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Just wanted to add A Bacteria Starter to this list: 
 
For those in Canada, and who can get to a Big Al's fish store. They carry a product called Colony Nitrifying Bacteria. By Acrylic Tank Manufacturing. Here is the link to their website: 
 
http://acrylictankmanufacturing.com/products/water-treatment/biologicals/colony-nitrifying-bacteria/ 
 
They make products for both freshwater and marine tanks. 
 
I used this product in place of Tetra Safe Start Plus and Dr. Tims One and Only. It got my tanks cycled in about 2 weeks or so. Their bacteria does require certain tank parameters to be met in order for the bacteria to flourish and effectively cycle the tank quickly, but this product can be used for both fishless cycles and fish in cycles. 
 
Cheers,
 
Vindi
 
Thanks for that input.
 
Have had a quick look at that link, not one I have heard of to be honest.
 
Finding it quite hard to see what ingredients this has, specifically whihc type/s of bacteria they cultivate and bottle.
 
Interesting though that it says :
 
"Only aerobic autotrophs perform bio-filtration in the context of the nitrogen cycle, so not just any bacteria will do.  As these bacteria have a comparatively slow growth rate, a wait of 6-8 weeks may be required to establish bio-filtration in a new aquarium as their numbers at this stage are very low."
 
 
A normal cycle without bacteria booster and only using ammonia and testings etc usually takes 6 - 8 weeks anyway.....
 
Ch4rlie said:
Thanks for that input.
 
Have had a quick look at that link, not one I have heard of to be honest.
 
Finding it quite hard to see what ingredients this has, specifically whihc type/s of bacteria they cultivate and bottle.
 
Interesting though that it says :
 
"Only aerobic autotrophs perform bio-filtration in the context of the nitrogen cycle, so not just any bacteria will do.  As these bacteria have a comparatively slow growth rate, a wait of 6-8 weeks may be required to establish bio-filtration in a new aquarium as their numbers at this stage are very low."
 
 
A normal cycle without bacteria booster and only using ammonia and testings etc usually takes 6 - 8 weeks anyway.....
 
I believe the cited paragraph is referring to a new aquarium without any bacterial supplement.  Their point is that it takes up to 6-8 weeks "cold" as it were.  Using their product, they claim it will be faster.
 
As for the bacteria strains this product contains, I agree, it doesn't say.  I may have mentioned this previously in this thread, but Dr. Tim Hovanec who led the team of scientists that identified the true strain of Nitrosomonas aquatic bacteria (which are different from the terrestrial strain that used to be assumed the same) that initiate the nitrification cycle, did a test of various products that do not contain the actual bacteria strains, and found that even so, they did quicken the establishment of the proper bacteria by a few days.  Point being that perhaps any of these may be of some help, but not sufficient to instantly cycle as some think.
 
If a ammoniasource is provided a nitritepeak often shows up in 2,5 week to dissappear in a week or so.
So 6-8 weeks ???

Most starters contain heterotrophic bacteria that only will buy time for the right ones to build up.
As far as I know only Dr.Tim's one and only and TSS contain the (patented) autotropic bacteria that will seed a tank / filter.
Problem is these bacteria won't survive in a bottle and only these two brands (I believe Dr.Tim Hovanec sold it to Tetra for the European market) succeeded to find a way to do that.
 
DoubleDutch said:
If a ammoniasource is provided a nitritepeak often shows up in 2,5 week to dissappear in a week or so.
So 6-8 weeks ???

Most starters contain heterotrophic bacteria that only will buy time for the right ones to build up.
As far as I know only Dr.Tim's one and only and TSS contain the (patented) autotropic bacteria that will seed a tank / filter.
Problem is these bacteria won't survive in a bottle and only these two brands (I believe Dr.Tim Hovanec sold it to Tetra for the European market) succeeded to find a way to do that.
 
The time it takes for a given tank to "cycle" on its own, without adding bacteria seeding, varies from around two weeks to eight weeks.  I gather this difference is due to the specifics of the individual aquarium.  Temperature, pH, and other factors I gather play into the equation.  As one example, the amount of ammonia affects the time.  Scientific studies have also now proven that Nitrospira are inhibited and cannot multiply in water that contains significant concentrations of ammonia, and evidence exists to suggest that existing populations of Nitrospira actually become dormant when ammonia is present in high concentrations.  Kim et al. (2006) determined that with an active ammonia [NH3] level of 0.7 mg/l (=ppm) Nitrospira bacteria experienced a decrease of 50% effectiveness, resulting in an accumulation of nitrite.
 
