Cycling with SafeStart...weird results
3-17-13 setup new 12 gallon tank with water treated with Prime...temp 72-74.
3-19-13tested water with API master test kit pH: 7.4, ammonia 0-.25, nitrItes: 0, nitrAtes: 0... not sure what I expected to find, but tested anyway for a baseline. Added about 1/3 sm bottle SafeStart, waited 1 hr, added fish (3 small).
Continued to dose with SafeStart each day.
3-21-13 tested again...pH: 7.4, ammonia 0-.25, nitrItes: 0, nitrAtes:10-20!
I know the kit is good, have used it on other tanks.
How is this possible?
Will continue to monitor closely.
what fish did you add?
Safe start does nothing but be something extra to help a cycle along. it doesn't "insta-cycle" a tank.
what cycles a tank is having a source of ammonia for your BB to grow.
now that you've added fish, you'll have to monitor the tank much more closely and do more frequent water changes to keep the levels safe for the fish.
you're looking at around may to complete the cycle with fish.
1 white cloud mountain minnow and 2 glofish (zebra danios)...rescued from a 2 gallon tank. They are much "happier"/ healthier than before the move to the 12 gallon...had no time to do a fish less cycle and no place else to put them in the meantime. I can't believe the results either and will test once a day for the foreseeable future.
I was just asking because I can't believe these results...how did the nitrAtes show up so fast and in that amount? Any ideas?
if you are using the api master test kit (which is highly recommeneded) as the strips are not reliable...then you really gotta shake that bottle like your life depends on it. its a stubborn thing to test.
but honestly, you'll see a lot of fluctuation on a tank that size. the water/bb is in a smaller amount so what they can handle is drastically different than a 30 gallon tank, ya know?
but since you just added the fish, your technically just starting your cycle so you'll see random weird #'s.
the only thing to focus on right now is to keep that ammonia below 0.25ppm and to do water changes once it gets above that.
once your ammonia hits 0 day after day, you'll see a nitrite spike
repeat the process and keep the nitrites low
they will then drop to 0 day after day
and you'll have a cycled tank.
Definitely using the master test kit, and always shake the bottles for the nitrAte test for over a minute very well. I will continue to monitor and add some more bb as well. I had thought the appearance of nitrAtes was significant, as in they would't be seen until the earlier parts of the cycle had produced the appropriate waste/fuel for the "later" bacteria to appear.
First off, you're supposed to add the entire bottle of safestart (per the instructions). Secondly, you may have added the nitrates to the tank via the safestart. Keep in mind, those are nitrifying bacteria in the bottle and they're given food (ammonia/nitrite) to survive, so I'd be really surprised if there's no nitrate in there. Thirdly, as mizzo said, unless you're perfectly consistent in the way you test for nitrate AND you shake the h3ll out of the second bottle, you're results are going to be all over the place. I don't see your nitrates as being evident of a cycle yet. Give it time and keep testing.
Not unusual to get odd readings with a bac booster. The point is that it helps the fish to survive and detoxifies the ammonia and nitrites. I've used it, as well, but prefer the Seachem Stability which is a daily dose for a week. I also did not use an entire bottle all at once. I think that should depend on the tank size. Directions are very vague but there would be no reason to use an entire bottle on a 10-20 gallon tank to me.
If you are trying to cycle, the tank temp should be 78 and where most tropical fish do best. 72 is pretty cold for tropicals.
The directions are very clear to add the entire bottle. The purpose of this is to make sure that enough of all the different types of bacteria are added to the tank. For example, if you only add half a bottle, you may only be adding mostly those that convert nitrite to nitrate, but very little of ammonia oxidizing bacteria.
Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
Could be Funkman. Like I said, directions are not the same given in each reading. I just read that 1/3 of a bottle can be used in smaller tanks, too, so who really knows for sure. Kinda of meaningless if a full bottle works for 10 gallon or a 200 gallon. There instructions kind of stink. LOL