How much ammonia to add?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by mawelch74, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    I know there are many factors involved here, so I figured I'd do a test while I wait for the fresh, conditioned water in my tank to clear.

    I found a dropper bottle and put some ammonia in it for dispensing.Then I filled up a 5 gallon bucket of tap water(there's no ammonia in our tap water, I tested it) for testing. I began with 3 drops. Then to 6, 9, 12 all the way up to 27. I was not yet hitting 4ppm.

    I emptied the bucket, refilled and added 30 drops as it filled to ensure the ammonia mixed well. I let it sit a while and did another test and as best as I could tell, I was finally at 4ppm.

    Now, the 30 drops end up being ~2.5ml according to the API test tubes. I have a 30 gallon tank so this would mean I'd need a total of 180 drops to get the full aquarium up to 4ppm to begin cycling. This is nearly half a fluid ounce. This seems like too much based on my research. Unfortunately, the ammonia I am using doesn't offer any info regarding its mixture percentage. I really want to do this right the first time. Any thoughts?

  2. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    Hi, Welcome to Fishlore.
    30 drops =2.5ml, Which equals 4ppm in 5 gal of water.
    That equals 5ml per ten gallons.
    10 gal x3 =30 gal. 5ml x 3 = 15ml per 30 gallons.

    It's a bit of trial and error to home in on your target area. If your ammonia goes too high you can do a wc to help lower it to target.
    Prime alters results so you shouldn't test within 24 hrs of dosing with Prime.
    Keep us posted! Good luck

    P.S. Increasing water temp to 82-83 degrees will help your BB to grow also.

  3. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Ha! And 15ml = .5oz. I didn't take it that far out, mostly because, ew, math. Thanks for the input. Makes me feel like I am at least in the ball park.

    I added Prime to the tank, but not to the test bucket. I won't be starting cycling for another few days, whenever sand mung settles and the water clears. I plan on upping the temp over the next few days to up to the low 80s.

    I'm sure I'll be posting rather regularly once I begin cycling. Despite all the reading and research I've done so far, understanding how it works and applying that understanding are two vastly different things! I'm sure I'll be head-scratching quite a bit.Thanks again!

  4. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Hello, folks. So I'm working on my 3rd week of fishless cycling using pure ammonia. I'm at a point where I'm getting nitrites(approx. 5.0ppm) and nitrates(approx. 10ppm...pardon the approx, I'm at work now so I can't give exacts). My nitrite levels are staying in the same range over a 24/hr period. I am still adding about half the amount of ammonia(2.5ml, started with 5ml) to keep feeding the nitrites. This is proper, correct?

    So long as I've read everything right, at this point I want to continue as I'm doing until I see ammonia/nitrite levels drop to 0ppm in an 8-12hr period. Is this correct?

    I'm getting anxious(in a good way) because I know I'm close. Thanks for any help!
  5. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    You're doing great! Steady as she goes Captain!
  6. mawelch74Valued MemberMember thing I forgot. I visited a LFS yesterday to check out their situation. It's a very small shop with a nice and varied selection that belies it's size. I really liked the place and intend to get my fish there when I reach that point. The kid I was talking to while I was there was really nice and gave me two wee Java Fern plants, as I mentioned I was thinking about adding live plants. Needless to say, this helped cement the fact that they'll get my business.

    So I tied the ferns to a rock in my tank and I'm wondering if this will cause my nitrates to fall off? I'm assuming that since I'm making them, it's unimportant beyond them serving as nutrients for the ferns. My main focus is on ammonia/nitrites staying stable at zero. Correct?
  7. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    That's correct on the water parameters. Two small Java ferns will have just about no impact on nitrates.
  8. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Wasn't quite expecting this. Finally had a few minutes to test my water parameters and here's what I logged:

    ammonia: .50ppm
    nitrites: 5.0ppm
    nitrates: either 40 or 80...the color was too close to both to determine

    I'm assuming this is normal and I shouldn't sweat it, just keep on doing what I'm doing, yes?
  9. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    I'd suggest cutting the dosage a bit to bring the nitrites down to a measurable level.
    When was the last ammonia test and what were the results?
    Also, this is the second week of the cycle?
  10. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Don't worry too much about what your nitrate readings are yet. The nitrate test is designed to convert whatever nitrates there are back into nitrites, and then it tests the total of the two nitrogen products together. This will give extra high nitrate readings while nitrites are high. I generaly tell people to save their nitrate test solution until nitrites are reading under 1ppm.

