question before I do "fishless tank cycle"

Dec 20, 2017
I am buying a 60 gal tank today and was a little bummed when I was told by the girl in the store that I needed to wait 24 hrs before I put the fish in the tank, hmmmmmm. Now after reading Iggys "fishless tank cycle" it could be a month. Ok well so very glad I read the article. I do have a question though about it, and I don't mean to sound stupid. I understood everything until #9 of the article "remove as much of the water as you can and replace with treated water" Whats the reason for adding the ammonia everyday to the tank to just remove it when the levels reach 0ppm
Thanks in advance for any help/advice you can give.


Superstar Fish
Jan 11, 2013
East Aurora, NY
The reason for doing a water change once a nitrogen cycle is established is to reduce the nitrate level. Ammonia is pretty much instantly converted to nitrite, then nitrate with a proper cycle in the tank.

Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to fish, where nitrate only is at high levels over a length of time.

Those in the hobby try to maintain a nitrate level not to exceed 20ppm. We do this by doing weekly water changes. Two of the tanks in my sig see an ~80% weekly water change, two see a maintain the <20% nitrate thing.

If you can get ahold of a used sponge bubbler filter or some used filtration media to use in your filter, you will basically have an instant cycle. Add fresh dechlorinated water and add your fish.

You can also do a fish-in cycle by adding a small amount of fish to your tank, monitoring ammonia daily and doing water changes several times a week so the fish are not exposed to ammonia or nitrite. Over the course of about 6-7 weeks, you should see nitrates creep up signifying a nitrogen cycle and you're good to go.

By far the easiest method is the used filter route.