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Start a fishless cycle without Pure Ammonia?


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Hi guys and gals,

I'm fairly new to keeping fish and have been researching a lot lately. I'm aware of cycling a fish tank however I'm slightly unclear on how to do this. I know about "http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/FishlessCycle.html".

The thing is I think I'm going to have major problems getting a hold of some pure ammonia. I've had a look at some other options such as adding fish food or a dead prawn/shrimp? What would my best option be? I'm thinking fish food. Can anyone share some insight as how I'd go about this. Obviously putting food in the tank lol, but how much per L, how often etc...

Any help would be fantastic - I want to get my cycle started!

Thanks muchly

-Lisa

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Hooray for fishless cycles!!! :D This is definitely the best way to do it :)

Liquid ammonia is the ideal. It can be done with food, but it is more difficult to know exactly how much you need to add to get the desired effect, and you also then have the issue of rotting food in the tank which can lead to bacteria if not changed out regularly.

Have you checked your local hardware stores yet? that is where most people are able to get liquid ammonia. Ace hardware typically carries it if you have that chain nearby.

I would give the hardware store a try if you haven't yet and then we can talk fish food/prawns etc. I know there's a couple people here who have done it this way before :)

May I ask what your tank size is and what filters you have running? :)

EDIT: so sorry, just remembered you are from AUS and likely don't have an ace hardware store!

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Hi Opis,

After discussing this, it appears your best option is to cycle using fish food, not a prawn -- it's far cheaper to do it this way.

From what I've noticed on Google, pure ammonia can be hard to come across in Australia since it's viewed as an illicit chemical a terrorist might purchase. I'm not really sure how accurate this is, but it's the best, most logical answer I found. Back to cycling, Narny105 has had success using fish food, he found this rule of thumb to be quite useful:

  • Add 1 teaspoon of pellet food per 100 litres of water daily for 5 days.

There's still another Australian mod who might know where to get some ammonia, but for now cycling using food is your easiest and best bet. I hope this helps. ;)

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Hey Dan,

Thanks for that :) Yeah I came across that info on ammonia in Aus' as well :S

I've discovered "Quick Start" by API - "http://www.apifishcare.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductID=642"

Apparently it "immediately starts the aquarium cycle", however, I'm unsure how long I need to leave the tank empty until the parameters a right for the fish. I have a Master Test Kit by API which will help me monitor the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Am I right in saying I'd be looking for 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 160+ nitrate in a 50 gallon tank as per the "FishlessCycle" article here on the Koko website? Then do a 50-75% water change? - Not that mine is 50 gallon, mine is 100L (so about 26 gallons), would the readings be the same roughly? ...

I'm going to do more research on this "Quick Start" stuff... I may still have to use the food technique.

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I'm working on a fishless cycle, and I put in ammonia and then a bit of fish food later in the cycle (I read to do that somewhere). But when I later did a water change, I noticed the food left a mess. So I did more research and learned for next time to place the food in some panty hose, so it won't make a mess all over the tank. Hope this helps.

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Quick start might make your tank cycle quicker but I think you would still need the food to start and feed the cycle. Even if Quick Start helps it will need something to keep the BB alive, something to feed it (like the food).

Not to be a bummer here but I used a whole bottle of quick start (with fish-in so there was plenty of ammonia) and it didn't help my tank cycle any faster that I could tell. Maybe others have had more success with it. I should say I also used a whole bottle (not at once) of Nutrafin Cycle also and I didn't notice any difference either. On the other hand I think the latter has helped cycle bumps for me :)

Edited by cmclien
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I'm working on a fishless cycle, and I put in ammonia and then a bit of fish food later in the cycle (I read to do that somewhere). But when I later did a water change, I noticed the food left a mess. So I did more research and learned for next time to place the food in some panty hose, so it won't make a mess all over the tank. Hope this helps.

Great tip! thank you :) looks like I will be heading the food way as well.

Quick start might make your tank cycle quicker but I think you would still need the food to start and feed the cycle. Even if Quick Start helps it will need something to keep the BB alive, something to feed it (like the food).

Not to be a bummer here but I used a whole bottle of quick start (with fish-in so there was plenty of ammonia) and it didn't help my tank cycle any faster that I could tell. Maybe others have had more success with it. I should say I also used a whole bottle (not at once) of Nutrafin Cycle also and I didn't notice any difference either. On the other hand I think the latter has helped cycle bumps for me :)

All good, I appreciate the info :) I will have to do the food option it seems. I did put one dose of Quick start in this afternoon, I will just keep an eye on things for now. And, in the mean time sort out some fish food. Then just go from there.

I love the picture in your signature by the way. Your fish are gorgeous and I absolutely love the tank :D

I want my fish! :P but alas, I want the conditions to be correct for them so they have a healthy environment to come home to as well!

Edited by opis_fin
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Quick start might make your tank cycle quicker but I think you would still need the food to start and feed the cycle. Even if Quick Start helps it will need something to keep the BB alive, something to feed it (like the food).

