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BIG problem with Ammonia

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. NICKOLAS

    NICKOLAS New Member

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    If its going down then thats good. I also didnt fred my fish for two days to minimise further ammonia build up. This worked as my good bacteria wasnt fighting against added waste. Continue doing water changes, dechrolinate your water, stall feeding fish (this wont harm them).
     
  2. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Made big progress today - my little tank with the highest level of ammonia at 4ppm registered only .25 ppm. My Tank "A" remains the highest with 1 ppm (down from 2ppm) and Tank "B" - went from 2.0 ppm to .50 ppm. So not quite there yet but getting close. I am still feeding them - just 1 small meal a day - I just can't stand that look on their little faces when I come in in the morning and don't feed them. Some actually throw temper tantrums biting at every fish they see (it's actually pretty funny).

    Oh and get this - I called Seachem for recommended dosages on the ammonia remover chemical (which seems to be working) and they recommended a few drops a day. Then I get an email response from them that says only use a few drops every THREE days - so I may have been overdosing them but it sure has been effective. I may split the difference and use it every other day. I really want ammonia levels to be ZERO and it's headed that way.

    My yellow pleco bushnose (coolest looking fish on earth) have got the algae mostly removed from Tank B - they are the hardest workers in the bunch. Snails are out of control in Tank A - perhaps causing some waste issues - I'm removing well over a hundred each day. No more than 1-2 snails in the other tanks. I know some people like them but most of these are just ugly brown. I realize they eat the extra food in the tank but there rarely is any anymore, so they are just a nuisance. I even have two snail killing fish but I don't think they are big enough to be effective yet.

    I sound like all I do is complain (and I'm a little tired of water changes and snail catching) but overall I LOVE taking care of these guys. One, I swear dances with me and follows my finger all around the tank - totally cute. Fish in Tank A totally ignore me messing with their tank and will keep on eating between my fingers while I remove snails for 30 minutes daily. I feel honored by their trust.

    Ordered some of the plants recommended on this forum through my online dealer (they got started in the business as aquatic plant sellers and NO snails) - one is frogbit and I forgot the name of the other one. Over $50 due to shipping but I hope they combine them with my fish order (more algae eaters, a loach, a couple of Moonlight Gourami and a couple of Pearl Gourami). The algae eaters and Moonlight will go in to tank A, the loach and Pearl will go into tank B. I will be a week or so before they arrive. After that I'll have reached my limit on all fish except cory's - but one of mine appears very pregnant so we'll wait and see how many fry survive -

    I've never been interested in breeding fish but "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world" (song "Lola" by the Kinks).
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    OH I purchased a new filter for little Tank C which is only 10 inches tall. The description said 7" and it was for 10 gallon and under tanks. Well they must not be counting the tubing that goes in the water because it's 8" too LONG - where are there minds recommending this for small aquariums. It is also a pain to put together (and keep together) - it's a Mainland brand. Only cost $11 so I'll keep it on hand should a power filter in my other tanks go bad. They had an AquaClear but it was $39 for the smallest size (more expensive than the tank LOL). The larger sizes were less expensive than the small one.

    Still looking for a perfect filter for a 5 gal and all are two big. Per Colin, I may construct a sponge filter but will need a second air pump. The water in that little tank is always crystal clear and food free so I cannot explain how ammonia got so high (4.0ppm) but if it stays at .25 and dropping I will be a happy camper

    Never had a power outage - ever since I've been living here. I'm nearly 100% homebound (I go to Dr's appointments but I even order groceries for delivery). So I would have noticed a power outage. No, I'm pretty sure it was my fault for overfeeding and then getting too sick to do water changes for two weeks. Each tank has a different kind of filter so maybe some are more effective than others. All have ammonia problems but each at different levels. Also - nobody but me feeds my fish - I do keep instructions in case I'm hospitalized and my best friend used to care for her son's aquariums so she's pretty savvy on feeding amounts. So I'll ask her. My daughter has guppies but she never overfeeds so she would be a good candidate too.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Don't get any more fish just yet. Wait a couple of weeks and let the tanks settle down. If the filters haven't established properly, adding more fish could cause more ammonia problems and you will be back to daily water changes. See if you can postpone the shipment for a couple of weeks.
     
