Why are all Cycles not Created Equal?

taricha

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How were you able to find out the bacterial species within microbacter xlm? Did you find it yourself (i.e. you analyzed it) or did brightwell mention it?
I don't know for sure, haven't done any testing on it. Educated guess based on the following bits of info.

- bottle bacteria, myth or fact thread found only Biospira, One and Only, and Fritz to do nitrification without carbon source. All the other products required fish food to process ammonia (heterotrophs). MB XLM wasn't tested.
- Brightwell suggests using qwickcycle as a food source for XLM, and claims that it is not simply ammonium chloride, and that it claims to have other needed nutrients besides ammonia. (autotroph nitrifiers do great on just ammonia drops).
- the reported behavior by the OP, no ammonia decrease with a lot of waiting, but some sign of nitrification when fish flake was added (this is seen repeatedly in the myth or fact thread).
-Brightwell instructions that it's very important no other bacteria (live sand) be present.
"5) Do not use live sand and particularly DO NOT USE dry seeded artificial live rock until cycling is complete. There are no dry bacteria species that will be compatible with this nitrifying bacteria product or that are useful to cycle an aquarium at all! To use a dry bacteria will only lengthen the time it takes to cycle by many weeks and increase your work many times! ... Note: What to do if you must use live sand or dry seeded live rock - go ahead and use them with the MicrōBacter Start XLM, just realize the cycle will be impeded. It will take more XLM to seed the system (double the dose if you can) and the cycle will likely take 2 to 4 weeks longer to complete because you are working against the XLM, but when completed, will work just fine."
If this is accurate, it is probably because live sand and other heterotroph bacteria could compete for the carbon and make it unavailable to the heterotrophic nitrifiers in XLM.
Autotrophic nitrifiers do not care if you have heterotroph bacteria around. Biospira works just fine when added to live sand or media that already has heterotrophs.

(of course the above explanation from Brightwell may not be accurate, but just gives a wide excuse for a product to not function as it's expected.)
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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(of course the above explanation from Brightwell may not be accurate, but just gives a wide excuse for a product to not function as it's expected.)

lol
 
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AKL1950

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Different microorganisms, materials, water, temp, lighting and more. Thats what I think at least
We’ll, I satisfied my impatience and Thursday night I dumped one bottle of Bio-Spira in the tank. The bottle was only for 70 gal and my system has about 200 total gallons, but the results were almost immediate. Tested Friday afternoon (18 hours later). Ammonia dropped to around .4 ppm, nitrites were up to .25 ppm and nitrates were up to 3.8 ppm. That is the first nitrites I’ve seen since starting the cycle three weeks ago. Seachem Badge this morning is showing close to yellow, so the Bio-Spira definitely kick-started the cycle Into high gear.

I can’t say the MicroBacter XLM wasn’t working (albeit slowly) because the ammonia was slowly dropping, but I’ve now seen my first nitrites in three weeks right after adding the Bio-Spira. I’m satisfied that there is definite differences in the bacteria used by the two products (Or, the Bio-Spira was a more fresh alive bottle). When I cycled my QT, Bio-Spira had it done in about 5 days, so that seems to be much quicker than the XLM. Next time I need to do a dry cycle, that will be my go to bacteria source.

Jetson
 
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We’ll, I satisfied my impatience and Thursday night I dumped one bottle of Bio-Spira in the tank. The bottle was only for 70 gal and my system has about 200 total gallons, but the results were almost immediate. Tested Friday afternoon (18 hours later). Ammonia dropped to around .4 ppm, nitrites were up to .25 ppm and nitrates were up to 3.8 ppm. That is the first nitrites I’ve seen since starting the cycle three weeks ago. Seachem Badge this morning is showing close to yellow, so the Bio-Spira definitely kick-started the cycle Into high gear.

I can’t say the MicroBacter XLM wasn’t working (albeit slowly) because the ammonia was slowly dropping, but I’ve now seen my first nitrites in three weeks right after adding the Bio-Spira. I’m satisfied that there is definite differences in the bacteria used by the two products (Or, the Bio-Spira was a more fresh alive bottle). When I cycled my QT, Bio-Spira had it done in about 5 days, so that seems to be much quicker than the XLM. Next time I need to do a dry cycle, that will be my go to bacteria source.

Jetson
make sure you had a bottle thats still good, Ive noticed bottles from as far back as 2018 being sold as new somewhat often
 
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AKL1950

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Good call. The MB XLM might have been a little stale. It was like next to nothing was happening for almost three weeks. Expiration date on it was 2025, but not sure when it was made. When I put the Bio-Spira in on Thursday the cycle took off. Nitrite and nitrates immediately went up and both are climbing steadily now. Should be complete in another five to seven days. Best estimate with the color testing is Ammonia is down below 0.3 ppm now.
 
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DavidinGA

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I've been in the hobby since the late 90's and I've never tested a tank to see if it's cycle is complete. It's seems to be a really weird newbie issue I see all over the forums now and I don't get it.

In every tank I've ever setup after getting the bare essentials in place (water movement/filtration, heater, correct salinity, etc) I add some sand, I add some LR, and I toss in a raw shrimp in a media bag, and then I wait. When I see diatoms or any algae growth my cycle is done.

People talk about the cycle getting "stuck" and in all my years I've never had this issue.


*edit*
I would also add that before the new "my cycle is stuck" issues arose, we never went down the additive rabbit hole to aid the cycle. Perhaps that's where a lot of the newbie issues are coming from with all the additives people are using.
 
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AKL1950

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I’d have to agree with you, but since I’m trying something new (and I’m not in a big hurry), I opted for doing something a bit different this time and learn a bit about the process of the cycle. Always before, I used live rock and/or live sand. Cycles were immediate and fish went right it. Unfortunately, so did all the unwanted stuff that comes with using live sand and rock. This time I wanted to do a bare bottom tank and start with clean manufactured dry rock so I had a cleaner tank to start with. That made the process of growing bacteria from square one something new to me. It’s definitely slower, but I’m comfortable with the process. And, I’ve learned a lot about bacteria and ammonia cycles. I started the QT 7 weeks ago (also something new for me), so my first four fish will be ready exactly when the DT is ready. Worked out well.

Jetson
 

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