Fishless cycling is a way to get your tank’s water ready for fish without sacrificing an innocent fish to get the cycle going. To get your tank started, add a large initial dose of ammonia to the tank, enough to obtain a reading about 7 ppm. Then add 1/2 that amount every day until nitrites begin to show up. Once nitrites are visible, reduce the daily dose of ammonia to 1/4 the original amount and continue adding the 1/4 quantity every day until the nitrites drop to zero. Also, increase the temperature of the water to 85F and use multiple air stones or a Power Filter to achieve heavy water surface agitation; this accelerates nitrifying bacteria growth. Once the nitrites have dropped to zero, reduce the water temperature to 79F, do a 25% water change, and stock the tank with your favorite fish. What it all means is that you will have to delay adding fish to your tank for about 3 months until the tank is fully cycled. But, you will not kill any innocent fishes!

Ammonia can be purchased at your local grocery or hardware store, but caution must be exercised here: Carefully read the ingredients on the bottle. Find ammonia that does not have surfactants, perfumes, or anything else that is not ammonia or water. The cheap ‘no-name’ brands are the one’s to look for.