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Re:fishless cycling=mixing ammonia and chlorine

       From: Ty Cole <rainbowfish8000 at yahoo_com>

I'm getting ready to start a new tank and I want to
try fishless cycling.  One of the websites describing
the procedure had the following:

"When chlorine is mixed with ammonia containing
products, chloramine gas is formed."

I know Chloramine gas is highly irritating to the
lungs, and causes coughing and choking. The
recommendation was to use a dechorinator that did not
remove ammonia.

I know you should not mix bleach with ammonia but can
you add a few drops of ammonia to a tank filled with
water that is not dechlorinated?  Is there really a
danger in creating chloramine gas in these small
amounts?  I have a 20 gallon tank.............

There are other ways than adding ammonia to get a populating of nitrifying
bacteria (bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrate) started in a new tank.

(1) You could put in some mulm from an established tank.  If you do not
have an established tank with mulm, you could do this:

(2) Put about a half teaspoon of topsoil in a shallow container, such as a
shoebox, cover with a half inch of water and introduce one or two
penny-sized pieces of dried liver or four or five pieces of dry cat food.
Keep covered at room temperature for four days.  Then pour the contents
into the tank.  If it is a small tank, you may only want to introduce a
portion of the contents and then the rest, later.

Topsoil contains a great variety of bacteria, including nitrifying
bacteria.  After four days, those parts of the liver or cat food that can
be broken down easily by the bacteria have been broken down, and the
remainder is more resistant to breakdown.  The period of rapid biological
oxygen demand is over, and the bacterial populations are no longer
increasing rapidly.  Any lingering chlorine or chloramine in the tank water
will be neutralized by the organic matter introduced when you pour your
culture in.

Paul Krombholz, in central Mississippi, where we had tornado warnings and
heavy rains today.