I am going to cycle my new 55 gallon tank without fish. I have never done this before but I remember when I last had fish and tried a saltwater aquarium, I told myself I would never cycle a saltwater tank ever again with fish. I have never really had trouble cycling freshwater tanks with fish (not that I recall anyway) but if I can help it, I prefer not to worry over fish.
My daughter's tank (new) tricked me a bit. I thought it was cycled...went up just a bit in ammonia and then dropped back down to zero. I could not remember how far the ammonia level usually goes up. It has been awhile since I cycled a tank. I went in to get one more fish and ended up bringing three more home. I normally would only have brought one fish home (one platty) but he said it is best to get three fish if they are schooling type fish. I should have been thinking better. I should have gotten one and then when the tank was more mature, I could have gone back for two more. What was I thinking? Da! I should have stuck with my original plan. I know better. I guess since I do not recall any horrible deaths before when cycling my freshwater tanks, I was not overaly concerned. Anyway, my ammonia went a little higher than .25 which it had not done so before so I got worried and put in Ammo Lock. I do remember using this before when I cycled a tank and all went well. I did a small water change after the ammomia higher than .25. Well, the next day or two days after (can't remember now), the ammonia was the highest it has ever been. 5+. I have a feeling my tank had never been completely cycled and now there is an overload. I just hate this part. I did a 35% water change today, but the ammonia shortly thereafter looked just about the same. I have not yet tested it tonight. The fish seem fine....3 platties and 3 Black Phontom Tetras. They are all eating and I have reduced the food. The platties act the best to me....busy and happy looking. Tetras are hard to read for me. They seem to swim the most when there is food and when I turn the lights off. They have never been real active swimmers to me compared to a lot of fish. They kind of flit around. I have read that some tetras prefer a darker environment. Hopefully, the Ammo Lock is keeping them alive.
Anyway, I am getting a little off topic from my original thread. I want to go fishless to cycle the big tank and what to go the ammonia route. Here are my questions.
If you use ammonia, is it necessary to add food as well? I was thinking not
Is it best to leave the light on 24 hours? I read somewhere that this helps the process but then I thought I read somewhere else where it is best to turn the lights off.
How much should I add and how often? I do have an article saved that indicates this but thought I would ask here
My husband is picking up Ammonia tonight....straight ammonia with no additives other than maybe water or ammonium.
I think that is it. Thanks for any suggestions.