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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to let people know of a very nice biological starter. I am very new to owning fish in general but I have been doing my research for fishless cycling. 4 days ago I got everything up and running. Tested the water and saw that everything was healthy for cichlids except for of course the lack of bacteria.
So to jumpstart the cycling I began adding ammonia per the instructions and postings of everyone. Naturally the ammonia levels spiked to 8ppm yesterday (3 days in). I said oh **** and decided that I should add that biological starter that everyone talks about. Well Bio-Spira is not really available at any LFS that I went to so I decided to take a risk and go with an off-brand that would perhaps maybe work. IT DEFINITELY WORKS!!
The product - Tender Living Care StartSmart.
I put this in yesterday at 1pm. Today 10am, 20 hours later, I already have nitrite levels and the ammonia levels are decreasing. Yesterday 1pm, the levels were: ammonia 8.0ppm, nitrate & nitrite 0ppm. Today the levels are: ammonia 8.00ppm, nitrite 2.0ppm, nitrate 10ppm.
Perhaps the first 3 days helped this product along but to me, it appears that this product worked really well. The bottle says 4 oz for every 50 gallons. I have a 55 gallon tank. So the one bottle went in and today I've got a tank rolling and now I just wait for chemicals to level out and I can populate the tank.
Just wanted to suggest another product for everyone. I'm excited. I was getting impatient the first few days. Hope it works well for anyone else who tries this stuff.
 

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it appears that this product worked really well
I think it's a bit too early to tell, even though it's showing signs of working. Ammonia is still 8ppm after 4 days. But, that's too much ammonia to be using, so not a fair test of the product. Also, the bottle says "Instantly cycles" as does their marketing info on their site which also states that it takes up to 48 hours for toxic levels to fall. Very misleading to anyone considering this. I wouldn't recommend subjecting new fish to even 24 hours of potentially damage levels of ammonia or nitrite. It may very well be a good product, but I'd recommend you still fishless cycle. There are other bacteria products out there like Dr. Tim's that offer the ammonia that you need for cycling.
 

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First of all, welcome to CF! Since this is only your second post on CF, and its sole purpose is the endorsement of a product, I'd like to remind you that advertising on CF is only allowed for site sponsors. Nevertheless, I'll give you the benefit of doubt and assume that you are just a satisfied user wanting to share some good news with fellow hobbyists :)

I agree with you that the first three days might have helped the cycle along. By adding a product like TLC StartSmart at this stage, we have no way of telling if the product helped you get initial nitrite and nitrate readings, or if the cycle just happened to be at the stage where this would have happened even without the product. As you say, the product might have helped or it might not, but there is no basis for a claim like: "IT DEFINITELY WORKS!!"

I have no personal experience with TLC StartSmart, but when visiting the TLC Web Site, I noticed a few things that made me suspicious:

1. There is a total lack of any scientific data proving the effectiveness of their products.

2. There is a flood of overenthusiastic testimonials full of hard to believe claims.

3. The "science" page lists only patents. Just for information, you can patent anything as long as it's novel. The existence of a patent gives no indication that the product works, since the patent office does not care about that or check it.

There are various ways to speed up the cycling process. Personally I prefer to use filter media from an established tank. If I was to use bottled bacteria, I would make sure that the product I buy is science based.

Just my 2c :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sorry for the advertisement. yeah i am just a hobbyist. I was just enthusiastic that the product is working. But very valid point that it more or less is not "instant cycling". I used it as a way to hopefully draw down the ammonia levels which for some reason were exceptionally high after only 3 days of adding small amounts of 100% ammonia and the nitrite levels were at 0.
I saw the levels starting to peak after less than a day of adding this stuff and I am assuming that it is just working that well. If it's ok to continue posting here without violating forum rules I will at least note after further days the success or utter faliure of my fishless cycling.
And yes I will not be adding fish right away due to my ammonia levels. But I am kind of assuming that the product is not working per the instructions because the ammonia levels were so high when I initially added it.
Sorry for any violations I have made in the forum. I'll refrain from any product advertisement in the future.
 

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No harm done. A cycle will work eventually, regardless if you dump in something from a bottle or not. The reason people manage to sell stuff that has no effect at all is that people who buy this stuff will attribute their eventual success to the product, regardless if it had any effect at all. I am not even saying that TLC StartSmart has no effect. There is no way I can know that, and I wish their web site was informative enough to reveal this kind of information. That it is not for me casts a doubt on their claim, and I wouldn't buy it, but who knows.
 
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