Tetra Safestart Test

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Tetra Safestart Test

Postby sevenyearnight on Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:43 pm

I received a 25 gallon tank for my birthday, and I will eventually be setting it up as a planted tank, unknown stocklist at this time. Tetra supposedly bought out the formula for freshwater Biospira, but I know that sometimes companies like to change their formulas, unfortunately, and I've been hearing some mixed reviews of Tetra Safestart, so I thought I would do an experiment to see how well it works at this point in time. That way I can feel more comfortable suggesting it to people who are in the unfortunate situation of being mislead by their LFS or chain store, and have puffers in uncycled tanks.

I purchased a bottle for up to 30 gallons, and it doesn't expire until 2012.
Everything in the tank is new, so there is not chance of me accidentally seeding the tank from any of my other tanks.
Volume: 23 gallons with the substrate displacement.
Substrate: Caribsea Floramax Midnight, 24 lbs.
Filtration: Right at the moment, I have 2 HOB filters with a total of 225 GPH. The chambers both hold a sponge and Biomax media in media bags.
Lighting: N/A, but 2 6500K T5

Right now the water has just been circulating with only Prime added, I'm trying to simulate the best I can the advice people are often given at pet stores, in this case they normally tell people to let the tank sit empty for at least 48 hours so "this really neat biological filtration can happen" lol. Rubbish advice.
Parameters:
(I will do another reading before I add the Safestart)
KH - 5°
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0.5
Nitrite NO2 - 0
Nitrate NO3 - 0
Temp 72°F, but I will raise it to 78° - 80°F before adding Safestart.
There are a couple things that may differ from most tap sources, my tap water doesn't have registerable KH, so I have to add baking soda to raise it to 5°, which is still on the soft side, but it should be enough to support the bacteria. Also, my tap has an almost constant reading of 0.5 on ammonia, and sometimes it's as high as 1.0, or as low as 0.25.

I do have a question:
What is the average ammonia discharge/bioload for a average stocked 25 gallon? I don't want to have to add fish, I would prefer to just replicate the bioload, and I know the fishless cycle is a much higher level than what fish would produce. I want to simulate the scenario of "just bought fish didn't know the tank had to be cycled" without actually putting fish in. However, I do have a few fish that are waiting to go back to the store that I could hold on to for a little while longer, and I do have a safe place to return them to incase this product doesn't work as well as it used to.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby RTR on Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:57 am

The positive ammonia reading indicates that your water is protected by chloramines at the utility. The exact level is not always stable. The rate of use of the water does affect the delivery level at any fixed point along the pipelines, and the dosage used is also varied with expected network modifications and repairs or new taps to be added.

Total ammonia production in a mature fully stocked tank (but not overstocked or overfed) is on the order of 0.3 ppm from all sources (fish, inverts, bacteria, infusoria, etc.) per day. Overstocked and or overfed tanks can and do obviously exceed that figure. It is not single-pulsed (as it is when we dosed for fishless cycling), but the release/production is not at all even either, it waxes and wanes with feeding and activity. Over-fed tanks function biochemically as do overstocked tanks. Even if the fish stocking is appropriate, overfeeding will have effectively the same effect as overstocking up to 2x, just with the bioload bulk shifted to inverts, bacteria, microbes, etc.

If you are following the nitrogen balance in the trial it is necessary to remember that the effective generation of nitrite is 3.3x that of ammonia, and the effective generation of nitrate is 4.4x that of original ammonia. That means that 0.3 ppm ammonia ion gives 0.99 ppm nitrite ion and 1.32 ppm nitrate ion.

That all sounds quite mad and hazy as well, but remember that 2x overstocking or overfeeding only requires one additional day's growth of the nitrification bacteria (which is about their normal growth rate - they are very slow), which is trivial. The downside is that it also requires 2x the water changes to bring it back into balance. That is the 800 pound gorilla downside. Overstocked and overfed tanks seldom get the changes they need for long-term health and stability. Therein lies the difference between living less long than their wild kin and living 6 -10x longer than the in the wild.

Also, for FW at least, don't forget that excess ammonia ion in the tank suppresses the growth of the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria. If the ammonia phase of fishless is longer than 2 weeks, you likely should add more bacteria.

Ditto with low alkalinity water, you likely should check the KH daily and supplement as required. Remember that it requires 2 ppm of bicarbonate for ever ppm ammonia oxidized to nitrate. Fishless is tricky in low-alkalinity water.

HTH
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby sevenyearnight on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:38 am

Yes sir, it does help, thank you very much, I'll be starting this today.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby xrayjeeper83 on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:45 am

This will be cool to follow
RTR wrote:Fahakas do not have tank mates, they may have swimming food reserves.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby RTR on Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:19 pm

Good Luck!
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby bertie 83 on Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:23 pm

This will be a very interesting read, something I often consider and wonder about but never thought about doing lol. no space or time
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby Pufferpunk on Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:45 pm

Thank you for doing this! When you're done, we can post your results as a sticky.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby sevenyearnight on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:40 pm

No problem!
I had to wait until today, I needed to get the temperature correct.
It's probably too soon to see a difference, but I'll test anyway.

Day 1
I just added the Safestart, levels before were:
pH 7.6
KH 6°
Ammonia 2.5 - 5.0
Nitrite NO2 0.0
Nitrate NO3 0.0
Temp. 78° F
It was poured into both filters, and had been in the tank for a couple of hours. The only change was that I added some natural rock to start on the hard scape. They were cleaned and rinsed thoroughly.
Readings now:
pH 7.6
KH 6°
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5.0
I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. I double checked the ammonia against a cycled tank's test, they are definitely both the same non-greenish yellow.
I'm going to go ahead and add my Bristlenose Pleco, Barbra Streisand.
I'll post numbers tomorrow.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby Pufferpunk on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:56 pm

LOL, so you expected the product to fail?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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2 T biocellatus
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby xrayjeeper83 on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:57 pm

So in one day you think its actually cycled?(this is a real question not a smarty one lol)
RTR wrote:Fahakas do not have tank mates, they may have swimming food reserves.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby sevenyearnight on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:16 pm

The last time I used this, I didn't take my super soft water in consideration, so it didn't work. I was hoping that was all, but I feared they may have changed the formula. That doesn't appear to be the case.
It hasn't been a day, it was a couple of hours.
Unless the substrate and rocks consumed the ammonia, and pooped out nitrate, at this point, I have to assume the product did what it said it would. I will keep posting daily parameters, we'll see if it maintains.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby Pufferpunk on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:19 pm

I hope Babs is happy with her new tank!
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 27470
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Location: Chicago
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My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Chicago

Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby sevenyearnight on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:42 pm

She seems to be doing fine so far, she already ate lol.
But everyone just went to sleep for the night.
I'm not certain if she will be a long term resident just yet.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby xrayjeeper83 on Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:04 pm

Thats awesome that the stuff seems to do what is says it can do, as long as your water is hard enough
RTR wrote:Fahakas do not have tank mates, they may have swimming food reserves.
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Re: Tetra Safestart Test

Postby RTR on Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:22 am

Looks good so far.
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