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Old 01-19-2014, 12:05 AM   #1
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using prime for new aquarium set up

Has anyone used prime while aquarium is still cycling? I have a 55 gallon fresh water tank that I set up about 2 weeks ago using quick start. I wish I would have found this website before doing anything. I planned on doing a fishless cycle but was told at one of the local pet stores that I needed to add a few fish to get things "moving". I did just that and now finding my levels are high. the ammonia is at .50ppm, nitrite at .50ppm and nitrate at 40 ppm. I've been doing partial water changes daily, adding more quick start. I went to another local pet store and they highly recommended using prime for my levels. I did purchase this but have not used it just yet as I'd like to get some opinions on this first. I'm totally confused because I am getting different stories from each pet store I visit. I have researched and have learned that live plants help the cycle process so I did buy a few today. The one petstore says they will do more harm than good in the beginning, the other says yes use them as they will help , they both suggested me not to do water changes until the cycle is done. I have read where water changes are very important in the beginning so I ignored both their suggestions and came home and did a partial water change, adding more quick start to the water . I did not add any of the prime as I would like to get some opinions here of people that actually went through this or are going through this. I really wouldn't be as concerned if I followed my instinct of doing a fishless cycle instead of listening to salespeople saying you need fish to get things moving. I'm just very sensitive to me causing something to die, may seem weird to some but that just me so I appreciate anyone that can give me any advice on what to do next. Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:55 AM   #2
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Prime I've used before it takes a lot of the toxins out of the water or changes them to something else not as toxic. It's good to keep on had especially if your tank for some reason had a high spike in something very toxic. But while your tank is cycling you don't need to do water changes for usually 8 weeks. Your water has to establish a bacteria in order for the nitrogen cycle to occur. This is when you will see your parameters to spike. When you see a spike in your Ammonia and Nitrites go up and come down and stay down then you should have a spike in Nitrates after this happens you can do your water change to bring the Nitrates down so you can add your livestock. Adding fish for your cycle can be rough for the fish. So you will want to use the prime for it. But you also can get a raw shrimp and when the ammonia goes up take it out because you now have started the process. Live rock and live sand can also be used to do this and has been known to speed up the process by a couple weeks.

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Old 01-19-2014, 01:00 AM   #3
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By the add the prime if you have fish in there it won't do anything to your cycle. This is why it is hard to do a cycle with fish because ammonia is toxic to fish and you want to get the toxic water out through water changes. If you do them do very small ones. You may even want to take the fish to a friends quarantine them until your cycle gets done. If you can find a place for your fish then you can let your tank sit until the cycle is done and you are only showing Nitrates. Then do water changes to bring the Nitrates down. After they are down weekly water changrs. I do 5% some people to 25% biweekly. I got the 5% off of mrsaltwatertank by the way.

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Old 01-19-2014, 11:24 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I wish I would not have gotten the fish until after the water cycled but when told to put a few in to get things started I thought they knew best but now seeing they didn't. they gave me small hardy fish, not sure what they were called but they seem to be doing well. I'll give the prime a shot and will hope for the best. Thanks again for all your input on this
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
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Prime is one of the superior water conditioners out there, so I'd recommend it.
Does your tap water have nitrate by any chance? I would test your tap for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate to see where you're starting from.
Water changes won't hinder the cycle and are needed to keep toxins low when doing a fish-in cycle.
Here are some guides that might help:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...now/Page2.html
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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I've used Prime the entire time I was cycling and it's great. I would recommend to anyone. It doesn't hurt the fish and you can add it directly to your tank after you do a WC.
I also used some bottle bacteria called special blend (by microbe-lift) and it helped speed things up too. Regardless if what others say about using bottle bacteria, I think this stuff is really good.
Good luck and keep us posted!
Also, one mistake I made was doing too large of WCs along the way. I was doing 50% most of the time when my ammonia or nitrites would spike. I would say keep the WCs to 25% unless the numbers are real high. My cycle stalled due to too large of WCs, just a heads up!
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:41 PM   #7
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They probably gave you some sort of damsel fish which is probably aggressive. That tends to be what most people start with. The con is they will harass everything you put in your tank. More times than not.

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Old 01-19-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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I wouldn't do less than a 50% water change in your situation. There are people that say it will stall you cycle but theres no reasonable explanation as to why it would. Even if your ammonia / nitrite concentration is .25ppm and you do a 50% water change it will drop it to .125ppm which still means there is food for bacteria in there equally distributed throughout the water for the bacteria to consume.

Prime is a great water conditioner and can even help your tank make it through slightly adverse water conditions.

So in a rundown:

50% water changes every time the ammonia / nitrite is above .25ppm and when the nitrate is 40ppm or higher.
This could be as much as daily but will likely need to be done every 2 - 3 days.

Reduce feedings - Feed your fish very lightly. Rotating between 2 days of feeding and 1 day of fasting should help keep the nutrients down in your tank.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:47 PM   #9
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Water changes won't hurt your cycle over all but it does slow your cycle process down so only do them if your parameters get really high. I def recommend using the prime right away. It won't hurt your cycle but will def help your fish get through the cycle period. It's a great product and a must for any aquarium owner.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:50 PM   #10
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This is the same response I have whenever I hear that statement: Fish health > cycling time.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:00 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the useful information and links to articles . I did check my faucet water but unfortunately didn't do it until after the aquarium was filled. I do have nitrates in the water( about 40 ppm) but the nitrites and ammonia are good so that was a relief. Since doing the water changes I've been taking the water from the filtered water that we drink. That still has nitrate but it is a very low amount (5.0 ppm). The only problem with that is I can only get a gallon or so out at a time so I've been mixing that with distilled water but I want more of the natural water than distilled so I've been doing small water changes. I added the prime today. The bottle says you can add up to 5X the recommended amount but I just started out with the one capful until I find out if maybe I should be adding more. Any recommendations on that? I also have been using quick start from the beginning and been adding that with every water change I've been doing. The fish I was given at the pet store are I believe some type of tetras and were in with the community section of the fish and not the aggressive type. They seem perfectly fine so I hope it stays that way and they make it through this whole ordeal. Thank you all!
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