ATM Ask The Shark “Nitrifying Bacteria” by ATM Shark | Mar 2, 2013 | Front | 80 comments Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail Related 80 Comments jerry coble on February 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm I am looking to see what bacteria is in your Colony product. I live in Hawaii and work at Petco. Microorganisms are highly regulated here and the list of what is acceptable to import is small. Is the scientific name of the beneficial bacteria listed somewhere? Reply ATM Shark on February 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm Hello Jerry, Yes the names of the bacteria are listed on the bottles. You can read more in-depth and watch our tutorial video on Colony here http://acrylictankmanufacturing.com/products/water-treatment/biologicals/colony/ Thanks! Reply firstname.lastname@example.org on March 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm Yes cycling a 40 gallon breeder. Used Colony to start two weekend ago. Two weeks later Ammonia 1.0 ppm, ph 8.2, nitrites 0, nitrates 5 ppm. Seems slow. Can I shoot another 8 oz in the. Tank? I have two juvenile Malawi peacocks in the tank. Reply ATM Shark on March 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm Hello kent, Freshwater nitrifying bacteria function at their optimum conversion between 7.2-8.0. So at 8.2 they have been inhibited a bit. That explains why with Colony you’re getting full conversion to nitrate but its a little sluggish. Another 8oz of Colony will pick up the slack for the inhibited batch currently in there and if you drop the pH to around 7.9-8.0 you’ll be really rockin’. Keep us posted. kent on March 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm 72 hours after another 16 oz ( doubled it because of the ph difficulty to lower just .2) colony we got 1.0 pp ammonia, 0.0 nitrite 5- 10 nitrate. We had a nitrite spike yesterday . 5 ppm. We want to add our full fish load in sooner than later but do not want to put the fish at risk. Any suggestions. Also, our base tap water test shows 1 ppm ammonia so could something be giving me false readings? We did condition the water before we put in. we have done any water changes. We are still using API master test kit. Ps. My 10 year asked me to write y’all since Brett says we can cycle the tank instantly. ATM Shark on March 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm Hey Kent, It looks like you’re pretty much cycled. When you’re getting the kind of nitrate readings you’re getting you have already the conversion that hobbyists have waited weeks and weeks for, historically. It is possible you could be getting readings of ammonia off the chloramine in the tap water. Typically tap water doesn’t come out with that much ammonia, or if any, because there are strict regulations on ammonia levels in municipal water. Many hobbyists will have spikes they can never get rid of, yet the fish always remain healthy pointing to a false positive of some sort. How do the fish look? Are they swimming around and happy? Are they eating right? Stop feeding for three days and do no water changes and at the end lets look at two things: 1.) If nitrate has risen, and 2.) If so see if the ammonia went down relatively. Keep us posted! It looks like you have done this very well. kent on March 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm Fish look great. We fed them by hand ( yes they eat out of hand pretty cool.) we will get two More and see how they do. If it works out we will fully stock next weekend. Since we were so conservative at the beginning, should we hit anther 8 onzes when we fully load? We are just trying to get the fish in the tank fast to control aggression. I promise I will not bother you again. ATM Shark on March 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm Hey kent no worries that’s what we’re here for! Let me kind of shed some light on what you’ve got with Colony. Each bottle is fit for a full, appropriately stocked system. I know it seems scary and backwards, but to keep the full population that Colony provides there needs to be an adequate amount of food and fish to provide it. Let me explain this dynamic. You have about two weeks to keep that full population that Colony offers. What I mean by that is that un-fed nitrifying bacteria will start dying at that point, so if you have only two fish you will only have a size colony of bacteria for two fish. I would like to see a few more fish go in immediately so we’re feeding all that bacteria so it doesn’t die back to a smaller, two-fish colony. After a couple of days add more. Keep your feeding extremely light over this time. This will keep low spikes while still feeding the bacteria. Like I said, its okay to go slower if you like but don’t go too slow with Colony or you shrink the bio-filter and it kind of defeats the purpose. Let me know if you have any questions on this. Colin on November 7, 2013 at 6:20 am Hi, was wondering if you could help?? Recently set up my first saltwater aquarium. It’s a 65 gallon fish only tank, which I filled and began to cycle with fish (on the advice I my local fish store) 2 weeks on fish are fine and feeding