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Chopstick Chick 10-25-2010 03:44 PM

Doing a Fishless Cycle: Too much ammonia?
Hello everyone! I'm new to fish as a hobby though I have been interested for years and had several fish tanks growing up (all my fish died when I was a kid and I now know WHY lol)

Anyway, I am setting up a 5 gallon tank for some guppies I plan to put in once it finishes cycling and I am doing it fishless so nobody gets hurt. I couldn't find ammonia anywhere without additives or coloring, so I decided to use the rotting seafood method. It smells WONDERFUL in my dorm room right now! :roll:

I had an old tea ball for loose leaf tea sitting around, and in the hopes that the mess would be contained, I stuffed it with 2 raw, peeled tiger shrimp, some fish food flakes and a piece of octopus tentacle from my freezer for good measure and placed the ball to "marinate" in the tank. The temperature sits at around 25 or 26 degrees Celsius during the day, drops to about 20 degrees at night and in just under three days my ammonia level has gone from .5 to 4.0. And I am assuming it will keep climbing as the food continues to rot. My question here is, should I allow the ammonia to continue to climb, or can I remove the rotting seafood to the freezer and place it back in the tank to continue adding ammonia to the water when the ammonia level starts to drop below 2.0 (which I believe is where you want it to stay when cycling so the bacteria have a food source?).
I haven't been able to find this info anywhere online, most fishless methods say to continue to add ammonia drops to keep the tanks ammonia level stable, but nothing in regards to using rotting matter as the ammonia source.

I hope I am making sense here? lol forgive me if I'm not.

Thanks very much in advance!

Thyra 10-26-2010 06:49 PM

Looks like you aren't getting much help. I have been reading several of these forums plus searching the internet for months and everyone does this cycling thing differently. I did my two tanks fish in with no problems. I do not have experience with what you are doing, but to me common sense would say take the rotting fish out and check for nitrites. If the ammonia gets down to 2ppm and you have no nitrites, put the rotting fish back in for a day or two and repeat until you get some nitrites. Then I would probably try keeping it at 2ppm until the nitrites drop and you start to get nitrates. There apparently is no set plan for any of this and I am just guessing. To tell you the truth I have seen posts of people trying to cycle your way, but the posts never tell how it worked - that doesn't mean it didn't, they just don't tell you the outcome.

zof 10-26-2010 07:17 PM

You can't really have too much ammonia when you are doing a cycle, but the excess smell is probably comming from the fact you have to much rotting stuff in one tank, take the other stuff out and just use 1 shrimp and keep it in until ammonia and nitrites reach 0 and you get nitrates. If the smell continues to be a tad to much after a few days you can do a water change and move over to using just pure ammonia instead of rotting organic matter.

I should actually correct myself you can have too much ammonia, in that you will have more ammonia in the tank then there are enough surfaces for the bacteria to grow on, but if you have a filter and other decorations I doubt this will be an issue.

Stay the course and you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. BTW welcome to TFK!

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