Help... trying to start the cycle - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Help... trying to start the cycle

I decided to use the fishless cycling method on my new dirted/planted tank.
As a first step, I added ammonia to a full 5 gal bucket to get the dosing amount.
Adding little by little, the water turned amber, with only a yellow API test tube reading. I stopped at 1 1/3 cups of ammonia. And still just a yellow test tube reading indicating 0.25 ppm.
Something is wrong. No way am I adding that quantity to the tank.
Where did I screw up?
Thanks
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 07:59 PM
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Wait... What? Could you rewrite that a little clearer? I'm not sure what you did.

It reads like you added 1 1/3 cups ammonia to your aquarium, which is WAY too much...
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 08:01 PM
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What brand ammonia did you use? Something def wrong
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I posted;
"As a first step, I added ammonia to a full 5 gal bucket to get the dosing amount."
That move was to avoid screwing up my tank/plants.

I asked in an earlier post if I had bought the right stuff and was told yes. It is ACE Ammonia janitorial strength...contains 10%ammonium hydroxide.
It sure smells like ammonia.

I am wondering if these test kits are worth a rat's patooie.
It is 8 drops of bottle #1 & 8 drops of bottle #2. The minimum measure amount is 0.25 yellow. It never tried to move to a blueish shade.

Roughly what would be the dose amount in a 5 gal bucket to get 5 ppm?
However, I still need a way of testing for ammonia.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 08:31 PM
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 08:40 PM
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That's the right ammonia , how old is your test kit? With adding that much to a bucket it should be off the charts Not really making much sence why your not getting a Way higher reading
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 09:00 PM
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Something's wrong with your test kit. 1 teaspoon in 5 gallons should read very high. Half a teaspoon in 5 gallons will be good. What size tank are you trying to cycle? I always just dump the ammonia straight in the tank, I've never had any plants get burned. I'm glad you didn't put 1 1/3 cups in your tank though, that's way too much.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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I called the LFS where I bought the test kit. He had me check the exp date which was ok, then said to pour more ammonia in.
That didn't sound right.
I since did more testing and was getting nowhere.
I finally poured the ammonia straight into the test tube. It tested the same at 0.25 ppm.
I'm not adding anything to the tank if I can't test for it.
I'm at a loss.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
I finally poured the ammonia straight into the test tube. It tested the same at 0.25 ppm
Well, either you have a bad batch of ammonia, or a bad test kit.

There are test strips that test for ammonia, see if you can find them. Or, Seachem makes an 'ammonia alert' disc you can hang in the tank.
Also, perhaps go buy any other sort (even the wrong type) of ammonia (Maybe you already have some?) and test that.
Even if it has perfumes or surfactants, it ought to make the test change color.

In the mean time, start the fishless cycle by feeding the tank a high protein fish food, perhaps twice as much as you would feed the fish (if there were any). It may take a day or so, but the protein in the food will get broken down and become ammonia. This is a safe way of starting the fishless cycle, even if you cannot test for ammonia.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbone11 View Post
I called the LFS where I bought the test kit. He had me check the exp date which was ok, then said to pour more ammonia in.
That didn't sound right.
I since did more testing and was getting nowhere.
I finally poured the ammonia straight into the test tube. It tested the same at 0.25 ppm.
I'm not adding anything to the tank if I can't test for it.
I'm at a loss.
I tried testing pure ammonia with an api test kit once, it doesn't work without some water.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 10:30 PM
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I def wouldn't be using that LFS again for ANYTHING if he told you dump more ammonia in in my opinion you have a bad test kit very unlikely the ammonia would be bad as you already said you can smell it I'd take a sample of the water u mixed up to a LFS and see what there test says if it reads right it's time to buy a new test kit and bring that one back to the Moron who told you dump more ammonia in .......
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 12:21 AM
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thumbs up to midnighttide! ^
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Diana, yes, I think I'll look for another ammonia. But, like you said, even with additives, it should post a reading in the test tube. I'll get something going with fish food.

Midnighttide102, taking a water/ammonia sample to the LFS and have them test with their kit, and the one they sold me, is a good idea.
If for no other reason than to watch them squirm.

Sometimes it seems like nothing is easy.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 12:58 PM
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I don't know why people go through all of this, when there is Tetra Safe Start. I have started the cycle in all of my tanks with this, and it's amazingly fast, and you have good bacteria within days. Took me less than a week to cycle a 100 gallon. And if you're not adding fish right away, make sure you feed the tank daily anyway.

My Toys; 100 gal. Clown Loach tank, 40 breeder community tank, 7.5 gal Emerald Rasboras, & Dwarf Cories, 17 Gal. Aquascaped Rimless Cube, Pygmy Cories, Embers, Dwarf Cories, Amano Shrimp, 3 plant/shrimp tanks, 300 gallon formal water lily pond, 150 gal. pond.

Last edited by LynneS22; 11-09-2014 at 01:00 PM. Reason: added comment
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Red face

There was "cockpit error" on my part here.
I apologize for wasting your time in solving this screw-up.
I did not follow the test kit instruction where there was a required wait time for the test tube to reach the color to be compared with the chart.
My bad.
As it turned out, the tank was well on into it's cycling without the addition of ammonia. I have since added ammonia in 1ml doses to bring it up to 1ppm.
I have found another problem though that will be asked in another new post.
Thanks for helping me get started during my thrashings around.
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