well and seem healthy enough but cycle is still not complete. So I purchased some of your colony product and it should arrive tomorrow. I was just wondering if its still safe to use this two weeks in to the cycle, and if so how should I go about it, I.e water change first or not? An does this product get added directly to the tank or the filter area? Thanks for any advice Reply ATM Shark on November 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm Hello Colin, Thanks for the question. Yes, Colony will jump start your cycle whether you start it from scratch or weeks in. I would recommend doing a water change prior to adding Colony if you have any dangerous levels or ammonia and nitrite. Colony is going to work pretty fast, so I would recommend stop feeding for now. Make sure you shake the bottle well, turn off UV and protein skimmer and no water changes for 4 days. Slowly resume feeding to normal levels again when you see nitrate and nitrite levels have gone to at or near zero. That’s how you cycle quickly and keep the fish safe. Please refer to our field guide if you have any other questions. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fza4_ZtPFt20OzsZH5GdKwIKKQc8kBUPq9haEph0s_0/edit Keep me posted on this please! Gary on October 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm When first using colony should I have my skimmer on?.. What is the process involved?.. Should I wait a certain amount of time before I turn my skimmer on? Reply ATM Shark on October 29, 2015 at 9:29 am Hey Gary, Thanks for getting in touch. You will need to shut the protein skimmer off for four days while Colony attaches to filtration media. After this point it will be out of the water column and the skimmer can go back on. Neil on November 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm Hi put colony in a new salt water tank filled with pre mixed salt water added 4 fish today after adding colony and have got readings of Ph 8 Ammonia 0.25 Nitrite 0 Nitrates 5.0 Big concerned about the ammonia and nitrates please can you advise Reply ATM Shark on November 30, 2015 at 1:54 pm Hello Neil, Thanks for getting in touch with us. It looks like Colony is doing what it is supposed to do. Can you tell me what day you introduced Colony and what day you introduced the fish? Thanks! Stacey Josh on June 25, 2016 at 11:48 am Hi i need some help i have salt water tank 55gal and i used your colony along with a pair of clown fishes ive been water testing every single day and all the readings i had was 0.25 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate , and im on my 3rd day now, ive applied colony on a wednesday night along with the fishes and its already saturday any help and advises? Shall i buy a small bottle of colony to help it out? And ive been topping off the water too with RO water to correct salinity, help please? Reply ATM Shark on June 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm Hey Josh, Thanks for reaching out. Please reach me at stacey @ acrylictankmanufacturing . com (take out the spaces). Rebecca on July 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm I’ve bin putting trust the shark in my tank I’ve bin going for my water tested regular it is still really high on ammonia nitrite and nitrate does anyone no how long it takes to clear the tank I’ve started doing a water change every week Reply ATM Shark on July 13, 2016 at 12:41 pm Hello Rebecca, Can you tell me a bit about your tank? I it freshwater, saltwater, how long has it been up? Thanks! Darren Pattinson on August 6, 2016 at 10:20 am Hi I added some of your marine colony to my tank last Sunday afternoon and added a few fish I fed on first day then haven’t fed since it’s now Saturday been a week since adding colony and my readings are ammonia 0 nitrite is still at 2 and nitrate is 50 . Skimmer is still switched off and I haven’t done a water change . Is there any reason why my nitrite hasn’t gone down yet Reply ATM Shark on August 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm Hey thanks for reaching out. Do you have live rock in this tank? Darren Pattinson on August 7, 2016 at 9:57 am No I use dry macro rock and dry crushed coral sand ATM Shark on August 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm Okay, I see. 50 nitrate after just six days is a ton of conversion. I’m suspicious that the nitrite reading is a bit exaggerated due to nitrogen interference. Based on the enormous amount of nitrite that has already been converted, the rate vs. reading doesn’t add up. It isn’t unusual for this to happen with consumer grade test kits. If this isn’t the case then the most likely cause would be fluctuating or dropping pH recently. What has the pH been? Mark on August 16, 2016 at 2:22 am Hi our tanks has been running for around 12 weeks and was cycled old school with a prawn everything went fine and cycled OK then we made our first mistake put to much in in a short time wich in turn kicked off another cycle so we added your marine colony with after 2 days brought ammonia nitrite back down 0 we turned off the skimmer etc and just run with the return pump it’s been 6 days now I have just turned