  5. NICKOLAS

    NICKOLAS New Member

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    Haha thats good to hear. Dont overuse the ammonia remover no need to overkill your ammonia will slowly reduce. I recommend to use water conditioner as well as he causes the ammonia to he less harmful and I certainly agree with collin. If your slowly reducing ammonia and then suddenly add more fish in your tank, this can pick ammonia levels back up (something you dont want). Something else i did was add a second filter (got one from kmart for $10) and it really helped. What i found that started the ammonia buildup was that i didnt cycle my tank for long enough as well. So before all the good bacteria had built up the bad one had as well probably even faster causing bacterial blooms (cloudy water) as well as high ammonia levels. I ignored this and kept feeding my fish ad well as adding a few and next thing i know my ammonia levels were literally off the charts haha. So i also bought bacteria starter and applied them inside the filters once a day 2 drops, i added a second filter. Did 25% water changes every second day (dechlroniated my water top) as well as adding water conditioner and stopped feeding my fish. Within 6 days my ammonia was at 0.
     
  6. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Spent yesterday afternoon/evening cleaning filters, cleaning tanks and decorations and finally doing about a 60% water change on all three tanks. Even scraped up the gravel good so all that debris could come out. The tanks are sparkling clean. BUT - now all three have ammonia levels at .50ppm. All 0 on Nitrites and Nitrates - this is ridiculous there is absolutely no reason for the ammonia levels to remain so high. I have about 12 large (2-4") fish per 29 gallon tank and about 4 smaller (1/4-1") fish. My little tank has 6 fish all under 1". All are well planted and the plants are all super healthy. All their behavior appears normal (being mostly labyrinth fish those go to the top to get air periodically) Feeding 1/2 the amount of what I was and it all gets eaten as far as I can tell. I think I'm just going to continue my routine and add AmmGuard every other day. I add Prime duing water changes. I need to stop obsessing over this - it's very costly for all the products (oh all three tanks will have aqua clear filters appropriate to their size, since - in my opinion - it's the best HOB filter available. ).

    Turned on the lights to see both Bushynose Pleco's vigorously scrubbing the walls of tank B. I now need a pair for tank A - these guys, besides being super-cool, work tirelessly when awake - can't ever get a good picture of them because they run and hide but I'll point you to the webpage. Mine is the yellow/blue-eyed version

    https://www.azgardens.com/product/albino-bushynose-pleco-algae-fish-l-144/

    They come in albino and yellow.
     
  7. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Left them a voice mail and email about stopping the shipment for a couple of weeks - we'll see if they pay any attention. I ordered my Moonlight Gorami's in July and received blue grourami's instead - multiple calls, and emails and I don't even get an acknowledgement that they received any off them. They make a big deal like they are so big on customer service but it is non-existent as far as I can tell. The earlies I would receive the will be Aug 24th - they only ship on Wednesday and only take orders for that Wednesday by 9am Monday (I think they stop feeding fishes to clean them out). I may regret it but I finally stopped paying $48-$60 for overnight shipping when it always took 2-3 days to arrive. I also know it doesn't cost that much for overnight to Kansas so I don't think they really are doing it. So I pay $18 for 2-3 day shipping plus $9 for a syrafoam cooler and and $1 per cooling bag so it could even be as long as Aug 26 - which would be 5 days in transit. Why buy fish and plants there? 1. They are always in perfect condition 2. You can get varieties you can't get anywhere else. 3. My tanks with ONLY their plants have no snails - only the big box store plants and Amazon plants came with snail eggs all over them.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    How often and how are you cleaning the filters?

    If you have suckermouth catfish in the tank, don't wipe down the glass too much because the bristlenose need something to graze on.
     
