Ammonia to jump start cycle? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Ammonia to jump start cycle?

I heard to put pure ammonia to start off a brand new tank, but I don't know how much for gallon?

6.6 tank.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 09:30 PM
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others may do it differently but I do 4ppm of ammonia to start the cycle when doing a fishless cycle then drop it down to 1ppm when your get you nitrite spike.

You can search 'fishless cycle ammonia calculator' there's a calculator that will give you an idea of how much to add to reach the desired ppm. Just start by adding a small amount, let it disperse through the tank for a couple minutes and then use your test kit to figure out what ppm you are at and add more as needed If I remember correctly about 5ml per 10 gallons will give you around 4ppm depending on the concentration of the ammonia you are using, so for 6.6 gallons you might try starting with 2.5 ml of ammonia and see what type of reading that gives you.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 09:37 PM
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I wouldn't bother if I were you, here's what I would do, fill the 6 gallon with low light plants and rocks, driftwood etc let your 2.5 gallon finish its cycle, when that's done take all the filter media and put it in your new filter for the 6 or run both for a few weeks then take the old one off, when you transfer the media or hob throw that Betta in and enjoy!


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yea, you're right Mott. It might just be easier that way, with the way my nitrites are spiking right now.

What plants would you suggest?

I was told driftwood might just make things harder, so I don't know if I'll do that or not.

Last edited by MDubbs; 08-28-2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: asking for some more info.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 10:45 PM
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I'd just move everything to the 6.6 gallon, especially the current filter and media you have on the 2.5 gallon. The dilution factor will be nice for the betta to keep the nitrite from spiking and there shouldn't be any disruption to the current cycling process.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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The filter on the tank I have is good, but it's the unit for this specific tank. I was going to buy a new filter, because I have read you should get something a little stronger.

I want to keep my Betta in this tank, with the filter running, until I get that other tank fully cycled.

Hence, why I asked about the ammonia question.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 11:19 PM
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Use the ammonia. Add ammonia until it registers 3-5ppm and be done with it. No need to calculate how much per gallon. In a smaller tank you could probably do 2-3ppm instead. You only need to monitor when your levels drop below 2-3ppm. Raise the temps on you thermometer to the mid 80s and call it a day. Its been done this way effortlessly by many. Ammonia is cheap and will last you for quite some time to do other things with it.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDubbs View Post
The filter on the tank I have is good, but it's the unit for this specific tank. I was going to buy a new filter, because I have read you should get something a little stronger.

I want to keep my Betta in this tank, with the filter running, until I get that other tank fully cycled.

Hence, why I asked about the ammonia question.
Ah, didn't realize which tank you had...but can you move over the media? That would work just as well and it wouldn't be as time dependent on having to start a cycle from scratch.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 04:04 AM
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If you use the highly concentrated stuff from Ace hardware, it wouldn't take much. I'd try a drop or two and check, and go from there. You don't want to get higher than 5 ppm ammonia or it inhibits the nitrifying bacteria.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 09:34 PM
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Just a heads up, just put 2 drops in my 20 long that I am cycling and ammonia went up to 1ppm
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 10:32 PM
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I used to run across an online calculator that had a pulldown menu for various common ammonia brands. Couldn't find it with a brief googling, but there are dozens that will work if your ammonia has the % on the bottle.

I picked up a generic bottle that didn't have the strength, so I just dumped a milliliter into a 5 gallon bucket and tested it, repeat a couple times for verification, and then did a couple calculations to figure out what I need to raise 1 gallon of water 1ppm.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 02:43 AM
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Here is the fishless cycle:
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 08:24 PM
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I used this site to calculate ammonia for cycling a 3 gallon and a "55" (technically 48), also tried cycling a no-tech (but that one didn't work out since I got impatient.. filters really help speed cycling along). I got my ammonia from Ace Hardware, janitor strength ammonia, and used a needle-less pet medicine syringe to measure each dose.

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