View Full Version : I know how much you guys love these cycling questions...

03-08-2007, 05:13 AM
I finally found some pure ammonia last weekend, so my tank is now cycling.

My question about this whole thing is more of a logic kind of question. In the Fishless Cycling sticky it says that you should cut back your ammonia adding once you see nitrates and the ammonia starts breaking down. I don't really understand the reasoning behind this. Why wouldn't you want to keep adding the same amount of ammonia and get a bunch of the bacteria that breaks that down in your tank? I would think this would make it easier for the next step of your cycling to get started since you would have a lot more of the bacteria present from breaking down the ammonia.

Also, why is 5 ppm the "magic" number? I mean, along the same lines as the previous question, why not just put a bunch of ammonia in the tank so that the bacteria for the ammonia can for quicker? I'm not saying dump the whole bottle of ammonia in the tank, but a squirt or two of ammonia, I would think, would do the same thing. So is the 5 ppm just kind of a rule of thumb so that you don't over do it or under do it?

03-08-2007, 05:33 AM
I think alot of it just makes everything easier to have a "rule of thumb" to follow, and the 5ppm ammonia read seems to be a goodly amount of beneficial bacteria to culture to make sure your tank can handle it's full stock in bioload when you are done. I believe that you start with that much and then cut to half to jumpstart your bacteria, the ammonia eating stuff grows quicker and once you start to see nitrites you know you are on the right track. I didn't really question it the one time I did fishless cycling with ammonia, I just followed the guidelines! Now I just jumpstart my tanks with media from another, so much easier.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2007, 05:46 AM
I suppose the rule of thumb has been tried and proven to work correctly for so many before us that the guidelines are just passed on to those who haven't tried it yet.

I believe it better to try to stay within the amount the growing bacteria can keep up with.

03-08-2007, 08:00 AM
Okay, that's what I kind of thought. I wasn't doubting the reasoning, I was just curious.

Now, a follow up question. I'm gonna be going out of town for about a week next Thursday. Most likely, my cylce will not be complete. I live by myself and am not going to have anyone to take care of my tank. What should I do? I thought of three options, let me know which one you guys think is best:

1) Put "a lot" of ammonia in the tank right before I leave for my flight.

2) Buy a couple fish and use one of those automatic feeders. This will insure that my tank continues to get its ammonia. I have near zero readings everyday for ammonia about 6 hours after adding ammonia, about 5 ppm nitrite, and about 7 ppm nitrate. So I don't know if the fish would be harmed too badly since I am reading that ammonia is the most harmful product that exists in the tank.

3) Just keep on with what I'm doing and hope that my bacteria that has currently built up doesn't all die.

My tank has only been cycling for about a week. Thanks for the help guys.

small fry
03-08-2007, 11:56 AM
Using oodles of ammonia instead of a bit at a time may change the concentration to a level that is unsuitable for the useful bacteria you need.

03-08-2007, 01:16 PM
If you can't have someone put in the pre-measured amounts of ammonia while you are gone you will most likely have a die off of bacteria and have to re-cycle. I wouldn't introduce fish into the aquarium until it is fully cycled, you are just subjecting said fish to nitrite poisoning. One thought, since you are seeing the ammonia disappear quite quickly after it is added, you may only be a few days away from seeing the nitrites begin to disappear also, you may just squeak by with a finished cycle just before you leave, but adding fish and then leaving them for a week isn't a good idea either. Is there not anyone you could get to come by for you daily and take care of your tank? Neither leaving the tank or adding fish sounds like a good idea right now, it might be best to let it go and restart the cycle when you get home and have the proper time frame to deal with the full cycle and adding fish. You really should wait until you have time to watch your fish for any signs of illness, if you purchase fish and then leave for a week you are risking a fish dying and polluting the tank while you are gone.

03-08-2007, 02:56 PM
i am all for quarantine of fish before introducing them into the aquarium for at least 2-3 weeks.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2007, 03:58 PM
I agree with Kimmers. I hope that tank will finish up for you and I think it will. :confused:

I am in the "stuck" stage right now with my nitrites as well as it takes the nitrite bacteria slower to grow than the ammonia bacteria.

Keep adding some ammonia to your tank, however, to keep the bacteria from going dormat. Like you, my ammonia is back to 0 in a matter of hours, my nitrite at 1. and my nitrates at 20. Those remain the same with no increase.

Any fish you put in your tank with high nitrites and nitrates will die. Dead fish will continue with the ammonia chain so if you plan to do this, add feeder goldfish that you don't plan to keep. I would personally add a lot of ammonia and let it do it's thing while you were gone and save any fish from this fate.

Once your nitrites start going down, they go very fast and hopefully that will happen for you in the next couple of days. Make sure you do a large water change and get the nitrates reduced before adding any fish.

Fishless cycling takes generally from 10-12 days if that gives you a time-frame. Just do no cleaning of the tank or change the filters or you'll mess things up.