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Old 04-10-2010, 01:50 PM   #1 
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Question Bio-Active substrate question

I was browsing around a store today and saw a bag of Bio-Active "Live" substrate (sort of like this) :

It was black, and a cross of fine sand and fine pebbles that was in a pouch with liquid. It said it had all the necessary "good" bacteria in it and provides instant cycling to a tank.

Has anyone tried this, and do you think it would work?
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:12 AM   #2 
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Make sure you get it when its brand new or the water in there gets very nasty. Waste of money if you ask me. Only takes like 2 weeks to cycle a tank.
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:50 AM   #3 
Tinthalas Tigris
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I tend to agree with Hadouken.

Though I have been intrigued with it myself, I have not used it. It looks liek a fascinating product, and there are many like it that come with a little packet of "Bio-Spira," the supposed 'live' bacteria found in a cycled tank.

What the product it does have going for it is a substrate medium, a necessary medium for such a product to thrive for longer periods of time on a shelf with or without refrigeration. Nitro, Nitra and Ammonia spora, from what I have read, require contact surface area in order to live and thrive. In an aquarium a constant supply of oxygen and carbon dioxide are necessary for this nitrogen to cycle properly.

On the shelf of several pet stores of several of these packages, I have noticed them leak a bit. This could be a good sign - they might ship slightly perforated in order to allow air to move freely, and continue the live of the contained bacteria. If this is the case, then the product might have some worth.

Also as Hadouken suggests, it really doesn't take that long to cycle a tank. A tank of any size can sometimes cycle enough within as little as a week to begin stocking it. Most will require at least a month to properly mature, and all tanks, as long as handled with proper water conditioning and filtration should cycle completely after 6 weeks of proper maintenance including water changes.

To return to the Bio-Active product, it contains a "packet" of "Beneficial Bacteria Solution." This does not indicate that it actually contains the Bacteria required, and remember, they require a constant conact surface area. A plastic bag is not this kind of surface area they require to live. These instead contain beneficial "primer" solutions, that assist the natural cycling of a tank to proceed between ammonia saturation/spike, Nitrite and Nitrate spikes quicker. They don't actually introduce any of the necessary bacteria, and still rely on water changes.

What does this mean?

You can just add any substrate you want to your tank, stock the tank minimally, and change the water regularly, at least at a daily pace, and you should have okay results.

Better still, and going back to mention previous, it is wiser to just cycle your tank for two weeks with the aid of fish food, and water changes, and clean, non-chlorinated (conditioned) tap or bottled water before stocking it with any fish. Your patience is a virtue.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:08 AM   #4 
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I absolutely have no problems waiting to cycle. In fact, I've already been waiting months to save up for supplies (and still not there yet), so that isn't the issue at all. I've just heard it's hard to cycle 2-3 gallon tanks and am not expecting good results trying to do it on my own, so figured this stuff might help.

The other issue (saying this stuff is a waste of money), is I was thinking that NOT getting it would be a waste of money, as I'd have to invest in all sorts of test equipment, that I have NO idea how to use and feel someone needs a chemist's degree to decipher the system. I would rather spend $20 on substrate that has good bacteria then to try and "grow" it myself, and spend $30 on a test kit that I'll probably not understand anyway. (and might kill the cycle, thus running out of testing supplies and needing to buy more. ) >.<
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:21 AM   #5 
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I just want to say that these water test kits, it's not like you just buy them and have to figure out what to do for yourself. The API one (not sure where you live, but it's $17.77 online at Walmart) assures 800 tests and the instructions pretty much make it idiot-proof. You shouldn't have any trouble.
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:27 PM   #6 
Tinthalas Tigris
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Cycling a tank is simple. There's literally nothing to it, it will take care of itself.

THe reason why people stress cycling your tank is because the majority of individuals in the past used to buy an aquarium, and then go to their local pet store, buy a fish, and stick in the aquarium expecting it to take care of itself with just simple tap water changes and feeding.

Finally, with the advent of the internet, the process of cycling a tank is published everywhere.

Those test kits are simple to use. They are color coded, and explain very simply what results you want to see, and what to do if the results listed don't come up right.

Cycling a 1 to 3 gallon aquarium? Big deal. Just keep one fish in there, and get the basic 5 in 1 test strips and the ammonia test strip from a pool supply store, and you'll be just fine.

The general rule for cycling is very simple, anyway, just change 10% of your water every single day at exactly the same time every day, and then on the 7th day, change 50% of the water.

After 3 weeks your tank will be perfect. (make sure you use water conditioner if you are using tap water!!)
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bio active, cycling, substrate

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