How to Set up a Freshwater Fish Tank With SafeStart+

How to setup a freshwater fish tank with fish in it using SafeStart+. No waiting.

We’re talking about freshwater tropical fish tanks. Now this is my fish tank. It’s brand-spanking-new. It doesn’t look too good because the water is a little hazy but the first thing that I do when I’m setting up a fish tank and I want to put fish in it right away is  to prepare it and you want to make sure that your fish are going to survive you don’t want a bunch of ammonia to build up and kill them off. So there’s something on the market that allows you to introduce bacteria to your fish tank and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

So first of all other than a fresh water fish tank that’s been ornamented the way I like it I also have a thermometer because you have to know what the temperature is. now this is reading 73. 9 but I ultimately raised it to 76 and this is a submersible heater by Aqueon. It’s a pro200 which means that’s 200 watts which is perfectly fine for this 54 gallon tank and also it’s got the red light going right now when it turns to green there you have it it’s holding temperature you want to make sure that your submersible heater whatever kind you use is going to keep stable temperature before you move on to anything else.

Look how kind of cloudy the water is I put all my ornaments in the tank fill it to the top I rinse everything I rinse off the gravel and then I give it what I call a dwell time so i let all of this sit in there for three or four days and that way if there any residual chemicals on any of these ornaments or this synthetic driftwood and the plants and this black gravel was really kind of smelly so I wanted to leave it for a while then do a water change after i do a water change I put in something like Chemi-Pure. i’ve been using Chemi-Pure pure as the water treatment and a filter medium since 1984 when I was setting up fish tanks for a company called Cyphert’s aquarium in North Park San Diego so I’m a big fan of Chemi pure it’s something that I always put in over the side filter you can put if in that with this 54 gallon system I’m going to put it in a canister filter which I’m going to show you in a minute.

Now one of the things that’s going to allow me to put fish in this tank right away is this Tetra SafeStart+ concentrated aquarium bacteria. This is a bacteria that you normally would wait along time to build up in your tank so that it can deal with fish waste and feed on fish waste which prevents it from producing a lot of ammonia burning your fish and killing them.So that’s what this video’s all about so I’m going to start my fish off without the normal waiting period for a tank to cycle i also have been a big fan of canister filters as long as I’ve been keeping fish and right now the Hydor professional canister filtersHydor professional 250, that’s 250 gallons per hour capacity, is what I’m going to use for this fish tank setup this is a brand new fish tank, it’s never been used before so everything I’m doing is in preparation for fish for the first time assuming that everything you’re putting in here is brand-new canister filters like this one allow you to build up. It houses bacteria. This is filter medium that the bacteria are going to develop on and they’re going to live on all of the surface area of these little porous ceramic inserts and the water is going to flow from your tank down through this filter system and then return to the tank but right now I’m rinsing this in freshwater we don’t have chlorinated water. I’m on a well so this is just cold fresh water if you are using a canister filter any other kind of filter like an over the side tank filter when you come to clean that out later don’t take it over a clean in chlorinated water you’ll be killing the bacteria that have colonized all of this filter medium so it  would set you back.

Everything I’m showing you here today is with well water so i didn’t have to do anything to treat the water but I treat everything that comes brand new like it’s got stuff on it I don’t want and I’m going to rinse it. Here is a coarse filter which is just a big kind of loose sponge that goes in the bottom of the canister filter. The canister filters have many layers for filtering and exposing your water to bacteria that are going to help control what’s going on chemically in your fish tank and then they just all nest together and go back inside your canister filter and again this is the Hydor 250. Now there’s a fine filter medium that goes in the top of this canister filter and that’s where I’m going to place my can  plus I just want water to move over the Chemi-pure that comes with its own nylon bag. You can also put Chemi-pure in your over the side filter or another style of canister filter it just needs to be in a place where water can pass through it and wash over it also the canister housing needs to be rinsed off. Don’t use dish detergent or any other chemicals that you need to wash something, just use fresh water and let’s keep all the chemicals out of our tank. So those are actually quartz bio-rings. I’m sorry call them ceramic earlier and then there’s a chart on the side to see what size canister filter you need to the size tank. We have a 54 gallon tank so this is a 250 model and that’s perfectly sized for what we’re doing.

Also you notice number one there is a carbon filter.I don’t use the activated carbon. The closest thing to that is the Chemi-Pure itself. Here’s what my fish tank looks like with a nightlight function. It has LEDs on it so if you’re setting up a fish tank or any aquarium and sometimes a child’s room. Kids like to leave the bright light on day and night that’s not good for your fish. You want to have daylight in your tank maybe eight to ten hours, hopefully not direct sunlight from a window, but artificial daylight so the fish have a predictable day and night cycle and this just shows you know this filter systems running and it shows me kinda with the currents are going to be doing later when i put in the fish before I fill the tank all the way to the top. Remember put everything in the tank. I filled it up and let it set for several days then I did a water change and now I’m filling it back up again and this shows how the Hydor system is circulating water and returning it to the tank kind of cool.

mark 5 dive helmet here, salute to the Navy dive schools. back in the day those MKV helmets were still in use even in 1980 for training, so kind of cool to have this in my fish tank and again now you can see the water is kind of clean. The bubbles have gone away so we’re running the heater, running the filter system and we’re making sure that everything is going to be copacetic. When the fish come normally you would have to wait. You might have to put fish food in the tank, something to kick out some bacteria, get some ammonia going so that then that can be breaking down into nitrates but we’re going to skip that because we’re going to add this safe start + and put bacteria in the tank. Otherwise we would be waiting a long time to have that grow on its own and develop on its own.