    If you are using half the amount of ammonia as you began with, I wouldn't change a thing. Nitrites can take longer to go away than ammonia. Keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like things are going very well.
  11. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Btw, if you want you can do a partial water change to bring your nitrites down into measurable levels. This is optional, and I am not sure whether it helps, but it does not harm the cycle (since very few bacteria live in the water itself). I did a lot of water changes during this phase of my fishless cycle because I was being impatient and I felt like I needed to do something, and having measurable nitrites seemed like progress. My tank cycled in about 3 weeks. I do not know if it would have cycled in more time or same amount of time if I had not done the partial water changes. Anyway, they are an option. You could of course also just wait for the nitrites to come down on their own into measurable range. You are close!

    The last week of my fishless cycle I decided that this would be my last week of fishless cycling - I was going crazy with impatience, and thus decided that either the tank would cycle by the end of that week, or I would give up and buy fish and continue the cycle with fish. The tank cycled before that week was up. I am so glad it did! I am now sure glad that I did not unnecessarily endanger the health of any fish, and in hindsight the cycling really did not take long, but at that time that last week appeared to take forever!
  12. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    @Fall River
    The most recent test was about 5mins before the post, so .50ppm. I'm a little into the third week of the cycle. I dropped the ammonia dose today by half again, so I'm at .75ml/dose going forward.

    I will do this until I begin to see nitrite levels dropping. No point wasting reagent if I don't need to.

    I will keep this in mind and possibly do a change tomorrow if I'm not seeing measurable nitrite readings when I get home from work. I was unsure whether this was a good idea or not, however I've also lost about 3" of water due to evaporation(tank temp is at 86F to encourage bacteria growth) and if I don't do something soon, I'm going to drop below the filter intake, which would be ugly if it happens while I'm at work.

    @all of you...thanks so much for your feedback. This being my first time, I feel as if I'm going to horribly botch something without some guidance. It's appreciated.
  13. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    There is no way you can totally botch a fishless cycle. Worst case scenerios are, it takes longer to cycle, or.... you have to do a water change to give things a kick start.

    Fishless cycling is awesome that way. Fish in cycling can take botching to whole new levels :;fru, so congratulations on your choice of cycling methods! :;nw
  14. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Okay....did a partial water change, roughly 30%. Nitrites are still pretty high, but it's not the super-intense purple it has been. I'm going to monitor things daily and not add any ammonia until I see nitrites go down just a bit more. When I need to add ammonia again, I will start with a bare minimum and adjust accordingly. If nothing else, I won't have to worry about my water level bottoming out on the filter intake while I'm not home, so that's a bonus.
  15. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    You'd be ok topping off the tank with dechlorinated water. If you reduce the water volume you concentrate the toxins.
    Just be sure to dechlorinate, chlorine will kill the bb.
  16. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    I was sort of hoping I'd be cycled before I actually got to a point of needing to top off. Clearly, that hasn't happened. No worries, I just want to get the nitrites down, get cycled and start stocking. There's only so much satisfaction to be had from youtube videos of the fish I want to keep *sigh*. Patience....
  17. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Okay, so my nitrite levels are still really high. I've not dosed with ammonia for the last two days in the hope they'd drop. The water change apparently didn't do too much. I'm going to change out the water again at some point today and see if that helps. I'm sort of becoming frustrated :|
  18. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I would keep adding ammonia or you will lose bacteria and set your cycle back. Newly colonized bacteria are not able to survive long with no food source.

    If you haven't already crank the heat. It helps bacteria to grow faster.

    Good luck cycling!
  19. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Heat's up to 86 currently. I'll start feeding ammonia again.
  20. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    Gah... I either stalled, am REALLY close to being cycled or I'm completely confused.

    Toward the end of last week(Thurs-Fri) I was unable to test, add small doses of ammonia, etc due to not being home. Friday evening, I test for ammonia(less than .25) and nitrites(0). So I test for nitrates(~20-40, colors were too close). Saturday morning I tested ammonia(less than .25) nitrites(still at 0) and didn't bother with nitrates as I know they're there. I once again added ~1.5ml ammonia which showed a solid .25ppm then tested around 12 hours later. Still at .25 with nitrites still showing at 0. Did the same thing yesterday with the same results.

    I'll be a month into cycling tomorrow and I'm not sure what's going on with those numbers. It seems I should be seeing some nitrites if I'm seeing nitrates and if ammonia is present. Is that not the case? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!!!

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