Fishless Cycle Ammonia Questions
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:52 PM   #1
Patrunkenphat7
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Fishless Cycle Ammonia Questions


I am wondering how much ammonia you add per day per every 10 gallons of water for the fishless cycle in a heavily planted aquarium. Also, are there any recommendations on what "brand" of ammonia to purchase to insure that there will not be any additional chemicals in the solution?

I have never done a fishless cycle before, so I want to make sure that it will not negatively affect the plants.

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
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I plan to do the same. Here are my notes if they will help you:

ACE hardware sells pure ammonia. Dose to 5ppm. When water tests read 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, do 90% water change to lower the nitrates and you should be able to fully stock after the water change.

The liquid ammonia tests that API make are measured in parts per million. It doesnt have to be exact. You can add from 5ppm to 8ppm to do the cycle. 8 ppm takes longer, since there is more ammonia to consume, and then more nitrite to consume bit it builds up more beneficial bacteria in the tank.

Heating the tank to about 85 degrees can also help speed up the fishless cycle.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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You can also do it without adding anything. Let the tank run for 4 -5 weeks with plants and it should be cycled.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vin View Post
You can also do it without adding anything. Let the tank run for 4 -5 weeks with plants and it should be cycled.
I don't think that is possible without having some type of seeded media in the tank. For the nitrogen cycle to start ammonia needs to be added to the water.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #5
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For some general guidance, you could use this calculator to estimate the initial amount to add. Just be sure you adjust the measurement value and the percentage when calculating.

The amount you add each day as the bacterial count grows will vary from a drop to a couple mL. You'll just have to get a feel for your specific tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrunkenphat7 View Post
I am wondering how much ammonia you add per day per every 10 gallons of water for the fishless cycle in a heavily planted aquarium. Also, are there any recommendations on what "brand" of ammonia to purchase to insure that there will not be any additional chemicals in the solution?

I have never done a fishless cycle before, so I want to make sure that it will not negatively affect the plants.

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
For some general guidance, you could use this calculator to estimate the initial amount to add. Just be sure you adjust the measurement value and the percentage when calculating.

The amount you add each day as the bacterial count grows will vary from a drop to a couple mL. You'll just have to get a feel for your specific tank.
That is the coolest link! Thanks for sharing! Sweet!
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:33 PM   #7
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How long has the tank been running?

I haven't bothered using ammonia to cycle a planted tank. Instead I do a gradual ramp up over a period of about a month. I start off with the plants and any snail hitchhikers. I let the plants settle in for a week and a half to two weeks while I play with the scape. During this period I may drop in some fish food. Usually I will see very slight changes in nitrogen levels.

After two weeks I add a few fish and continue to monitor the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels. I've never had the levels jump to anything which would distress the fish. After another week I add a few more fish. Continue in this mode until fully stocked. As long as I add the fish gradually I don't have problems.

I'm ok with being patient and adding the fish gradually instead of by the beer cooler load. I can't handle the sticker shock of a $500 livestock purchase! Plus, some fish won't do well without a mature algae and biofilm load. Even if the tank is cycled, I still need to wait before adding these guys. I know, this isn't a fishless cycle. But it works for me.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #8
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Fishless cycling can typically take about a month (or longer). So there's plenty of biofilm.

Many fish - along with nearly all invertebrates - are so sensitive to ammonia and nitrite that it's not ideal to house them in a tank that has any trace of either. Which is why the fishless cycle is handy and humane.
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrunkenphat7 View Post
I am wondering how much ammonia you add per day per every 10 gallons of water for the fishless cycle in a heavily planted aquarium. Also, are there any recommendations on what "brand" of ammonia to purchase to insure that there will not be any additional chemicals in the solution?

I have never done a fishless cycle before, so I want to make sure that it will not negatively affect the plants.

Thanks!
A heavily planted tank is already cycled!
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
A heavily planted tank is already cycled!
Um no its not. A cycle is the production of benefitial bacteria. A brand new tank, heavily planted or not, is not "cycled".

As to the OP's question, I used 10 drops of Ace Hardware brand ammonia to take my 10 gallon tank to 1-3 ppm. The Ace brand stuff is the only thing locally I could find that didn't contain surfactants (which you want to avoid).
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemsons2k View Post
Um no its not. A cycle is the production of benefitial bacteria.
Those bacteria are plentiful in ordinary soil. For a detailed explanation, see Diana's book "Ecology of the planted aquarium".
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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Not everyone is using ordinary soil in their tank.

Sure, plants can use up ammonia that gets produced as food until the biofiltration of the tank catches up but that's not always ideal for beginners.

Also - the initial "cycle" process can be good for beginners because it allows tons of biofilm to build up and for the tank to mature, making it far less likely for sensitive fish and invertebrates to die from ammonia or nitrite-related deaths.

Quote:
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Those bacteria are plentiful in ordinary soil. For a detailed explanation, see Diana's book "Ecology of the planted aquarium".
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Not everyone is using ordinary soil in their tank.
Indeed. However, in a heavily planted tank the massive plant surface provides plenty of bacteria.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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No one is arguing that point. Please re-read our comments.

Bacteria exist on everything but that doesn't mean a tank is cycled as soon as you throw in a bunch of plants. It just means the plant load can process all of the ammonia (often referred to as a silent cycle). It doesn't mean filter media is established with bacterial colonies or that biofilm has developed on all surfaces within a tank.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
It doesn't mean filter media is established with bacterial colonies or that biofilm has developed on all surfaces within a tank.
In a planted tank, the plants themselves are the filter media. Thus, there is no traditional filter media to be established.
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