Seachem Stability Review

stability

This will be a review of the nitrogen cycle starter, Seachem Stability. To learn about the nitrogen cycle please visit my page on it here. Because I was starting a new tank and my previous fish had died of a disease I could not risk transferring the infection over by using any cycled substrate or water, so I had to start fresh. There are many different brands of tank starters available, but I chose Seachem because it is a well-known, respected, and trusted brand.

I have also used Seachem Prime which dechlorinates and detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and provides a slime coat. When I was first cycling my first tank I was worried about ammonia poisoning so I used this product and as far as I can tell it worked. So I decided to check out their other products. Stability had good ratings so I thought I’d try it out.

Review:

I started using this product and within two days my tank was reading as cycled. I continued dosing my tank per the instructions. In the 8 months I have owned my tank I have never had it fall out of balance. I haven’t even had to do any water changes. Everything has been balanced perfectly, almost like a self-contained ecosystem. I keep doing readings to be sure, but as of yet there has been no need for water changes which seemed crazy to me but has been fine. I have done the occasional water change within those 8 months, but not on a regularly basis like I had needed to do with my old tank. I got to say this stuff is amazing and I will always use it whenever I need to cycle a tank. 5/5 stars for sure. Highly recommend.  

New Fish Tank Review

After the unexpected death of my female betta fish I figured it was time to move on into male betta ownership. I didn’t feel comfortable placing an adult male in a 2.5 gallon tank. It was just too small. For my 1 inch long female betta it worked out great, but with a potential 2-3 inch male betta it would be really inhumane. So I purchased a new 5 gallon tank. Here is the amazon link. I really like the look of this tank. Here’s my pro and con list for this aquarium.

 

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Pros:

  • It is very modern and sleek
  • All the equipment is housed in the compartment in the back
  • It comes with one filter pad which I haven’t had to change yet (8 months)
  • It is tall and thin instead of short and wide so it doesn’t take up as much table space
  • The LED lights are really nice and have multiple settings

Cons:

  • The filter provides too strong of a current for a betta
  • The filter slot is at the top so the dirt at the bottom of the tank is not sucked up
  • It’s a bit hard to decorate the tank because everything has to be tall and thin
  • The back compartment cover is loose
  • The lid doesn’t quite fit and you have to fiddle with it
  • The back compartment is dark and it’s very narrow so it is hard to adjust items inside

Overall I’m happy with this tank, but I probably wouldn’t buy another one or one like it. I really like decorating my tank and mixing it up, but with this one most of my old decor doesn’t fit and I have to stick my entire arm in up to my elbow to adjust items at the bottom. If you’re not into changing your tank decor then this will be a non-issue for you.

If you are planning on purchasing a fish that doesn’t like strong currents (such as betta fish) this tank probably isn’t for you. I didn’t realize until it was too late. The part of the tank that spits out the filtered water has a removable fan shaped attachment. By removing this attachment it does help slow the current a little. Even if you did not remove this attachment and set the filter to high speed I still think the dirt at the bottom of the tank would remain untouched. It is just too tall for any current to pick the dirt up and filter it to the top of the tank. I have a bit of a hard time feeding my betta because the second I drop a pellet in the current pulls it away and then eventually the pellet sinks.

The back compartment is great because everything is hidden and out of the way. All the cords come out the back and can be hidden fairly easily. The downside is that this super dark narrow compartment is hard to navigate when you first set up your tank. Trying to adjust tank flow in that little compartment is very hard. I also purchased a tank heater. Most website I visited recommended that you keep your heater in the main chamber of any tank to prevent the heater from melting any plastic and leeching chemicals into the water. The heater I purchased has many safety measures to prevent such an event from taking place. Also, since my tank is so narrow it would have been very apparent and would have taken up valuable space, so I chose to keep it housed in the back. I tested it out and made sure everything was working fine and so far I haven’t had any problems. I do have a suction cup thermometer placed at the front of my tank to monitor temperature levels.

