Help Do I Add Fish Food Every Day When Cycling? (fishless Cycle)

Panda_Mo

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I posted earlier saying that I've always used fluval cycle to cycle my aquariums. Since I'm not in a hurry this time and don't want to spend $15 on a bottle I decided to do it the "natural way" and use just fish food. How much/how often should I add the fish food?
 
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Panda_Mo

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Fish food can take a very very long time and it's really difficult to control and can get really messy.

I'd suggest pure ammonia if you are going to do a fishless cycle.
How long is a "very long time"? I dont mind waiting a month or little longer but if its 2+ months I'll just buy a bottle of cycle.
 

bizaliz3

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How long is a "very long time"? I dont mind waiting a month or little longer but if its 2+ months I'll just buy a bottle of cycle.
Definitely more than a month. It can take a month using pure ammonia! And the fish food takes much longer to break down into significant amounts of ammonia to actually move that cycle along at any good speed. And you are not able to control it like you can with pure ammonia. I have never done a fishless cycle. So I can't say much more than that.

As for buying a "bottle of cycle". What are you referring to? If you are talking about bottled bacteria, you would not use that for a fishless cycle. You would still need to add ammonia to the tank to feed the bacteria from the bottle or that bacteria just dies off and you accomplished nothing... whether it be pure ammonia, or actual fish, there has to be an ammonia source or you will be wasting time and money.
 

ystrout

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Definitely don't use fish food. That will create a mess and since it takes a while to turn to ammonia, you'll constantly have to test the water to see where ammonia levels are.

Go to Ace Hardware and buy 10% ammonium hydroxide (ammonia mixed with water) for like $4.

When cycling my 14 gallon tank. I used about half of a capful to get the ammonia to 3 ppm. It's super potent.

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/home-and-decor/cleaning-and-disinfectants/all-purpose-cleaners/10184

This is the gallon size for $7, but you should smaller bottle for $3 to $4 as it will last you forever.
 
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Panda_Mo

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Definitely more than a month. It can take a month using pure ammonia! And the fish food takes much longer to break down into significant amounts of ammonia to actually move that cycle along at any good speed. And you are not able to control it like you can with pure ammonia. I have never done a fishless cycle. So I can't say much more than that.

As for buying a "bottle of cycle". What are you referring to? If you are talking about bottled bacteria, you would not use that for a fishless cycle. You would still need to add ammonia to the tank to feed the bacteria from the bottle or that bacteria just dies off and you accomplished nothing... whether it be pure ammonia, or actual fish, there has to be an ammonia source or you will be wasting time and money.
Should I add a couple of fish and then use the bottle of cycle?
 
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Panda_Mo

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What is this bottle of cycle you are referring to?
Its beneficial bacteria to help cycle your aquarium faster, at least that's what I thought it was?? I've only kept fish for a year and then had to give them up due to school and now I'm trying to set my tanks back up so I'm really not that experienced. Sorry if I sound ignorant.
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Definitely don't use fish food. That will create a mess and since it takes a while to turn to ammonia, you'll constantly have to test the water to see where ammonia levels are.

Go to Ace Hardware and buy 10% ammonium hydroxide (ammonia mixed with water) for like $4.

When cycling my 14 gallon tank. I used about half of a capful to get the ammonia to 3 ppm. It's super potent.

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/home-and-decor/cleaning-and-disinfectants/all-purpose-cleaners/10184

This is the gallon size for $7, but you should smaller bottle for $3 to $4 as it will last you forever.
Very helpful thank you. I'll do this meathod instead!
 

bizaliz3

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Its beneficial bacteria to help cycle your aquarium faster, at least that's what I thought it was?? I've only kept fish for a year and then had to give them up due to school and now I'm trying to set my tanks back up so I'm really not that experienced. Sorry if I sound ignorant.View attachment 556513
You don't sound ignorant at all!!!!

I have never seen that kind before. I knew you were talking about beneficial bacteria, but it does matter what KIND you are using. They are all a little bit different. So we needed to determine what brand you were looking at to give the appropriate advice.

I think the most popular one around here is Tetra safe start PLUS (TSS+).

What you have to remember when using bottled bacteria is that the bacteria needs to eat to survive. And its "Food" is ammonia. So that is why you must have an ammonia source in the water for the bottled bacteria to have any effect. Meaning it can only be used in a fishless cycle if you are adding pure ammonia to the tank to keep it "fed".

Once you have decided which bottled bacteria you are going to use, I suggest starting a thread on how to cycle your tank using that particular brand.
 
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Panda_Mo

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You don't sound ignorant at all!!!!

I have never seen that kind before. I knew you were talking about beneficial bacteria, but it does matter what KIND you are using. They are all a little bit different. So we needed to determine what brand you were looking at to give the appropriate advice.

I think the most popular one around here is Tetra safe start PLUS (TSS+).

What you have to remember when using bottled bacteria is that the bacteria needs to eat to survive. And its "Food" is ammonia. So that is why you must have an ammonia source in the water for the bottled bacteria to have any effect. Meaning it can only be used in a fishless cycle if you are adding pure ammonia to the tank to keep it "fed".

