One of the way to fasten the cycling of your shrimp tank is to introduce live bacteria. There are a couple of brands in the market providing this but 2 of the most famous is tetra safestart plus and seachem stability.
In this article, we will compare these 2 products.
The difference between tetra safestart plus vs seachem stability lies in the convenience of the former. Specifically, tetra safestart is a simple pour and forget solution while seachem stability recommends a top up after every watch change. There are also some debate on whether the bacteria in seachem stability is truly aquatic or land based.
Why do tetra safestart and seachem stability do?
Before I dive into what are their main differences, let’s look at why we need these products in the first place.
Both products seek to introduce live bacteria into your tank so to speed up the cycling process. This is needed to break down ammonia levels into nitrate to avoid poisoning the fishes.
However, they are not 100% necessary in any fish or shrimp tank set up. There are many who have set up their tanks perfectly without them.
Their main benefits are:
- Speed up cycling time. If you are not in a rush, using the traditional method can get the same job done in 2-3 weeks.
- Convenience. Using commerical live bacteria take a lot of guesswork out of your fish tank set up. Both products simply require you to pour their solutions into the tank and that is all the work you need to do. A beginner can definitely benefit from this kind of ease.
What are the differences between tetra safestart and seachem stability?
Given both products perform the same function, what are their differences? Below are x that I can think of based on my experience and my conversation with other fish tank owners.
- Types of bacteria: This difference is still up for debate as there is no formal proof. However, according to what a lot of forums are saying, the bacteria in tetra safestart is what we get from a cycled tank. For seachem stability, the bacteria seems to be more land based, rather than aquatic.
- Partial cycled vs new: Tetra safestart is able to work on a completely new tank as well as tanks that are partially cycled. For some reasons, seachem stability is not effective in the latter. It might be due to the bacteria differences but there is no way to tell. It just seems that something in the partial cycle water is preventing the bacteria in stability to react.
- Price: Tetra safestart is more pricey. A 500ml bottle will cost you around $20 while a 500ml seachem stability is about $15.
Based on the above, this is what I recommend:
- For new tanks, you can go with seachem stability as it is cheaper and is able to achieve results
- For partial cycled tank, go with tetra safestart plus
Tetra safestart vs safestart plus
If you have decided to go for tetra safestart, you might be wondering about the difference between the regular and the plus version. Here is a summary of how these two versions differ
- Amount of bacteria: the TSS+ has a more concentrated bacteria so it is definitely better in quickening your cycling tank
That is about it. There is actually not much difference between tetra safestart and safestart plus. According to their marketing, you are suppose to use the TSS+ when cycling a tank and the regular TSS when doing water change.
However, we all know that once the bacteria ecosystem has been set up (via cycling), there is no need to top up any bacteria. They don’t behave like floating dirt which gets removed after a water change.
To me, it is just a marketing gimmick to get you to continuously buy TSS after you have set up your tank.
How much tetra safestart plus for a 10 and 5 gallon tank
How much to use depends on the state of your tank.
For established tank, the general rule is 5ml per 10 gallon.
For new tank, emptying the whole bottle is probably the right way to do it. I have not systematically test it out but I have no problems using the entire bottle (250ml).
In case you are concerned whether overdose will harm your fishes, the answer is no. Tetra safestart just contained concentrated bacteria, which will existed anyway if you have a fully cycled tank. The are not chemicals that can harm your fishes.
How to use tetra safestart
I have write about this before but repeat the information here for your convenience in case you have decided to use teta safestart
- Set up your fish tank as per usual.
- Fill it with water
- Turn on any filter or heater or airstone
- Add tss into the water (Note, if you added any kind of chlorine into the water, you need to wait 24 hours before adding tss as the chlorine will kill the bacteria)
- After 20 mins, add one to two fishes. They will supply the ammonia which serve as food for the bacteria. If you don’t feed the bacteria, they will die off within 3hours
- Test your water daily to see if ammonia and nitrate levels are dropping
- In case the levels are spiking, do 40-50% water change asap to save the fishes
Although both products are familiar on paper, tetra safestart has a much stronger reputation among the fish tank owners in the forums. I am not saying you should buy based on such sentiment but there is a reason why this is so.
However, if you are considering both products for a new tank, then just choose the cheaper seachem stability as both can work. If it is for a tank with partial cycled water, go for TSS+.