Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mbender04 05-21-2007 04:14 PM

Fishless Cycling w/ HH Ammonia
Has anyone heard or does anyone have any thoughts on the idea of cycling your tank with 100% household ammonia? It's supposed to be an alternative to cycling with fish.

caferacermike 05-21-2007 11:20 PM

It is an old method and is written in many of my older books. Personally I cannot figure out why people are so against the idea of cycling a tank. It's not difficult, it is not a task. If you spend a thousand dollars on a beautiful 40g tank why would you risk killing all the fish you place in it? Is it that people are just to lazy to wait a month after setting up a tank to let it mature? You get more results with patience in this hobby. Sure you can cycle a tank in a day but you also do not allow the beneficial bacteria and possible food sources to multiply to the numbers that allow them to always be ahead of the curve. Why not grow out a huge population of pods while the tank cycles? Then the seahorses can slowly eat them, the population may be large enough at the time to continue to breed and multiply at the same rate they are eaten. Add fish to early and that will never happen.

If you wish to try the ammonia method just pee in your tank. Seriously, human urine is safer than chemical ammonia as it comes from an organic source.

mbender04 05-22-2007 12:48 AM

Funny guy has been suggesting that since I first set the tank up...however that is disgusting. Anyway...simmer down, I'm new to the game and that was the first I had ever heard of anything like that :) I happen to think that your idea is a beautiful one. Now when you say pods I am assuming that you are speaking of copepods, right? Just for clarification, are they the little, tiny, white, bug-like things crawling around my live rock or are those Amphipods? Question, my live rock was already "cured", will that generate enough ammonia to start the cycling process? I am really against the idea of introducing fish into a potentially harmful environment.

mbender04 05-22-2007 01:33 AM

Oh and I don't think that it's that people are lazy so much as impatient. We live in the microwave generation.

NeonJulie 05-22-2007 09:07 AM

It'd be like building a house, closing on it, and moving in before the toilets were installed, the ventilation and filters installed. No one would think of doing that, in fact it wouldn't pass inspection.

When you put together a tank, you're building a new house for fish. I think they deserve the same, especially since it's SO easy... what could be easier than a few drops of ammonia a day? Put in an Ammonia Alert and you don't even have to test for a while. They should get to live in houses where their toilets and sewage system and "ventilation" is established too. :/

That being said, the biggest biggest caution here is to make sure you have a PURE bottle of household ammonia. It's getting very difficult to find them, and now they add ingredients listed like "quality control agents!" What?! The most recommended brand is ACE Hardware's Janitorial Strength. If you find a bottle, give it a shake, make sure it doesn't bubble or form. Then open and give it a slight sniff - it should be horrific, not dyed or perfumed or pleasant. And it should feel and look like water, not slippery or coated.

And then do small drips at a time, because you don't want the ammonia to get too high, otherwise you may have to do a water change or two. (Compared to fishy cycling, that's not a big deal anyhow.)

mbender04 05-22-2007 11:14 AM

My tank does have a live meter in it and it is registering safe but I am still not sure if I want to keep a species only tank or not. Not only that, I'm pretty sure that the fish I would want are not what is consider "hardy" and the "hardy" fish are way too aggressive for seahorses. However, I cannot cycle a tank with Seahorses either. So cycling with fish just doesn't seem like an option. Cycling with ammonia was not my actual choice I had just never heard of it before and wanted some opinions. I also don't think that it is trying to "speed" anything up. The chemical ammonia is just taking the place of fishy ammonia. It should still take about the same time right? Also are there any benefits to fish cycling that you don't get with ammonia cycling?

caferacermike 05-22-2007 09:45 PM


Originally Posted by mbender04
Anyway...simmer down, I'm new to the game and that was the first I had ever heard of anything like that :)

Unless you have a complex and feel guilty about something you'll instead notice that the reply was not directed at you. It was instead just some personal thoughts about the issue of cycling geared at everyone that reads the thread. So simmer down what?

You've already bought live rock, buy some snails and hermits, the tank will cycle all on it's own.

mbender04 05-22-2007 10:17 PM

I plan to. Thank you for your help. I am really just trying to figure things out as best as possible. Those particular inverts will be ok in somewhat unstable tank conditions right? Like you said yourself, I don't want to spend all of this money just to kill some fish I am just trying to do what is best for them. And by the by the "simmer down" was a joke not a command. I apologize if I offended you. I appreciate your help.

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