How to setup a Freshwater Fish Tank WITH Fish in it SafeStart No Waiting.
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How to setup a Freshwater Fish Tank WITH Fish in it SafeStart No Waiting.

January 15, 2020


ok so today going to do something a little different as far as my channel normally goes we’re talking about freshwater tropical fish tanks now this is my fish tank it’s brand-spanking-new 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 there are some things to do to prepare it and you want to make sure that your fish are going to survive you don’t want to bunch of amonia 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 freshwater 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 a Aqueon it’s a pro 200 which means that’s 200 watts which is perfectly fine for this54 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 a long 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 it 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 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 so 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 kinda 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 course 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 make sure 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 cannister filter it’s 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 to Hydor system is a recirculating 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 waters 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 is 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 ok 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 fresh water test kit you’re going to need to know for sure what your ph is what you’re amonias 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 purchase 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 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 out 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 gonna 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 SafeStart and you want to make sure and look to see that the date on the bottom and it’s 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 something just like direction say you shake it well and it’s the start new acquaintance which 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 so 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 so I’m starting safe some people start off there 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 fishin and here we go we have neon tetras and zebra danios perfect fish for starting out a brand-new tank then 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 TetraSafeStart 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 is equal to be looking at right now is three days after we’ve done the safe start + 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 um 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 so 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 change 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 so also if you had heavy metals for example sometimes there’s a lot of iron in awhile it doesn’t hurt to put Seachem prime and it 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 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 fishing it within a week 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 thanks !

43 Comments

  • Reply missy sparkles February 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    very nice planted tank – I like cannister type filters too -i am using the inbuilt filter as well as the cannister – I bought a new 180 litre tank I recently and got rid of my 4 ft tank 200litre – I have very fine black gravel now – its a bit of a pain cause it gets sucked up easily in the pump and in the syphon easily fixed by pantihose – is there any reason why u dont use carbon ?

  • Reply Cekeybula February 26, 2017 at 9:56 am

    biggest tank i can afford is 30L, i feel poor.

  • Reply Susan February 27, 2017 at 3:51 am

    I watched this aquarium setup. It was lovely. It was like being schooled, along with the fish. 🙂 The photography, aquarium, and narrative were peaceful and informative. Very nice!

  • Reply Frederick Dunn March 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    UPDATE it's now March 19th of 2017 and I have become a huge fan of this method using Tetra SafeStart. We are still getting Zero Ammonia, Zero Nitrites and Zero Nitrates… PH remains stable and the water is so clear it's like we left the water out. The combination of adding bacteria, Chemi-Pure, and a Hydor canister filter system was perfect for this 54 gallon bow-front glass tank. We lost two fish, one zebra danio (injured from the pet shop) and one neon tetra. You are invited to see the new fish we added and the update on this video: https://youtu.be/4Q1P_YF_lDI

  • Reply Boy Kfkdksl June 22, 2017 at 1:03 am

    How long should you wait to put in the safestart after you put in the water conditioner ?

  • Reply olaPRASINAgiatre August 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    How much time you put the fishes after tetra safestart?

  • Reply grigore razvan August 24, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Stop plastic

  • Reply bebebutterfield1 September 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    A very soothing and educational video to watch. I enjoyed it. There are professional e-book readers as I'm sure you are aware of. You definitely have the voice for it.

  • Reply Golden State Warriors Fan September 9, 2017 at 3:06 am

    On the 27th of Aug I had to get a new 75 gallon aquarium since my old 75 gallon tank was leaking I used the existing filter that had the same media i had running on the old 75 gallon tank and connect it to the tank added aqua safe then i waited 24 hrs then added safe start my 20 and 30 tank both have CaribSea Instant Aquarium Peace River Gravel the same as my new 75 gallon tank I took some of the gravel from my 30 gallon tank that was running for 2 years and added it to the new 75 gallon tank does this mean my tan k is cycled i tested the ammonia and nitrite and nitrate today and they all tested 0 I also squeezed a filter pad from a exsiting filter and I empty it to a cup and poured it in the new tank hope it will soon be ready for my rams and other fish ??

  • Reply Bhavesh Bharambe December 20, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Great video man! Helped me out a lot! Thanks!

