycled tanks in many different ways. But at the end of the end they always end up cycled regardless of what method was used.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 01:49 AM
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I have used Stability (and Tetra Safe Start), but Stability was more of a supplemental additive. I had already seeded my tank with some stuff previously in use from another tank, and used Stability to help boost bacteria to accommodate more inhabitants in a new tank.

But as you said your tank is heavily planted. I wonder if thats stalling the progression of your Nitrates from going up and letting the 2nd stage bacteria from really growing.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the response from Seachem yesterday

Ron, Thank you for your email. When using Stability to colonize beneficial bacteria in your tank you will be adding the proper amount of bacteria to support your system. That being said, the bacteria does need some time to grow, multiply and colonize. This can take anywhere from 1 week to 6-8 weeks depending on the tank and how it is set up.

The change in levels that you are seeing is a clear indication that the bacteria you have added is colonizing in the system. You can use Prime in conjunction with Stability to bind toxic ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as you cycle. Prime can be used every 48 hours to bind these toxins which will make the system safe for the bacteria and the addition of fish. The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will still be available to the bacteria as a food source, however it will be bound into a form that is not toxic to the fish or the beneficial bacteria.

I then asked;
Given my tank parameters, how soon after adding prime would it be safe to add some fish?
Is the daily dose of Stability still needed until the nitrites go to zero?

They answered;

Prime works immediately upon contact to bind the toxic ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. After 7 days you will not need to add Stability daily. Instead you can use Stability only when performing water changes, when adding new fish and/or medicating.


Between the above and Diana's info I think I will continue to add ammonia to 0.25 ppm level, do wc to keep nitrites and nitrates in check, hold off on any more Stability except at wc's, and begin adding dry ferts.
If I can't resist getting a couple of fish, then maybe the Prime will come into use.
The label on Stability does not mention using Prime when adding fish at anytime in the process. That seems to be an important omission.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 01:30 AM
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Because Stability is meant to help establish a bacterial colony in your system; it is typically added with some source of nitrogen to help the bacterial colony grow like adding fish or fish food. It cycles the aquarium quicker than it would naturally. That's the point. With Stability you can add fish the same day and keep adding Stability everyday for 7 days.

You don't need to add Prime unless your ammonia levels are high and there are fish in your system. The Prime is there for the fish's safety, not to help establish the bacterial colony.

Also, you don't need to add ammonia daily because assume the bacterial colony grow too big - then you add a couple of fish - the excess bacteria will die off.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul-7 View Post
Because Stability is meant to help establish a bacterial colony in your system; it is typically added with some source of nitrogen to help the bacterial colony grow like adding fish or fish food. It cycles the aquarium quicker than it would naturally. That's the point. With Stability you can add fish the same day and keep adding Stability everyday for 7 days.

You don't need to add Prime unless your ammonia levels are high and there are fish in your system. The Prime is there for the fish's safety, not to help establish the bacterial colony.

Also, you don't need to add ammonia daily because assume the bacterial colony grow too big - then you add a couple of fish - the excess bacteria will die off.
Agree 100 percent.

If you are adding beneficial bacteria to colonize the tank, why continue to add ammonia? The bacteria you added will consume it and so forth. You add fish waste, food, ammonia etc to feed the bacteria in a new tank when the bacteria population is low. So when you populate the new tank with stability why add any extra ammonia? There is no need to feed the newly grown bacteria with ammonia supplements. If I am wrong I would welcome someone to explain it to me.

I have used stability in both reef and planted tanks as directed with success without adding
ammonia. I'm not saying don't add ammonia as the cycle will complete anyway. I just don't understand the concept.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm thinking the newly established bacteria in a fishless tank need to be fed, hence the ammonia. Otherwise they starve.
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