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Cycling my tank (TSS)

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Hi Everyone!

I purchased a 27 gallon cube tank this past weekend. I have been neurotically checking ammonia and nitrite levels and performing partial water changes up to twice a day while learning about cycling my tank.

Well, as I also broke down the same day I had the tank and picked up 5 julii cory cats and 5 cherry shrimp, I guess I am doing a fish-in cycle! I have read up on this site and others about how to make the process safe and stumbled across experiences with Tetra Safe Start that expedited the process and made it seemingly less stressful on the fish. I want to keep my little guys as healthy and happy as possible during this process.

Have you had success using Tetra Safe Start? I read that I should not do a water change or add any water conditioners or other chemicals for 24 hours prior to adding it. So this evening is when that time will have passed.

I took readings this morning and on my lunch break using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Here are the results:

No change between this morning and at lunch:
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: .25
Nitrate: 5

Out of curiosity I took readings from tap water:
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The previous several days I have only had ammonia show up at .25 or .5 and I immediately did a water change of up to 50%, typically 30%.

Please note up until I read about TSS yesterday I had been adding prime to get the bacteria growing.

So, questions!
  • With Nitrates showing up in my results, could my tank already be cycling?
  • Should I add Tetra Safe Start or continue my water changes?
  • Can I do water changes with Tetra Safe Start? I am worried about my fish!
  • I removed the carbon insert from my filter when I started adding Prime because I didn't know if it impacted the bacteria and, with the dispute about whether carbon is even useful I thought it wouldn't hurt! Should this be in when cycling / using TSS?

Please advise what you think is the safest route for my little guys. They are so active and fun and I absolutely love them.

Additional tank info:
  • I have massive java fern from a local independent fish store with beautiful tanks, it was from her display tank so I am hoping I also got some of her healthy bacteria with it
  • My substrate is about 40 lbs of white sand
  • I also have a small piece of drift wood, several anubias plants and another leafy plant I cannot recall the name of from my betta tank
  • My filter is a Fluval AquaClear 30
  • I also have a real moss ball from my betta tank and a fluval faux moss ball that I purchased to help absorb the bad stuff in this tank

I apologize for all the questions, my username should have been Questions&MoreQuestions! :icon_lol: I will post pictures this evening or tomorrow, I need to get ready for date night with my husband! :biggrin:

Thank you in advance for all of your help...
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I wanted to add, cory cats are my very favorite fresh water fish, they have such great little personalities! Once my tank is cycled I would like to up their school to 10. Until then I am doing my best to resist the fish aisles at the local pet stores (okay, maybe I look, but I haven't purchased!).
 

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-Prime does not grow bacteria.
-activated carbon is fine
-your tank is starting to cycle but has a way to go
-TSS is great, do a water change, dechlor your water with prime, add TSS, and don't change water for a couple weeks.
-Only feed every few days
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
-Prime does not grow bacteria.
-activated carbon is fine
-your tank is starting to cycle but has a way to go
-TSS is great, do a water change, dechlor your water with prime, add TSS, and don't change water for a couple weeks.
-Only feed every few days
Thank you for the response! Should I just do a 30% water change or enough to bring ammonia to 0?

Thank you again!
 
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