Ammonia level won’t go down. Please help

Tenaj

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I did another water change, and have been doing one every 5 days. I’ve had the new 36 gallon tank now for about a month , after upgrading from 10 Gallons. All the tests are reading where they should be but ammonia is still at 1.0. I am using API liquid kit. Last night I started the Ammo lock. What is causing my ammonia to still be high. I’m Worried about my fish, although they are not acting strange in anyway. How do I know if my tank has completed its cycle? Please help!
 

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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I did another water change, and have been doing one every 5 days. I’ve had the new 36 gallon tank now for about a month , after upgrading from 10 Gallons. All the tests are reading where they should be but ammonia is still at 1.0. I am using API liquid kit. Last night I started the Ammo lock. What is causing my ammonia to still be high. I’m Worried about my fish, although they are not acting strange in anyway. How do I know if my tank has completed its cycle? Please help!
'Completed it's cycle' would mean that the tank has cycled to the point where the beneficial bacteria (BB) can safely manage any waste products, including ammonia and nitrites and, to a lesser degree, nitrates.
So you have fish in the tank, which suggests that you 'cycled' the tank with the fish present. They are likely producing the ammonia and, for whatever reason, your BB can't cope with it.
(Repeated large water changes should keep your fish safer).

So, your fish are causing your ammonia to be high, because you seem not to have grown sufficient BB to cope with them.

Regarding the AMMO LOCK, I assume you do a partial water change before adding this? Whilst AMMO lock may well make your water safe for the fish, it would not help your BB to grow, which need the ammonia, to turn into nitrite, to turn into nitrate.

Perhaps you could add some BB from a bottle?
 
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Tenaj

Tenaj

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'Completed it's cycle' would mean that the tank has cycled to the point where the beneficial bacteria (BB) can safely manage any waste products, including ammonia and nitrites and, to a lesser degree, nitrates.
So you have fish in the tank, which suggests that you 'cycled' the tank with the fish present. They are likely producing the ammonia and, for whatever reason, your BB can't cope with it.
(Repeated large water changes should keep your fish safer).

So, your fish are causing your ammonia to be high, because you seem not to have grown sufficient BB to cope with them.

Regarding the AMMO LOCK, I assume you do a partial water change before adding this? Whilst AMMO lock may well make your water safe for the fish, it would not help your BB to grow, which need the ammonia, to turn into nitrite, to turn into nitrate.

Perhaps you could add some BB from a bottle?
Thank you. The ammo lock I added after the partial water change. I am still trying to understand this. I only did 30% water change on Thursday. Last Wednesday I did 50%. If I keep doing water changes, how will the tank keep BB in it? I use water conditioner in the new water and let it sit overnight before adding to the tank. I don’t understand what I am doing wrong 😢 with all the water changes, I don’t understand how the cycle will ever be complete. Also, seems after the water change, the water looks a bit cloudy. If this is normal, and having to do water changes so often, I assume, I will never see a very clear tank. I have 6 glo tetras. 4 glo danios, and 4 glo barbs. So much I feel like I am struggling with in trying to understand how to keep my fish and tank healthy. What am I doing wrong!? 😢
 

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Essjay

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Water changes will not harm the bacteria as long as you add water conditioner to the new water to remove chlorine or chloramine in your tap water. The bacteria we need to grow live on surfaces not in the water. Water changes are necessary to keep the fish safe.

You are doing a fish-in cycle and water changes , every time ammonia or nitrite read above zero, are the way to keep the fish safe during the cycle. This could mean water changes every day.

Ammo lock detoxifies ammonia for around 24 hours nd will keep the fish safe until the next water change. The bacteria cab still eat this detoxified ammonia so using Ammo lock won't affect the cycle. Even when the ammonia is detoxified like this, it still registers with the ammonia tester.
If you have nitrite in the tank water, Ammo lock will not have any effect on it.


