Help with new tank, what should my test be at this stage


Hello, 3 days ago I bought a new freshwater aquarium for our home. It is 75 gallons, we purchased a heater, fluval 407 filter canister. And of course all of the decor and gravel. We got this at petsmart along with water conditioner and TSS. The fish associate recommended the TSS and put fish in in 48 hrs. I’ve been going nuts over water testing because now I see there is a nitrogen cycle that’s needed with new tanks. I bumped the temp up from 75f to 80f and add fish food and ammonia to start the process. The problem is no matter how much ammonia I add I cannot get an ammonia reading on the api master kit. I am on day 3 now and my readings are ammonia=0
Just not sure if I should continue adding ammonia or just let it run it’s course, the water has been cloudy since I put water in the tank, on day 2 it seemed to be getting a little clearer but today it seems worse. Trying to avoid adding fish because I don’t want to kill them because of lack of know how.

thanks for any help!


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Hi Issac
Welcome to fishlore
It’s great news you have found out about the nitrogen cycle before being tricked into buying the first bag of fish.
Building the colonies of true bacteria take time.
Bottled bacteria is no substitute for the real thing. It takes time however and whatever way you move forward. Research more on the nitrogen cycle in the weeks ahead.

To answer your questions.
There is a chart for recommended dosing of ammonia on this site. However personally I would not worry about being 100% exact with trying to add the exact amount of ammonia.
Fish food takes days to begin to rot into ammonia.
A picture of the bottle of ammonia please. Or stating the brand name just to make sure it’s a suitable product.

Do not worry about cloudy water. That is normal. No action required with that issue.

Sorry it will be around 8 weeks before you can safety add fish . This may come as a surprise? Sorry nothing good happens fast in this hobby.

Its now time to test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates .This will establish your base line, your zero.
There is not much point in testing the tank water for the next couple of weeks. But I am sure you will want to test it anyway.

What brand of ammonia do you have?

Do you have access to someone with another aquarium of any size?
Your test should be
Some ammonia between 0.5 up to 3.0
Whatever nitrites and nitrates are in your tap water.

Edit to add a random picture of fish because we all like looking at fish. Adult cherry shrimp with day old BN plecos.


The ammonia is just store ammonia with no scent or additives. Ingredients are water and ammonia only. It does not say % of ammonia though so I assumed 5%. I am using the API master kit for testing and have added up to 12ml of ammonia over the last 3 days with nothing registering on a test every time. Today is the first day I seen any nitrates went from zero to 5ppm in 24 hrs.

I will do a base test on tap water tomorrow.
Thank you for your information. It is much helpful. Think I may order fritz ammonia and try that. Didn’t realize there was special ammonia for tanks‍♂️


No special ammonia is needed . Just not the stuff with scent and added soap or surfacient. Don’t waste your money on buying fritz ammonia. IMO.


No special ammonia is needed . Just not the stuff with scent and added soap or surfacient. Don’t waste your money on buying fritz ammonia. IMO.
Great to hear, I will just keep spiking with ammonia until it reads I guess. Little bit each day, like 28.5ml is what I’ve done each day with no spike.


There is a dosage chart on this site ( somewhere) but to be honest as you don’t know the percentage in your bottle what is the point of becoming a Laboratory technician or scientist? You are after all only trying to replicate a daily amount of fish waste.

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