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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! It's been a while, but we're in the clear with our 75 gallon.

We have recently upgraded to a 150 gallon and we're going to be turning this one into our Mbuna tank. We have 2 seasoned Emperor 400s on it at the moment, but we're wanting to use the ammonia method to finish cycling the tank. I'm headed out to Ace Hardware to grab some ammonia.

1st question...Can anyone tell me exactly what they bought from Ace Hardware? They told me this morning that they have a 10% Ammonia Hydroxide. She said it says NO Phosphates, but doesn't say anything else. Is this what I'm looking for?

2nd question...By using this method and by having seasoned filtration on the tank...will it effect my readings? I guess I can still shoot for 5ppm on ammonia and then go from there and just watch...I'm just assuming it may go faster with the bacteria already established on the filters and confuse us on our test readings...

Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

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1) yeah that's what you want. Bottle should say janitorial strength.

2) you should cycle quickly, but I wouldn't put in 5ppm ammonia. That could actually kill the already established strain of bacteria you have. 1-2ppm tops is all that's needed. When ammonia and nitite go to 0 in 24 hrs, you're cycled.
 

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2) you should cycle quickly, but I wouldn't put in 5ppm ammonia. That could actually kill the already established strain of bacteria you have. 1-2ppm tops is all that's needed. When ammonia and nitite go to 0 in 24 hrs, you're cycled.
What he said. :thumb: Don't do 5ppm regardless of what all the how-to's suggest.
 

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Rhinox said:
1) yeah that's what you want. Bottle should say janitorial strength.

2) you should cycle quickly, but I wouldn't put in 5ppm ammonia. That could actually kill the already established strain of bacteria you have. 1-2ppm tops is all that's needed. When ammonia and nitite go to 0 in 24 hrs, you're cycled.
:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for your help! This hobby has been exhausting; however, it's been quite the learning experience.

I picked up the ammonia today, and will be getting started this evening.

Thanks again!
 

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According to the ammonia dosing calculator here, it takes 11.36 milliliters of 10% ammonia to bring 150 gallons up to 2ppm. And per this calculator, 11.36 milliliters is the equivalent of 2.3 teaspoons. So roughly, 1 teaspoon per 1 ppm of ammonia.

Based on that, I’d add 1 teaspoon, wait fifteen minutes, and then test it to confirm that your at 1ppm. Then you can use that info to cycle at the ppm you’re going to use. As the others have said, 1 or 2 ppm is plenty in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
jrf said:
According to the ammonia dosing calculator here, it takes 11.36 milliliters of 10% ammonia to bring 150 gallons up to 2ppm. And per this calculator, 11.36 milliliters is the equivalent of 2.3 teaspoons. So roughly, 1 teaspoon per 1 ppm of ammonia.

Based on that, I’d add 1 teaspoon, wait fifteen minutes, and then test it to confirm that your at 1ppm. Then you can use that info to cycle at the ppm you’re going to use. As the others have said, 1 or 2 ppm is plenty in my experience.
Thanks A Lot!!
 

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hey jrf, thats a nifty little calculator. Saves me the time of doing the math myself from now on :p. thanks for the link.

Yeah, it seems right too. I use 4mL of the ammonia for 2ppm in a 55g, which is not 55g of water by the way once you account for rocks and substrate and what not. So, about 3x that for 2ppm in a 150 is what I would have said, and I agree with adding 1ppm first and checking. Good advice :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, so we have hit ~ 2 ppm of ammonia. I used 1 tsp to be safe and it was right on!!!

I know there are many threads on this topic; however, I was hoping someone might give me a break down on my next steps. I'm totally new to this type of cycling, and I'm a bit confused. I'm confused on when to add more ammonia...some say every day and others says every other day.

If someone could walk me through my next steps, I'd greatly appreciate it :)

Thank you all in advance ;)
 

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Just my opinion but I would only add enough to maintain 2.0 PPM - be it every day, every other day - whatever...

Around day seven, I would start checking nitrites daily & then moderate the dosage to keep the nitrite levels below 5.0 PPM. Even if that means only dosing the tank to maintain a .50 PPM ammonia level. Again, every day - every other day -whatever..
 

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--Test ammonia every 24 hours. When ammonia reads 0, then start adding the original dose every other day. Reason for only every other day is twofold 1) that's all the bacteria needs, and 2) every day will only push up the nitrite levels.

