Speed to clear ammonia?

sporkman

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You're all probably going to laugh as I've been running an empty tank for like... 6 months.

Anyhow, I recently went to my local Pet Supplies Plus to see what the stock looked like and I'm going to try to put together a list of fish to populate this 20 high tank.

I put some ammonia in last night, and after an hour, I was at .50 PPM.

About 15 hours later, I'm at .25 PPM. I assume if I check tomorrow, at this rate I'll be at zero again.

Should I be seeing a faster clearing rate or is this indicative of a healthy bacteria colony in the filter?
 

Metalhead88

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You need to cycle the tank.

Simply running it does not do anything aside from move water around. You need an ammonia source to grow bacteria.

It's hard to say with such little info, but from what I'm seeing, you will likely not see ammonia go down on its on for 2 weeks or more as you have only began your cycle when you have finally added fish.
 

Retired Viking

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So you ran you tank for close to 6 months with nothing in it but water? If you ammonia is dropping something is dealing with it. Did you add anything to your tank besides your test ammonia? Do you have live plants in it?
 
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essjay

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How much ammonia did you add?

Assuming there are no live plants, a tank is cycled ready for fish when it can clear a 3 ppm dose of ammonia to zero ammonia and zero nitrite in 24 hours.
If you added less than enough ammonia to give 3 ppm, you can't know if there are enough bacteria for a tankful of fish.

If there area good number of live plants which are growing well, you don't need to add ammonia as the plants will take up ammonia faster than bacteria.
 
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sporkman

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Sorry, I should have referenced my prior threads, but it was cycled around the time everything shut down up here and I've been running it w/o fish since. I do not have live plants (and I don't see that happening soon, there was zero stock at the store). I was mainly just curious if the bacteria that consume the ammonia live without, for lack of a better word, "food".

I'll bump up the ammonia dose and see how fast it clears. The .5 PPM did clear after 24 hours, but I guess I need to add 5x the ammonia I put in last time...

I still have at least half my large bottle of Safe Start.
 

Byron

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I should have referenced my prior threads, but it was cycled around the time everything shut down up here and I've been running it w/o fish since. I do not have live plants (and I don't see that happening soon, there was zero stock at the store). I was mainly just curious if the bacteria that consume the ammonia live without, for lack of a better word, "food".
Yes, they can, to a point. The colony of nitrifying bacteria established six months ago will, if food (ammonia) is not available, go into a sort of suspended state. They do not normally die off, at least not as rapidly as some think. There is a limit to this, and temperature factors in, plus there may be some ammonia naturally occurring even though undetectable with our hobby test kits. I've no idea how long the bacteria can live in this state, but scientific studies have proven it to be the case.

 
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