We've just bought a tank for my daughter and need to cycle it. Two fish shops have said we shouldn't cycle it at all, just leave for a week. We're ignoring this but want to know if anyone could recommend how we go about it? We've bought some household ammonia recommended for cycling tanks, but would you also add fish food, as I've read that that can cause phosphates which cause algae. We've just added plants - is that right or should we have waited??
Sounds like you're on the right track so far, especially the bit about ignoring the fish shops! They are well out of the loop if they don't do fishless cycling- tell them about the internet
Yes, using fish food to cycle can boost the phosphate levels. Also with household ammonia you have much more control over the ammonia level.
It take around 4-6 weeks to do (so might be ready in time for Christmas) and you'll need to test regularly. This tells you how it's done and there's also an ammonia calculator so you know how much to put in. I use one of those medicine syringes to measure small amounts of liquid, just make sure you don't then use it to give calpol to your DCs!
I've bought Kleen Off household ammonia, and it was recommended on amazon as being suitable for fish tank cycling but it doesn't have any contents listed. Do you reckon it'll be ok (I know you can't use perfumed ones etc)?? (I reckon we're fine but /DH is a bit of a paranoid type!)
Yep, it's fine for fishless cycling. It should have an ingredients 'list' (it'll say something like 'ammonia solution' and then the dilution- normally about 10%) on the label somewhere, although it might not be labelled as an ingredient list because there's just the one thing in there.