Leads to a conversation that I can sum-up quickly.
The squeezings of a sponge filter that sits IN the tank, when they result in particulate of fine and flaked nature, are acceptable for the cycling start of a new tank. They are MUCH preferable to rocks/gravel/sand because substrate is where most parasites hide.
Use of bottled ammonia is dangerous because it is handled on metallic equipment that also handles other chemicals and detergents.
The odor of the bottles of cycling-bacteria isn't ammonia, its a cyanic compound that keeps the bacteria asleep.
Your filter must be actively circulating the water GENTLY in order for the bacteria to colonize on its biomedia. This requires aeration as well as food.
Old bottles of fish food or ESPECIALLY any frozen/dehydrated blood worms you have on hand will provide ammonia and nitrite quickly. Frozen bloodworms will actually cause a nitrite pulse in your tank! Never feed the tank more per day than you feed your fish!
If your petco doesnt have deadfish in their tanks, it might be ok. The water is shared between all the tanks... so if there is one dead fish in any pf them, there's a risk of disease.ultimately, it's a risk you decided whether you hould take.
Are you suggesting that rotting fishfood and its associated risk of mold is better than pure ammonia as an ammonia source?
Do I understand correctly that decomposing bloodworms are particularly favored as food by ammonia-eating bacteria (nitrosomonas) and that this causes a rapid rise in nitrite? Is this good thing?
From some of your recent posts I infer that, you favor some sort of bottled bacteria (TLC brand) to jumpstart the nitrogen cycle. Do you prefer it over live bacteria from an unknown tank/filter? Could you enlarge on this?