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safe start and shrimp

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So Ive had a tank cycling for a few months..  It was cycled ..I cycled it with stability and the malawa that I couldnt bear to kill . hehe.    So in preparing to make the tank suitable for mischings Ive been doing small water changes every couple days   changing it over from tap to ro water.    This is the 5 gallon Solo current tank.   


I seem to have ruined the cycle  ... right now Im reading  ammonia and nitrates.   0 nitrites.    My belief is the malawa have such a tiny bioload they just couldnt maintain the ammonia needed to keep the cycle going.  Especially after I started all the water changes.    


The problem is the shrimp are arriving tomorrow.    


I picked up a bottle of safe start.   here is my question.


Would you add the safestart today  or would you wait till the shrimp arrive and add a half hour before  adding the shrimp. 


Safestart is meant to be used with fish in the tank to keep the cycle going.    They say to add it no more than 30 mins before adding fish.  


Will obviously do a large water change today either way


Also, the PH in the tank is 6.0  -6.2     I know ph makes a difference in  ammonia toxicity.   


What do you all think?


Interestingly though the ammonia is reading green on the api,  kit  The seachem  in tank ammonia monitor is reading safe. 


ammonia  .50 -1

Nitrite 0

nitrate 5.0 - 10ppm

ph 6.0 - 6.2 

temp 60 - 70  



Not sure what to attribute high nitrate to except that I had a nerite snail die in there last week and was to lazy to take him out .  He is out now. 

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For me, I never finish a cycle.

For neos, I just throw them in and add prime every 48 hours and stability for a week. Cycle finishes within 1-2 weeks for me.


For my CRS I transferred from canister to sponge filter. Left the sponge filter running for 2 days while canister is still on then removed canister filter and added stability for 3 days and cycle was complete. 


We go over our heads on cycling when shrimp doesn't even produce nearly the amount of ammonia that people put to cycle a tank. 

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Wait until the shrimp arrive. if you add it now, there won't be any ammonia or nitrite to support the bacteria you just dosed, so I would wait till the shrim are in the tank and producing their ammonia load.


edit: that's what I always do. If I have to add it a couple days before I will add a drop of ammonia each day to keep the cycle going.

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One of my taiwan bee breeder tanks, I just added a seasoned sponge filter, RO water mixed with SS gh+ and some safe start. Added safe start every once in a while over a 12 hour period when I could remember. Added the taiwan bees after 12 hours. Shrimp are fine and breeding liker rabbits. Over 40 babie TBs with in 2 months. 


Most people will tell you not to do this because no biofilm blah blah blah. I dose bacter ae heavily over this 12 hours as well and built up a biofilm which they ate in a few days and still dose it daily. All is well. 

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So why exactly are you cycling your tank for so long. As long as the parameters are right and you have food is this not enough? Ive come across a few situations where I was at a lps and had to set up a tank and throw shrimp in it that day and had no problems. I'm going to buy a 20g long today and start geting the suplies to set up a green hulk tank. I was going to have the tank done and set up then order the shrimp so I was thinking about a week cycle, but I'm thinking this won't be long enough? Which substrate is the fastest to cycle is there one that you don't have to cycle?

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I can't speak for others.  Mine cycled so long because I had not decided what to do with it.   I stuck some malawas that I didnt want in my main tank into it  as sort of place holders.     Now I know it will be a project tank,

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