Ammonia Off The Charts (first Cycle)

BloonStuff

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Hi there,

I am currently attempting my first ever tank cycle, fishless of course. I started by putting some flakes in the tank but decided to go with an ammonia solution instead to speed things up (famous last words lol). So basically I did my calculations of what I believed would give me around 5 or 6ppm, per the advice I’d seen online, but I added less than my calculations told me cos I was aware of the food waste already in the tank. However, when I checked the ammonia levels after adding it, the water in the test tube eventually turned a dark murky grey colour, almost black. Which isn’t even a colour in the test kit chart. Do I need to do a water change to bring it down a bit or else the cycle won’t progress?

At the minute there is a fine gravel in the tank, decorations and plants.
 

Goldiemom

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Hats off to you for learning about the nitrogen cycle before buying fish and choosing the fishless method. Did you add any bottled bacteria? If so, I would wait for the water change. If you didn’t use bottled bacteria, do a 25% if you want to. You don’t need to go above 2.0 or 4.0 in ammonia. Are you using pure ammonia? To be honest, unless you’re going to have really big fish with a heavy bio load, 2.0 is plenty. I have done both but one tank has goldfish which need more bacteria. Good luck and welcome to Fishlore. There’s a lot of really good people here with really good advice!
 
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BloonStuff

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Goldiemom said:
Hats off to you for learning about the nitrogen cycle before buying fish and choosing the fishless method. Did you add any bottled bacteria. If so, I would wait for the water change. You don’t need to go above 2.0 or 4.0 in ammonia. Are you using pure ammonia? To be honest, unless you’re going to have really big fish with a heavy bio load. 2.0 is plenty. I have done both but one tank has goldfish which need more bacteria. Good luck and welcome to Fishlore. There’s a lot of really good people here with really good advice!
Hi there! Thank you for the swift response and welcome!

I used API’s Quick Start and the ammonia I used was called Kleen Off. I’m not sure how pure that is? The tank is just a 5.5 gallon and I’m planning to keep a betta and two ghost shrimp in it, all being well.

If I wait and see if the ammonia comes down itself, it shouldn’t harm my plants should it?
 

Mick Frost

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According to multiple sources, Jeyes Klein Off Ammonia is the good stuff. I do recall reading that Quick Start also contains Ammonia, so that's probably the reason for the high reading. I can't attest to whether or not your plants will be ok.
 

Goldiemom

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I believe you are mistaken regarding Quick Start having ammonia. It consumes ammonia though. To be sure the ammonia is pure ammonia, shake the bottle. If it makes suds, then it contains detergent which you don’t want. If it doesn’t make suds then it should be pure. I use Dr. Tim’s pure ammonia but any pure ammonia is fine. Regarding plants, it depends on the plants.I never plant until I’m cycled though so I’m not the best person to answer that. Good luck and keep us posted. I want a betta so bad. 5 tanks and still no Betta. Gotta get one!
 

Mick Frost

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Goldiemom said:
I believe you are mistaken regarding Quick Start having ammonia. It consumes ammonia though. To be sure the ammonia is pure ammonia, shake the bottle. If it makes suds, then it contains detergent which you don’t want. If it doesn’t make suds then it should be pure. I use Dr. Tim’s pure ammonia but any pure ammonia is fine. Regarding plants, it depends on the plants.I never plant until I’m cycled though so I’m not the best person to answer that. Good luck and keep us posted. I want a betta so bad. 5 tanks and still no Betta. Gotta get one!
Could be. I don't recall where I read it, and I don't use the stuff. The Ammonia brand is made in England, so Dr Tims might not be available.
 

Goldiemom

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No one else on the plants, huh? I believe the only thing that would hurt them would be salt, IMO.
 
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BloonStuff

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Thanks for the advice. I might do a partial water change today to bring down the ammonia level to 2 or 3ppm, just to be on the safe side for the plants. Provided it isn’t already too late for them. Lol.
 

ValerieAdams

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I asked about cycling with plants before I started to cycle my tank and the responses I got were that they wouldn't be harmed and would actually help the cycle. I currently have java moss, java fern, anubias nana, anubias nana petite, Vallisneria Americana, and . All of them have been fine so far and look great
 
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BloonStuff

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I figured they would be okay but I'm worried because the ammonia is so high the test tube turned black. Haha. At the minute I have anubias nana, java moss and java fern on a small piece of bogwood, two small moss balls, salvinia, frogbit and java moss on the bottom of the tank. I believe all of which are pretty hardy, correct me if I'm wrong lol, but I don't want them to be melted. Haha.
 

ValerieAdams

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I don't really know much about plants. But I do remember seeing all of those names as good beginner plants so I would assume so lol. My ammonia is at 8 ppm right now but that's the end of my test I believe so they may be higher.
 
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BloonStuff

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What test kit are you using? I'm using the API Master Test Kit. The chart only reads up to 8ppm on it, which is a dark green colour. Goodness knows what it must be to go black. Lol.

As stressful as the science side of aquarium keeping is, it's definitely interesting.

Oh, I'd also like to ask anyone... when doing water changes, I'm treating the water with API declorinator. Is there anything else I should be also treating it with? Particularly when there's fish in the tank in the future.
 

mattgirl

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If I were you I would change out enough water to get the ammonia down to a readable level. That much ammonia isn't necessary for a successful cycle and could possibly be detrimental to it.

And to answer your question...Yes, you never want to add untreated water to your tank even this early in the cycle and you can complete the cycle without adding anything other than ammonia and dechlorinator..
 
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BloonStuff

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I've done about a 50% water change but I still need to check the ammonia left now. (Still need to add some of the new water but I can't lift the bucket myself as I'm disabled so will have to wait for help lol).

And that's grand. There's so many different names for things because of different brands and such I was worried I might have left something out. Thanks!

So after my 50% water change I checked my ammonia levels and I'm back down to 1ppm.

I'm going to leave it a couple of days and test it again and see where I'm at then. :')
 
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