There are things you can do to help.
Use a water conditioner which detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. This detoxification last around 24 hours, then ammonia and nitrite become toxic again. It will keep the fish safe between daily water changes. Seachem Prime detoxifies both ammonia and nitrite for around 24 hours.
Use a bottled bacteria product. The two with the best reputation are Dr Tim's One & Only and Tetra Safe Start.
Feed the fish less food. A small amount every other day means less ammonia being made.
Get some live plants as they take up ammonia as fertiliser and they don't turn it into nitrite. Floating plants are particularly good at this.



How do I know if my tank has completed its cycle?
A fish-in cycle is complete when both ammonia and nitrite test zero for 7 consecutive days. But the tank is only cycled for the number of fish currently in the tank. If more fish are added they'll make more ammonia and the bacteria have to catch up with this extra ammonia so there may be an ammonia and/or a nitrite spike until they have caught up.
 
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Tenaj

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Water changes will not harm the bacteria as long as you add water conditioner to the new water to remove chlorine or chloramine in your tap water. The bacteria we need to grow live on surfaces not in the water. Water changes are necessary to keep the fish safe.

You are doing a fish-in cycle and water changes , every time ammonia or nitrite read above zero, are the way to keep the fish safe during the cycle. This could mean water changes every day.

Ammo lock detoxifies ammonia for around 24 hours nd will keep the fish safe until the next water change. The bacteria cab still eat this detoxified ammonia so using Ammo lock won't affect the cycle. Even when the ammonia is detoxified like this, it still registers with the ammonia tester.
If you have nitrite in the tank water, Ammo lock will not have any effect on it.


There are things you can do to help.
Use a water conditioner which detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. This detoxification last around 24 hours, then ammonia and nitrite become toxic again. It will keep the fish safe between daily water changes. Seachem Prime detoxifies both ammonia and nitrite for around 24 hours.
Use a bottled bacteria product. The two with the best reputation are Dr Tim's One & Only and Tetra Safe Start.
Feed the fish less food. A small amount every other day means less ammonia being made.
Get some live plants as they take up ammonia as fertiliser and they don't turn it into nitrite. Floating plants are particularly good at this.




A fish-in cycle is complete when both ammonia and nitrite test zero for 7 consecutive days. But the tank is only cycled for the number of fish currently in the tank. If more fish are added they'll make more ammonia and the bacteria have to catch up with this extra ammonia so there may be an ammonia and/or a nitrite spike until they have caught up.
Thank you. How much of a water change should I do? 50% everyday? Until reading 0 ammonia? The water conditioner I use does exactly what you mentioned. I do have a few live plants. I started feeding less and keeping light on, as long as I used to. This has definitely kept algae away. Thankfully, I Learned that on this forum. I initially started with fish in a 10 gallon tank. Never knew anything about a water cycle. Bought the fish at petsmart. No one mentioned the what or how 😢. Few fish died and Constant googling has helped some in learning all of this. I am enjoying the hobby and want to continue to learn what’s needed. The whole “cycle” process is soooooo hard to keep up with.
 

JennySolano

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Water changes will not harm the bacteria as long as you add water conditioner to the new water to remove chlorine or chloramine in your tap water. The bacteria we need to grow live on surfaces not in the water. Water changes are necessary to keep the fish safe.

You are doing a fish-in cycle and water changes , every time ammonia or nitrite read above zero, are the way to keep the fish safe during the cycle. This could mean water changes every day.

Ammo lock detoxifies ammonia for around 24 hours nd will keep the fish safe until the next water change. The bacteria cab still eat this detoxified ammonia so using Ammo lock won't affect the cycle. Even when the ammonia is detoxified like this, it still registers with the ammonia tester.
If you have nitrite in the tank water, Ammo lock will not have any effect on it.