--Start testing nitrite, test every other day and right before adding that ammonia dose. Don't test or worry about nitrates right now as that test isn't valid with nitrite in the tank. And understand that this part takes the longest. And you won't see a gradual decline, so it can seem like nothing is happening, but it is. This tends to cause concern with first timers. But, it'll suddenly one day read 0 after going many days with it seeming like nothing was happening.

--Do small water changes, to keep nitrite levels down. Can help speed things up. Avoid massive water changes at this point.

--When nitrite reads 0, do a final series of small water changes, if needed, to bring nitrates down.

--Add fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, so we hit a nitrite level of .25 today, so I'm just wandering if I need to keep adding ammonia or leave it? Ammonia is sitting between 1-2ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
bmwyatt said:
Ok, so we hit a nitrite level of .25 today, so I'm just wandering if I need to keep adding ammonia or leave it? Ammonia is sitting between 1-2ppm.
Forgot to mention that we are also showing Nitrates at 10
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
prov356 said:
--Test ammonia every 24 hours. When ammonia reads 0, then start adding the original dose every other day. Reason for only every other day is twofold 1) that's all the bacteria needs, and 2) every day will only push up the nitrite levels.

--Start testing nitrite, test every other day and right before adding that ammonia dose. Don't test or worry about nitrates right now as that test isn't valid with nitrite in the tank. And understand that this part takes the longest. And you won't see a gradual decline, so it can seem like nothing is happening, but it is. This tends to cause concern with first timers. But, it'll suddenly one day read 0 after going many days with it seeming like nothing was happening.

--Do small water changes, to keep nitrite levels down. Can help speed things up. Avoid massive water changes at this point.

--When nitrite reads 0, do a final series of small water changes, if needed, to bring nitrates down.

--Add fish.
Somehow I missed reading your post and it partially answered my most recent updated question. I now know my nitrate reading doesn't matter at this point; however, now I'm curious as to whether I just let my ammonia ride until it reads 0 before adding more and just let my nitrites climb?

I'm going to go read some more articles on fishless cycles. I apologize if I seem scattered. This is a lot of information to remember. I'm sure once we've completed our first, it'll get easier :)
 

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Don't add ammonia if it's above 0. Once it reads zero 24 hours after adding, then start adding it every other day only. Add enough to bring it to 1-2ppm. Test nitrites at the same time that you add ammonia. When your nitrite test reads 0, you can add fish, as it means that your bacteria have built enough to handle the ammonia output of the fish. If not adding fish right away, keep dosing ammonia every other day. You can also then test nitrates and do water changes to bring them down.

Be careful reading the articles, as some of them are really unhelpful.

All you're doing is adding ammonia to build your bacteria colony. First the ammonia converters will grow, then the nitrite converters. The only way to really get it wrong is to add too much ammonia and overwhelm the bacteria. Or over think it, and think you've got it wrong when all is well. Waiting for nitrite to drop can take a long time and that's when many think something is wrong. Also, don't over test as it will only confuse.

Also keep in mind that what we do when we cycle this way is really not the same as what happens when you add fish. We're adding one large ammonia dose at one time. Fish excrete ammonia gradually throughout the day. So, you have to give it 24 hours for the bacteria to work on the ammonia and convert it all first to nitrite, then nitrate. But, when fish excrete ammonia, it's a small enough amount that it's converted really quickly after it's excreted. So, you should never get an ammonia or nitrite reading once fish are in the tank. But, when adding that one big dose of ammonia during fishless cycling, it's very normal to get an ammonia and/or nitrite reading prior to the 24 hours being up. Slow dripping ammonia would be the only way to truly simulate a fish load. Not recommending it, as it's not needed, but if you did that, and could slow drip 1ppm over 24 hours, then you could test at any time and wait for 0 readings of ammonia and nitrite. Hope that makes sense and doesn't just confuse.

Understand the nitrogen cycle and an understanding of fishless cycling will follow.
 

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If you still have ammonia readings, let it sit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As of last night, we're still showing Ammonia.

I will update when our ammonia is reading zero :)

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yesterday we got an Ammonia reading of 0 with nitrites around 2-3

We added another teaspoon of ammonia after getting these readings

Today (Monday) our tests reveal 0 Ammonia with Nitrites between 3-5...real dark purple

So we just keep adding dosages of Ammonia until our nitrites are zero, right?
 
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