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The Ammonia in Cycle Brand Bacteria Culture Issue

Posted By: Cybermeez <cybermeez@aol.com>
Date: Monday, 11 February 2002, at 3:27 p.m.

The recent topic on finding ammonia in Hagen's Cycle brand bacteria culture peaked my curiosity so I decided to write Hagen and see what they had to say. They e-mailed me today with this response:

Dear Robin,

I asked our biotechnician to respond to this question, his answer follows:

It is always possible to find a small residue of ammonia in the Cycle product. Do not forget that
bacteria in the reactor chamber(s) during the manufacturing process need some food (ammonia
and lots of other salts) to propagate strongly enough to create the large biomass. Cycle must be
grown and cultured in this strong solution to bring it to the highly concentrated population levels before its activity is shut down and then bottled. These bacterial strains use the available food almost completely before the dormancy period is induced, but at the end of the process it is always possible to find some residue of ammonia in the liquid.

However the actual, available quantity of ammonia is minor.


If you have 100 mg/L (100 ppm) in the solution, that seems very high when you test the product
directly with a test kit. However, when the product is added to the aquarium, there is an
extreme dilution that occurs. The actual quantity of product (5 - 10 mL) per the 10 U.S. gallon treatment dosage makes the amount of actual ammonia added into the aquarium ridiculously low.

10 mL of Cycle with the above concentration of 100 ppm of ammonia added to 38.7 Liters actually results in 0.03 ppm of ammonia in the tank. This minute quantity (0.03 ppm) of ammonia is totally undetectable with an ammonia test kit and is rapidly oxidized in a few minutes by the bacteria. Actually, our manufacturing process results in our Cycle being sold with the amount of ammonia residue normally less than 10 mg/L. At this actual level (not the 10 fold increase in the above example), the standard dose will provide only 0.003 mg/L of ammonia in the tank. This is the pure concept of dilution and is easy to calculate.

Be careful of what you see on the internet, you do not use pure Cycle in an aquarium. It must
be diluted as a direct result of use, and we have never seen the ammonia rise due to the simple
introduction of the product. Simply put, the chemistry used for this discussion thread may have
been seriously flawed.

Best Regards,
Rolf C. Hagen Inc.

Steve Pond

Makes sense to me. Though I personally prefer FritZyme bacteria culture, it's not very easy to come by. So, I will continue to use the Cycle periodically when needed (like in my Q-Tank during medication treatments).

I wonder if Hagen hired this guy because his last name might add a little credibility? :-)

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