  9. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Great news - the two big tanks both have 0 ppm Ammonia, Nitrites and only 5.0 ppm Nitrates. This was the day after water change 6. Little tank C is a mess with Ammonia back in the 1.00 range but no nitrites and no nitrates and - this is weird - a ph of 6 (you know I usually fight with higher ph's).I barely put any AmGuard in tank C because they warn you so much about it so I added a little more today. Starting to think the tank is haunted.

    Yeah the pleco's wont clean the front glass - that's more instrusive than they can bear - so I really leave the algae and stuff alone plus in Tank B - they've pretty much covered everything. Luckily not much grows on the front - they've started in on plant leaves (they don't eat the plants). They are my pride and joy - I will be sick if something happens to them. I add algae pellets but I suspect the rest of the fish eat them - I've never seen them eat regular food so that tank better start working on more algae soon. I clean the Auqaclear filter in tank A very frequently - it's in the tank with the most plants and the uptake tubes get full of dead plant daily and last time I pulled two pieces of my hair wrapped around the impeller (wasn't hurting anything yet). I clean the inside and outside, dump out the water and see if any media need replacing - so at least once per 2 weeks (daily with the tubing due to clogging). The other two filters were horrible crappy things (came with the tank) so I've been replacing them with Auquaclears. Just did that for the little tank today. Added part of the filter from tank A since the media that came with the old filter is all mixed together in a little packet.
    I can always add some gravel from A if necessary. I'll see what the reading are tomorrow.

    I'll put in the new Aquaclear for Tank C this week - it has the same kind of filter as tank C did so I can't steal the media but there should be plenty in the substrate or I may have stuck part of a filter in there to help it cycle a month or so ago because I knew I was going to be changing out the filter. These filters are just so much more professional and work so much better but can be a pain in the neck to work on sometimes.

    So do I get a passing grade yet boss? Just wait, tomorrows readings will be back to being a mess (I hope not) - I want to get to where I have a schedule for water changes and, as much as I enjoy it - my whole life not taken up 100% by water changes.
     
  10. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Are you washing the filter media (sponges, etc) in a bucket of tank water or under the tap?
    The sponges, ceramic beads and other materials in the filters should be squeezed out in a bucket of tank water and when they are clean, put them in the tank. Then clean the filter case and impellor assembly (magnet with plastic blades) under tap water. Reassemble the filter and fill it with tank water, then turn it back on.

    With AquaClear filters, I just have 3 sponges in them. If you want the ceramic beads and sponges that is fine too. I don't normally recommend using carbon (black granules) unless you have heavy metals or chemicals in the water.

    You can get round/ cylindrical sponges for some brands of internal power filter. These sponges have a hole through the centre and fit over the intake strainer of most external power filters. They help stop leaves and other particles being drawn into the filter and damaging the impellor. The sponge can be taken off and washed in a bucket of tank water each week when you do a water change.
     
  11. Naughts

    Naughts Fish Crazy

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    34E1D339-9EE6-4F4E-90CE-D8343B926009.jpeg
    Have you thought of having an ‘algae farm’ for your Plecos? Simply place pebbles and decorations in water on a sunny windowsill. A week later and everything is covered in algae. You then place one or two items in the tank for algae eaters to clean and rotate them.
    Regarding post 21, be cautious of over cleaning. Change water and clean gravel every week but you could rotate other cleaning (glass, decorations, filters) so only one of these is cleaned each week and any lost beneficial bacteria can be replenished quickly to avoid mini cycles.
    I know your filters have needed a lot of cleaning but your upgrades, and Colin’s tip for the pre-filter sponge, will reduce this.
     
    #26 Naughts, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  12. seangee

    seangee Member

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    I don't have too much algae but I have a rule that I only clean the front glass. The other 3 sides belong to the fish.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    I always clean my media with tank water Don't want to lose that bacteria. Right now - no carbon filter but instead a filter that is supposed to reduce ammonia.

    I took you up on your suggestion to get sponge filter covers for the Aquaclears - they are on their way - can't wait.

