API Quick Start Water Conditioner for Aquariums, 4-Ounce by API
- API Quick Start Water Conditioner for Aquariums, 4-Ounce
Allows instant addition of fish;Contains live, nitrifying bacteria to immediately start the aquarium cycle;For use in fresh or saltwater
The first time I used it on the 10 gallon was my first time setting up an aquarium, and I pretty much just dumped the recommended dosage in along with conditioner/stress zyme, then put in fish the next day. After about a week or two my ammonia levels spiked hard, then another one to two weeks or so after that my nitrites and nitrates started to spike. Ended up losing 50% of my fish before the cycle finally stabilized (the remainder have survived over a year now).
The problem is that the cycle needs ammonia to start, and a brand new tank will not have any, nor does Quick Start contain ammonia. Therefore, if you just dump it into a new tank, then put in fish, the cycle will not start until the fish food/waste starts to decompose into ammonia, which can take a week or more. Once sufficient ammonia is present in the tank (3-5ppm), it takes about another week or two for the bacteria to then break it down to nitrites and then nitrates, completing the cycle. During this time your fish will be suffering high ammonia and nitrite levels, even with frequent water changes.
To properly cycle your tank with Quick Start, you need to introduce ammonia into the water quickly and without fish. The "natural" and slower way to do this is to put biomass into the tank and wait for it to rot. This can be store bought fish (not live), shrimp, fish pellets/flakes, etc. However, these take time to decay. The faster way to introduce ammonia is to directly buy a bottle of liquid ammonia designed for cycling aquariums, and put in enough to reach 4-5ppm. Then immediately add API Quick Start, along with any conditioner/etc. After about a week or so you'll notice the ammonia levels go down, and nitrites start spiking. After another few days the nitrites and ammonia will both go down close to or at 0, and nitrates will be present. Now the tank is fully cycled, and it's safe to add fish.
Finally got tank to cycle with Tetra SafeStart!
I've had good luck with this and 'messy' fish like Oscars, which means it really does do a good job. I recently had to change out nearly all of my tank water (Oscar and Catfish) and broke the cycle. Adding an old filter and this into it seemed to restart the cycle without any problem as long as I kept my feedings at a lower level (slightly) than normal since Oscars are exceptionally dirty.
Ordered up a second batch and plan to use this with every water change to minimize the impact. My recommendation is on new tanks to follow their instructions. On water changes drop the dosage to 1/4 of recommendation. One battle should last a long time.