  • Reply kingkato21 December 20, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    How long would I have to wait after using safe start plus to use tetra easy balance plus? i have a canaister filter, new to them but they're much quiter

  • Reply Ne Ne Zilla December 21, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Here we are in December 2017….any updates?

  • Reply Rian James December 30, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Fantastic video, I just got a starter tank and use well water as well, I currently have 2 red wagon platys and just introduced a small tiger pleco and so far so good!!

  • Reply Dawn Ruhl January 29, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    What if you can't afford a canister filter?

  • Reply Dawn Ruhl January 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    My aunt has a real diving helmet like that. My uncle was a diver for the oil companies. Not sure the canister is good for Bettas, the current is my concern.

  • Reply Grace RidesHorses February 25, 2018 at 1:10 am

    Very informative, thanks for making this video!

  • Reply Alex Pozdnyakov April 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Would you be able to provide the title/author or link to the fish book you showed in the video

  • Reply Reyna Lagunas April 4, 2018 at 3:31 am

    I'm setting up my new tank and cycling …what if Im doing a fishless cycling? can I just use fish flakes ?

  • Reply Gooey Paste May 9, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Hello! When you first set up your tank with all your plants and then filled it up, you said you left if like that for a couple days and then did a water change. When you did that water change did you do a 15%, 25%, 50%, or 100% water change?

    The reason why is because I want to set up a fake plant only aquarium and I know they contain chemicals and stuff and just wanted to make sure.

  • Reply Squishy Hatter May 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I know this is kinda an old video but my mum is allowing me to get a betta fish so I have been doing heaps of research on them and how to keep them alive, so I'm just wondering, will this also work for betta fish because my brothers say it won't😕

  • Reply Victorkk68d June 24, 2018 at 4:46 am

    Can I clean the filter with like a bottle of water then?

  • Reply Ginger Wang July 28, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Hi, Thanks for this channel. I wonder if you could solve my issue. It has been 9 days since I filled a 10 gallon with fresh tab water. Treated with Prime, and followed by an entire bottle of Tetra safstart plus 24+ later. My tab water tested high in Ammonia at 0.5. I have no fish yet but added fish good on day 2. Today I tested again, Ammonia is still high btw 0.5 and 1. Any solutions? Appreciate it!

  • Reply Blessed popcorn August 7, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Do I add the whole bottle to my 6.5 gallon tank

  • Reply HandbagHound August 16, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Excellent video I really learned alot! Thanks 😊

  • Reply Nate Park September 3, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Would you recommend putting something like a gourami or an angelfish in instead of the tetras right away or let the tetras cycle the tank a little first?

  • Reply fredric lacarbonara September 6, 2018 at 2:44 am

    this is my first ever aquarium,,,, 55 gallons set up on Aug 21….I put Safe Start in water, which has the two kinds of bacteria doing a fish-in cycling..i waited til Aug 27 to add the first few fish(12)….i ran into problems and lost a few fish … using Tetra test strips I had a moderate level of nitrites and nitrates,,,,low ammonia tho…I took my dead fish, receipt and water sample to the LFS on Aug 29 for testing…their results were similar to what I got on my own test strips….so they sold me Fluval Cycle(concentrated bio booster) ,,,I did a 25% water change, then started the Fluval…. after three days treatment my readings are now 0 nitrites , 20 nitrates, and .25 NH4….my question is about the bacteria…Safe Start has the names of the bacteria,,,but Fluval Cycle doesn't state the names of the bacteria…im worried that there might be a conflict if the bacteria are not the same …please advise about the bacteria and about how I am cycling.. ty….
    P. S. l currently(9/2 /18) have one neon tetra remaining of the 4 I bought (he is doing well)..I have two zebra danios of the 4 I bought(doing great)…I have one fancy guppy female remaining of two pairs M & F( she is not doing so well but she did eat today)

    Addendum(9/5): the last female guppy was dying and one of the Danios was nipping at her so I got her out of there(9/3/18)….So in total I lost 9 of the original 12 fish altho the store is making good on them….Additional water testing at the LFS on 9/3 was within parameters so I got 3 more neon tetras, one died….I am waiting another week to reintroduce the 2 pair of guppies ,,,my other two new tetras are doing well, joining my original tetra in cruising the tank………MY POINT IS ?……Im sure I am not alone amongst new aquarists being duped into thinking I can drastically shorten the cycling…we are victims of deceiving advertising (you CANNOT add fish right away as it says on the products !)..thanks for listening

  • Reply Rust - September 13, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    I have an axolotl that I need a cycled tank for. I was wondering if SafeStart is safe to use while he's in the tank, or if I should move him to a smaller unfiltered tank as the bigger one cycles.