    I think the idea of an algae farm is awesome and I'll start working on it. You guys and/or gals have wonderful suggestions.
     
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  14. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    NEW UPDATE ON AMMONIA ISSUES.

    Remember I had two tanks at zero ammonia (finally) - well the next day Tank A went up to .50 ppm the Tank B stayed at zero. The little tank that was at 1.0 ppm is now at .50 ppm. I'm using AmGuard daily - regardless of what they say - I'm sick to death of killing myself with daily water changes only to have the ammonia zig-zag around all the time.

    SO TODAY BIG REVELATAION: My best friend came over and she and I removed all the fish from tank A into a 5 gallon bucket full of tank water with an air stone.

    We removed EVERYTHING from the tank - including plants and substrate, got rid of a lot of snails and discovered I had 2 more (small) cherry barbs than I purchased so I think we must have had a birth I didn't notice and two survived. So awesome.

    Any way we scrubbed down every piece of cave, rock, driftwood and rinsed and rinsed all the plants.Scrubbed the sides of the tank. Ran the substrate through a colander and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.

    Once everything was spanky clean and all the rock, wood and caves were back in the tank we added water to the tank. Added prime. Added in most of my plants and got rid of semi-dead looking ones.

    I then did a full test of the water (note the filter was completely cleaned the day before but the filter material only cleaned in tank water). and GUESS WHAT - the ammonia level was .50 ppm. NO FISH, NO FOOD, fresh clean water. I tested our city water again - zero ammonia - so the ammonia must be coming from the decorations (minimal) or the slate rocks or the driftwood or one of my many plants in the tank. It is NOT coming from overfeeding like I thought.

    So NOW WHAT DO I DO? I have not added anything new to this tank (other than fish) except a plant since I first set up this aquarium and NEVER had an ammonia problem until now. This same plant is in the other aquariums and aquarium "B" is still at zero ammonia - so I don't think it's that plant. Plant (name unknown) but grows like a weed and has small leaves and pink flowers - some are so long they sit on top of the water (which is what I wanted.) I treated with prime, stability and AmGuard and replaced the fish - they all seemed pleased to be back in their tank - even the cherry barbs were interacting with the other fish for a change.

    We did find one dead fish in the tank when we cleaned it - unidentifiable but most likely a Dwarf Honey Red that had gone missing (I have the other one still). I could not locate the two Licorice Gourami that I purchased in July and no remains of them. I only ever sporatically caught sight of them in the tank after I purchased - I assume they must have died and completely decomposed. These were $15 fish - one of my more expensive buys. I had two others in Tank B and they have completely disappeared as well. I have fish way smaller than they were - so I have no idea what happened other than water incompatibilities or the ammonia. None of my Gourami's or Cory Cats have ever been seen killing another fish. (just my psycho Zebra Danio and he is in tank C).

    So I'm completely puzzled why a VERY clean tank with no fish or food would have an ammonia level of .50 All it had in it chemically when I tested it was Prime to declorinate the water. Prime is not known to increase ammonia levels, in fact it renders them inactive (but they will still show up on a test).

    I ask for HELP and thinking outside the box for this ammonia problem. Thanks in advance.
     
  15. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Get some clean buckets and fill them with tap water. Check the ammonia and pH of the tap water and write the results down. You only need to check one container at the start, just to get a base line.

    Put some gravel into one bucket, the driftwood in another, rocks into another, plastic ornaments into another.

    Treat one container of water with a dechlorinator and label it "dechlorinated".
    Have one container of tap water with nothing in (not even dechlorinator) and label if "Control".

    These 2 containers of water do not get any items besides the dechlorinator in one of them. They are used to see if any ammonia is produced after a dechlorinator is added, and as a container of untreated tap water (the control), which will show what the water should be like without anything in it.

    After you have set these containers up with their items, wait 24 hours and check the water the pH and ammonia. Whichever container has ammonia in after 24-48 hours, has the problem item.
     

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