Originally Posted by sarahbobarah
Yes, I've read about the fishless cycling, even in some reputable mags and sites. But then again, these are folks who've been studying the aquarium hobby for years.
Doesn't mean they are right...............
I've been in this hobby a lot longer than the web. Somehow as someone who worked at a LFS as kid, we managed to cycle every tank immediately...........
Without a Toxic chemical, NH4 is very toxic at high concentrations for most everything, like bleach, both are used as house hold cleaners...........
We used dirty sand or the dirt from the filter squeezings from an established tank. I call it mulm.
Add this to a new tank, no cycling is ever needed.
Marine, fish only , you name it.
Time: zero days. Testing: none needed.
Add precisely what is missing from an established tanks.
Adding plants which have bacteria on their roots already in high density is another way..............plants will remove all the NH4 at the normal low levels, if someone adds NH4, then there is excess NH4 which leads to algae as the poster found out the hard way...............
So do not use NH4, it has no place in the planted hobby ever.
NO3, yes, NH4 no.........
There are many paths to the top of a moutain but there is still only one view.
Some paths are rocky and tough, some are easier.
The web offers lots of infomation, but just because it's in a book or on the web, does not imply it's correct.
You mean well and are trying to do the right thing, do not let it get you down.
CO2 use will be the most difficult thing for any new person(and old hand for that matter).
Test kits: do not trust them as factual accurate readings, many times they are way off. So we test the test kits. We use known concentrations of nutrients etc to see if the test kit is accurate or not.
Or you can by pass test kits and do water changes(removes any build up, and frequent dosing prevents anything from running out). This seems to work well for most folks since water changes are fairly simple, easy, and cost less than testing. Water changes are also an existing habit already for most aquarist.