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I am currently fishless cycling my tank, only 72 hours into the process. I could not get my hands on bottled ammonia so I went with the fish food method. I took a ziplock baggie poked it with 1000 holes with a thumb tack, filled it with freeze dried blood worms, cut pieces of raw shrimp, and flakes and pellets. I was hoping the ziplock baggie would make for an easy clean up, and so far so good. I wasn't getting any ammonia readings, which I expected because it would take time for the food to decay. This morning approximately 60 hours into the process I got a spike of ammonia, about 4-5ppm. The color on the chart stops after 4, but it is a slight bit darker green (API) than the 4. I added 2 bottles of quick start. I also read that squeezing out old filter media from an established tank into a new tank can jump start the process, so as gross as that was, I did that as well. My main question is, is the 4-5 ppm of ammonia too high? Do I need to do a slight water change to try and bring it down? I was told anything over 4 ppm could actually kill the beneficial bacteria trying to grow. Is that true? Should I just let it take its course?

Second question, when doing water changes during this process do you add the water conditioner like normal?
 

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