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I have been cycling my tank with ammonia now for nearly a couple of weeks. I have reached the stage where ammonia is dropping back from 3-4ppm to zero within about 12 hours. Nitrites are off the charts and nitrates are at about 5ppm. My problem is that to keep the ammonia up to around 3ppm I am going to have to keep dosing the tank at least daily and the ammonia is fast running out. It was very difficult to find the ammonia in the first place and there are no more bottles available. My tank is 200 litres and the bottle said there is enough ammonia to cycle up to 300 litres but I am not so sure. In the event that I run out of ammonia what method would you recommend I switch to to keep up the supply of ammonia and keep the cycle going? Fish food? Prawn? I would hate to lose the cycle after coming so far!!
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
 

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You only add ammonia if you're doing a fish-less cycle. The reason you cycle a tank is to make the ammonia go away. Ammonia is very toxic to fish and should never be above 0ppm. The reason you cycle a new tank is to grow good bacteria so it can eliminate the ammonia and start the hydrogen cycle. If you're doing a fish-less cycle then you ONLY add ammonia once at the start of the new tank and ammonia level should be 2-3ppm tops. You're only adding the very toxic ammonia to start growing good bacteria. Good bacteria breaks down the ammonia into something less toxic called nitrites and then a different bacteria breaks that down into something even less toxic called nitrates and evaporate away. Once a tank is cycled ammonia will be 0ppm because the good bacteria is breaking down the ammonia as fast as it appears. When the new tanks ammonia reading suddenly drops to 0ppm you know it's been cycled and ready for fish.

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You only add ammonia if you're doing a fish-less cycle. The reason you cycle a tank is to make the ammonia go away. Ammonia is very toxic to fish and should never be above 0ppm. The reason you cycle a new tank is to grow good bacteria so it can eliminate the ammonia and start the hydrogen cycle. If you're doing a fish-less cycle then you ONLY add ammonia once at the start of the new tank and ammonia level should be 2-3ppm tops. You're only adding the very toxic ammonia to start growing good bacteria. Good bacteria breaks down the ammonia into something less toxic called nitrites and then a different bacteria breaks that down into something even less toxic called nitrates and evaporate away. Once a tank is cycled ammonia will be 0ppm because the good bacteria is breaking down the ammonia as fast as it appears. When the new tanks ammonia reading suddenly drops to 0ppm you know it's been cycled and ready for fish.

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Thanks so much for the reply. I am most definitely doing a fish-less cycle as I have done lots of reading and believe I now have a pretty good understanding of how the cycle works. I initially dosed the tank with ammonia to 4ppm and then left it until it dropped back to zero (at that point the nitrites had appeared but no nitrates) I have read in several places that once the ammonia drops to zero I have to keep 'feeding' the nitrites with ammonia otherwise they will die off before the nitrates can appear. As I understand, even though the first part of the cycle (ammonia to nitrites) has been completed it is still not safe to add fish as the second stage, nitrites to nitrates has still not finished so the cycle is not finished yet and the environment is still toxic to fish. If I do need to keep dosing the tank with ammonia to continue feeding the nitrites until the nitrates can catch up then my question was which other ammonia source would be best to switch to in the event that I run out of the liquid ammonia.
Thanks again!
 

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Why aren't you adding your fish after the ammonia goes to 0ppm? Nitrites aren't as toxic to fish as the ammonia is and it takes the fish being in high nitrites for an extended period of time before it becomes a problem. If you're constantly adding that amount of ammonia then your nitrites will never go down. Ammonia turns into nitrites so if you keep adding a bunch of ammonia it'll just keep making more and more nitrites and never go down. Once you're ammonia reading is 0ppm then you know you have good bacteria to take care of the fish waste as quick as it shows up and the nitrites will start to drop. The ammonia from fish waste is so much less then what you're adding so your water test will always show some level of nitrites and might or might not show any nitrates and that's not a big deal but ANY level of ammonia is deadly to fish. You can do whatever you want it's your tank I've just never heard of anyone doing that and I've had fish tanks for over 10years. I wait a week or 2 until the tank shows ammonia at 0ppm then add fish and never had a problem with any sort of new tank syndrome. Most aquarium fish are pretty hardy so if things are slightly off it doesn't bother them but if you're getting a fragile type of fish that's sensitive to water fluctuations then you might wait a little longer. If you're new to the hobby I would suggest not getting a fish above your level of expertise because even if you do things right at first I promise you will kill a few of your first fish. It's not an easy hobby and there is so much to learn and a lot of it you have to learn from experience so even with a bunch of research something is gonna happen your not expecting.

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