Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

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schmiggle
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Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by schmiggle » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:50 pm

I've read in a lot of places that safestart colonies will sometimes crash after 6 months to a year. What are peoples' experience with that? Is it a bad idea to use safestart if I don't have to?

And as a somewhat separate question, I was going to cycle the tank before bringing it back to college in a month, and I was thinking it would be fairly easy to keep a filter wet and transport it, but difficult to transport a bunch of sand (which I plan to use as a substrate). I've read that nitrifying bacteria live on all the surfaces in the tank (except maybe the glass walls :P ), so would it be detrimental to the cycling to start out using nothing but water and a filter, and maybe some driftwood or stones (which would be easier to carry)? Also, can the nitrifying bacteria dry out for a bit, or do they need to be kept wet (or at least damp) at all times?

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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:47 pm

Safestart is the exact same nitrifying bacteria that is in every tank. As long as the fish keeps feeding it, there's no reason it should die off. Not only does the bacteria need to stay wet, it also needs O2. I hate college tanks.
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schmiggle
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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by schmiggle » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:53 pm

Yes, that is what I thought. I wonder why other people have had trouble. Perhaps it was an issue with the fish.

Why do you hate college tanks? Not meant as an attack, I don't have a tank yet and will seriously consider your advice. Is it the constant moving around, the lack of space, or something else?

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Pufferpunk
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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by Pufferpunk » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:57 am

Moving them back & forth. It's a reoccurring nightmare I have.
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Iliveinazoo
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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by Iliveinazoo » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:49 am

The crash may be due to a lack of tank maintenance. When waste is produced and converted to nitrate the tank water is turned more acidic. Eventually the water will become so acidic that the filter bacteria can no longer function properly and the ammonia level will skyrocket.

When moving your tank you should keep some of the water because your fish are used to it and will acclimate to their new position better but it doesn't really hold the nitrifying bacteria so you only need to keep around 20-50% of it. The filter bacteria will survive, if kept damp, for a few hours so depending on the length of journey there could be quite a lot that survives the trip. That said you should probably still get yourself a bottle of safestart just to be safe.

You talk about cycling your tank before you go - why cycle before hand? How would you be cycling and how would you continue feeding the nitrifying bacteria before you go and once you get there?

schmiggle
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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by schmiggle » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:40 pm

I was going to cycle beforehand so I could add fish sooner, but using safestart, I see there's not much point, and I'd probably kill some of the bacteria in transit anyway.

Keeping some of the water seems like very good advice, but also like it might quickly get impractical with larger tanks (10g and up, not that that's actually large by the usual standards :P). Should I just suck it up and figure it out, or is there another way to get the same effect (e.g., if the issue is mostly about pH, measuring it and then adding something to the other tank)?

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Re: Long-term stability of safestart bacterial colonies

Post by Iliveinazoo » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:51 pm

If you don't plan on getting the fish until you get to college then I wouldn't bother complicating the journey and just set up when you get there. Safestart should instantly cycle the tank so you could add fish straight away.

The pH crash i was talking about is due to a lack of maintenance, keep up the water changes and you'll be fine.

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