Fish-less to fish - Check me?

1L19

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My 55 gallon tank is finally starting to cycle. It's converting ammonia to nitrite but not yet converting nitrites to nitrates. Currently I'm at 0.5 to 1.0 ppm of ammonia, 0.5 of nitrite and 0 of nitrate. I would like to add some fish and I wanted to ask for input on the best (and safest for fish) way to do it.

It seems that I should detox the tank with Seachem Prime and add the fish. Then test daily and if ammonia creeps up from zero or Nitrites get above 0.75 I treat with more Prime until I'm fully cycled. If my Nitrates get above 40 I do a water change to keep things nice and clean.

Check my thinking? Thank you!
 

connorlindeman

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I would add some bacteria to the tank such as quikstart or tetra safestart to the tank and add fish.

If you get any ammonia reading whatsoever do a 50% water change.

If nitrates get above 20 do a big water change.

forget the seachem prime except to detox chlorine. It will just add more things into the mix and will complicate the whole process.
 

Essjay

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Prime shouldn't be used as a treatment, just to condition the new water. If you really want to get fish before the cycle is complete, test every day and do a water change whenever ammonia or nitrite read above zero. Use Prime to treat the new water.


Nitrate should never be allowed to reach 40 ppm when there are fish in a tank. It should be kept below 20 ppm and the closer to zero the better. Nitrate should not be used to time a water change; water changes should be done whenever there is a reading for ammonia or nitrite, and when they stay at zero they should be done once a week regardless of the nitrate level.
 
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1L19

1L19

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I've already pumped in 3 bottles of bacteria, 2 of Seachem Stability and 1 of Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacterStart XLF, over the last three weeks. I even cracked the canister and painted my bio-rings with it. Over the last two days I've been getting nitrite readings. My ammonia reading is over zero because I spiked the tank with Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride as a food source for bacteria growth.

Prime says "Prime® is the complete and concentrated conditioner for both fresh and saltwater. Prime® removes chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It is non-acidic and will not impact pH." So I'm not sure why that wouldn't work to treat escalated levels. It's a lot easier than doing 50pct water changes that's for sure.

If Prime is no good I sure would be interested in another additive that will neutralize ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. Oh I got my threshold values from here:

Ecotoxicology of nitrite and nitrate

Nitrite levels above 0.75 ppm in water can cause stress in fish and greater than 5 ppm can be toxic.

Nitrate levels from 0 – 40 ppm are generally safe for fish. Anything greater than 80 can be toxic.​

Not saying they are right... that's just where I got them. Thank you!
 
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connorlindeman

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Prime says "Prime® is the complete and concentrated conditioner for both fresh and saltwater. Prime® removes chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It is non-acidic and will not impact pH." So I'm not sure why that wouldn't work to treat escalated levels. It's a lot easier than doing 50pct water changes that's for sure.

If Prime is no good I sure would be interested in another additive that will neutralize ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. Oh I got my threshold values from here:
Prime will deoxify the bad stuff but there is some science behind why its not as good as doing water changes. I don't remember specifically the problem but i know @Byron or @Colin_T will probably know. Nothing beats good clean water.
 

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It used to be thought that nitrate was only dangerous in the hundreds. Then it was realised it was toxic at lower levels so the upper limit was dropped to 40 ppm. We now know that levels above 20 ppm are bad for fish but manufacturers have not kept up.


Prime does not neutralise ammonia or nitrite. It detoxifies them for 24 to 36 hours then they become toxic again. And any level of nitrite above zero is bad. Nitrite binds to the oxygen receptors in the blood and stops oxygen binding. Basically, it does the same to fish that carbon monoxide does to us. I would not be happy living in a room with a small amount of carbon monoxide even if it was too low to kill me as it would still make me ill.

Water changes should be done whenever ammonia or nitrite is in the water and the Prime used during the water change will keep the fish safe until the next day's water change.
 
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1L19

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So let me make sure I understand what's being said here. If I put fish in my tank now I have to do a 50pct water change every single day until ammonia and nitrites are at 0. Yes? I have to say that seems pretty excessive but I am obviously not the expert. Thank you!
 
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1L19

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Prime does not neutralise ammonia or nitrite. It detoxifies them for 24 to 36 hours the
Didnt know that. thats good to know

If I'm adding it every day then it seems I'd be ok. I'd much rather drop a cap of prime in than bust out the hoses and the pump for a big daily water change.
 

Essjay

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Any day there is a reading above zero for ammonia or nitrite, you need to do a water change. With ammonia, if the pH is below 7.0 you can let ammonia get a bit over zero, but if the pH is above 7.0 it needs a water change.
Ammonia exists in 2 forms in water - toxic ammonia and much less toxic ammonium. The amount on each form depends on the pH - the lower the pH the more that is in the less toxic form, and the higher the pH the more that is in the toxic form. Our test kits measure both forms combined so we need to look at the pH as well rather than just the test result.

But there is no less toxic form of nitrite at any pH.


Prime is not a medication that should just be added to the tank. Seachem won't say what's in it, and it appears to be a chemical soup.
 

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Ammonia and nitrite must be zero before any fish are added. Nitrates must be as low as possible before fish are added.

The addition of chemicals, substances, additives including conditioners like Prime is not the way to do this. These additives cover up the issue, they do not solve it. You are "cycling" which means you are encouraging the natural bacteria to colonize and multiply sufficiently such that they can handle the ammonia, then the subsequent nitrite. After you have zero ammonia and nitrite for consecutive days, you can do major water changes to reduce nitrate. Test the source water on it own for nitrate; if it is zero, good; nitrate in the aquarium initially should be close to zero, depending upon the ammonia/nitrite and cycling..
 

connorlindeman

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Prime does not neutralise ammonia or nitrite. It detoxifies them for 24 to 36 hours the


If I'm adding it every day then it seems I'd be ok. I'd much rather drop a cap of prime in than bust out the hoses and the pump for a big daily water change.
As @Byron and @Essjay said, dont use Prime as a "magic pill" for your tank.
 

gilpi

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My 55 gallon tank is finally starting to cycle. It's converting ammonia to nitrite but not yet converting nitrites to nitrates. Currently I'm at 0.5 to 1.0 ppm of ammonia, 0.5 of nitrite and 0 of nitrate. I would like to add some fish and I wanted to ask for input on the best (and safest for fish) way to do it.

It seems that I should detox the tank with Seachem Prime and add the fish. Then test daily and if ammonia creeps up from zero or Nitrites get above 0.75 I treat with more Prime until I'm fully cycled. If my Nitrates get above 40 I do a water change to keep things nice and clean.

Check my thinking? Thank you!
What is needed is to just simply wait till the cycle does what it is supposed to do. Using additives will do nothing but alter the course of the cycle. I have done many fish in cycles without the use of any bottled bacteria and have never used them. Some ammonia is needed to complete the cycle, or at least a small level of it when doing a fish in cycle. If you decide to add the fish before the cycle is complete, don't overfeed the fish and do more frequent partial water changes using Prime or any water conditioner of your choice. In time your tank will be cycled.
 

Fishmanic

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you only add prime when you are doing a WC which for a fishless cycling, you would do at the very end of cycling.
You would do best by following the fishless cycling guide. The bottle bacteria may speed it up a bit but that is not guaranteed. When you are near the end of the cycling, you would do a final test by dosing to 3 ppm ammonia and see if ammonia and nitrites drop to 0 within 24 hours. At the end of cycling you do a full water change to remove the nitrates.
 

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