Using a bacterial supplement shortens the cycling period.  This varies too, obviously, depending upon what is used and the afore-mentioned factors.  Dr. Tim's One and Only will instantly cycle, if the directions are followed (enough tests have been done to prove this claim).
 
Byron.
 
I am certainly no expert in this field but it does seem to work. Truthfully, this was not the first product I was looking to get, and I had never heard of it before I went into my LFS. I was really trying to get my hands on TSS+ but it was the one most easily accessible for me.  I have watched all their videos to figure out what their product can do and I don't recall them mentioning the strand of bacteria. I will revisit the videos though to double check.  When I did a "cold" start though in a 3.5 gallon tank I picked up. I did see an a ammonia spike within the first week approximately 3-4 days after adding the product. I then saw a transition period and then the Nitrite spike and drop in ammonia levels during the second week. By the end of the second week and start of the third week I was reading 160ppm of Nitrates with no ammonia and very little nitrite. Now that was a small tank, so perhaps a larger tank could take longer to cycle. 
 
Colony does state their bacteria needs specific water conditions in order for it to be effective and to flourish. The bottle recommends a Ph of a minimum of 7.2 with a temperature between 74-82 degrees and a alkalinity of 90ppm I believe. If the conditions don't meet the the recommended parameters, the bacteria struggles to flourish and slows down the seeding. 
 
I belive strains of Nitrosomonas and Nitrosospira AOB (ammonia-oxidizing bacteria) were the main two types of bacteria that Dr Tim Hovenac found that were the main factors in cycling a tank.
 
Of course there are other strains of AOB bacterias involved but these two aforementioned are the main strains I look for on any bottle that claims to be cycle starters.
 
Dr Tim's One and Only as well as Tetra Safe Start (Dr Tim incidently started with Tetra before moving on to his own brand) are the only two that I've found contains these spefic types of bacterias.
 
Don't forget, the storage and transportation of the bottled bacteria will have an effect on the shelf life of these bacterias inside the bottle.
 
But of course, there are other ways of adding bacterias you need, such as adding plants, plant often and do contain the types of bacterias that is needed to cycle a tank.
 
This is one reason why Byron is a fan of cycling with a tank thats densley planted, otherwise known as silent cycle. This has two distinct benefits, the first being the bacterias thats come with the plants and will help towards cyclign the entire tank eventually. And the other benefit is that plants do consume ammonia and nitrates. (this is a extremely brief example, there is much more to this of course)
 
Though I must mention this is not a method I have tried personally and really would like to try this method.
 
There are so many variables, it is a near impossible task to explain all methods and variables on one post/thread. But the methods above are the most commonly recommended, fishless (with or without bacteria starters) and silent cycles.
 
This is why I find that fish in cycles are not suitable on so many levels since there are several methods to cycle a tank and filter.
 
Note to self, must start a more detailed thread on cycling tanks and methods one day........
 
Not that it affects me because I don't live in North America, but...
 
Having watched the ATM organisation in their show "Tanked" and especially their freshwater setups, I personally would be very cautious in using their products.
 
Gruntle said:
Not that it affects me because I don't live in North America, but...
 
Having watched the ATM organisation in their show "Tanked" and especially their freshwater setups, I personally would be very cautious in using their products.
Interesting I did not know that was their product, I have only seen a few of their shows, could you elaborate a bit on what makes their product concerning? On another note, I sent them a email inquiring about their product and asked what kind of bacteria they used. Hopefully, I will hear from them sometime this week. If I do hear anything I will post their reply on this thread. 
 
Cheers,
Vindi.
 
Well that is interesting JD.
 
There are several different bacterium species involved, all in the family Nitrobacteraceae, that carry out the function of nitrification in soil, and it used to be thought that these, particularly Nitrosomonas europa and Nitrobacter, were the nitrification bacteria in freshwater.  But Dr. Timothy Hovanec led the team of scientists that proved this to be a mistaken assumption.  Ammonia is converted to nitrite by bacteria of the Nitrosonomas marina-like strain [2] and nitrite is converted to nitrate by bacteria closely related to Nitrospira moscoviensis and Nitrospira marina. [3]  With several subsequent scientific studies by other scientists on wastewater nitrifying bacteria this data is now accepted and confirmed scientific fact.
 
