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Old 04-04-2012, 08:21 PM   #1 
Foisair
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Baking Ammonia to cycle?

So I've looked everywhere I can think of for cleaning ammonia to cycle my 10gal. It's always the same brand with a lemon scent. While looking on amazon, I see what they call "baker's ammonia". It's powdered ammonium bicarbonate. Would this work?

If so, it seems like a cleaner, better option as it would take less space and would probably be easier to dose the tank.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:30 PM   #2 
TakoLuLu
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I was running in to the same problem finding surfactant/fragrance/color free ammonia. While searching for alternatives I found several posts on various freshwater forums that indicated that it was perfectly safe, as well as effective, so I'm trying it now. I mixed some with treated water in a lidded glass bottle and have been using that. So far it seems to be doing the job.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:44 PM   #3 
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Hmmm, I would be wary of using anything but pure ammonia. It won't cause a chemical reaction in the water, it seems, but I'm not sure if it would be best to use. If it really doesn't break down into ammonia, then the bacteria probably can't use it. They need pure ammonia to react and produce the nitrate compounds, I think.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:51 PM   #4 
Olympia
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If this is the ONLY ingredient, I think there is a safe way to do it.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-ammonium.html
Ammonium bicarbonate decomposes to carbon dioxide, ammonia, and water vapor on heating. Meaning, if you mix it with water, and boil it to at least 60C, you should be left with pure ammonia.
However this seems like a lot of effort. Of course, no fish while doing any sort of ammonia dosing.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:55 PM   #5 
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Yep, that would be a way to do it if you have absolutely no alternative,
Great advice, Olympia!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #6 
Olympia
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Thanks. Chemistry class and fishkeeping are really getting me into water chemistry and such. Chem is my worst class by far (70's-80's :/) but I try the hardest in it, so ironic.
Anyways, I can't tell if you if the CO2 will become a gas or remain liquid in the mix, but either way it shouldn't matter.
Also be careful, you'll probably have to use small amounts, most ammonia in stores is around 9% ammonia, and the rest water, while here you will be left with a much purer percentage of it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:07 PM   #7 
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I personally am trying this product http://www.amazon.com/DrTims-Aquatic...3591202&sr=1-1 since I didn't want to worry about finding pure ammonia.

Just an idea.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:09 PM   #8 
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Ah! Glad you mentioned that actually. I believe that carbon dioxide actually becomes soluble in the form of carbonic acid. Here's a wiki blurb on it:

"CO2 dissolves in water forming carbonic acid, which is a weak acid, because CO2 molecule ionization in water is incomplete. The hydration equilibrium constant Kh (at 25 C) of carbonic acid is [H2CO3]/[CO2] = 1.7010−3: Hence, the majority of the carbon dioxide is not converted into carbonic acid, but remains as CO2 molecules not affecting the pH. It is an amphoteric substance that can act as an acid or as a base, depending on pH of the solution."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide

I took chem in high school and didn't do too well. I find it interesting now though with all of these water changes!
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #9 
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I had to mix mine in boiling water to get it to really dissolve properly anyhow, so it would seem I inadvertantly did it the best way. I did read several posters multiple places claiming to have completed a cycle by just having mixed it in hot tap water and using the resulting solution droppered in to acheive the desired ppm reading.

I seriously spent over a week searching for pure ammonia and couldn't find a thing that didn't have at the very least a surfactant in it :-/

Eta: also, seriously, 3 hours of Amazon searching didn't bring up that Dr Tim's stuff for me, that would have been way simpler XD

Last edited by TakoLuLu; 04-04-2012 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:12 PM   #10 
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SparkyJoe, I think that would work better than the baker's ammonia.
The reactions I found about it describe it as breaking into ammonium and chlorine ions when reacted with water.
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