We used clear house hold ammonia to start our fishless cycle. We obviously got a reading for ammonia but I wonder if the bacteria colonies will grow if the tank water is around 60 degrees or do I have to have a heater? Secondly is completely a "flood" system. Meaning that an inch below the surface is always underwater. Is it necessary to have a system that drains then refills? Thanks for any help.
Constant flood works as long as you have enough flow to keep everything well aerated.
A system can cycle with 60 degree water (I cycled my first system during the cold season) but it will be a bit slow. That is not a bad thing if you can apply ample patience to the project.
Lol. I keep reading that word everywhere on this site....What is this "patience" everyone keeps talking about?
Can't rush nature.
I wonder about the same thing. I live in the SF Bay area, so the water in my system is cooler too. According to a white paper from Friz Industries (http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html), the optimum growth of nitrifying bacteria in the system is between 77-86° F (25-30° C). Unless you live in the tropics, this range is almost impossible to maintain without heating the system. This makes a good case for having the system indoors or in a greenhouse. If you live in a cooler climate, don't fret. Just be aware that growth rate of the nitrifying bacteria is decreased by 50% at 64° F (18° C). Growth rate is decreased by 75% at 46-50° F. No activity will occur at 39° F (4° C). Nitrifying bacteria will die at 32° F (0° C).