Now regardless of how your water looks we don’t really know chemically what’s going on with it so you’re going to have to have a freshwater test kit. You’re going to need to know for sure what your pH is ,what your ammonias are, what the nitrites are and what the nitrates are so to do that you have to have a test kit and these things are pretty inexpensive. I bought this one on Amazon and very simple to do. The glass testing tubes are there make sure to look at the lot numbers the expiration date this stuff is good until 2021 so here we are in 2017 that’s going to be perfect everything’s fresh you want to look at their website to learn more about it. All these products are in this video. I purchased them myself so I’m not sponsored by anybody. I’m not getting anything for free. I’m just sharing with you how I start off with fish right away.

the other thing is to look up in a fish book and and understand what the requirements are chemically and habitat wise for the fish that you hope to put in. These are Zebra danios are good starter fish zebra danios. This is a very forgiving little fish for starters and that’s what I’m going to put into this tank. Again it’s a 54 gallon fish tank so in theory you could put 54 inches of fish in it.. We’re just starting off and the chemistry’s delicate so we’re going to put just a handful of fish in here we’re going to have lots of water lots of time to see things coming if it starts to go south chemically because I’m trying out the tetra safe start plus for the first time. I’ve never introduced bacteria in this way before so I’m going to test the pH just for kicks. I consider water chemistry stability when it comes to pH and things like that to be more important than the actual chemical composition some people first / pH and constantly shift it to make it more acidic or to make it more pH and then add chemicals to do that.I’m not a big fan of that. I would rather this is a 7. 6 pH so you want to make sure and pick a species of fish that handles that water chemistry on its own. You don’t want to have to force your water to do something that is way out of its realm. Since i have well water I don’t want to do anything to my water so i’m going to pick fish that can handle the high pH.

The bottles are self-explanatory even says how many drops to put in that five milliliter tube. Here’s the thing; this is the Tetra Safe Start+ and you want to make sure and look to see that the date on the bottom is still good. we’re in 2017 so 2018 is good  You want to make sure this stuff didn’t freeze in transit and you also want to make sure you didn’t buy it on a hot summer day where it shows up in your UPS truck and it’s a hundred and thirty in there. Just like the directions say you shake it well and this one is add the entire bottle to aquariums up to a hundred gallons so here’s a 54 gallon tank and we’re good to go. The aquarium is then ready for fish. Consult your retailer for advice on type and number of fish appropriate for your aquarium. There again it’s a 54 gallon tank so I’m just going to get a few starter fish to make sure that we’re not testing the limitations of the filtration and the size of the tank and I’m starting safe..

Some people start off their fish tank just by putting flakes of food and letting that stuff go to the bottom without fish in it and then that decomposes and generate some ammonia and then the bacteria could feed on that. I prefer to put live fish in and here we go. We have neon tetras and zebra danios, perfect fish for starting out a brand-new tank. We have to float the bags to make sure that the temperature is the same as the temperature in the tank and here you see that cloud stuff floating around that is the Tetra Safe Start plusTetra SafeStart plus. It’s actually flowing freely through the tank and it’s going to settle in the filter medium which is where most of this bacteria is going to set up and and it’s going to do its job on the ammonia that the fish are going to generate. You want the bacteria colonize all over your tank but since there’s more oxygenation happening and more water flow happening in your canister filter or over the side filter that’s where the bacteria going to be critical and you can also see already this tank is clearing up nice.

The video you are looking at right now is three days after we’ve done the SafeStart+ so everything’s been running and these fish are doing great they’re not all clustered together and they’re not acting stressed. they explore the entire tank. We feed them just a little bit. Don’t overfeed your fish. But there again we’ve got a lot of water to deal with so we can test the water and know well in advance if things start looking bad, but even three days after putting them in I did do an ammonia test and we have an ammonia of zero but we also have nitrites of 0 and nitrates 0.  I expect in another couple of weeks that we will start to see some reading on nitrites first one of course it would break down and become nitrates so the big killer is ammonia and nitrite so we want to make sure and monitor those the most. But the fish are happy, the water is clear and we have fish right away.

So from buying all the ornamentation, rinsing everything, letting the water dwell with all of the furnishings in it and with the rinsed gravel let that sit in the water for several days then do a water change then bring in the fish and then add the Safe Start+ or whatever bacteria source you’re using.

I’m showing this Python 25 foot tube because if you start to get a high ammonia rating i don’t recommend chemically treating it. I recommend that you just do a water change and anytime that it starts to look cloudy or it seems like your fish are being challenged by some concentration then do a water change. Now I mentioned that everything I have here is on a well. If you’re using tap water that is city treated i recommend something called Seachem Prime and that stuff will help treat the water before your fish go in and if you’re doing a lot of changes of course you would add that to the tank to make sure that they’re not dealing with chlorine or other chemicals that are being provided from city to the treatment system. Also if you had heavy metals, for example sometimes there’s a lot of iron in, it doesn’t hurt to put Seachem prime in and also for this demonstration though I didn’t treat my water with anything other than making sure I have Chemi-pure in the canister and I started off with Tetra SafeStart+ and let me think that’s about it. We’re keeping this at 76 degrees now and there again is the nightlight just because I guess it looks cool but i expect everything to go perfectly.

So this is how you start your tank brand-new and have fish in it within a week. Here is a link to the Safestart page on Amazon. Thanks for watching my video and I’m just going to let you look at the fish for a little while here while we finish it up thanks for watching have fun watch your water chemistry get the biggest tank you can afford and enjoy some tropical fish.