on the skimmer and fitted the filter sock when is it best to do a water change because it’s not had one now for 12 days Reply ATM Shark on August 16, 2016 at 8:27 am Hello Mark, you are clear to do a water change whenever you like. The only it is recommended to not perform a water change is within the first 4 days of dosing Colony as it might still be free floating in the water column. I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions. Jamie on October 23, 2016 at 11:40 am Hi I have a 50gall tank with dry rock and dry sand I have 2 189l bottles of marine colony have many fish am I going to need to get a good cycle Reply ATM Shark on October 24, 2016 at 10:58 am Yes, indeed. Make sure you follow the instructions exactly and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! Jon on November 30, 2016 at 12:56 am Hi, I restarted my tank on Sunday, added all my fish along with one and a half bottles of ATM colony (bottles suited for 100 gallons). Tank volume is approx 475 litres and has 10 fish (some large). As of today my Ammonia is reading 1ppm (increasing every day) nitrites are 0 and nitrate is 0. Water parameters are temp 25 degrees, ph stable at around 8.0 – 8.02 and DKH 8. Shouldn’t I have seen some conversion by now or is it still too early? Reply ATM Shark on November 30, 2016 at 11:20 am Hey Jon, Thanks for getting in touch. How quickly is the ammonia increasing? And are you currently feeding? Do you have live rock? Thanks! Jon on November 30, 2016 at 12:01 pm Hi, Not feeding at all (since the first light feed as per instructions), no live rock as restarted with completely new dry Marco Rock about 60 – 80 kg total. Ammonia was .25 on Monday, .50 yesterday and 1ppm this morning. Will be checking again this evening. ATM Shark on November 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm Hey Jon, We should be seeing conversion from ammonia probably any minute. I am concerned about the raising ammonia. It is doubling about every day. We should find the source of this incoming ammonia and deal with that. Can you tell me the lot number of the bottle of your product? Jon on December 1, 2016 at 12:28 am Hi, Thanks for he reply. Really not sure what may be causing the Ammonia as everything that went into the tank was new (other than the fish etc) Not sure where the batch number can be found however the code at the bottom of the barcode label is: 7031700416 there is also a small sticky label on the bottom of the bottle with the following numbers printed on it: 16097. Unfortunately I only have one of the bottles as I threw the other away once I had dosed the tank. The Ammonia has stayed level at 1ppm when tested this morning but still no conversion to either Nitrite or Nitrate. ATM Shark on December 1, 2016 at 9:13 am Hello Jon, Please contact me at email@example.com It will be easier for me to more quickly handle your case there. Best regards, Stacey firstname.lastname@example.org on December 19, 2016 at 5:48 am Hi am 7 days after cycling with Atm Colony fallow all neseccery direction skimmer off uv off colony added along with fish and light feeding i didn’t spot any large spike off ammonia but second day nitrite sky high for pass 5/6 days today day 7 nitrite sky high nitrate also high ammonia close to zero? is that means my cycling is done ? shall start water changes ? if i start w/ch it won’t affect future problems with nitrite? as is not converted yet ? Reply ATM Shark on December 19, 2016 at 9:38 am Hello, It’s hard to interpret what is going on here. What is the level of the nitrite? To answer your question, after 4 days you are in good shape to do any water changes you like. Kelly on December 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm Hi i put atm in tank sunday. Afternoon. And add fish same day i show ammonia. Nitrite and nitrates. Is it now i need to do a water change has i showing reading. On all i showed. My local fish store my results. He advised a 20% water change also have diatoms. In the sump tank Reply ATM Shark on December 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm Hi, What are your current levels? Kelly on December 21, 2016 at 3:09 am Ph 8.2 Ammonia 2.0 ppm Nitrites 5.0 ppm Nitrates 40 ppm Kinds regards Kelly I added colony on the 18th of December today day 4 ATM Shark on December 21, 2016 at 10:43 am That is a lot of nitrogenous compounds! You are clear to do water changes now as the bacteria is well established. How are the fishes? Kelly on December 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm Hi it a breeding setup 4 50 litres tanks and then a 3 ft sump which take a 100 litres I can’t believe how quick it established I have pair of black ice clowns a pair of piccasos and a pair of snowflakes clown and a pair of common black and whites I done a 20% water change today the fish all swimming and doing what they should be so they ok was concerned about levels has it seems to took ok I have loads of volcanic rock in sump with filter floss and lots of other filter sponges has well has ceramic noodles and protein skimmer Reply Chris on February 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm Hi I did a water change on Monday did a water test today and ammonia is 0.25 ppm nitrite 0.5 ppm nitrate 10.0 ppm and I was told to put more colony in to me tank to bring these levels down is this correct? Reply ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 11:52 am Hello Chris, how old is this tank? Chris on February 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm Hi the tank is 3 weeks old ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm Thanks Chris. Yes, Colony will help you out a lot finishing the cycle. If you have any other questions just holler. Chris on February 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm Will it bring nitrate down aswell? ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm Hey Chris, Colony will actually create nitrate as it converts the ammonia and nitrite. You’ll need to deal with nitrate through different means, typically through water changes or alternative filtration methods. Chris on February 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm I put colony in yesterday so when would you do a Water Change? My nitrate is 10.0 ppm ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm You’ll want to do water changes starting on Monday evening. We need four days to make sure the bacteria is attached in the media and still not in the water column. Chris on February 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm This is the second time I have used colony should I do a water change tonight? ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm No if you put Colony in just yesterday then you will be pulling a lot of it out with the water change. Frank on February 3, 2017 at 10:49 am Hi ATM, Cycling a 300 gal reef total volume about 420gals …dumped 1 gal colony 4 days ago Ammonia 2.0 Nitrate 25-30ppm Nitrite 6.0ppm No fish death…should i do a water change and if so how much? BTW, just in case if more colony is needed you guys already shipped it. Reply ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 11:55 am Hey Frank, can you tell me a little more about your system? How long ago did you set it up and did you add live rock? Frank on February 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm Its a brand new system. Started up on Sunday and added Colony on Monday. It has dead rock. ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm Hey Frank, if this is rock that was alive at some point you could probably have ammonia coming from it which is giving you so much nitrogenous compounds after only a few days. No feeding until numbers balance out and you might want to hit the ammonia with an ammonia remover such as ATM Triage. If you are only feeding lightly as per instructions this excess ammonia likely is coming from the rock. Frank on February 3, 2017 at 1:08 pm Sorry meant to say Dry Rock. To be exact Pukani, Tonga shelves, tonga brances. Should I add more Colony and perhaps water change? I have 100 gallons ready to go if needed. ATM Shark on February 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm Oh okay. I think right now we should find the source of the excess ammonia. At this point you shouldn’t have anything close to this. You have converted 8.5 ammonia and still have 2ppm sitting there. After 4 days with Colony you should be more in the .25 and under range for ammonia with the single light feeding on day one. Frank on February 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm I will do readings tonight when I get home. The readings i did was at 5AM this morning. Did I use enough Colony? Frank on February 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm Looking better: Ammonia 0.2 Nitrate 30 Nitrite 2 ALK 9.0 Temp 78.5 PH dropped to 7.7 ATM Shark on February 4, 2017 at 9:28 am Looks good but that pH dropping is likely the cause of your nitrite hanging around. You probably have CO2 build-up in the tank. This happens when it isn’t being gassed off properly. Frank on February 4, 2017 at 8:03 pm Everything is the same but PH bounced back to 8.1 Ammonia 0.2 Nitrate 30 Nitrite 2 ALK 9.2 Temp 79 PH up to 8.1 BTW Im using Red sea test kits. what would you guys recommend? ATM Shark on February 5, 2017 at 10:41 am Looks better. Try and keep that pH around 8.1. The fluctuation will matter less tot he bacteria as the bio-filter gets fully colonized. From my experience there isn’t a noticeable difference in consumer grade test kits. You’re okay with what you have. Frank on February 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm Ammonia 0 Nitrate 20 Nitrite 1 ALK 9.3 Temp 78.5 PH 8.2 Do I need a water change yet? If so how much? My total water volume is 420 gal ATM Shark on February 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm Looking good! Yes you are free to do water changes. How much of a water change is up to you. I just don’t know enough about your system to be advising outside of use of ATM Products. Sorry. Frank on February 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm Ammonia 0 Nitrate 5 Nitrite 0.5 ALK 9.4 Temp 78.8 PH 8.3 Did a 50% water change as well before the tests. Does this mean Im pretty much cycled? can I feed a bit more? When adding more fish should i pour more ATM Colony