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Old 10-24-2012, 09:10 AM   #1 
JAGalletta
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Question Ok to use tank starter opposed to daily dosage of aqueous ammonia?

Hello all, this is my first post on this site. I must say, I'm happy to have found these forums. I recently purchased a 5.5 gallon tank, and have added water, gravel, decor, a Marimo moss ball, and treated the (tap) water with the recommended dosage of the Tetra Aquasafe conditioner and a Tank Buddies Correct pH tablet. So far the parameters I know are pH of 6.8, 0 ammonia or nitrite, temp 80F, 15w incandescent light 8hrs/day, and 7.5 watt (a little undersized?) heater coming in the mail for night time.

I'd like to properly cycle this tank, and I've had a hard time finding aqueous ammonia that does not contain surfactants. I have Jungle Start Zyme and was wondering if using that is a safe alternative to the lengthy ammonia drip tank cycling method. If I use that is it a good idea to feed it 3-4 betta pellets 2x daily? Also should the filter be on and if so, should media and carbon be in the filter?

Thanks,

John

P.S. If you couldn't tell, I'm new to this. I just want to make sure everything gets done right so the aquarium doesn't fail.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:04 AM   #2 
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Welcome. 1st congrats on the tank. As for the ph, it is better to NOT try to adjust it as the fish will adjust to your taps ph, 6.8 is a little on the low side & if goes lower it will effect your tanks cycle. I would suggest testing your tap water to see what all the levels are; ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph so you know where you're starting. As for the Jungle Start, you will still need an ammonia source as the ammonia is what feeds the BB. If you cannot find pure ammonia you can take a raw shrimp put it into a mesh bag & place it into the tank, when your ammonia reaches the appropriate level, remove the bag, stick it in a baggie & freeze it, then you can re-use it if need be. You can also use food but it is more difficult to get the level of ammonia you will need. Lastly you could choose to do a fish IN cycle, you will just need to test your water daily with a liquid test kit & do water changes per the results. Keep in mind it can take 6-8 wks to cycle a tank.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:26 AM   #3 
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Thanks so much for the reply! That shrimp idea seems great. Do you know approximately how long it should take to reach the proper ammonia level (i.e. can I leave it in while I'm at work for 9 hours?). Also, what would the proper ammonia level be to prep the bacteria colonies for a single male crowntail in this 5.5 gal tank?
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:32 AM   #4 
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Thanks so much for the reply! That shrimp idea seems great. Do you know approximately how long it should take to reach the proper ammonia level (i.e. can I leave it in while I'm at work for 9 hours?). Also, what would the proper ammonia level be to prep the bacteria colonies for a single male crowntail in this 5.5 gal tank?
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:42 AM   #5 
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The ammonia level doesn't have anything to with what your final stocking plan is for the tank. I have only done fish IN cycling, my reading regarding fish LESS is you want the ammonia to reach 4 ppm, then let it drop to 1, redose to 4, when the tank is processing the ammonia down to 0 within 24 hrs, your nitrItes stay 0 & nitrAtes are <40 for about a few days then you are cycled. If you go the shrimp route, it will rot which means its going to get stinky & mushy (reason for the mesh bag). I would put it in wait a day or two test the ammonia, if its where you want it to be take it out. Test the water to see if & when its dropping when it gets down to one add the shrimp back & just repeat until the tank is cycled.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:03 AM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
The ammonia level doesn't have anything to with what your final stocking plan is for the tank. I have only done fish IN cycling, my reading regarding fish LESS is you want the ammonia to reach 4 ppm, then let it drop to 1, redose to 4, when the tank is processing the ammonia down to 0 within 24 hrs, your nitrItes stay 0 & nitrAtes are <40 for about a few days then you are cycled. If you go the shrimp route, it will rot which means its going to get stinky & mushy (reason for the mesh bag). I would put it in wait a day or two test the ammonia, if its where you want it to be take it out. Test the water to see if & when its dropping when it gets down to one add the shrimp back & just repeat until the tank is cycled.
Thanks a bunch, this really helps!
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:36 PM   #7 
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Does it matter if the frozen shrimp I buy has already been cooked? I sent my girlfriend out for "raw frozen shrimp - only ingredient on label should be shrimp" and she came back with Cooked Frozen Shrimp which contains: shrimp, salt, water, and sodium tripolyphosphate 'to retain moisture' (the one ingredient I'm afraid of). So much for her listening, but should I be worried that it is cooked and contains sodium tripolyphosphate? It's already in the aquarium (thank God there's no fish involved in this experiment), so let me know if I should take it out/start over.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:02 PM   #8 
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Ok, so I removed the cooked poison shrimp and replaced them with raw shrimp. Hopefully the additional chemicals in the cooked shrimp will dissipate during the cycling process.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:49 PM   #9 
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LOL, darn girlfriends. Glad you switched it out. I would have been a little worried myself.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:55 AM   #10 
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In about a week, you will smell why many of us prefer to use pure ammonia for fishless cycling. I know; I've done it. There are other reasons not to use rotting foods for an ammonia source...mold, bacteria, other unsavory things.

A single Betta in a 5g will require two 50% changes a week anyway. So you can make it easy on yourself by doing a fish-in cycle.

The StartZyne product is made to promote fish-in cycling by moderating any ammonia to nitrite spike.

The most important thing you need is a liquid test kit to monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels. (API freshwater test kit from Amazon for $20).

Yes, you have to run your filter with filter foam/media/pads whatever. That's where the majority of the bacteria will live.

The most important thing you need to do is read the sickies in the Bowl and Habitat section of this forum...especially this one:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/b...ecific-107771/

Read the others for background and for a better understanding of what it is you're trying to do.
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