ATM Ask The Shark “Nitrifying Bacteria”


  1. 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?

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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

    • 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. Keep me posted on this please!

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