3, 4, 5 ppm Added Ammonia? 12 or 24 Hours NH3/4 to NO3?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by GrdnDelite, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. GrdnDelite

    GrdnDeliteNew MemberMember

    I am fishless cycling a 55 gallon (unplanted) tank using Ace Hardware ammonia. Two days ago I added one of the seeded sponge filters from angelsplus.com. (No affiliation, but I am impressed.) I am using the API Master Test Kit.

    The last two days I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites (with 80+ nitrates) after 24 hours. I have been adding ammonia daily to bring tank ammonia up to 3 ppm.

    I have easily read at least a dozen different fishless cycling "how to" articles on the web, most on various fish forums (though this is the one I've chosen to join). I've read most of the posts in this section on fishless with ammonia, as well as some in the archived posts here.

    In the various articles and posts, I see prescribed ammonia amounts of 3 and 4 and 5 ppm as tank level once added, depending on which I read (even just on fishlore), and processed to nitrate in sometimes 12 and other times 24 hours, stated as the goal.

    I do not intend to fully stock when I do add fish. I plan a peaceful community tank and intend to start with about six zebra danios.

    Would anyone care to advance an opinion or better as to how much ammonia ppm ought be achieved for daily processing, and/or whether it is 12 or 24 hours that it should take to process to nitrates?

    I'd be grateful, as I think I'm at least getting close to cycled.
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    Sounds to me like you're cycled. I would suggest a large water change to lower your nitrates and begin adding fish. Nitrates are best under 20 but under 40 not so bad.

    Let's get another opinion to be on the safe side. :)

  3. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Sounds good to me also, especially if you plan on stocking lightly initially. 6 zebras in a 55g is not much of a bioload at all.
  4. OP

    GrdnDeliteNew MemberMember

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    What I am planning to do is a major water change this afternoon, putting in some plants while the water's low, and then checking water tomorrow night and the next. If I don't like the nitrate readings, more water change. When I have 0/0/10 I'll want to bring home some fish.

    Does this seem a sound approach?

    (I note that it is apparently the case that 3 or 4 or 5 ppm and 12 vs. 24 hours are not all that critical, as long as I'm somewhere in range.)

    I am pretty excited, I don't mind saying. :D
  5. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Sounds good. I would suggest that anytime using the Pure Ammonia Method that the Ammonia level not go over 4.0. If it goes over 4.0 then it may not always be able to process such a high level.

    Too, remember the beneficial bacteria still needs a food source, being amonia, in order to survive.

  6. OP

    GrdnDeliteNew MemberMember

    In case someone else happens along one day to read this while trying to plumb the depths of the mystery that cycling can seem:

    I've been adding ammonia each night to bring the tank to 3 ppm. Day before yesterday I added enough to bring it to 4 ppm, which it processed in 24 hours. Last night I went back to 3 ppm.

    Today I'm at 0/0/80+ after 14 hours, so I'm calling it cycled.

    I've reduced the temperature in the tank from 85.7 to about 80, planning to reduce it tomorrow to 78 and down to 75-76 the day after (which is where the temperatures for the fish I hope to keep intersect).

    I'll obtain plants here shortly, and plant the tank while we're doing the massive water change to bring down the nitrates.

    Until I add fish, I'll be adding ammonia each night to bring the tank back up to 3 ppm and continue to monitor that it's processing as expected.

    If all goes well, I'll add fish instead of ammonia on Friday night.

    If I'm about to do something that'll mess this up, someone please tell me so, and what I ought do instead. (I'm a little uneasy as to how much the BB may slow down as I reduce the temperature, but hope they can withstand faster temperature change than can fish.)

    My thanks to all those who've posted (anywhere in the forum) their questions, upsets, successes, and experiences; and those with experience who have posted their advice.