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View Full Version : Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride: 4 drops per gallon is wrong


Kinetic
09/15/2017, 05:53 PM
I took 10 gallons of freshly mixed RO/DI + 35ppt salt, heated to 78 degrees, with a powerhead going at about 200gph. I dosed 40 drops, which the label on Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride directs (4 drops per gallon), and my Ammonia was off the charts on two separate tests (Salifert, Red Sea, all brand new test kits). I even made sure they were right by using the test fluid. Way more than 2ppm.

I added in 4 oz. of Dr. Tim's One and Only. 3 weeks later, the ppm is still off the charts (marinepure block + ~12 lbs of live rock).

Almost at the same time, I had another tub with exactly the same amount of water (the tubs are the same size) and 10 gallons of water added. I decided I probably overdosed the first time by mistake, and so I'm prepared to move all the rock to the new tub to cycle in new water. Before moving all the rock etc., I decided to test this pure newly mixed water, and had 0 ammonia.

I then added only 10 drops of Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride and waited 24 hours, and when I checked the ammonia, it was 2ppm. This is with a powerhead, did not add rock or anything. So the first batch of water, I probably overdosed 4x the amount, even though that is what the label said.

So the label is totally wrong. The directions are completely messed up. I know dr. tim's changed the ammonium chloride recipe from 1 drop to 4 drops per gallon, but I'm pretty sure they screwed up at least this one bottle.

I don't know, maybe both my test kits are exactly wrong the same way. Maybe a lot of things could have made it wrong. Maybe my "droplet" sizes are 4x the size because I squeeze weird?

So here's a warning to everyone using Ammonium Chloride to do a fishless cycle, or using it at all. The label for 4 drops per gallon can be wrong. Stick with 1 drop per gallon to start.

bertoni
09/15/2017, 08:00 PM
How high is "off the charts"? You might want to do some water changes. Very high ammonia levels can inhibit the bacteria that process ammonia.

Kinetic
09/15/2017, 08:05 PM
How high is "off the charts"? You might want to do some water changes. Very high ammonia levels can inhibit the bacteria that process ammonia.

I couldn't tell. Out of all the yellow/greens, the tested color was atomic purple (salifert) and almost purple blue.

And yes! So that's why I decided to start over with the new tub of water. Of course some water made it over with the rock and what not. I was maintaining about 1ppm to 2ppm with calculations of 1 drop of dr tim's ammonium chloride per gallon.

Now I've actually transferred everything to the final display tank and am continuing the cycle there. I'm on day 2 in the new tank with the same rock/marinepure plate and I'm able to hold ammonia at between 1.2ppm and 2ppm.

bertoni
09/15/2017, 08:08 PM
I'd probably stop dosing ammonia once I got the level to 0.5-1.0 ppm, personally. That's enough to give an unambiguous signal on mosts ammonia kits, anyway. I'm sorry you had the negative experience with the product. I am not sure what happened. Maybe their computations are off or they made a bad batch.

Kinetic
09/15/2017, 08:16 PM
I'd probably stop dosing ammonia once I got the level to 0.5-1.0 ppm, personally. That's enough to give an unambiguous signal on mosts ammonia kits, anyway. I'm sorry you had the negative experience with the product. I am not sure what happened. Maybe their computations are off or they made a bad batch.

I don't have too much experience doing a fishless cycle. Before I just used some regular ammonium chloride I found at a store, with little information. I think at the time I used about 1ppm as well, but kept dosing daily. At one point I couldn't keep ammonia detectable which is when I knew things were ready (took about 3 months though).

I'm following the guide on Dr Tim's actual website:
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/how-to-start

I've read on forums it's a good guide to go by. Maybe I'll dose at lower ppm so that test kits have a better read on what's happening, but I definitely want to make sure I can throw a good amount of ammonia into the tank without a problem. My first animal added will be an anemone (I'm going to let it establish itself before adding anything else), so hopefully, the tank can easily handle 2ppm at the end of the cycle.

Kinetic
09/15/2017, 08:18 PM
That being said. How much ammonia could I dose into the tank at what I think is the end of the cycle, that would be a good representation of what I would need to keep the anemone. And yeah, I'm shooting for a H. magnifica, it's going to be tough (Already getting treatment tanks ready and all that).

bertoni
09/15/2017, 10:27 PM
The anemone won't produce much ammonia. I might try a few flakes of fish food per day to keep the bacteria going and to test the filtration. My usual guess is something like or so of the expected daily feeding rate. That applies mostly to tanks with fish. Anemones and corals generally won't release much ammonia, so getting the tank to zero probably is enough, but a flake or two a day is a reasonable insurance policy.

Three months seems like far too long. To keep ammonia down, a few weeks seems be fine for most tanks. I wonder what happened. Dosing 1 ppm of ammonia per day seems like a lot more than is needed.

Kinetic
09/15/2017, 10:37 PM
The anemone won't produce much ammonia. I might try a few flakes of fish food per day to keep the bacteria going and to test the filtration. My usual guess is something like or so of the expected daily feeding rate. That applies mostly to tanks with fish. Anemones and corals generally won't release much ammonia, so getting the tank to zero probably is enough, but a flake or two a day is a reasonable insurance policy.

Three months seems like far too long. To keep ammonia down, a few weeks seems be fine for most tanks. I wonder what happened. Dosing 1 ppm of ammonia per day seems like a lot more than is needed.

Thanks for the insight!

bertoni
09/15/2017, 11:02 PM
You're welcome. Good luck!

Vinny Kreyling
09/16/2017, 02:12 PM
I would drop Tim a note to let him know too.

Kinetic
09/17/2017, 02:50 AM
I would drop Tim a note to let him know too.

Just sent him an email. Hopefully, it's just my bottle that's wrong.