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Sourcing ammonia for fishless cycling

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Seems impossible to find. Does anyone know of a place to get pure ammonia / ammonia hydroxide? I'd consider cycling fishlessly with ground up fish flakes, but I don't want to increase my chances of a columnaris/saprolegnia spike since I'm already dealing with the effects of what's presumably that in another tank. :dunno:

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You don't want bleach, you want ammonia.

Most bleaches use sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient.

The other non chlorine bleaches use oxygen to bleach.

As Sam said, you can buy ammonia.

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I used cloudy ammonia from countdown, cost $3. Only needed bout 1/2tsp for my 600l to bring to .5ppm then i used some stresszyme and a few mls of instant cycle(cos its expensive, i think the packet directions are way too much). I used this cocktail for about a week then did a 100% water change before i added a few fish. I havent had any ammonia in my tests since i have added fish.

You could do it without the stresszyme and stuff but would take longer i guess

http://shop.countdown.co.nz/Shop/Search ... %2Bammonia

p.s. keep your nose away from the bottle when you open it, cough cough. I think its the same stuff as "sniffing salts" like in the old school boxing movies, gives you a real wake up.

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I used cloudy ammonia from countdown

I always read that cloudy ammonia is no good as it isn't pure. Contains some kind of soap or detergent I think, which would be pretty toxic to fish. I got some, but it wasn't that easy, I tried hammer hardware, bunnings, pak'n save, foodtown as well as life pharmacy and unichem in New Market with no luck, only cloudy ammonia. I only tired one branch of each store tho.

Ended up getting mine from a friend who did chemistry. He was able to get me some ammonium nitrate (ammonia in salt form, which I'd assume form the name is ammonia bonded with nitrate ions). A bit of a odd way of getting it, but I find it handy, less messy than liquids and you can find it on trademe too.

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Seems impossible to find. Does anyone know of a place to get pure ammonia / ammonia hydroxide? I'd consider cycling fishlessly with ground up fish flakes, but I don't want to increase my chances of a columnaris/saprolegnia spike since I'm already dealing with the effects of what's presumably that in another tank. :dunno:

Interested to know why you think fish food would cause columnaris or saprolegnia? And assuming it did cause either of these wouldn't it do it just as well when you were feeding fish?

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I don't think that you can actually get pure ammonium it is always in a gas form, salt form or as ammonium hydroxide.

The home brand cloudy ammonia from countdown just says ammonium hydroxide 18g/L. I'm not sure if it contains any soaps but I don't think so as its home brand and progressive enterprises (owner of home brand) don't like to throw in extra stuff for free.

From Wikipedia - Ammonium hydroxide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_hydroxide

"Ammonium hydroxide, also known as ammonia water or simply ammonia, is a solution of ammonia in water. It can be denoted by the symbols NH3(aq). Although its name suggests a base with composition [NH4+][OH−], it is not actually possible to isolate samples of NH4OH — it exists only in dilute aqueous solutions, and even then only comprises a tiny fraction of the total ammonia"

was able to get me some ammonium nitrate (ammonia in salt form, which I'd assume form the name is ammonia bonded with nitrate ions)

LOL, I didn't remember school chemistry as simple as A + B = AB, but in the case of ammonium nitrate it seems so. I sucked at chem anyway and usually fell a sleep (failed as well, shhhhh)

From Wikipedia - Ammonium nitrate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_nitrate

"The processes involved in the production of ammonium nitrate in industry, although chemically simple, are technologically challenging. The acid-base reaction of ammonia with nitric acid gives a solution of ammonium nitrate"

Also from same page:

"The AN melt is then made into "prills" or small beads in a spray tower, or into granules by spraying and tumbling in a rotating drum. The prills or granules may be further dried, cooled, and then coated to prevent caking. These prills or granules are the typical AN products in commerce."

Im pretty sure it also has free flow agents added to it, so ammonium nitrate is not pure either. But maybe laboratory grade is???

IMG095-01.jpg

This is the ammonium nitrate I use at work as a hydroponic fertizer, its a easily avalable form of nitrate for the plants to take up and also good for bringing the pH down. Im suprised that it is allowed to be sold on Trademe considering what else it can be used for. I need an approve handlers certificate to buy it and it needs DG papers to be transported. This is probably the stuff on trademe - and as said above it will contain additives

From Wikipedia - Ammonium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium

"Ammonium ions are a waste product of the metabolism of animals. In fish and aquatic invertebrates, it is excreted directly into the water. In mammals, sharks, and amphibians, it is converted in the urea cycle to urea, because urea is less toxic and can be stored more efficiently. In birds, reptiles, and terrestrial snails, metabolic ammonium is converted into uric acid, which is solid and can therefore be excreted with minimal water loss"

urine is a good source of NH4

True - especially if you are dehydrated or have a shoddy liver, therefor can't complete the urea cycle.

