Only Tetra claims that Prime (or other ammonia-locking conditioners) inhibits Safestart. From the many TSS users that I've monitored over the years, this is incorrect. Seachem, makers of Prime, reports no problems either.
I have to got to work. I'll rejoin this thread when I get back.
as mentioned, prime doesnt remove ammonia from being read, just locks it up for 24 hours.
i have that same tank, my tap has .25ppm ammonia in it, i would do 2 50% changes a week and condition the tap water with 2 drops of prime, with 2-3 drops of prime everyday. took about 6 weeks but my tank cycled with no ill effects on my betta.
my guess is you are getting erroneous readings from your test kit. and it is def a good idea to take it to LFS to have your tank water tested.
I don;t trust pet-stores to accurately test my water.
Jessie, how are you getting your figures (readings) for ammonia now?
Water should flow entirely through your filter in order for it to be an efficient repository for nitrifying bacteria. Just being wet is not enough. If one part of the filter is brownish (that's biofilm and bacteria) and the rest is clean, it's not filtering completely. What kind of filter is it? How big is the filter pad? If it doesn't bother you fish, it would be nice to keep it. How's it working for you RCM?
A sponge filter will harbor more bacteria. That doesn't mean there's more bacteria in the tank. Bacteria colonies grow only as large as necessary to oxidize the an\mmonia your stock puts out ....no more, no less. It's a balance. And it doesn't take much. That's why I'd like to see if your filter will work.
After 9 weeks, you should have enough bacteria to oxidize ammonia and show nitrate. Change half the water whenever ammonia rises above0.25ppm. Use Prime @2-drops/gal with water changes and 1-drop/gal until cycled. (You know to watch for nitrate.)
Here is the tank with the hood removed. The filter pad rests at the top of the tank, just at or above the water level.
You can see where the water falls from above the filter and pours onto the pad from one side.
The closeup of the filter pad shows the color a bit better. There is significant discoloration below the water flow,
but the end of the pad farthest away from the spout still looks clean.
Hallyx, I have been testing with the API ammonia liquid test kit. Thanks to RainbowsHaven for the suggestion to test bottled water. I did find a bottle on hand. Finally, I saw a 0 ammonia reading from my kit. That seems to confirm that my test isn't faulty, and my tap water does indeed contain .5 ammonia. Until my tank cycles, I will never see a reading below .25, because my "clean" water is already twice that level. I've been continuing the 50%-60% PWC every two days. I did one on Monday. Skipped yesterday, but added a few drops of Prime to the tank. Did a PWC today and tested the water I removed. It read 1 ppm ammonia. That's as good a reading as I've seen, since getting the test kit last Friday. On Monday I also tested for nitrate, using the API liquid kit. (I haven't purchased the kit for nitrite.) It read <5, which is the first time I didn't get a 0 on nitrates.
Relaxedcrazyman, thank you for the link to that pre-filter sponge. It looks like that may be just the thing to enhance my filter. Have you put it on the intake to the filter that came on the Minibow? Does it fit easily, or did you need to rig it to stay in place?
the pre-filter sponge should fit perfectly and stay put.
as hallyx mentioned, just make sure to dose Prime daily to detoxify the ammonia.
i dont know if i read it mentioned, but make sure if you are cleaning your filter media, or the pre-sponge filter, you are swishing it in old tank water you removed, and not straight tap water as that will kill the BB
That is the weirdest most ineffective filter design I've seen ----except for that stupid Tetra 3i.
An efficient filter pulls the water through the media (sponge filter) or pushes it through (power filter). No efficient filter relies on the water merely flowing through the media by gravity.
As soon as the top layer of the filter fills up with particulates and bacteria, the filter stops working and needs to be cleaned. Pretty soon it gets stopped up and needs to be replaced...and there goes all your nitrifying bacteria. I'm appalled that Aqueon would market such a POS. They really ought to know better.
Don't fight it. Get an Azoo Palm for $7 or find the sponge filter tutorial on here.
OK, Wait. Some large-pore AQ foam might work effectively. You could try that first.
Thanks for the confirmation. At least it's not my fault that it hasn't cycled yet. So, I'd like to get a real filter and be done with it. I watched some videos on the Azoo Palm. I like that it wouldn't take up tank space. My question is how much space it needs along the edge of the tank to hang. I like the tank's hood, but I only have about 2 inches open (where the cords for the heater and filter come through) where I could mount a filter. I'm thinking it looked wider than that.
If the Palm won't fit, I'll look to order that teeny tiny sponge filter I saw in another thread. I saw a small air pump at LFS today, and I think it will fit on the table beside my tank.
Here is today's test of tank water. My interpretation is that ammonia is at or just below 1.0 ppm, and nitrate is barely registering. Do you agree?
I am still doing 50% pwc every 2 days. Today was water change day. The test was done on water from the waste bucket. I took a sample to LPS, and they used the same kit to test ammonia. The guy got the same result, but he told me it's "not that bad," and that I should stop changing the water so often if I want it to cycle. Um,... No. Of course, I can't change it when it gets above 0.25 ppm, since my tap water is double that. Thank goodness for Prime!
Before switching to Prime last week, I was using Stress Coat as my water conditioner. I wonder if the aloe or other ingredients in it were protecting my betta from ammonia burns. He's such a tough little guy.