Fishless cycle using ammonia rather than fish food?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Jendayi, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. JendayiValued MemberMember

    Hello o knowledgeable folks ;)

    I just set up my new Eclipse 6 gallon tank last night. The plan is to cycle it with ammonia this time, rather than fish food as I have done with my last two tanks. I was hoping to be able to avoid the absolute mess that comes along with the fish food method this time around.

    I got a bottle of 'Clear Ammonia' from walmart. The ingrediants say "Ammonium Hydroxide and Surfactant." Is this suitable to use for cycling? If so, how much do I add daily to a 6 gallon tank?

    Thanks, appreciative as always... :)

  2. capekateFishlore VIPMember

    I believe the w/surfacant.. is not the one you want. Clear ammonia is not the PURE ammonia that you need. Sorry... I also got it mixed up.
    maybe do a search online and see if you can find the product there, I hear its hard to find and I wasnt able to find the PURE ammonia when I was cycling fishless.
    good luck, ~ kate

  3. JendayiValued MemberMember

    Bah of course it would be wrong! lol

    I checked at Lowe's and Target and didn't see any without surfactant. I'll run to Home Depot and a few grocery stores tomorrow... Hrm, I wonder if the dollar store would be a good place to check?

    Ok, assuming that I actually do find pure ammonia, is there any guideline about how much to add?


  4. sgouldWell Known MemberMember

    I keep hearing hardware stores mentioned as the best place to find the pure ammonia.
  5. capekateFishlore VIPMember

    I hear that starting off with about 5 drops from a eye dropper is a good start. Do that twice a day and wait to see what you get on readings. :;f
  6. LuniynWell Known MemberMember

    Unfortunately it appears that all 100% ammonia is not created equal. One type may only take 5 drops while another type might need 20 drops to equal the same level of ammonia being added to the tank. So it appears the best thing to do now is to start adding pure ammonia 5 drops at a time. Stir up the tank a bit and let it sit for about an hour and then test a sample. See what kind of level you get and then add more ammonia appropriately until you reach a level of 5ppm in your tank. Keep track of how many drops it took to reach that level and then every 24 hours add that amount of drops of pure ammonia to the tank. For example, if it took 15 drops to reach 5ppm then keep doing that each day. Keep testing every few days and you will eventually notice the level possibly drop below the 5ppm mark. Do not add more then your 15 drops (or whatever it took for you to reach that original 5ppm) every 24 hours, just keep adding the same level until you start to get nitrites. At that point cut your ammonia down to half, so in our example you could drop down to 8 drops (since you can't really do 7.5 drops, more is better then less). Once you reach a 0 level of ammonia (keep adding the ammonia drops every 24 hours even if the level is 0), and a level of 0 nitrite you will be ready to do a water change to bring your nitrates down and then add fish. For the water change, take a look at your nitrate readings. If they are around 40ppm then do about a 50% water change, if they are around 80ppm or higher then a 70%-80% water change will be necessary. In any event you want them down to around 10ppm once you are done. At that point you can add fish till you reach your stocked tank level. No need to add fish slowly at this point because you will be able to take a full bio load right away. Remember that is 1" of fish per Gal of tank, and that means adult size not size of the fish at time of purchase. Good Luck!
  7. JendayiValued MemberMember

    Thank you for the information about the ammonia, very helpful. Now, if I could only find some of the right kind...
  8. JendayiValued MemberMember

    Well, shoot. I have visited:

    Home Depot
    Big Lots
    Tom Thumb grocery
    three different dollar stores
    and CVS...

    NO PURE AMMONIA :( I don't really know where else to look.
  9. sick-lid boyValued MemberMember

    I don't know if they have Stater Bros. grocery stores where you live (might be just a Southern California chain), but that's where I got a big bottle of PURE ammonia. If you can't find any and you REALLY want some, I'd be more than happy to send you a small bottle from mine. All I'd ask is that you pay for shipping.. maybe a buck or two. Or else I'd try other grocery stores. Stater Bros. CAN'T be the ONLY ones who sell pure ammonia. Surprised Albertson's didn't have it. They have everything.... PM me or email me if you're interested in my sending you a dose. ;)
  10. armadilloFishlore VIPMember

    I can't seem to find ammonia anywhere here (am in The Netherlands). I'd love to have it for fishless cycling. A lot less messy than with food.
  11. capekateFishlore VIPMember

    I used flakes and then switched to brine shrimp when I was cycling without fish. I also put in a small piece of raw fish with skin on. It sat at the bottom of the tank for a few weeks and really helped, plus I was able to take out the piece of fish when I was done cycling and carefully it stayed in one piece. Its not really messy using food to cycle the tank. When you are done cycling and before adding your fish, you usually do at least a 50% water change anyway and you can vacumn the gravel then. Its really not all that bad and I cycled my 55g in 24 days using this method. I couldnt find the pure ammonia either when I was looking.
    Good luck with your tank! ~ kate
  12. armadilloFishlore VIPMember

    Mmmmh, that's a good tip (the dead fish). Woudl a piece of salmon or something cheaper from the supermarket do?

    Didn't it decompose after that long? Because I had fluffy/fungussy bits of flakes EVERYWHERE in my tank and no matter how much you vaccuumed, there always seemed to be more.
  13. capekateFishlore VIPMember

    Any kind of fish would do. Yes, I had fluffy fungussy growth on top of it, but I gues with the skin on, it just stayed attached. I carefully used the net to scoop it all out and I was surprised that it didnt fall apart. Once it came out of the water it totally disolved tho. ugghhh!!
  14. armadilloFishlore VIPMember

    Mmmmh. Lovely. Another spoonful anyone?
  15. LuniynWell Known MemberMember

    It's nice of you to offer and all, but just a note... ammonia is on the governments watch list for terrorist activity. If you get caught sending it in the mail then you will most likely be getting a visit from the feds. Silly I know, but don't take the chance.
  16. armadilloFishlore VIPMember

    Yep, it is getting silly. I am on a project revising the supply chain of a large fertilizer distributor (am a logistics advisor), and they had to change some of the products they sent to Northern Ireland a while ago. It ended up being used to make bombs! They are still not allowed to see certain stuff over there.
  17. JendayiValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much for the offer, but I was thinking the same thing about sending it through the mail. I have one more place to try today - an ACE hardware store not too far from here. I read on another forum that some people had luck with the store brand ammonia there. So one more try, and then I will go the fish food route. I am anxious to get this tank cycling, and tired of the ammonia hunt lol ;)
  18. JendayiValued MemberMember

    VICTORY!! :;wv

    Hooray for ACE hardware store brand! I thought I was going to have to buy a gallon size bottle, but then I saw a 32 oz bottle up on the very top shelf. :D And I got a new eyedropper today just for ammonia. So I'm off to follow Luniyn's instructions. Wish me luck! ;)
  19. capekateFishlore VIPMember

    HEY! Thats great news!.....We have a Ace hardware here too, wonder if they carry that as well. Good luck and soon we will hear that you have successfully cycled your tank!
  20. GuitarFreak664New MemberMember

    I must say putting a piece of shrimp or dead fish in the tank is the way to go. It's (surprisingly) cleaner than the flakes and it's much easier to find than pure ammonia. Pretty much anywhere that sells bleach does not sell pure ammonia anymore because people used to mix them and would die from the fumes.

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