Ammonia Levels for first Fishless Cycle in a long time

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TetraFreak

Church of the Freshwater Aquarium!
Dec 14, 2005
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Sweet Home "Northern" Alabama
have a new 75 gallon and I forgot then initial ammonia insert to get a fishless cycle started.

75 Gallon, no fish or plants.
what amount of ammonia do I put in to start the fishless cycle off???
no plants or anything else.

1/2 cup or ????

Please advise as I haven't done a fishless cycle in 20 years!

TIA

-TF
 

dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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I like to add enough ammonia to bring the test level up to 3 ppm. It's also been awhile since I used this method but you can start with 1/2 teaspoon, let it circulate through the tank for 15 minutes, test and then go from there.

The fishless cycling article method I use recommends 2 drops ammonia per gallon as a starting point and also says there are about 100 drops in a teaspoon measure.
 
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fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I like a slightly lighter ammonia level than dudley, I go for 2ppm. I"m not sure I remember well, but I "thought" there were 20 "drops" in a teasp or is it cc? I could be confusing metric vs English measurements too...& it can depend on the size of a 'drop" too. Dee could be right, it's been a long time for me too. More than 4ppm can actually stall the cycle. More isn't better or faster in this case. I could be confusing metric (drops in a cc) vs English measurements too

I think there's an ammonia dosage chart or at least posts about it in the newbie sticky "cycling" but it's really long. Hopefully you can find an easy to read & dose format. Teaspoons or TBSP per? amount of water. I disagree with Bob & 5 ppm of ammonia, but didn't read much beyond that,

As Dee said, you're going to have to test to really know. Since you don't have fish yet I think I'd toss in 1/4 cup ammonia/75g & see what that tests & adjust as needed with water change or more ammonia
 
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Apr 2, 2002
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Buy a bottle of Dr Tim's ammonium chloride, very easy to use and dose. It is worth them cost. For a 75 gal yyou adjust the vol. down for decor and it nor being filled to the very top. So assume it holds between 60 and 65 gals max. It depends on how much substrate and solid decor is in the tank.

With the ammonium chloride 1 ml will produce 2.6 ppm of ammonia on an API test kit in 20 gallons of water. So for the 75 you would add 3 ml. for 60 gals and for 65 you would just add another 20 drops (1/4 ml).

Or you can just add 3. 5 ml and go closer to 3 ppm. I have both Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride but I also have a big can of The Fritz dry ammonium chloride that I use a triple beam gram scale to weigh. I just cycled 15 filters for 8 tanks with 220 gal. total. I did this in a 40 gal. breeder and in the end I was dosing 6 ppm of ammonia 3 times /day. That required 1.75 gm of the dry. I jump started the biofarm with enough Dr. Tim's bacteria for 125 gals and then added filter squeezings from some of my other tanks. It took me 9 days to get the filters up to par.

Your other option is to use store ammonia and an ammonia calculator. I have not had to do this in many years so I cannot say where is a decent one. I know of one but it is on another site which would be considered a competitor of this, one so I cannot post it.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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OK, maybe I should have said a TBSP or 2 & then test....sorry, I haven't dosed a 75g, well, maybe ever. I stand by my no fish, add ammonia & test to see what happened. You can always add more or change water as needed. I stand very firm on 2ppm ammonia for optimal beneficial bacteria growth.

I also agree if you have a healthy donor tank, you can "steal" some of the filter media to speed things up, say 1/4 to 1/3. I tend to go with an even lighter ammonia dose in that case, say 1 ppm or a bit. But testing is key!
 
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TetraFreak

Church of the Freshwater Aquarium!
Dec 14, 2005
537
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18
Sweet Home "Northern" Alabama
Thanks for all the Info.

I'm gonna start with 1/4 cup of Ammonia and see how that goes.

Thanks Again!

-TF
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
Just as an FYI- I started out cycling with household ammonia. At the time the methodology was to add ammonia as drops/10 gal. Today is way different. i still have some of the earlier article on fishless cycling bookmarked.

Have a read here- it is the updated version of a 1996 article:
Originally published as:

Koga, James
Use Household Ammonia to Humanely Cycle a Tank1.
Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, 19, no. 4
(December 1996): 213-214.
USING HOUSEHOLD AMMONIA FOR HUMANE CYCLING OF A TANK updated!

Here is another article which was revised over the years. It was written by a Ph.D. in organic chemistry.
Last Update: 22 July 2017
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1997-2021 by M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.

Fishless Cycling by Chris Cow, Ph.D.
 

FreshyFresh

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Jan 11, 2013
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It's been nearly 10yrs for me, but it didn't take many drops of household ammonia to achieve 4-5ppm on a standard 29g tank. As stated by our more experienced members above, 4-5ppm can be too high. It lead to nitrites so high, my API test indicated zero ppm nitrite.

FWIW, I used a bottle of ammonia from the dollar store. No dyes, perfumes or surfactants. Just water and ammonia on the ingredients list.
 
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