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Old 04-01-2014, 11:09 AM   #1 
snapbyte
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Top Fin Water Conditioner?

Hey, I just got back from Petsmart after getting some things for my new Betta. I got a conditioner that is called just "Water Conditioner" by Top Fin. It says it is made for freshwater and saltwater aquariums. After researching, I found that there is a "Betta Water Conditioner". Will the one I got work, or will I have to take it back and get the other one?
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:00 PM   #2 
shellieca
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I've not used the Top Fin water conditioner so I can't speak directly about it. The most recommended water conditioner on here is Seachem Prime. The "Betta Water Conditioner" is just a gimmick, you don't need anything that specifies Betta. Just read the label of the one you have, does it remove heavy metals, detoxify ammonia, remove or detox nitrites/nitrates, etc. if so then I'd just use it until its gone.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:23 PM   #3 
Blue Fish
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TopFin is the proprietary brand for Petsmart (like Great Value is for walmart, etc.), and it's usually not the highest quality stuff.
For example, I'm not sure that I'd purchase a Top Fin heater, filter, something like that. But for small stuff, like water conditioner, especially since you already have it, I'm sure it'll be fine. :) That is pretty basic, and it should be about the same as anything else.

The two main rec's on this forum are Prime as Shellieca mentioned, and Tetra Aquasafe Plus.
Prime is special. It actually detoxifies ammonia for 24 to 48 hours, which means that for that window of time, the toxic ammonia has been broken down into NON-TOXIC ammonium. The ammonium will not hurt your fish, and this means Prime is a very valuable product while you're cycling a tank or if you don't cycle and just do water changes (IE, a very small tank that can't be cycled.) But, the important thing to remember is that Prime only converts the ammonia for up to 48 hours, after that the ammonium converts *back* into ammonia and is just as toxic as before. This is why Hallyx always specifies for people to use the appropriate dose every day in their tanks. :)
Prime also takes out the chlorine and any heavy metals in your tap water that would otherwise harm your fish, so Prime can be used any time you change your water in addition to while you're cycling the tank. Because you use such a small amount per gallon (I believe it's one drop per gallon), it is a great value because a single bottle lasts just about forever.

Tetra Aquasafe Plus is just good quality water conditioner (a fancier, higher quality version of the TopFin product you have right now). It improves the slime coat and takes out the chlorine and heavy metals from your tap water. It does NOT do anything to ammonia. This is good stuff to use after your tank has cycled, when you no longer have to worry about the ammonia because it's being broken down by the Beneficial Bacteria in the biological filter that is created through cycling. :)
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #4 
snapbyte
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Wow, thanks for all of this information! I'll probably just use this Top Fin stuff until I run out, and then I'll go looking for either Aquasafe or Prime.

I've had a few fish in the past, and it seems like their life span has always been about a year, and I'm going to try my hardest to make this one live longer than any of the other ones. If that means buying a bigger tank, more accessories, better conditioner, I'll do it!

One more question that I have.. is there anything else that I should put in the water, other than the conditioner? I saw that Top Fin had some bacteria stuff that went along with the conditioner that I didn't get.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:00 PM   #5 
Blue Fish
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The bacteria stuff is supposed to help you cycle your tank...but most likely it would just be wasting your money.

I'll PM you the details about regular cycling and how to cycle with the additives. If you cycle your tank your fish will be so much healthier and will most likely live longer. :)
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:42 PM   #6 
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Some good answers on this thread, I just want to add one thing about the Top Fin. I would personally not use it if your water has chloramines. Top Fin takes care of heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramine only. To take care of the chloramine it breaks the bond between the chlorine (which it neutralizes) and ammonia (which it does not). So in essence if you have chloramines in your tap water and use Top Fin you are adding some ammonia with each water change. Is it enough to cause an issue? I'm not sure, but it's something to certainly keep in mind if you're in a situation where ammonia is currently a concern like a fish-in cycle.

Bottled bacteria will help cycle (no clue if the product you mentioned is one that works), but aren't mandatory. There are other ways to help speed up fish-in cycles as well such as plants and seeded material. Every one of them has their pros and cons though. I don't think the mods will be upset if you want to ask cycling questions on your thread instead of doing it in PMs.

Last edited by BWG; 04-01-2014 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:39 AM   #7 
SeaHorse
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Yes please... do share your cycling tips here too!! We know there are many views on how to do cycling... explaining it simply for some reason can be a challenge lol. We love to read everyone's methods and explanations (the science remains the same)... but due to many levels of fish keeping experience and the age levels of our members, every explanation is valid and the membership learns from other's experiences. Thanks!!
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:54 AM   #8 
mart
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Originally Posted by SeaHorse View Post
Yes please... do share your cycling tips here too!! We know there are many views on how to do cycling... explaining it simply for some reason can be a challenge lol. We love to read everyone's methods and explanations (the science remains the same)... but due to many levels of fish keeping experience and the age levels of our members, every explanation is valid and the membership learns from other's experiences. Thanks!!
I use nothing but ATM Colony for my cycling. It's in my opinion the best on the market. Your cycling time will be cut to a week. Check the information and the informative video.
I use it, and it works! I also use Outbreak, and Barrier.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:38 AM   #9 
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For cycling, we used Prime and Tetra SafeStart and put our betta in. As directed on the TSS bottled, we didn't do a water change for two weeks and after that, the cycling was done. Now, IF water parameters call for a water change, than it is allowed, but our parameters were fine for the two-week period.

To the OP: Some folks do the "fishless" cycling w/ammonia, but we didn't want to mess with that. We are an older couple (mid 60's) and can't handle too much chemical smell. Some folks try/do the "fishless" cycling using fish flakes. AND, some folks actually use "feeder fish" (minnows) to cycle their tank. That can/does work, but definitely not popular with most "fish lovers". But it is done.

I'm basically a Beginner in this "fish keeping" thing, but since I'm retired and have had lots of time to do online research about the hobby, here are products that are "highly rated and recommended". We use them:
Prime Water Conditioner
Tetra Safestart (for cycling w/fish)
API Master Water Testing Kit (even though Test Strips aren't the favorite to test water parameters with, if a person only has one tank, and it's small, Strips can be ok......in our opinion, anyway.)
Live Plants
Food.........three of the most recommended pellets are: Hikari Bio-Gold, Omega One Buffet and NLS Betta Formula

There you go!
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:06 AM   #10 
Hallyx
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Tetra Safestart
ATM Colony
API Quickstart
Microbelift Niteout II
Dr. Tim's One-and-Only (shipped factory direct in an insulated envelope)
Drs. Foster & Smith (? name) product

and a few others all contain the autotrophic bacteria Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira (or Nitrobacter). These are the live bacteria that actually perform the nitrogen cycle. All the other products contain heterotrophic bacteria which, among other things, help with the biofilm where the cycling bacteria live. Some, like Seachem Stability, do a really great job preparing the way. Others are just a waste of time and money.

All those listed above work really well. But they are living organisms; they can be killed by freezing or overheating during shipping. They have a long but finite shelf-life. That's why they sometimes don't work, or seem to work better some times than at other times.

They were designed to be used in a fish-in cycle, but can and have been used successfully fishless.

Most of the time spent cycling a tank is waiting for the nitrifying bacteria to literally fall out of the sky into the tank. (They live in the water droplets in the atmosphere.) Bottled bacteria, if alive and healthy, can cut that waiting time to a quarter or less.

Last edited by Hallyx; 04-19-2014 at 06:14 AM.
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