The final major issue I have with this tank is the lid. Now according to reviews not everyone has this problem so it must be an inconsistent manufacturing issue. The cut of my lid does not fit the shape of the tank. I have to really fiddle with it to ensure it doesn’t fall into my tank and potentially kill my fish or crack my tank. My lid is made of glass while others seem to receive a mesh top. The lid only slides as far back as the back compartment, so if you need anything more you have to fully remove the heavy glass lid.

The light is really nice. It has two settings: day and night. The night setting is actually a blue light that will cause any “glow” decorations or decor with white on it to light up. The day setting is very illuminating and lights up the whole tank. You can easily flip the light up or remove it for cleaning, etc.

Here is a link to my gravel if you’re interested. All the decorations are by Top Fin and cost between $1-4 dollars except the tree which I believe cost between $14-20 I can’t remember. I purchased everything at my local PetSmart.

The Nitrogen Cycle

One of the most important things for your tank is the Nitrogen cycle. A closed environment gets dirty very quickly. The only thing keeping your tank clean is bacteria. Like anything else in life, bacteria eat and produce waste. Then other bacteria eat that waste and produce their own. That is how your tank functions. In nature the ocean is so much larger than the amount of waste that there is no worry of build up. In your tank however, things can get dicey quickly. Once established things will run nice and smooth with the occasional water change. No system is perfect and eventually your tank will get build up. Weekly partial water changes take care of this problem.

First step:

Your fish and dying plants produce ammonia in their wast. Too much ammonia is toxic to fish and will burn, and eventually kill them. To get rid of the harmful ammonia you need nitrifying bacteria. Certain nitrifying bacteria eat the ammonia. Their waste product is called nitrite. Nitrite is also poisonous to fish.

Second step:

Nitrifiying bacteria (not the ammonia eating ones, another type) come in and eat the nitrite. They produce nitrate. Nitrate is not poisonous fish in small quantities. High nitrate levels suggest that you might be overfeeding your fish (the left over food producing extra food for the bacteria, which then produce more waste). It can also suggest you have too many fish for your size tank. If you nitrates are always high, try feeding less, and if that doesn’t work, consider buying a bigger tank, or moving fish out of that tank.

Third step:

In nature the nitrate would be recycled by something else. In your tank it just builds up. Once it builds up you change the water and replace it to remove the nitrates.

Here’s a diagram from Petco’s website.

Your goal is to create a perfect balance of producers and consumers in your tank. This process can take up to 8 weeks. I’m no chemist so instead I’ll link you to two different sites. The first site is very clear and provides pictures and a video at the end. The second site is a little more complicated and provides a little more info. These sites provide info on fishless cycling, the safest way to establish your tank.

  1. Wiki
  2. Pet Keepers Guide

Now I took the other route, cycling with a fish in the tank. I didn’t know better. Doing a cycle with a fish can cause fish death or illness. I listed everything I used in my blog here.

It was really a stressful process. I tested the water everyday and in the beginning did water changes everyday. The ammonia was my biggest problem in the beginning. The levels were always high. I purchased an ammonia detoxifier a little ways into the process. It makes the ammonia safe, but provides false ammonia readings with most water tests. It took my tank around 4 weeks to cycle. I added beneficial bacteria, but I’m not sure if that helped, or the fact that I have a small tank resulted in the quick cycle.

I was really worried that I had hurt my fish when I noticed black dots all over her tail fin. 20141203_003915

I wish I had taken a picture of her the first day I got her. I have no way to compare. I think that the spots were naturally on her. They are very symmetric and haven’t faded. Ammonia burns can fade over time with proper treatment. I used stress coat+ to help heal her.

I’m glad it’s over. Doing water changes every other day was very time consuming and everything got wet every time. I treated the replacement water every time and also allowed it to sit out a few hours so it would reach room temp. If you don’t have a tap dechlorinator you must allow 24 hours to pass before you put that water in the tank. I use Top Fin dechlorinator.

Either way, it’s a time consuming process that takes determination. It’ll all be worth it in the end I promise!

Also, I have ordered some new decorations off Petsmart as they were having a 20% off everything black Friday promotion. I can do a blog unboxing once it comes and tell what I think of the products so check back soon!