Here are the references with links to the papers:
 
[2] Paul C. Burrell, Carol M. Phalen, and Timothy A. Hovanec, “Identification of Bacteria Responsible for Ammonia Oxidation in Freshwater Aquaria,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, December 2001, pp. 5791-5800.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/wp-content/files/scientificpapers/hovanecAEM_Dec01.pdf
 
[3] Hovanec, T. A., L. T. Taylor, A. Blakis and E. F. DeLong, “Nitrospira- Like Bacteria Associated with Nitrite Oxidation in Freshwater Aquaria,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 64, No. 1, pp.  258-264.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/wp-content/files/scientificpapers/hovanecAEM_Jan98.pdf
 
On the issue of the show "Tanked" I would agree to take everything as questionable.  That show has some of the absolutely worst advice, comparable to many stores.  Now, I'm not saying all of it, but some of it.
 
So I just heard back from a representative from ATM regarding the bacteria they use. Here is what they said:
 
"Colony Freshwater contains nitrosomonas (ammonia oxidizer) and nitrobacter (nitrite oxidizer).  Colony Marine contains nitrosococcus (ammonia oxidizer) and nitrococcus (nitrite oxidizer).  These are listed on the bottles themselves."  
 
So basically nothing new to share from what Eagle posted above. They then provided me with a link on a tutorial for cycling and understanding what nitrifying bacteria are and tank cycling. Brace yourselves when viewing the video, some may cringe. 
 
The video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e374W5NKpXw 
 
Thanks Byron for clarifying how bad the show Tanked is. I'm now thankful I don't watch it and makes me grateful for joining this forum to seek advice! To give them credit they did help push me to get into this hobby though. 
 
Anyways, I don't want to push this product on others, merely wanted to add this to the list as being a possible option for those who may not readily have Tetra Safe Start Plus or Dr. Tims accessible to purchase from the LFS or have cycled tanks to extract substrate from. This product although not my first choice did help me cycle my tanks fairly quickly, it didn't take days like the video suggests more like a few weeks, but it worked. 
 
Cheers
 
The video (which is not that bad, but certainly contains some misconceptions and inaccuracies) demonstrates something I have written elsewhere, that any person (or organization) can set themselves up as some sort of "authority" on the internet.  The problem is that there is no "peer review" for videos and article online.  So anything goes.  The only guide one can have, is to know the source.  There are reliable scientifically-based authorities in the hobby, and one can rely on their advice.  And not surprisingly, they tend to agree on issues.
 
The comments in the video about Nitrobacter being responsible for nitrite oxidation are not accurate.  The second study I linked is clear, and here is the study's abstract which settles this question:
 
Abstract: Oxidation of nitrite to nitrate in aquaria is typically attributed to bacteria belonging to the genus Nitrobacter which are members of the alpha subdivision of theProteobacteria. In order to identify bacteria responsible for nitrite-oxidation in aquaria, clone libraries of rRNA genes were developed from biofilms of several freshwater aquaria. Analysis of the rDNA libraries, along with results from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) on frequently sampled biofilms, indicated the presence of a putative nitrite-oxidizing bacteria closely related to the genus Nitrospira. Nucleic acid hybridization experiments with rRNA from biofilms of freshwater aquaria demonstrated that Nitrospira-like rRNA comprised nearly 5% of the rRNA extracted from the biofilms during the establishment of nitrification. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria belonging to the alpha Proteobacteria subdivision (e. g., Nitrobacter spp.) were not detected in same samples. Aquaria which received a commercial preparation containing Nitrobacter species did not show evidence of Nitrobacter growth and development but did develop substantial populations of Nitrospira-like species. Time series analysis of rDNA phylotypes on aquaria biofilms by DGGE, combined with nitrite and nitrate analysis, showed a correspondence between the appearance ofNitrospira-like bacterial ribosomal DNA, and the initiation of nitrite oxidation. In total, the data suggest that Nitrobacter winogradskyi and close relatives were not the dominant nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in freshwater aquaria. Instead, nitrite oxidation in freshwater aquaria appeared to be mediated by bacteria closely related toNitrospira moscoviensis and Nitrospira marina.
 
This is similar to the point I made earlier, that even adding the wrong bacteria does help initiate the establishment of the proper nitrifiers, though obviously not as rapidly as would the true bacteria species.
 