  • Reply Dava Jo September 26, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Would it boost the bacteria colony growth rate if you put a little bit of the Tetra Safe Start in your filter too, then let the majority spread throughout your tank?

  • Reply Eric Sherman October 9, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Great vid. I don't understand though… why did you buy a master test kit that comes with the items necessary to correct water conditions if you don't intend to add them? Why not just purchase the chemical needed to test the water? Is there a reason not stated in the video? Thanks

  • Reply Golden Boy November 4, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    do i add safe start after adding my water conditioner or before

  • Reply T.J. Tanks November 12, 2018 at 7:19 am

    This is like a Charlie Chaplin movie.

  • Reply Mike Gilbert January 19, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Awesome video awesome explanation as well. Been running fish tank since the 70s and got out of it for the last 15 years to build fish ponds for people I just recently purchased a 65 gallon tank and I've been trying to cycle it naturally with feeder goldfish and I haven't been able to see any increase in nitrates ammonia or nitrites testing ever other day… I did borrow a good established sponge filter that had good bactera to see the tank just worried I haven't seen any rising ammonia or anything since I started to type hopefully keeping my fingers crossed and adding this safestart plus I can put some better fish in soon.
    Thanks again for all you do and the awesome video 👊

  • Reply Hei Hei January 22, 2019 at 2:03 am

    11:54. The UPS driver in me laughed. I've had live fish sitting in the back of my truck on a July day until 1pm. The shipper didn't select next day air so dispatch didn't prioritize it.

  • Reply Will Parsons March 4, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I've used TETRA 25 years ago.. My tanks were anything but nice and the ammonia (Safe Start+) . could never keep up. Adding Plastic ornaments was unrealistic looking and after awhile unsightly algae started to bloom all over it. Plastic plants are strictly cosmetic and hold ZERO benefits to your water. They also have sharp edges on some and can cause anything from "paper cuts" to severe lacerations to your fish if there is too much of it in your aquarium. I always say; Plastic plants…plastic fish! Dude, do yourself a BIGGG favour… First, get rid of the plastic plants and secondly, switch your water treatment solutions to SEACHEM. YOU will be glad you did!!

  • Reply Alex Herrera March 26, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    I wish I watched this video 4 weeks ago……nice explanation….many thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Sean Wall June 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I don't know how you did it ! Neon Tetra usually don't like being put in freshly cycled tanks , they have better chance in established tanks ! I used Tetra Safe Start and they all died by next morning!

  • Reply heaven September 13, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Thanks your video was more understandable than so many where people fly through science and is about impossible to learn. I'm still shaky about the subject but it's getting better. My tank and what I need to start is on the way. It's been a year of easing into this new interest. I want to keep challenging myself….keeping my brain alive!!!! The product I bought is Quick Start (API) not sure if it's as good as what you're using.

  • Reply Patti Hills October 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Why can't I get rid of my white cloud in my tank. My lFS told me to add Seachem Prime everyday for 2 weeks and it should clear, it hasn't. They also told me not to clean filter media my tank needs that to clean up the fish waste. I am going to clean my filter media todsy and I have a python to vacuum my tank. I hope this works.

  • Reply Patti Hills October 23, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    My bamboo shrimp died, I cried because he was my favorite! Now I still have white water. I give up!

  • Reply Patti Hills October 23, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    I'm on a well also. I have a 10 gal tank, I do my water changes, clean my filter in fresh water. I have an aquaclear filter 30 that's what I was told to buy . Now I have a 5 gsl that's been cycling for 3 days now with no fish.

  • Reply Patti Hills October 23, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply Devendra Gurung November 8, 2019 at 8:20 am

    How long can safe start bacteria survive without food or ammonia?

  • Reply Angie G. November 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I really like this:) it's informative but not boring!!

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