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Old 11-13-2004, 01:44 PM   #1
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Fishless Cycling: is my ammonia okay?

I just planted my 20 gal, and plan on adding ammonia to speed up the cycle. I bought a generic brand household cleaning ammonia:

"Clear Ammonia for all household cleaning"
"contains no Phosphorus"
"INGREDIENTS: Ammonium Hydroxide Solution, Anionic Surfactant, Quality Control Aggents, Fragrance and Colorant"

Is this stuff okay to add to spike my ammonia levels? I read somewhere it is not a good idea to use ammonia with surfactants or odor control additives...

Thanks for the help.
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Old 11-13-2004, 01:49 PM   #2
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Clear unscented ammonia is what you want. Shake it and if it foams its bad, doesn't foam its good. Fragance and colorant sounds like it might be scented. If it is scented don't use it.
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:02 PM   #3
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When I shake it, there is no foaming (even if I REALLY shake it). It just smells very potent, like ammonia should. Is that what is meant by "scented", or does scented mean it smells like flowers or something? (i really am clueless)
thx for the reply.
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:03 PM   #4
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Thats all well and good but maybe you can speed up the process. There is a product called CYCLE and it works pretty good. But the best byfar is BIOSPIRA by marine land. I know folks that had a 5 day cycle period. If you are looking to speed up the cycle process BioSpira is the way to go. Remember you have to ask for it because they keep it in the refrigerator.
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:09 PM   #5
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workfortheman,

I think it should be fine. Scented ammonia is ammonia scented with lemon or something else. BioSpira is a good product that has worked well for a number of people. It's the bacteria you need in your bio filter. It cycles a tank instantly and you are able to add fish within 24 hours. The great thing is you can add all your fish at once (but you can also do that with fishless cycling b/c of the big bio filter you built up). BioSpira is a little costly though. Both methods work great. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-13-2004, 02:28 PM   #6
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Think I'm gonna use the ammonia I have currently. I'll just be doing a lot of testing....
Thanks a lot for the advice/clarifications. I would use Biospira but my budget is limited (isn't it always?)
Thanks again
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Old 11-13-2004, 10:54 PM   #7
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I dont think that its a good idea to have plants in before or during a cycle...
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Old 11-14-2004, 12:26 AM   #8
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Re: Fishless Cycling: is my ammonia okay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by workfortheman
"INGREDIENTS: Ammonium Hydroxide Solution, Anionic Surfactant, Quality Control Aggents, Fragrance and Colorant"
Anything that says surfactant is a detergent.
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Old 11-14-2004, 05:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
I dont think that its a good idea to have plants in before or during a cycle...
Why would this be bad? The plants usually come from established tanks (in my lfs they do), and contain good bacteria! Anyone disagree?
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Old 11-14-2004, 06:08 AM   #10
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Plants use up ammonia so they are food competitors with the bacteria.
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:42 AM   #11
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Sorry to disagree mattrox . Plants use nitrates which is excellent for the end of a cycle. I can think of no reason why plants can't be used when cycling a tank.

However, I do agree that anything but pure ammonia should NOT be used.
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Old 11-15-2004, 08:44 AM   #12
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That is why i added plants b4 cycle: the plants become established as ammonia users and therefore will be more stable once the tank is cycled. The bacteria will grow eventually in sufficient quantities. I just need to be patient. (right?)

And REALLY, what bad can come of adding a little detergent to your tank? (in theory it sounds repulsive, but in reality things may be different).

Thx for the good discussion.
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Old 11-15-2004, 09:30 AM   #13
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I did some reading and decided that letting the plants establish themselves initially as ammonia users will result in a more stable environment for them down the road (ie, they won't have to compete with bacteria for ammonia)

BUT, i did add some of my detergent-laden ammonia (sadly after mattrox defined surfactant for me!) ~ I believe it was about 8 drops to my ~16 gallons of water, upon testing it was about 1 mg/l, and then I left my aquarium (and home) for the weekend day (~36 hours). I came back today to ammonia readings of zero (?!?) and nitrite readings OFF THE CHARTS!!. Did the detergents affect the nitrite levels, or is it just the regular step in the nitrification process?

Thanks again for the good posts/replies.

BTW the plants seem to be doing fine, and the malaysian trumpet snails are also lively!
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Old 11-16-2004, 02:25 AM   #14
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I don't think that plants will use up all the ammonia. But it is a nutrient plants use, was really just thinking out loud

The detergents didn't effect your nitrite levels. You probably have done no or very little damage as the amount of detergent would be low. And buy the time you add fish, you hopefully would have done a water change. There would be very little detergent resedue left and as long as it is not continuously added. The danger is that it builds up as you add ammonia... the ammonia might go though the cycle but the detergent just froths your water....and affects your fish.

Sounds like you are just going through the cycle.
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Old 11-16-2004, 09:24 AM   #15
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Thanks mattrox and others for the advice and assurance. No more houshold cleaning ammonia for me - I was going to go look for some pure stuff, but now the nitrites are skyrocketing, so apperantly I just need to colonize the bacteria that convert these to nitrates... no need for ammonia addition anymore!
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Old 11-17-2004, 12:32 AM   #16
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Be careful not to starve the ammonia eating bacteria. I would keep adding ammonia. It will alll get converted.... and then wait for the nitrate bacteria to catch up.
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Old 11-17-2004, 10:40 AM   #17
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well I wouuld like to continue to add ammonia, but I cannot find the right stuff to put in!
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