So...where to begin? First, ideally you should set up the tank, and let
it run at least 24 hours, then, shortly before you head off to the store
for your first fish, add TSS to the tank. Within two hours, you should
add the fish. Our normal recommendation is to add one small fish per
ten gallons of water. However, you CAN fully stock the tank, you just
need to keep a close eye on it, and be sure to not complicate matters by
overfeeding as well. We recommend this method for African cichlid tanks
since it is best to fully stock such a tank from the beginning due to
territorial issues. For a novice fish-keeper, we'd recommend the one
small fish per ten gallons rule for the first two weeks. Within two
weeks, TSS should have fully cycled the tank and they can start slowly
adding more fish, one at a time.
In regards to ammonia products, yes, they kill TSS. Any type, whether a
chloramines remover or detoxifier, etc, anything that says it locks up
ammonia or removes ammonia. Do not add TSS for 24 hours after using
such a product, and do not add such a product for at least 7 days after
using TSS. The bacteria is housed in a special stabilized solution of
ammonia, so if you remove/lock up the ammonia, you remove all of the
food the bacteria require to live.
If you already have fish, and are having an ammonia issue, it is best to
get the ammonia levels down to below 4.0. 4.0 and higher is just as
toxic to TSS as it is to fish. While 2.0 -3.5 PPM ammonia may harm some
of the TSS bacteria, it should still have some effect. You may want to
do a second dose several days after adding the first one, if you are not
seeing the results you want. Keep in mind, these are bacteria, not a
chemical, so results are slow to see. Give the product at least 5-7
Best temperature for TSS is between 40 and 80 degrees. Freezing and
extreme heat will destroy it. Refrigeration is okay, but not necessary.
You can test the water any time, but really, you should probably wait at
least 48 hours. We expect TSS to start slowly seeding the tank, and
making a difference in about that time. You have to have some ammonia
occur in the tank to provide the cycle needed, so it will usually create
levels or reduce levels to around 1.0-1.5 ppm, and they should stay
there for a week to 14 days, and then come down. Sorry, these levels
would be for both ammonia and nitrite. These are considered stress, but
not toxic, levels, and should not cause any long term damage to the
We recommend waiting two weeks before a water change. Of course, if for
some reason, the levels go up to a high level again, we would recommend
a change at that point, and another dose. Usually, the hobbyist has
done something wrong the first time, in such cases.
Nope, bacteria should not affect the pH.
Hmmm....be sure the levels are not already toxic, shake the container
thoroughly, be sure to add the right dosage, do not use an ammonia
detoxifying product, and be patient. It won't give you zero readings in
an hour, like some folks think. By the way, carbon does not affect it
but uv lights do...we get those questions too.
And just an
interesting point...the large aquariums, such as the Georgia Aquarium,
and the Shedd Aquarium, as well as huge research labs in this country
and other countries, also use TSS as well as the saltwater version Bio
If I have not addressed all of your questions, please let me know.