The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 127 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,738 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So when you do a water change or are setting up a tank, you typically buy a bottle of some brand product to get beneficial bacteria into the tank that will eventually settle in and get ammonia and nitrite under control... what product do you use?
I have used a large bottle of an API one and its almost empty so I'm thinking of trying something else and would like to hear what other users have bought and liked.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,942 Posts
So when you do a water change or are setting up a tank, you typically buy a bottle of some brand product to get beneficial bacteria into the tank that will eventually settle in and get ammonia and nitrite under control... what product do you use?
I have used a large bottle of an API one and its almost empty so I'm thinking of trying something else and would like to hear what other users have bought and liked.
They are pretty much a waste of money. There is already BB in your tank if it's been started. Plants alone will do the job. The water column doesn't really house much BB. They are on the various surfaces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Pretty much what HOC said. Alot of those products are said to not even contain bacteria that will sustain life in the aquarium.

As painful as it is just wait out the cycle and keep testing for nitrates. Or just load the thing with plants and go to town!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
963 Posts
So when you do a water change or are setting up a tank, you typically buy a bottle of some brand product to get beneficial bacteria into the tank that will eventually settle in and get ammonia and nitrite under control... what product do you use?
I have used a large bottle of an API one and its almost empty so I'm thinking of trying something else and would like to hear what other users have bought and liked.
Never used such a product in 25 years, even for cycling a tank I just throw the water, turn on the filter and wait 4 weeks. Cycle will resolve itself, bacteria will come from air, or tap water, or from my hands, etc.

I use API stress coat from time to time on large water changes to help neutralize chlorine and protect fauna from stress.

Michel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
400 Posts
The only one I've ever used that actually worked has been Biospira (and I have to say it worked quite well), where it cycled a tank from new in ~ 2 days. Apparently the recipe was sold to Tetra and later modified, and is now sold under the name Safestart. I recently used Safestart and it seems to work fine, though it was not a controlled experiment by any means. The general consensus online seems to be that it works, but not as well as Biospira, which had to be refrigerated. From what I understand, Safestart/Biospira/Dr Tim's are the only formulas that contain the correct species of nitrifying bacteria for freshwater aquariums.

I think the issue people run into with using these products (Safestart in particular) is either a DOA or expired bottle (too much heat or cold in shipping/storage) or a failure to use it properly. Tetra states that you shouldn't dump the stuff into something like 6ppm ammonia, and not to use ammonia locking chemicals like Prime 24 hours before or 7 days after adding Safestart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
I can say that tetra safestart has the correct types of bacteria needed if it is in good enough shape to work
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
I have had great success with tetra safestart Plus. It has been known to be one of the few with the correct bacteria in it. I highly suggest it. I wanted to speed up the cycle of my new 40 gallon breeder. This product helped me cycle it in less than 2 weeks with fish and Red Cherry Shrimp in it the whole time(=
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
400 Posts
The one thing all of these product's have in common is...they lighten your wallet and mileage varies from poor to worse.
Have you used all of these products before? Pretty bold blanket statement to make there.

According to the email response here:

http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/aquarium-nitrogen-cycle/58116-q-tetra-tetra-safestart.html

The Georgia Aquarium uses Safestart and Biospira. The fact that a team of dedicated marine biologists on staff would use a product says something doesn't it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
Yeah...I only needed tetra safe start when I was setting up my first tank and I didn't have access to established media to "seed" my filter with BB. My cycle stalled, I added TSS and I was cycled the next day....testing meticulously with an API master test kit. Now that I have 8 tanks, 7 of those 8 didn't need TSS. It has its useful purpose.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
400 Posts
Betta water will work too, it doesn't mean you need it.
By this logic, express shipping on anything is pointless? You'll get it anyways with regular shipping right? :icon_roll If I can spend 15 bucks and save 2-3 weeks of time, it's well worth it to me. Same as picking faster shipping and paying more to get stuff faster.

Impatience aside there will be emergencies where you could really use something like this.

I believe the discussion was about what WORKS, not if you need it. Clearly the demand is there or there wouldn't be 1000 of such products, nor would OP post this thread.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,942 Posts
By this logic, express shipping on anything is pointless? You'll get it anyways with regular shipping right? :icon_roll If I can spend 15 bucks and save 2-3 weeks of time, it's well worth it to me. Same as picking faster shipping and paying more to get stuff faster.

