Ammonia level won’t go down. Please help

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Tenaj

Tenaj

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I think do nothing - theoretically the ammonia should go to zero

Do not add chemical ammonia until ammonia is zero.

You know you have enough ammonia eating bacteria when it takes only a day for it to from 3ppm to zero

you can calculate how much chemical that is on a calculator somewhere on this site, i assume its linked on the fishless cycle page

because you have plants, you may not require many BB but I would say its safer if you have some just because you pH is above 7
I have no live plants. I’m confused. Im
Currently showing ammonia level to be between 2 and 4. Is that not where I need to be? Do I run the filter and it will eventually go down to 0? Don’t add anything to water? Will I need to do more water changes even though I have no fish.?
 

Myraan

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run filter and wait until ammonia is zero
you do not need to do water change (in most situations) if you have no fish in
 
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Tenaj

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run filter and wait until ammonia is zero
you do not need to do water change (in most situations) if you have no fish in
Ok! Once at 0 I can add fish, With other level readings where they need to be too?
I should keep the filter in? I haven’t removed it.
will the ammonia go down by doing nothing other than running the filter?
 

Myraan

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I would suggest no - you add a little ammonia to pretend that there are fish in the tank and see what happens to levels.

When both ammonia and nitrite are zero the day after you add 3ppm ammonia you are what we call "cycled".

If you have fish in the tank like you had before they add the ammonia gradually, and over a day it might build up to 3ppm (or in your case to 8ppm), that is dangerous to fish as you found out; that is why we suggested you do large water changes every day to physically remove the ammonia.

When there are no fish - you can leave the ammonia in there -and the BB will therefore have more food and probably grow faster as a result.

In either case your aim is to have enough BB living on the surfaces of your tank and filter media that the ammonia the fish are excreting is dealt with as you go along.

PS - I just had a thought..... did your filter block and lose all its flow just prior to the 8ppm spike, or did you turn it off overnight to reduce noise, or have a powercut? .....things like this could theoretically kill the colonies of BB living on the surfaces of the filter media such that the tank's ecosytem could no longer cope with the ammonia produced during the day.
 

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A more simple way of checking you are "cycled" which after all this time you may be) is to add a largish pinch of flakes or something, or a piece of cooked shrimp, to rot and break down to simulate the fish converting it into poo and ammonia..... then check levels.... if ammonia and nitrite never go above zero, but nitrate does gradually increase, the tank is likely ready for fish.

This method is exactly the same as adding ammonia - but you can't control numbers.
 
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Tenaj

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I would suggest no - you add a little ammonia to pretend that there are fish in the tank and see what happens to levels.

When both ammonia and nitrite are zero the day after you add 3ppm ammonia you are what we call "cycled".

If you have fish in the tank like you had before they add the ammonia gradually, and over a day it might build up to 3ppm (or in your case to 8ppm), that is dangerous to fish as you found out; that is why we suggested you do large water changes every day to physically remove the ammonia.

When there are no fish - you can leave the ammonia in there -and the BB will therefore have more food and probably grow faster as a result.

In either case your aim is to have enough BB living on the surfaces of your tank and filter media that the ammonia the fish are excreting is dealt with as you go along.

PS - I just had a thought..... did your filter block and lose all its flow just prior to the 8ppm spike, or did you turn it off overnight to reduce noise, or have a powercut? .....things like this could theoretically kill the colonies of BB living on the surfaces of the filter media such that the tank's ecosytem could no longer cope with the ammonia produced during the day.
Thanks!! Filter was not blocked. I never turned off other than when doing water changes. Did not lose power. Question.. if ammonia is currently at 2 ppm, which it is, are you saying I should add more ammonia to the tank?
 

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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 😢😢😢😢
All I can suggest is more water changes. I did 75% twice on one day for a tank. 36 gallons isn’t all that big for changes. We were forced to improvise a labor free quick way for the big tank, but I did buckets on the 40 G tank.
 
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Tenaj

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Don't worry about fish right now, just get your tank cycled. Then we'll help you with fish when we to that stage
Tested the water this morning and it read 1ppm ammonia. So sad to see all fish gone. Do I just test everyday until
It gets down to 0? Will it get to 0 by doing nothing other than running the filter?
 

Myraan

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All I can suggest is more water changes. I did 75% twice on one day for a tank. 36 gallons isn’t all that big for changes. We were forced to improvise a labor free quick way for the big tank, but I did buckets on the 40 G tank.

The fish are all dead and the tank is empty, so the ammonia can now remain in the tank to feed the BB. The OP did lots of water changes, but I expect the 8ppm spike was so much it killed all the fish, but some hung on longer than others.
 

Myraan

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Tested the water this morning and it read 1ppm ammonia. So sad to see all fish gone. Do I just test everyday until
It gets down to 0? Will it get to 0 by doing nothing other than running the filter?
Yes, the ammonia getting smaller without you removing it physically is how we know there are BB growing in the filter (and the rest of the tank surfaces). Theoretically if you have no plants (and plants are a good thing, they eat ammonia better than BB do) you should have seen an increase in either nitrites or nitrates, and if your kH is low you might also have seen a reduction in pH. This is normal, and either way you don't need to do anything until ammonia is zero.
 

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