Byron.
 
"Media exchange from another system" was included in the 'long cycle'.
 
I'd say that the variable NOT being discussed in this type of cycling method is that the amount of media brought over, the amount of bioload in the donor tank and the amount of bioload in the new tank are huge in determining how quickly it will cycle.
 
 
They said this:
"Media exchange just does not compare to adding a bottle of ATM's Colony, and really its not even close."  
 
And I agree.  Media Exchange is WAY better.  
 
 
Then he claims:
"This is why the Instant Cycle from ATM takes DAYS, while the Long cycle can take 4-6 weeks."  This is extremely MISLEADING.  Having not dealt with any of the actual variables in media exchange as a cycle booster, they have NOT established why it would take 4-6 weeks.  And honestly, a seeded cycle with a media exchange will NEVER take 4-6 weeks, because it introduces a significant amount of bacteria, already inside its appropriate biofilm, ready to process ammonia and ready to reproduce more bacteria with very little effort.  
 
In my own experience, I've gotten 'days' from media exchanges (including when I was upgrading to a tank that was TWICE the volume of the donor tank)  and in a few cases even got a truly 'instant' cycle (when cloning a filter for a much smaller tank for a much smaller bioload).  
 
 
The biggest difference with media exchange versus bottled bacteria, there's NO QUESTION about the viability of the bacteria being added.  The bottled products can be expired, can be exposed to extreme temperatures and you could be adding dead bacteria.  The media exchange where you know what has happened to the media from the time it was pulled out of the tank to the time it was added to the new tank is a known variable.  You know exactly what happened to it and how long its been separated from the tank.  In my opinion, media exchange is THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD.  You KNOW you are adding viable bacteria.  The only question is how much you are adding.  And even if you are adding just a little... you are adding it in the right ratio and the entire cycle goes very smoothly.  
 
 
I also take issue with the notion that 'DAYS' refers to an "INSTANT" cycle.  INSTANT means just that.  If the comparison is "LONG" for 4-6 weeks, then the thing that takes "DAYS" is by no means 'instant', but merely 'SHORT'.  But, "SHORT" doesn't sell nearly as well as 'INSTANT'.  People want things INSTANTLY, not just fast these days.
 
 
 
"Would you really want to wait 4-6 weeks to find out if your aquarium can support nitrifiers let alone fish?  Days is much better."  Honestly, just a bait and switch tactic.  It wouldn't take 4-6 weeks to find out if nitrifiers are showing up in the tank.  :no:  Very disappointing 'advertising'.   And the grocery store analogy... just terrible.  
 
 
Next... the 'optimum conditions' for the nitrifiers is accurate, except that many of the fish kept in the hobby do NOT like those conditions.  So, they need to be clear that the conditions they are suggesting are specific for the bacteria, NOT THE FISH!
 
 
 
The MYTHS section:
"Nitrobacters won't work in aquariums."  
 
The 'nitrobacter' bacteria they are adding might be why it takes as long as 'weeks'.  This isn't the right bacteria, as Byron pointed out, compared to what the research says should be in the tank.  It might deal with nitrite a little, but it won't be the long term solution.
 
Nitrobacters DO nitrify, but as he pointed out they are used largely in waste treatment plants.  Why?  because they THRIVE in high concentrations, but not in low concentrations.  They 'work', but they aren't nearly as efficient.  Nitrospira, on the other hand, are great in very low concentrations... along the lines of 0.14 ppm, whereas the nitrobacters work best at concentrations about 100x higher than that!  Nitrospira die at those high levels and while nitrobacters may not die at those lower levels, they don't compete as well as the nitrospira under those parameters.  (He acknowledges the importance of water parameters, but ignored all the ramifications of it.)
 
So I am going to apologize for adding this product to the list... Total newbie move on my part. Do we have a list of products to avoid/be cautious of? If not maybe we can get a thread started? and we can slap this one on it.
 
I am really happy we have been able to pick this product apart and exposed its true colours, making others aware of how companies can be misleading in their advertisement and marketing of products I think is really valuable especially for new hobbyists like myself. Byron couldn't agree more on peer-review comments. I will certainly be keeping all the lessons and information discussed in this thread in mind when I am thinking of starting up another aquarium. 
 
Thank you all for your imput! 
 
Cheers,
 
Vindi
 

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