Newbie to the Fish community

  • #1
HI everyone, I just got fishlore today because of all the questions I've been having. I have a 5.5 gallon tank with a filter and a heater. I heard I have to cycle my tank before I put any fish in it but that's where I'm stuck.

I want to do a fishless cycle and have heard two different kinds,

1. With fish food: but takes a long time and I'm not sure if you still do weekly water changes during this process.

2: With ammonia drops but I'm not sure if you do water changes again, and if you absolutely have to have buy bacteria to go along with it. Can you not use ammonia drops without the bacteria drops?

I've also heard that you should not add bacteria to your fish tank unless you plan on using it every water change from now on. Some people were saying that they do not let the tank develop enough nitrifying bacteria on its own.

Sorry for all the questions. Researching on my own has led to so much misconceptions along with the people at the stores telling me all kinds of inconsistent information.

Thank you!!!! I really want my fish to be happy.
  • #2
Welcome to fishlore.

You don't have to do bacteria additives but it will speed up a fishless cycle.

Tss+ is a bacteria additive you don't have to replenish each water change
  • #3
Welcome to fishlore !
Cycling the tank with fishfood requires patience.You have to add few flakes every 12 hours. As the food decomposes it will release ammonia. You will have to continue to "feed" the tank throughout the process to keep it going also you need 30 % water changes a week.

Use 100% pure ammonia. Using a dropper, add 2 drops of ammonia per 5.5 gallons of aquarium water. . Keep track of how many drops you've used so you can repeat this process daily. Continue to dose the tank with ammonia until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 5.5 gallons of aquarium water, or if you added more drops originally to get an ammonia reading cut the amount of drops used in half. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Do a 30% water change and your tank is ready.

Increase the temperature of your aquarium water to 80°F-82°F (27°C-28°C) to speed up the process.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you so much!

For the pure ammonia should I still use the bacteria additive that was kindly mentioned above and is the 30% water change only at the end when there is a nitrate reading available or everyweek? Do you suggest any 100% pure ammonia I could use?

Thank you again!

Thank you so much, I'll look into the TSS bacteria drops
  • #5
Welcome to the forum and glad you decided to join us. Alison
  • #6
Welcome to the forum!

With TSS+ you don't do water changed until the ten days are up. When you're using ammonia drops then you also don't do water changes until just before you add fish. I used the janitorial strength ammonia from ACE. But if it isn't scented or colored and doesn't foam when you shake it then you can use it.
  • #7
I think it would be better if you post a step by step guide for the procedure for a fishless cycle. It might get confusing for the OP.
  • #8
I think it would be better if you post a step by step guide for the procedure for a fishless cycle. It might get confusing for the OP.

I'm better at tips along the way than a full guide but this will work nicely:

Just ignore all the product placement, regular pure ammonia works just fine and TSS+ and Seachem Stability also work well as bottled bacteria if you want it cycled faster.
  • #10
Welcome to the forum! Lots of options for you but there are lots of resources here from people who are not trying to sell you anything.
s hawk
  • #11
Another option is the fish in cycle (will take flak for this but going to say it). It's up to you what you want to do but I have done two fish in the tss+ and been fine. Just add it with your fish and let it sit for two weeks. Your done after that. Just another option.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Wow so many options. Could I possibly use the TSS+ without fish in the tank and maybe use pure ammonia with it?

Welcome to Fishlore!

I think you might find this link helpful.

I added TSS+ at the beginning of a fishless cycle recently on a 45g and it cycled within a few weeks. I also had filter media and a bio wheel from an established tank to seed it so I am not sure which contributed to such a fast cycle. I think the combination of the two. Patience is key.

I was wondering how you used TSS+ without fish? Was there a separate source of ammonia?
  • #13
Yes, when you want to cycle fishLess with TSS you have to have a pure ammonia source. Yisel Perez has done it fairly recently with three separate tanks I believe and can probably provide tips.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Thank you! I'm new to this so do I just find a way to message him directly??
  • #15
I don't think new members can use the messaging system until either 25 or 50 posts to prevent spam. But since Mom2some put the @ before his name he'll be notified of this thread.
Yisel Perez
  • #16
ladies, i'm a lady as well

I used ammonia , it wasn't pure ammonia. It is the bottle they have at ace hardware like someone above mentioned
i'd make sure you have the API master test kit as it is essential even after cycling, the ammonia and the TSS+
What I did was got my tanks/filter running, added my ammonia which was about 1-2 drops per gallon which brought my ammonia to 4ppm. Everyone will say a different range but this is what's worked for me. After you drop the ammonia you want to wait 24 hours before adding the beneficial bacteria additive (this is where the TSS comes in) Dump in the entire bottle. I'd get the 3.38oz or the 6oz one which is actually cheaper on amazon I'm not trying to sell you stuff promise.
After that wait a couple of days and you should start to see your nitrites spiking. you want to be testing for ammonia that way when you see the ammonia at or near zero you can add more in. remember your original dosage. From there is monitoring that ammonia. Once you see ammonia and nitrites go to 0ppm in under 12 hours you're good to go.

Since you're doing a fishless cycle you don't need to do water changes. You'll do one big water change at the end. Once you start seeing nitrates they're going to be through the roof but that will be taken care of with your water change at the end so don't even worry about them.

Also make sure you have your temperature set higher as the bacteria thrive at higher temps 82-84 degrees seemed to be ok for me. Just make sure you remember to drop the temp down when you add your fish.

Doing it this way has cycled 3 of my tanks in 7 days, and the fourth tank in 14 days but that one was a 40 gallon tank. Actually I just saw you're trying to cycle a 5.5 gallon.... my 5.5 gallon I used 6 drops of ammonia. and got it done in 7 days.... twice. I cycled it, then moved that tank up to a 10. Then decided to turn that 5.5 into a QT tank 2 weeks later and cycled it again so i'm 5/5 on cycling 5 tanks in 14 days or under.
  • #17
I have used the same exact process as Yisel with great results. I have cycled many without the TSS+ taking up to 3 months, less if I had some filter media from an established tank.

Just be sure the ammonia you get does not foam when you shake it. It should not have any detergents or surfactants. The amount you use depends on the strength you get. I had regular strength, ran out in the middle of cycling my 120 gallon and picked up janitorial industrial strength and wound up over dosing which stalled out my cycle and killed my ph. I had to do a large water change to get the ammonia down and add baking soda to get the ph back up. It cycled pretty quickly after that. Anyway, at first start out with just the 1 drop for your 5.5 and test about an hour after. If it is not at about 2-4ppm (2ppm is sufficient with TSS, but I go 4 because I usually want to add a whole load of fish once cycled), add the 2nd drop and test again making sure you are at least at 2ppm.

Best of luck!
  • #18
I used ammonia , it wasn't pure ammonia. It is the bottle they have at ace hardware .

Many people use the term "pure ammonia", but what that refers to is ammonia/water solution with no perfumes, surfactants, detergents, coloring etc. Just ammonia and water. I think it is a 10% ammonia solution that you can buy. If you try to find 100% ammonia, Homeland Security would probably be paying you a visit.
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Thank you everyone!!! I still haven't decided because I was suddenly faced with problems with my filter so I need to fix that before I cycle it. I really hope my neon tetras/fancy guppies get a good home, with a proper nitrogen cycle and gph haha.

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