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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wanting to do a fishless cycle in my 55 gallon, but I'm not sure if the ammonia I bought at Dollar Tree is OK to use. I looked everywhere, but everything else I could find listed surficants in the ingredients. The one I got today is "LA's Totally Awesome Clear Ammonia", and it has no ingredients listed at all -- no percentage or anything. I shook it up before I bought it, to see if it sudsed up, and it didn't make a single bubble, so I figured it didn't have surficants added. However, when I got it home, I was cleaning something with it and it felt slippery or slick, so I started thinking that it may contain surficants after all. Has anyone else used this ammonia for a fishless cycle, or can someone confirm that straight ammonia normally feels slippery? Or does someone know where to buy straight, unadulterated ammonia?
 

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Do not use this ammonia. It is not pure ammonia and water like what you need. I googled this after buying it as well and it does have surfactants. I would suggest you go a home improvement store like lowes or Home Depot
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tried Lowe's, and the only ammonia I saw there (in household cleaners) has surficants added. I'm running out of possible sources locally. Thanks for the info, I didn't think to Google it (duh) and didn't know that a slippery, oily feel was a property of liquids with a high pH. I guess I'm back to hunting for straight ammonia. Sheesh!
 

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It's getting much easier to find instructions on fishless cycle; not so for the ammonia source. I spent an entire day driving around looking for a bottle that did not contain surfactants. From previous posts and other forums I learned that ACE hardware was a sure source to purchase but my local ACE happened to be out. I tried lowes, Home Depot, target, publix, a couple of dollar stores, and a Walmart. Some of the bottles listed surfactants while others did not yet still had the tell tale bubbles form when the bottle was shaken.
I just happened to spot a mom and pop hardware store on my way home. Low and behold after sorting through some very unorganized stock I located their last remaining bottle of ammonia in their household cleanser isle. The brand is "Majestic". I held my breath and shook: I lucked out! No bubbles! Have performed two very successful fishless cycles with this.

For the benefit of this post I just now tested its viscosity (and unprepared for the fumes almost knocked myself out). I found it to perhaps have a very slight initial slip but really not a consistency unlike water.
Also, since some bottles do not list surfactants even though they are present, I wonder how many people have actually gone ahead and used them to cycle.
 

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I had actually used the ammonia the op listed to cycle a tank last year. I had to pour in a lot of it to register a reading and I ended up having a lot of problems with that tank for the first six months or so. I'm not sure if the problems I had were directly related but when I researched it just to make sure when j started my new tank I read it is not pure ammonia and does contain surfactants. I ended up using fish food with some mostly cycled media this time around
 

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I'm in the middle of moving, so I don't have a lot of time to run around looking, so I'm hitting different places on my way back and forth. There are still a couple of places I've thought of to check, a grocery store and a building supply/hardware store, but other than those, I guess I'll have to drive down to Meridian and shop around. I've wondered if I can get basic Nitrogen fertilizer at the co-op and use that -- any thoughts on that? I really needed to get this started days ago, since I'll be getting the fish with my new (to me) big tank, and I need a tank ready for them when I pick them up. I guess, if worse comes to worst, I will just have to watch the ammonia and do daily water changes. It will only be about three plecos in a 55, but one of them is 12" to 14", so it may be a good bit of waste output. I bought a Jungle product, "Start Zyme", from WallyWorld (the only aquarium supplies available locally) that is supposed to add nitrifying bacteria, so I'll be using that. (Has anyone tried it with success?) Also, I'll be sure to feed them sparingly until the ammonia and nitrite levels stay down.

Today's world just has too many conglomerated, ready-made products, from household chemicals to electronics, and too few simple, basic things available; they want to make you pay more for their whole product instead of letting you purchase just the one cheap, basic component you really need. It's not a good era for do-it-yourselfers in a disposable world. It's a good thing that you can still buy just the one part you need to keep canister filters going: I'd hate to have to purchase a whole new filter every time there was a problem with one! (Knock on wood!)

I just happened to think, I will be getting two Fluval 305's with the tank, and the guy is keeping them going with the cichlids (which I'm not getting) until I come get the setup, so if I put them on the 55 with the plecos, perhaps at a reduced flow, do y'all think the bacteria in them will survive the three hour trip and be good to go on the 55? Do you think I'll need to open the canisters to let them breath, and keep the media moist, like in a wet/dry filter?
 

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If you're that desperate for ammonia I have also read where some of the old timers in this hobby added their own source of ammonia....urine. I don't see why this wouldn't work unless one was taking antibiotics or other meds.

Big city aquariums actually order their bacteria and have it shipped to them overnight so there must be a way to do it. I would think if 1) you keep the media moist 2) provide sufficent oxygen levels they will be fine for the three hour drive. Perhaps carry a spray bottle with dechlorinated water and periodically spray???
 

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do you have an ace hardware handy? The ACE janitorial strength ammonia is pure 10% ammonium hydroxide.That's the stuff to use.It's lists right on it that it's just ammonia.
 

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If you're that desperate for ammonia I have also read where some of the old timers in this hobby added their own source of ammonia....urine. I don't see why this wouldn't work unless one was taking antibiotics or other meds.

Big city aquariums actually order their bacteria and have it shipped to them overnight so there must be a way to do it. I would think if 1) you keep the media moist 2) provide sufficent oxygen levels they will be fine for the three hour drive. Perhaps carry a spray bottle with dechlorinated water and periodically spray???
You know, I actually had thought about your first suggestion (LOL). But using a spray bottle is a great idea, thanks! I'll probably just go with that way and try to keep the bacteria alive until I get the filters going again. I think that should solve my dilemma, thanks for the input, everyone.

do you have an ace hardware handy? The ACE janitorial strength ammonia is pure 10% ammonium hydroxide.That's the stuff to use.It's lists right on it that it's just ammonia.
We used to have an Ace hardware here, but they closed and changed names; I'm not sure if they are still open or not. I may check out there and if they have it I'll pick one up for future use. Thanks.
 

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My daughter wanted to fish less cycling for new tank. So we did some research. Many of the articles we read suggested Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride for Fishless Cycling. Ordered ours from Amazon. You also might be able to get it at Drs. Foster and Smith.

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