Once you have decided which bottled bacteria you are going to use, I suggest starting a thread on how to cycle your tank using that particular brand.
I'll grab a bottle of ammonia and use cycle. I didn't realize how inefficient it was to use just fish food
 

bizaliz3

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Very helpful thank you. I'll do this meathod instead!
Definitely. Like I said, adding ammonia is much better than fish food for cycling. :)

You can still add bottled bacteria using that method. It will only help speed things along! :)

I'll grab a bottle of ammonia and use cycle. I didn't realize how inefficient it was to use just fish food
And just think how gross and dirty the bottom of the tank and the filter media will become with all that uneaten food for weeks and weeks. Its just not a very practical way to do it.
 

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I recommend strongly to use Dr. Tim’s One and Only bacteria. There are brands of bacteria out there that are actually not the right strains of bacteria making your cycle unsuccessful at the end. But I know Dr. Tim’s is. You can either add hardy fish with that or use pure ammonia. If you use pure ammonia, get Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride too instead of the Ace Hardware ammonia. It’s special for feeding Dr. Tim’s bacteria in particular and they go together perfectly. Also, it tells you the exact dosage and how much to add. Let me tell you something about it from my experience using it, tho. The bottle says to add 4 drops per gallon to raise the ammonia to 2 ppm. I added 4 drops per gallon to my 20 gallon tank and it raised the ammonia to 4 ppm instead of 2 ppm. Just be aware of that. I would check how much ammonia there is afte adding the dosage it says just in case.
 

ystrout

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I recommend strongly to use Dr. Tim’s One and Only bacteria. There are brands of bacteria out there that are actually not the right strains of bacteria making your cycle unsuccessful at the end. But I know Dr. Tim’s is. You can either add hardy fish with that or use pure ammonia. If you use pure ammonia, get Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride too instead of the Ace Hardware ammonia. It’s special for feeding Dr. Tim’s bacteria in particular and they go together perfectly. Also, it tells you the exact dosage and how much to add. Let me tell you something about it from my experience using it, tho. The bottle says to add 4 drops per gallon to raise the ammonia to 2 ppm. I added 4 drops per gallon to my 20 gallon tank and it raised the ammonia to 4 ppm instead of 2 ppm. Just be aware of that. I would check how much ammonia there is afte adding the dosage it says just in case.
I can't speak to Dr Tim's bacteria, although I've only heard good things about the company. I still recommend TSS+ or SeaChem Stability from experience as I've seen it work first hand. But a lot of products are good.

But that's just not true about the ammonia. Forget what they advertise and look at it through at it from a chemistry point of view. The Ace Hardware is pure ammonia mixed with water. That's literally what fish poop turns into when it decomposes. There's no "Special ammonia", it's either NH3 in ammonia form or NH4 in ammonium form depending on PH and a couple other factors. Both forms are consumed by beneficial bacteria.

I've cycled a bunch of tanks by getting a bacteria seed from putting a sponge in my main tank's filter, then transferring it to my quarantine tank where I dose with ammonia to "strengthen the bacteria colony". I do this because I tear down my quarantine tank every time after I'm done using it.
 

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I can't speak to Dr Tim's bacteria, although I've only heard good things about the company. I still recommend TSS+ or SeaChem Stability from experience as I've seen it work first hand. But a lot of products are good.

But that's just not true about the ammonia. Forget what they advertise and look at it through at it from a chemistry point of view. The Ace Hardware is pure ammonia mixed with water. That's literally what fish poop turns into when it decomposes. There's no "Special ammonia", it's either NH3 in ammonia form or NH4 in ammonium form depending on PH and a couple other factors. Both forms are consumed by beneficial bacteria.

I've cycled a bunch of tanks by getting a bacteria seed from putting a sponge in my main tank's filter, then transferring it to my quarantine tank where I dose with ammonia to "strengthen the bacteria colony". I do this because I tear down my quarantine tank every time after I'm done using it.
I do get what you’re saying and you’re completely right. Using the Ace Hardware ammonia or another brand of pure ammonia could still work perfectly with Dr. Tim’s One and Only bacteria obviously because they are all ammonia and that’s what bacteria are supposed to feed on. I was just saying to get Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride because if you are already using his bacteria, why not go with the ammonia he provides too? But it’s not necessary.
 

Momgoose56

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I posted earlier saying that I've always used fluval cycle to cycle my aquariums. Since I'm not in a hurry this time and don't want to spend $15 on a bottle I decided to do it the "natural way" and use just fish food. How much/how often should I add the fish food?
Every day, as much as it takes to maintain an ammonia level of 1-2 ppm while you're cycling depending on the tank size.
I'll grab a bottle of ammonia and use cycle. I didn't realize how inefficient it was to use just fish food
Heres a handy-dandy ammonia calculator to use with your ACE ammonia! My 125 g tank took 6 weeks to cycle with just some seeded lava rock and ACE ammonia.
http://spec-tanks.com/ammonia-calculator-aquariums/
 

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Momgoose56

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I thought you wanted to be between 3 & 5ppm?
If you plan on overstocking your tank, all at once, it's a good idea to start out the cycling it so it can handle a larger amount of ammonia and nitrites (3-4 ppm). If you are going to start out with average (appropriate for tank size or less) stocking, it's not necessary to stimulate that much bacterial growth, so 2 ppm would be adequate to be able to completely stock a tank when cycling is done.
 

Victoria99

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If you plan on overstocking your tank, all at once, it's a good idea to start out the cycling it so it can handle a larger amount of ammonia and nitrites (3-4 ppm). If you are going to start out with average (appropriate for tank size or less) stocking, it's not necessary to stimulate that much bacterial growth, so 2 ppm would be adequate to be able to completely stock a tank when cycling is done.
Oh, okay. Thank you!
 
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