Either way if you use Clody ammonia or ammonium nitrate I would recommend to do a 100% water change once the filter is cycled and not add any substrate, rocks, ornaments etc until after the water change.

Good luck kinbote. You can always do old fashoned cycling but that = lots and lots of water changes. Otherwise if you think your filter media has diseases lurking around you could try and get some active media from someone with a disease free tank.

If you want you can come and get either cloudy ammonia or fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate from me.

I would offer you some filter media but i have some munted diseased Neons in my hospital tank (for months now without them getting better or worse) and i don't always sterilize my siphon or nets between tanks (I probably should)

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I also had trouble getting pure ammonia, even the chemist could not help.

Found it at the Bulk Binn Inn shop. Made in America. Don't know if you have that chain of shops up there.

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Im pretty sure it also has free flow agents added to it, so ammonium nitrate is not pure either. But maybe laboratory grade is???

IMG095-01.jpg

This is the ammonium nitrate I use at work as a hydroponic fertizer, its a easily avalable form of nitrate for the plants to take up and also good for bringing the pH down. Im suprised that it is allowed to be sold on Trademe considering what else it can be used for. I need an approve handlers certificate to buy it and it needs DG papers to be transported. This is probably the stuff on trademe - and as said above it will contain additives"

I'm not sure how good the stuff on trademe is, but considering that my friend got it from a chem lab I think it would be pretty pure (don't worry he checked that he was allowed since I only needed such a small amount). Still tested the water and did quite a large w/c before adding fish though.

I'm also surprised at what they can sell on trademe. I've also looked up potassium permanganate on there and found it for sale. I looked it up because I read that it's good alternative to bleach for a plant dip, but apparently someone told me it could also be an ingredient for bombs :o.

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yeah, it can be. produces a highly exothermic reaction when mixed with some very common household ingredients. Definitely don't want kids to be playing with it!

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yeah, it can be. produces a highly exothermic reaction when mixed with some very common household ingredients. Definitely don't want kids to be playing with it!

Why the hell not, as a kid (teenager) I had much fun playing with this, ammonium nitrate, sodum, carbide and cellulose (with a few acids) :o

Actually I don't know how I managed to get passed my teenaged years...

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I would have thought that you would get a lot more nitrate than required when you are only after ammonia. Why not just try patience and add your fish slowly--it allows the whole tank to create a proper balance.

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I would have thought that you would get a lot more nitrate than required when you are only after ammonia. Why not just try patience and add your fish slowly--it allows the whole tank to create a proper balance.

Well from what I read, it is nicer for the fish to not go through the cycling process, especially in a small tank where water parameters can shift easily. I didn't want to buy hardy 'cycling fish' just to cycle the tank, when I have no intention of keeping them later, and all the fish I was going to stock are too delicate or pricey for the task. So I looked into alternate options.

Using just fish food works, but I do think leaving uneaten food around is not that great of an idea, you get planaria which isn't a good look, and I hear that it's likely you'd get some algae problems? So if I can get ammonia nitrate for the job, why not?

Also, ammonia nitrate is pretty much is 1 ammonia ion per 1 nitrate ion bonded together. Even if you add to 4ppm of ammonia, it makes sense that you'd only be getting an extra 4ppm of nitrate, which isn't all that much. Even if you are worried about the nitrate, it's nothing a decent w/c won't fix. I mean, nitrate is one of the main reasons we keep doing w/cs after cycling in the first place?

Another reason I was quite happy with this method is that I could have made a very bad mistake if I had cycled with fish. I have 2 identical 30L tanks running with sponge filters, one had substrate, the other was bare-bottomed as I intend it to be a breeding tank. The first tank cycled quickly, in 4 days I was able to put fish in, but the other tank did not cycle for 2 weeks, at which point I went to the LFS where I was told that I had no media for the nitrifying bacteria to go in, I ended up putting some media in a pouch right next to the sponge filter and it cycled in 4 days. If I had just gone ahead and added fish slowly, it would have taken a lot longer to figure out why the tank wasn't cycling and could have killed the fish.

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