As more and more people start to get involved in the fish keeping hobby, we have noticed more and more questions about doing a fishless cycle to get a tank ready.
We have already gone over our seachem stability vs tetra safestart comparison in another article but have noticed a number of people focusing on using Tetra Safestart to cycle their tank.
Although the process is relatively straight forward, we have seen a couple of mistakes being made time and time again that are usually very easy to avoid in most tank cycles once you know that you are making them.
Due to that, we wanted to publish this article going over how you can easily do a tetra safestart fishless cycle to prep your tank ready for your fish.
What Is A Tetra Safestart Fishless Cycle?
A tetra safestart fishless cycle is where you use the bacteria provided by the Tetra Safestart to start the process of the nitrogen cycle in your fish tank without the fish actually being in the tank.
This method is often used as it can provide a much quicker cycle time than doing a standard cycle and because it is often seen as being a little more fool proof.
The premise is very simple, you add the bacteria to your tank and over a period of 7-10 days, it will start to multiply and break down the ammonia in your water.
This will then produce nitrites and then eventually nitrates which can be removed by regular water changes.
How Can I Speed Up My Fishless Cycle?
Although the process is relatively simple, there are a couple of things that you can do to help speed up your fishless cycle and make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
The first thing that you should do is make sure that your tank is set up correctly and that everything is running smoothly.
This means having a good filter, a good quality gravel and a good quality water.
The second thing that you can do is to make sure that your tank is well aerated.
This can be done by using an air pump and some airstones or even just by having a powerhead in your tank.
The more oxygen that is in the water, the quicker the bacteria will multiply.
The third thing that you can do is to raise the temperature of your tank.
Bacteria multiply quicker in warmer water so by raising the temperature by a couple of degrees, you can speed up the cycle.
Fourthly, you can add some ammonia to your tank.
This will give the bacteria something to eat and will help them to multiply quicker.
You can either use a commercial ammonia product or you can make your own by adding a small amount of pure ammonia to some water.
Fifth, you can add some live plants to your tank.
Plants help to remove ammonia and nitrites from the water and so will help to speed up the cycle.
Lastly, you can add some live rock to your tank.
Live rock is full of bacteria that will help to break down ammonia and nitrites and so will also help to speed up the cycle.
When Can You Add Fish To Fishless Cycle?
The answer to this question is usually around the 10 day mark but it can be sooner or later depending on a number of factors.
These include the size of your tank, the amount of ammonia you are adding and the temperature of your water.
As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend waiting until you have had 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites for 3-5 days before adding fish.
This will give the bacteria time to settle in and to start to multiply.
If you add fish too soon, you run the risk of them being overloaded with ammonia and nitrites which can be lethal.
Should I Do Water Changes During Fishless Cycle?
Water changes are not essential during a fishless cycle but they can be beneficial.
If you do choose to do water changes, we would recommend doing them every couple of days and removing around 20-25% of the water each time.
Doing water changes will help to remove any nitrates that have built up in the water and will also help to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels low.
How Long Does It Take For Ammonia To Drop In Fishless Cycle?
The time it takes for ammonia to drop will depend on a number of factors including the size of your tank, the amount of ammonia you are adding and the temperature of your water.
As a general rule of thumb, we would expect to see ammonia levels start to drop after around 3-5 days.
How Long Does It Take For Nitrites To Drop In Fishless Cycle?
The time it takes for nitrites to drop will depend on a number of factors including the size of your tank, the amount of ammonia you are adding and the temperature of your water.
As a general rule of thumb, we would expect to see nitrite levels start to drop after around 7-10 days.
How Long Does It Take To Cycle A Tank With Tetra Safestart?
Tetra Safestart is a product that contains live bacteria and is designed to cycle a tank in just 24 hours.
However, we would not recommend using this product as it can often lead to issues such as ammonia spikes and nitrite poisoning.
It is much better to cycle a tank the natural way using the methods mentioned above.
How Do You Know when Fishless Cycle Is Done?
The best way to know when your fishless cycle is complete is to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in your tank.
When all three of these levels have been at 0 for 3-5 days, you can assume that your cycle is complete and you can start adding fish.