Impatience aside there will be emergencies where you could really use something like this.

I believe the discussion was about what WORKS, not if you need it. Clearly the demand is there or there wouldn't be 1000 of such products, nor would OP post this thread.
Actually my comment has zero to do with speed. That's an assumption YOU made. There are a ridiculous number of ways to get BB in the water. I'm amazed especially in a Planted Tank community people buy this stuff .
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
400 Posts
Actually my comment has zero to do with speed. That's an assumption YOU made. There are a ridiculous number of ways to get BB in the water. I'm amazed especially in a Planted Tank community people buy this stuff .
Except not everyone has access to the amount of BB that you need. You can seed from another filter, but like the word implies, it's seeding it, and will take some time to get to full capacity. I didn't assume anything. Your comment is clearly related to speed, as it normally still takes a while for seeding to kick in. Not every situation has this luxury, and not everyone wants to wait. YOU assumed that everyone had access to said BB in large quantities. From my experience, Biospira, and to a lesser extent Safestart, is like hotswapping a cycled filter onto the tank.

Again, the discussion was not about what you NEED. There's a demand, and certain situations (read: emergencies) that call for it.
 

·
Premium Member
Rank Amateur
Joined
·
1,370 Posts
AquaAurora: I don't believe it's necessary for water changes.. but,

I always wondered why no one suggested using this stuff to someone new in the hobby who's desperate to get things cycled because they already have animals in the tank before they learned about "cycling." I see all types of suggestions of changing water daily, add seeded filter, don't have one, go on craigslist to find a fellow aquarist, etc. All the while, they've been struggling for 3 weeks to get the right stuff happening. Wouldn't this have helped immensely? This has got to be easier than finding someone with a seeded filter! The theory seems scientifically sound.

Personally, when I changed my substrate in an established tank to some Mr. Aqua soil, I got a massive spike in ammonia -- whether it's from substrate disturbance or natural leeching -- that wasn't going down for couple days. You'd think an established tank would've taken it better. So I panicked and ran for some fritz zyme (much cheaper than safestart at my LFS) and it seemed to have helped me through my cycle. Whether it was my own bacteria catching up or it was truly the additional bottled bacteria, I'm unsure.

Therefore, my own use was anecdotal but I'd be interested to hear from others who may have done more testing if this is a viable alternative to people struggling for weeks to get their tank started as Chronados suggested.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
400 Posts
AquaAurora: I don't believe it's necessary for water changes.. but,

I always wondered why no one suggested using this stuff to someone new in the hobby who's desperate to get things cycled because they already have animals in the tank before they learned about "cycling." I see all types of suggestions of changing water daily, add seeded filter, don't have one, go on craigslist to find a fellow aquarist, etc. All the while, they've been struggling for 3 weeks to get the right stuff happening. Wouldn't this have helped immensely? This has got to be easier than finding someone with a seeded filter! The theory seems scientifically sound.

Personally, when I changed my substrate in an established tank to some Mr. Aqua soil, I got a massive spike in ammonia -- whether it's from substrate disturbance or natural leeching -- that wasn't going down for couple days. You'd think an established tank would've taken it better. So I panicked and ran for some fritz zyme (much cheaper than safestart at my LFS) and it seemed to have helped me through my cycle. Whether it was my own bacteria catching up or it was truly the additional bottled bacteria, I'm unsure.

Therefore, my own use was anecdotal but I'd be interested to hear from others who may have done more testing if this is a viable alternative to people struggling for weeks to get their tank started as Chronados suggested.
Thank you, this is the point I was trying to make. While there's nothing wrong with the standard tactics: fishless cycling, seeding with old filters, etc, etc, there is no reason to be closed to alternative/new approaches. Even fishless cycling with ammonia is a relatively new concept to fishkeeping. In my mind, these bacterial products (as long as they work) are another tool to be used, whether for unexpected situations like a tank crash or simply for time constraints. If it works, and does something better than the status quo, then why should anyone get any flak to deciding how they spend their own money? Who knows, maybe in 10 years everyone will be starting their tanks with some new version of Safestart.

Agreed on the water changes part, I forgot to address that earlier. Unless you are heavily disturbing your substrate or cleaning your filter, or both at the same time, there's really no reason to add Safestart during water changes as most of the bacteria is not in the water itself.
 
1 - 20 of 127 Posts
Top