i just finshed doing this myself and a few things that are very handy
1) when picking out your ammonia make sure its pure...shake the bottle, if it foams put it back...make sure its not scented or anything like that
2) to put in the ammonia get a pippet that has ml measurements on it
3) get an ammonia test that is easy to use..like the seacham floating indicator or the dipsticks....the testube tests are a pain when you are doing them a couple of times a day.
4) when the ammonia is finally disapeering quickly and just before you add fish you need to do a massive water change..like 80-90% of the water to get rid of the nitrites that will have built up in the water
Can i put forth here that i have never fishless cycled my freshwater tanks?? Ill explain more if anyone is interested - but most people here seem to swear by fishless cycling. Hey, whatever works for each person.
Actually, there are several people here who do not fishlessly cycle, they use established media, plants, and sensible stocking when setting up additional tanks. This thread, and the one on fishless cycling, are here to assist the first timers.
All tanks cycle. That is, all tanks require the establishment of a bacteria bed capable of processing the waste production of the occupants. There are many ways to get this to happen, but it must happen.
Okay, so, if I just let the tank run for awhile it will do all of this on it's own, with no interference from me? This all seems terribly complicated. I have a 5.5 gallon tank and just want to raise healthy fish!!!
Yes and No. Bacteria require a food source of ammonia, either from manual additions by the fish keeper, or from excretions from fish. The ammonia is toxic to fish as it reaches certain concentrations. If water changes are not done daily--along with testing to determine the levels--the fish will suffer gill burns and shortened life spans, and more sensitive species will die. Having a tank that is running--ie, filters on, everything in there, but no fish or no additions of ammonia will NOT develop bacteria colonies.
Check in the FW Newbie forum--there are several threads that outline both fishless and fish cycling in greater detail.