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Old 01-28-2005, 07:20 PM   #1
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Anyone ever kick off the cycle using clear ammonia?

Widely used in freshwater cycling, clear ammonia is used to control the ammonia level and begin the cycle before our friend the shrimp goes stinky in the tank.

Any opinions?
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-28-2005, 08:37 PM   #2
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I doubt anyone has considered it.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:21 PM   #3
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Really? Actually, that surprises me, as the info on this board is quite thorough. When I was setting up my FW tanks, I read many articles on "fishless cycling", and many recommended kicking off the cycle with clear ammonia.

Can you tell me why it would be a BAD idea? I mean, chemically, ammonia is ammonia, right? (Yes, I know, ammonium ion).
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:26 PM   #4
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I have previously seen it recommended on this forum. Just be sure to get non cented or perfumed ammonia.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:34 PM   #5
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Really? Actually, that surprises me, as the info on this board is quite thorough. When I was setting up my FW tanks, I read many articles on "fishless cycling", and many recommended kicking off the cycle with clear ammonia.

Can you tell me why it would be a BAD idea? I mean, chemically, ammonia is ammonia, right? (Yes, I know, ammonium ion).
__________________
30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:57 PM   #6
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If setting up escentially a "dead tank" (no LR or LS) using only dry base materials, the ammonia additions would work fine. Conversely using LR and LS with this method would damage the ecosystem quite quickly. Due to the sudden increase and often high ammonia levels needed to make the chemical technique work properly, much of the life would also perish.

It would definately be an "at your own risk" approach.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-28-2005, 10:19 PM   #7
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Speaking purely from the frame of reference of chemistry and not aquaria, I'm not sure I agree that added ammonia is necessarily incompatible with LS (although it's probably unnecessary with LR, whose die-off and established bacteria will produce ammonia). A controlled addition is certainly possible (e.g., "one capful, or two?"), and the level of ammonia can be maintained at a low level until the shrimp kicks in. I would venture to guess that the added ammonia would allow first-stage baceria to "get ahead" of the shrimp, thereby accelerating the cycle, ESPECIALLY when LS is present to harbor bacterial populations.

What degree of acceleration? A few days, perhaps? Here's where I can offer no judgement, because of lack of experience with this process. However, as a theoretical exercise, it's fun, no?

Here's what we know: ammonia is not instantaneously fatal, and low levels are of course necessary to start and maintain a cycle. Ammonia is a NECESSARY component of the cycle (which is why it is really inaccurate to suggest that ammonia could ever be 0, even in a mature tank. ) Correct?

(I'm really quite enjoying this whole learning process. A friend of mine suggested today that I may not enjoy the actual tank and its inhabitants as much as I've enjoyed the buildup. Phooey! I'm loving it, A to Z)
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 01-28-2005, 10:37 PM   #8
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I used the clear ammonia method to cycle my tank and let the dead sand become my biological filter. I then added the LR which caused a mini spike which subsided quickly.
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