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Thread: Fishless cycle - can't seem to produce ammonia

  1. #1

    Default Fishless cycle - can't seem to produce ammonia

    I bought a second hand set up the other week. 30cm cube, Eheim 2211 filter. It was used previously for freshwater shrimp and moss but had been packed down for a number of weeks, maybe even a few months. I set it up and got it all running, dumped in some new substrate (white sugar sand, I think it's a bit *too* fine for my liking but we'll see), and chucked in some ferns and moss, nothing fancy, nothing scaped, it's all just floating about or stuck to driftwood.

    Now, being The Responsible Person I am i decided the fishless cycle was the best approach but I'll admit, it's also my first time doing a fishless cycle. So I did some research and ending plonking in some of the tetra mini pellety type food I used for my embers. I've been measuring ammonia and nitrite every few days for about a week now, but nada. Everything is reading 0.

    Have i done something wrong? Used the wrong source of ammonia? Is it possible the filter bacteria for the previous owner had survived?

    As there's no livestock in there right now and I've no plans to immediately stock it, I'm open to ideas on how to kickstart the cycle. Thanks team!
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  2. #2
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    If you are going to plant it, getting that done with a regular light cycle and keeping doing with the filter might be enough for low stocking.

    For high stocking, you can certainly add some ammonia (ammonium chloride or sulfate) up to 4ppm on your test kit. Although the suggestion is to keep adding the ammonia over the weeks, I don't suggest it these days. Couple of doses should be enough.

    Don't you have a tank already? If so, just add some mature media into the filter and you are set to go in a couple of weeks.

    Keep temperature around 26 or so depending on what you are trying to keep in it.

  3. #3

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    I've got the light cycle all regular and whatnot. I'm not 100% sold on the substrate yet, so might consider removing it and using something else before I go through the process of planting and scaping.

    I do have a tank already, and can certainly put some media from that into the other one. But don't I need constant ammonia for the bacteria to survive?

    Where does one even get pure ammonia?
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainVader View Post
    I've got the light cycle all regular and whatnot. I'm not 100% sold on the substrate yet, so might consider removing it and using something else before I go through the process of planting and scaping.

    I do have a tank already, and can certainly put some media from that into the other one. But don't I need constant ammonia for the bacteria to survive?

    Where does one even get pure ammonia?
    The bacteria don't really need 'constant' ammonia to survive. They can hibernate and spring back into action. But there is no harm in adding some and your fish food will rot and produce some. Pure ammonia can be had on ebay or bunnings (ammonium sulfate).

    If you change to ADA or similar then it will release the required ammonia and then some.

  5. #5

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    I wonder if the bacteria in the filter were hibernating and are now active again, hence I'm not seeing ammonia spikes?

    But it might be worth adding some extra ammonia just in case. Would this be ok? https://www.bunnings.com.au/long-lif...monia_p4460494
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  6. #6
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    Pretty sure you cant use that cloudy ammonia you need pure ammonia, that cleaning product has other additives, another option is Dr Tims Aquatics 60ml Ammonia Chloride - https://www.thetechden.com.au/Dr_Tim...1254001830.htm

    You will soon know if you tank is cycled after you add around 2 - 4ppm of ammonia, if its gone within 24hrs the bacteria is doing its job, if it stick around for longer then the bacteria is not established and you will have to give it some more time.

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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by doylecolmdoyle View Post
    Pretty sure you cant use that cloudy ammonia you need pure ammonia, that cleaning product has other additives, another option is Dr Tims Aquatics 60ml Ammonia Chloride - https://www.thetechden.com.au/Dr_Tim...1254001830.htm

    You will soon know if you tank is cycled after you add around 2 - 4ppm of ammonia, if its gone within 24hrs the bacteria is doing its job, if it stick around for longer then the bacteria is not established and you will have to give it some more time.
    Good thing I checked! Hahaha

    Thanks, I've never managed to start a tank with zero fish loss so I'm keen to do this one correctly. I'll grab some of the Dr Tim's stuff and test it out. Thank you!
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    I'm not sure I need 5kg but I'm happy to split with someone locally?
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainVader View Post
    I'm not sure I need 5kg but I'm happy to split with someone locally?
    LOL, Do you have house plants? They love this stuff during spring.

  11. #11
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    You can get ammonia in bottle these days. Dr something was the brand Techden, aoA, etc have it. I might even have a bottle hanging around in the box of fishy goods you can borrow if you remind me tomorrow bro. haha.
    "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    LOL, Do you have house plants? They love this stuff during spring.
    Ha, I do but I have a whole cupboard of fertilisers and whatnots already, e.g. the bag of blood and bone I bought when I was going to do 2Toned's substrate but didn't use.
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  13. #13

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    Ohhh that'd be aces! I can swap you.. um.. uhh.. a bag of blood and bone?
    As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  14. #14
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    I found the easiest way to generate a continuous amount of ammonia for a fishless cycle is to put a small cube of raw prawn or fish in the tank. About 1cm cubed will last 2 weeks and there is no possibility of you buying the wrong type of ammonia.

  15. #15
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    Also you can consider the classic organic method.

    http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showt...rganic+cycling

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