Nstr95

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Update 12/14: second water change completed today of about 60-70% of water. Total Ammonia - 0.5ppm, NH3 - 0.1ppm, NO2 - .25ppm, NO3 - 5ppm, and pH 7.6.

I have a 20gal freshwater tank and no matter what I do I cannot get my ammonia levels down. I’ve had the aquarium for 6 months and I’m pretty sure it had cycled because it got very cloudy and cleared up again. I have 2 platys, 3 guppies, a cory cat, a female beta (she gets along fine with the others), and a plecco. I usually do 20-25% water changes weekly while gravel vacuuming. I use tap water that I treat with API stress zyme, stress coat, and quick start. I have an aerator, hanging filter, and ammonia removing filter material. I also will use API ammo lock. There have been multiple times where I did water changes for consecutive days to reduce ammonia and it would not come down still.

Currently ammonia is sitting between 4-6ppm, NO 40ppm, NO3 100ppm, GH 300ppm, chlorine 0ppm, KH 40ppm, and pH 7.2.

At this point I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated! TIA
 
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BoomerXIV

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Check your tap water, maybe your tap water have some ammonia in it, atleast thats what happened to me.
 
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Nstr95

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Check your tap water, maybe your tap water have some ammonia in it, atleast thats what happened to me.
I actually just checked it today and there isn’t! There were some nitrates and chlorine but the chemicals take care of it. I’ve also tried using water from petco/PetSmart that’s already treated
 

Naughts

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As you know, these levels are poisoning your fish. Tank cycling takes several weeks and needs an ammonia source. The bacterial bloom you saw is not the beneficial bacteria that we get when a tank is cycled with an ammonia source. 25% water changes are not removing enough ammonia, start with changing 90% of the water. Then
  • Do 75% water change every day for two weeks, vacuum the gravel at the same time.
  • Feed a very small amount every third day, fast for the other two days.
  • Add live plants that are fast growing such as frogbit.
  • Add a bottle of live bacteria - Dr Tim's One and Only or Tetra Safe Start Plus.
Please clarify the nitrite ( NO2) level. Keep posting your test results on this thread.
 

mcordelia

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Also take the ammonia absorbers out of your filter,they will prevent your cycle from establishing properly. You must do daily water changes until you get your ammonia down otherwise your fish will die imminently.
 

Colin_T

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I have a 20gal freshwater tank and no matter what I do I cannot get my ammonia levels down. I’ve had the aquarium for 6 months and I’m pretty sure it had cycled because it got very cloudy and cleared up again. I have 2 platys, 3 guppies, a cory cat, a female beta (she gets along fine with the others), and a plecco. I usually do 20-25% water changes weekly while gravel vacuuming. I use tap water that I treat with API stress zyme, stress coat, and quick start. I have an aerator, hanging filter, and ammonia removing filter material. I also will use API ammo lock. There have been multiple times where I did water changes for consecutive days to reduce ammonia and it would not come down still.

Currently ammonia is sitting between 4-6ppm, NO 40ppm, NO3 100ppm, GH 300ppm, chlorine 0ppm, KH 40ppm, and pH 7.2.

At this point I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated! TIA
Naughts covered it pretty well.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a couple of weeks or until the ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm, and the nitrate is less than 20ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Reduce feeding to once every couple of days to reduce the amount of ammonia being produced. The fish won't starve so don't worry. After the filter has cycled, you can increase feeding to once a day.

Remove the ammonia adsorbing granules from the filter and do not replace them. They stop the beneficial filter bacteria from developing and when the granules are full, you get ammonia readings. Just have sponges in the filter.

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Your Corydoras, Betta and Pleco won't like the hard water (300ppm GH). These fish naturally occur in water with a GH below 100ppm.
 
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Nstr95

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As you know, these levels are poisoning your fish. Tank cycling takes several weeks and needs an ammonia source. The bacterial bloom you saw is not the beneficial bacteria that we get when a tank is cycled with an ammonia source. 25% water changes are not removing enough ammonia, start with changing 90% of the water. Then
  • Do 75% water change every day for two weeks, vacuum the gravel at the same time.
  • Feed a very small amount every third day, fast for the other two days.
  • Add live plants that are fast growing such as frogbit.
  • Add a bottle of live bacteria - Dr Tim's One and Only or Tetra Safe Start Plus.
Please clarify the nitrite ( NO2) level. Keep posting your test results on this thread.
Thank you so much! I will do this immediately and update!
 
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Nstr95

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Naughts covered it pretty well.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a couple of weeks or until the ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm, and the nitrate is less than 20ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Reduce feeding to once every couple of days to reduce the amount of ammonia being produced. The fish won't starve so don't worry. After the filter has cycled, you can increase feeding to once a day.

Remove the ammonia adsorbing granules from the filter and do not replace them. They stop the beneficial filter bacteria from developing and when the granules are full, you get ammonia readings. Just have sponges in the filter.

---------------------
Your Corydoras, Betta and Pleco won't like the hard water (300ppm GH). These fish naturally occur in water with a GH below 100ppm.
Thank you so much! I will see about reducing the GH as well
 

Colin_T

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Don't drop the GH too much because the platies and guppies need a GH around 200ppm.
 
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Nstr95

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Don't drop the GH too much because the platies and guppies need a GH around 200ppm.
I’ll keep an eye on it.

I changed about 90% of the water today/gravel vacuumed and replaced it with tap water that was treated with stress zyme, stress coat, and quick start, bought some live plants, added aqueon PURE beneficial bacteria and enzymes, and removed the filter media that is supposed to filter ammonia. I fed them yesterday so I won’t for a couple more days and I’ll change about 75% of water every day
 

mcordelia

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Sounds like you are on the right track! Both the API Quick Start and the aquaeon balls have beneficial bacteria in them so hopefully your cycle gets established soon. Keep testing for ammonia and nitrates every day before you do your water change - that will help you track where you are in your cycle
 

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