Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Morgan Hill, CA
I would say that if you can get the ammonia, it is the better route. You'll have a better idea of how much ammonia is going into your tank that way. A little bit of footwork now will save you effort in the future if you end up cycling more tanks. I didn't know when I got started 4 months ago that I would have cycled 3 tanks already this way.
Also keep in mind that you get what you put into it. Ammonia should produce faster results. You get an instant spike, and then keep levels high. As for frequency of measurements, once again you get what you put into it. You could just start at 5ppm and add about 1ppm a day, test after a week, and then test every few days after that. Once you see it drop to about 1ppm or so, that's when you start your 5ppm dosing with testing 24 hours later.
Homer says 1ml per 5g, which is funny because I do 8ml per 40g (do that math!). This gave me 5ppm, which is usually the recommended target. This was with a 10% ammonia solution, which I think is typical of most ammonia products out there (and btw, 10% is still *very* strong. Keep your nose far away if you value your sinuses).
Lastly, exact measurements are not required. If you end with 2ppm or 8ppm, it won't make a difference. In fact I bet your tank would cycle just as fast at 1ppm. You just need to make sure you start spiking higher once it goes to 0ppm within 24 hours so you can reach the goal of 5ppm in 24 hours.