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Old 08-23-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
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fishless cycle experiment

got this idea from reading cycling posts, so i am going to do a fishless cycle starting today and see how it turns out.

8/23/06
filled my empty 5 gal hospital tank with de-chlored water. put in a brand new, out of the box whisper hob filter. went to the store and got ammonia with the active ingrediant ammonium hydroxide, nothing else. makes no bubbles when i shake it up. i added 5 drops to the tank.

i have extra floss in one of the hob's on my main tank that is thoroughly cycled, so i am going to cut some out and add it to the hob on the cycling tank. the only things in the tank are gravel, the filter, and an unused heater. tomorrow i will take water tests to keep a record.

the goal is to see how long it takes and what kind of problems i may run into, and to compare fishless cycling to cycling with fish(which is the only way i have ever cycled tanks).
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
the goal is to see how long it takes and what kind of problems i may run into, and to compare fishless cycling to cycling with fish(which is the only way i have ever cycled tanks)
My bet is you will amazed at just how fast it is...and there really are no problems to run into.I applaud you effort to gain a better understanding.Keep the posts coming though for those who will be considering this for the first time.

I like the red+
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:10 AM   #3
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Well the first problem you are going to find (if you water is relatively unbuffered) is that your pH will be high. Ammonium hydroxide is a base. It will raise the pH of the tank considerably if a good amount is added in a fishless cycle without other buffers present.

What is your KH? What is the pH of the tank before and after adding in the ammonia? I prefer to cycle with Ammonium sulfate or ammonium chloride since these will not change the pH drastically.

Also what is the ppm of ammonia your reading after adding those 5 drops?

I think if your water is moderately hard you should be fine though...
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:28 AM   #4
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day 2.
8/24/06

i tested the water using aquarium pharmecuticals liquid test kits for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, the results are;
ammonia .50
nitrite ---- -0
nitrate ---- 0

i added 3 more drops of ammonia to the tank. yesterday i added the filter floss from the established tank to the filter. i did not fill the tank to the top with water so the over spill from the hob should agitate the water surface to add oxygen for the bacteria to grow and i should not need to add an airstone. this is all i am going to do and will leave the tank alone until tomorrow.
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Old 08-24-2006, 10:04 AM   #5
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Any pH or KH data?
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:46 PM   #6
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I used ammonium hydroxide and did not see any pH issues when cycling my tank. My dKH was 3 at the time.
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Old 08-25-2006, 08:02 AM   #7
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day 3
8/25/06

morning water test results;
ammonia-----.7(approx +-)
nitrites--------.25
nitrates--------0

surprised and pleased that nitrites showed up on day 3. the jump start of media from the cycled tank must be giving the tank a boost. added 2 drops of ammonia to the tank. out of curiosity, i tested the ph which did test high at +-8. however, ph or kh is not of great concern at this time because this experiment does not involve live fish and in the spirit of keeping this as simple as possible, only basic and minimal tests are needed to see if the tank is actualy cycling. during this stage, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests are the most important factors to watch.

after the cycle is complete, a large water change will be done. before adding any fish, ph will be tested again and hold a higher priority. it is good thing pointing out that cycling with ammonium sulfate or ammonium chloride has less effect on ph( i was not aware of this), but in the interest of an average person fishless cycling a tank for the first time(such as myself), it is likely they will go to the store and get a bottle of clear ammonia off the shelf, shake it to check for bubbles, and take what they can get(like i did). hopefuly they will check for added ingrediants and may discover that the label will state that 'surfactants' were added and avoid this brand or any other that is scented or colored.

edit:
this information comes from a combination of other posts, sites, and various instructions and comments on fishless cycling.
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:15 AM   #8
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day 4
8/26/06

morning tests;
ammonia-----1
nitrites-------.7+-
nitrates------0...--6+-

added 2 drops ammonia to the tank.

edit:
i read the nitrate test too soon. showing +-6(approx).
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Old 08-26-2006, 09:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquarious
out of curiosity, i tested the ph which did test high at +-8. however, ph or kh is not of great concern at this time because this experiment does not involve live fish and in the spirit of keeping this as simple as possible, only basic and minimal tests are needed to see if the tank is actualy cycling. during this stage, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests are the most important factors to watch.
The main reason why I mentioned the pH is that the nitrIte to nitrAte bacteria have an optimal growth rate at pH 7.3-7.5. Over pH 8 they begin to slow their growth. The ammonia to nitrIte bacteria however actually prefer the pH 7.8-8.0 range for optimal growth so you might see a very quick reduction in ammonia, and then a slower conversion of nitrIte to nitrAte. This normally happens to some degree since the ammonia to nitrIte bacteria have a quicker multiplication rate.

Looks like its going good so far.
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Old 08-26-2006, 09:38 AM   #10
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what would you recommend adjusting the ph level to for maximum cycling? i am beginning to see the importance of the ph factor and from the test i did yesterday, the ph is high.
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