Not to be a bummer here but I used a whole bottle of quick start (with fish-in so there was plenty of ammonia) and it didn't help my tank cycle any faster that I could tell. Maybe others have had more success with it. I should say I also used a whole bottle (not at once) of Nutrafin Cycle also and I didn't notice any difference either. On the other hand I think the latter has helped cycle bumps for me :)

All good, I appreciate the info :) I will have to do the food option it seems. I did put one dose of Quick start in this afternoon, I will just keep an eye on things for now. And, in the mean time sort out some fish food. Then just go from there.

I love the picture in your signature by the way. Your fish are gorgeous and I absolutely love the tank :D

I want my fish! :P but alas, I want the conditions to be correct for them so they have a healthy environment to come home to as well!

Thanks so much! My sig picture is my 2yr old yorkie, I guess I should put up a new one at some point, I just really like her expression in that one.

I think when your ammonia gets really high, you can put in the whole bottle of quick start at once since you have no fish yet. I think there is a thread on this and it may have helped another poster. It might help convert the ammonia to nitrites faster. I will see if I can find the thread.

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I haven't noticed any mention of tank temp. I believe when I did fishless cycles in the past it was recommended that I heat the tank to perhaps 78*. Would that be helpful in speeding things along? :idont

Good luck and I applaud your patience! :) In the end, you'll be happy you did it!

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I need to get a thermometer for my tank yet so I'm unsure of the temp unfortunately.

I've been doing the "Add 1 teaspoon of pellet food per 100 litres of water daily for 5 days." method. I'm on the 5th day. I've done a reading of the ammonia this morning and it came up as 0.50ppm. I'm wondering, do I keep putting food in each day? / let what I have in there decay and leave it or ... *shrug* lol... ?? :help:

I wish I could have got my hands on some pure ammonia :( mannnn.... I'm on the 13th day of having my tank and I'm sooo looking forward to some fishy friends!

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I need to get a thermometer for my tank yet so I'm unsure of the temp unfortunately.

I've been doing the "Add 1 teaspoon of pellet food per 100 litres of water daily for 5 days." method. I'm on the 5th day. I've done a reading of the ammonia this morning and it came up as 0.50ppm. I'm wondering, do I keep putting food in each day? / let what I have in there decay and leave it or ... *shrug* lol... ?? :help:

I wish I could have got my hands on some pure ammonia :( mannnn.... I'm on the 13th day of having my tank and I'm sooo looking forward to some fishy friends!

Cycling takes longer than 2 weeks, usually. What are your other readings? aka Nitrate & Nitrite?

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Did you put the food in a nylon stocking or fine mesh bag? That will keep it from making a huge mess. I've never done fishless cycling but I believe your ammonia needs to go alot higher than that, around 4.0ppm I thought. I'm sure someone will help with advice.

GSR is so right, cycling takes alot longer than two weeks, its faster then cycling with fish in but I think it still takes a month or two.

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Did you put the food in a nylon stocking or fine mesh bag? That will keep it from making a huge mess.

Ha oops O_o... it's day 8 and it is a bit of a mess. =( didn't think did I.

I stopped putting food in after day 5, then put food in yesterday because my ammonia was still a bit low.

Tested this morning and ammonia is sitting at around 2.0 - 4.0ppm yay!! But Nitrites are still 0 and so are Nitrates.

The water is really murky and starting to get a little bit smelly.

Also random note. I have little white dots the size of dust that seem to be moving on the inside of the glass?? They are teeny! and freaking me out a bit - have no idea if they are normal.

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do they look like this at all?

http://www.kokosgold...le-white-worms/

Unfortunately no, here's a photo and some video I took to show how they move.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c216/narcoticmuse/Opis_Fin/IMG_6498.jpg - pic

http://s28.beta.photobucket.com/user/narcoticmuse/media/Opis_Fin/fishtankdots.mp4.html - video

Not sure if you can see in the photo but they look like they are rings, more see through in the middle =S

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to me, after seeing the vid, i think you have airbubbles caught in the biofilm that has formed on the glass. can you run your fingers on the inside of the glass and see if it's slimy?

Possibly, I ran my fingers on the inside and it's not really slimy... could be bubbles though!

(My partner, Tim, made a joking comment as I was running my fingers saying "I bet you go back to the forum and someone says it's like flesh eating bacteria or something" haha...

interesting... my best guess is they are some type of copepod (which are harmless)

Hmmm copepod maybe to not sure...

Guess I shall just keep waiting ... =)

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to me, after seeing the vid, i think you have airbubbles caught in the biofilm that has formed on the glass. can you run your fingers on the inside of the glass and see if it's slimy?

Possibly, I ran my fingers on the inside and it's not really slimy... could be bubbles though!

(My partner, Tim, made a joking comment as I was running my fingers saying "I bet you go back to the forum and someone says it's like flesh eating bacteria or something" haha...

:rofl :rofl :rofl

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