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fishless cycling: add plants?
I will be setting up a 30 gallon this weekend. For the first time I'm going to try the fishles cycling method. The substrate will be texas blast over laterite. I was going to add some sagittaria in the foreground and then add the rest of the plants after the tank has cycled. Since I will be adding more ammonia than is usually present when tanks are cycled naturally, is this bad for the plants?
The formula I am using for fishless cycling I will paste in below. I found what is called Janitor's Ammonia at True Value Hardware. Less than $2 for quite a supply. It is 10% Ammonia. I'm hoping to cylce this tank quickly to add some nice fish.
Fishless Cycling Formula:
While the original recipe works quite well (4-5 drops NH3 / 10 gal / day until nitrite peaks, then reduce to 2-3 drops / 10 gal / day), it does NOT take into account varying concentrations of ammonia that are available. ACS grade ammonia, which I was using, is ~28% NH3, while most household cleaner grades vary from 4-10%, a fairly wide variation in concentration. Bottles that have been left open for long periods of time will be lower in concentration, as the NH3 gas escapes back into the atmosphere. With that in mind, I'd like to propose a different recipe, which was suggested by D_Man and others (thanks!): Add ammonia to the tank initially to obtain a reading on your ammonia kit of ~5 ppm. Record the amount of ammonia that this took, then add that amount daily until the nitrite spikes. Once the nitrite is visible, cut back the daily dose of ammonia to ½ the original volume. One advantage of this method is that the ammonia spike occurs immediately... when adding 4-5 drops/10 gal/day, it could take 4-5 days before the ammonia reaches the same levels. This should result in an acceleration of the entire process, though by how much (on average) remains to be seen.
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