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Instant Aquarium?

2465 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  PlantedRich
Has anyone tried the CaribSea Instant Aquarium gravel/sand? I just ordered some from Petco since they only sell it online. Its a little more coarse than sand but a lot more fine than gravel. It also comes ready for fish. Your suppose to be able to just put it in and add water and fish. Ill probably wait a few days and test the params a few times just to check its all safe. But it was only $16.99 for a 20lb bag! Just really looking for some feedback
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It's a gimmick, in my opinion. While some beneficial bacteria could exist in the bag that could help get a cycle going instantly with some fish, it's not a fool-proof method.

You'll likely still need to cycle your tank appropriately before adding livestock. 2-3 days won't cut it when it comes to growing biofilm and allowing a proper bacterial colony to build.
I wouldn't trust it either.;)
I should add: the bacteria in the package could be bacteria that survive.

However, I've found that they typically die off rather quickly and then the bacteria that live and thrive in a tank slowly develop from that point.

If I were you, I'd add some seeded filter material to the tank and cycle it normally.
And/Or just plant heavily as plants are covered in biofilm. Right?
And/Or just plant heavily as plants are covered in biofilm. Right?
What makes plants beneficial for "cycling" is that they eat up ammonia and nitrite. Over time, biofilm develops, and they play there role in providing additional surface area for bacteria (which also grow over time).

If they are healthy and growing, the NH3/NO2 reduction can be instantaneous.

Always, always a good idea to add your bioload (fish) gradually, over time.
Thanks guys. I definitly wasnt adding anything until I was sure the tank was cycled. And the only reason I went with it is it was cheaper than the super naturals sand on the same exact color. Plus its being delivered to my door :icon_bigg so I really couldn't argue with it.
The actual nitrifying bacteria are a bit too delicate to be supplied that way.

Here is what I would do:
Set up the tank and add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. Then see how long it takes for the bacteria to remove it. Monitor the nitrite and nitrate, too.

Maybe the product has the old bacteria that people used to think were the nitrifying bacteria. Studies have shown that these bacteria do not live long in the tank.
Maybe the product has other bacteria that are helpful, perhaps decomposers that will help by composting the waste (fallen leaves, fish poop). Those sorts of bacteria do enter a dormant phase and are much more easily shipped.

I sure doubt there are Nitrospiros species in there.

Anyway... after you have added that initial dose of ammonia, keep on adding it as needed to keep it at 3 ppm. If you have not already read about the fishless cycle, do so.
Yes, as pejerrey suggests, lots of plants can provide a lot of bacteria (nitrifying and other species) and the plants themselves are part of the nitrogen cycle. You can indeed set up the whole tank, fully planted, and add fish right away. (a reasonable load, anyway). The 'fully planted' part means there are enough plants to pretty much hide the back of the tank.
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My doubts about bacteria in a bag are based on what we think about the bacteria and the weather. Most of the bacteria we like struggle to survive in high temperatures. The back of a closed truck can easily go past 140 on a hot day. So the question for me is did the bag lay in a hot truck and for how long? Or did the bag lay out on the dock in the sun ? You can fry an egg on a good hot day.
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