There are things you can do to help.
Use a water conditioner which detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. This detoxification last around 24 hours, then ammonia and nitrite become toxic again. It will keep the fish safe between daily water changes. Seachem Prime detoxifies both ammonia and nitrite for around 24 hours.
Use a bottled bacteria product. The two with the best reputation are Dr Tim's One & Only and Tetra Safe Start.
Feed the fish less food. A small amount every other day means less ammonia being made.
Get some live plants as they take up ammonia as fertiliser and they don't turn it into nitrite. Floating plants are particularly good at this.




A fish-in cycle is complete when both ammonia and nitrite test zero for 7 consecutive days. But the tank is only cycled for the number of fish currently in the tank. If more fish are added they'll make more ammonia and the bacteria have to catch up with this extra ammonia so there may be an ammonia and/or a nitrite spike until they have caught up.
My understanding is BB not in water but on substrate & filters. I did a 75% change twice in a tank (same day) & it greatly improved water quality.
 
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Tenaj

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Thank you. How big is your tank? You’re probably an expert at this. I am still new at all this and learning 😢
 

Essjay

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Water changes need to be big enough to get ammonia (or nitrite) down to zero.
 

JennySolano

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Thank you. How big is your tank? You’re probably an expert at this. I am still new at all this and learning 😢
Not an expert by a long shot. I am new to the hobby. Been at this forum a month or so & all they do is yap about water changes & they’re right.
i have a 5 gallon, two tens, a 40 and a 90 with a 20 gal sump tank. The latter was purchased used from a guy on Craigslist.
 
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Tenaj

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Help please!! I am aware that I am still going through the cycle process. 36 gallon tank is at a little over a month. All levels ( tested with API liquid test) have been reading great except for ammonia which has been steady at .50 and I have done a few partial water changes. There are a few live plants in my tank, along with 6 glo tetras, 4 glo danios, 4 barbs. Have not added any new fish. Have been feeding small amount once a day, keeping lights on for a minimum of 3 hours a day. This morning I tested the ammonia, as I’ve been doing every day, and it is at 8.0, could be higher for all I know, since that’s the highest it showed on chart. I saw one of the leaves on one of the plants, was dead. Removed it. Water has been so clear but is now very cloudy. This all happened overnight. I added API Ammolock this morning too. Nitrite went up a little as it has been steady at a 0ppm. What happened overnight?? Was it the dead leaf on the plant? I’m really worried about my fish. I’ve been trying so hard to follow all the rules. Water changes. Less food. Daily water Testing. What the heck happened?? What do I do now??? Please help me 😢😢😢😢
 

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Fishmanic

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Did you shake both bottles of test solutions thoroughly? What are your nitrate reading? Did any fish disappear overnight? Do a 75% water change daily till all tests result in normal readings--- .25 or less ammonia, 0 nitrite and 20 ppm or less of nitrates.

If your tank was never properly cycled or you lost your cycle, you must continue daily water changes till your tank becomes cycled again. It may take weeks to complete the cycle. You could add bottled beneficial bacteria to speed up the cycle. Members have had good results using Dr Tim's One and Only or Tetra Safe Start.

Problems like you're seeing here is why we recommend cycling a new tank before adding fish. It may take several week, but no fish would be harmed or lost.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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It is seriously less likely to be a dead leaf on a plant and more likely the waste from the 14 (!) fish in the tank.
Any beneficial bacteria that you have managed to grow looks as if it has finally been overwhelmed by fourteen very active fish.
All levels ( tested with API liquid test) have been reading great except for ammonia which has been steady at .50 and I have done a few partial water changes.
There is nothing 'great' when you have ammonia present and especially not when it's been a 'steady' level. A 'few partial water changes' would be insufficient.
Think of a carefully balanced house of cards...all looks well until you pull one and the whole lot comes a tumbling down.

Make a serious water change, 50-75%, using properly conditioned water. This should at least reduce the concentration of ammonia and stop burning the skin and gills of the fish.
Don't forget that changing the water does NOT affect the bacteria in the tank.
 

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