in? If so how much? Do you recommend any more ATM products to use as I go on? Sorry for all these questions ATM Shark on February 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm Hey Frank, Sorry I didn’t catch your last response. Everything should be looking great about now. I would definitely recommend using Outbreak! as a weekly or bi-weekly regimen for organics control, Agent Green for phosphate control, and Supernova Living Carbon filtration media. All great tools! Also, keep a bottle of Triage First Response in case of any ammonia emergencies. Best regards! Frank on February 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm Im gonna be adding new fish but will be putting them in a QT tank first. Can I just add Colony to the QT tank. It has no substrate or rock in it, just some PVC pipe for the fish to hide, a hang on filter and a heater. ATM Shark on February 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm Hey Frank, You need to get some kind of media in the hang-on filter like carbon or something. The bacteria will need a place to colonize. Tommy O'connor on February 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm Hi I’ve my tank set up 7 weeks now I waited 2 weeks then put in ATM conoly everything was great then got the fish in no problem. So everything was going great all readings good but I thought it’s 7 weeks and I haven’t done a water change and my lfs said I should do one. So I done a 20% water change and my nitrate spiked up and anroma went up a bit is there an ATM product I can use weekly to keep everything good Reply ATM Shark on February 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm Your nitrates shouldn’t have gone up after a water change. I honestly don’t know how to account for a nitrate spike in this scenario. Ammonia spike can occur due to disturbed substrate releasing into the water column. A gravel vac might be in order if it is kicking up such ammonia (rotting sediment). I would recommend having Triage First Response handy for any ammonia emergencies and start with Outbreak! to mitigate decomposing organics that will cause problems. If you have any other questions just holler! Eric on February 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm Can you leave a carbon reactor on with Colony in a saltwater tank? Reply Eric on February 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm My current Ph 8 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 45 Gal saltwater Tank Forgot to unplug my carbon filter will this cause any problem during my cycle with ATM Colony? I only have two clowns, 5 snails and 5 herm Crabs ATM Shark on February 20, 2017 at 5:26 pm Hey Eric, No, leaving your carbon reactor on is okay. However, realize that the bacteria will want to reside there. So be careful when you are changing the media. Eric Morissette on February 20, 2017 at 5:11 pm And i’m on Day 4 Eric on February 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm on day 4 do you think ill get a spike soon ? what is the norm Eric on February 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm @ day 4 i just did a night test Results where My current Ph 8 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5ppm (using API just a slight difference from 0ppm) how much of a spike would i need? ATM Shark on February 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm 5 ppm is great. That means the bacteria have converted the ammonia through nitrite to nitrate. Tomorrow give another light feeding and watch your levels. Eric Morissette on February 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm when would you recommend a water change and turning on the skimmer? Nitrate should be at what ppm?, i’m new at this youtube video say like 25ppm ATM Shark on February 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm In a reef tank you want nitrates to be as low as possible. In a fish only tank I would keep below 25 always. You can do a water change at this point if you like and turn on the skimmer. Lisa DeMayo on June 22, 2017 at 7:42 am Hello there. I’m about to start a 20 gallon QT/acclimation tank and got a bottle of colony. I have 2 choices of Rock to put in with it to start and I was wondering which one u think i should use? Choice #1- dry rock in a cardboard box i’ve had out in the garage for a while, OR #2- rock i’ve had in a big plastic bin with a powerhead running for about 2 years, no food or anything being added to it. Just the powerhead in the water with it. Which would you suggest? Reply ATM Shark on June 22, 2017 at 7:55 am Hello, When cycling with live rock I would choose the one that you are sure won’t have any die-off. This can be unpredictable. The addition of dry rock adds an unknown variable to the equation as we don’t know how much ammonia it will put out. It could be hardly any, it could be so much as to extend the cycle and endanger the fish. How long has this rock been dry and in the garage? Is it necessary to have rock in the QT tank? Regards, Stacey Lisa DeMayo on June 22, 2017 at 7:43 am oh, and it’s a saltwater tank- obviously LOL Reply Submit a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.