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UPDATE: Serious Ammonia Problems cont.,

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
    Pet of the Month Winner!

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    I re-read over 4 pages of posts on my last thread and thought I would try to update everybody so they can see where I stand now (It's not all good)

    MY PLAN THIS WEEK: Fill 7, 5 gallon buckets with water today with the evil Python, allow them to air out before doing a 100% teardown and refill of Tank B on Friday. This ultimately worked on both tank A and C. So hoping it works on tank B. Two of the fish (with eyes big enough to see the whites) have reddish whites so their eyes are obviously irritated. Wonder when I can get off this chemical train. Now keep in mind - the immediate cause is the Ammonia in the tap water which this week is testing at 1.5 ppm. As long as they do that I have no control over the ammonia in my tank except to neutralize it - which, of course, is slowing down the cycling. I believe that if these three tanks would get full re-cycled again it would automatically take care of the 1.5 Ammonia after a water change but right now when I'm getting readings of 8 ppm (likely do to some big poopers in an overstocked tank) I have to get the ammonia down. As soon as I'm done with this I plan on buying yet a third 29 gallon tank to remove the pressure from those large fish in tank B (I'll put some small fish in with them) - use Tank C as a hospital tank as originally intended - but it's going to take 4-6 weeks for the NEW tank to cycle so I have to intervene until that is accomplished. Should have done this weeks ago but I need somebody to help me completely re-arrange that room so I can fit the 3rd Aquarium in - there is also a MAJOR outlet Shortage in every room in the house so I may take my husband's old computer offline and replace it with an Aquarium. (he has a bunch of pictures and financials that I need off of his PC, then I can wipe it if I can bear to do it. Also wanted to use it as a backup to my PC because I'm not into this "cloud" thing. Seen Terminator too many times LOL - never put all your stuff in one place - really bad idea - then one major break-in to "the cloud" and somebody has a lot of data.

    Discovered that recently our City has been pumping ammonia into our water - it's supposedly the "new thing" they don't post it on their report but it's my conclusion since tap water ammonia suddenly reads 1.0 ppm to 1..5 ppm. City does not respond to emails or phone messages, and I'm callng the guy that is responsible for the report. Meaning every time I do a water change I'm actually adding a significant amount of ammonia. Not a problem if my tanks were cycled but they somehow lost their cycling. I have ALL ammonia and no nitrites or nitrates. PH varies from 6.5 to 7.5 Water hardness GH - is "eviquivalent to what is suitable to most tropical tanks." I believe it took only one drop for a color change to occur in all three tanks.

    I am severely disabled and on O2 24/7 as well as - get this - 39 other medications including 2 kinds of morphine and Xanax, I likely have less than 5 yrs to live. Actually I nearly died 3 yrs ago - when I caught H1N1 and was in intensive care for 2 weeks - I was not expected to survive and it did horrible damage to my lungs. I say this to keep your suggestions realistic for a person that often is nearly bed-ridden but is gradually building up strength with all these water changes!!! I may not die soon at all. I got help from a friend when I tore down tank A (we're doing tank B this Friday). She is an experienced fishkeeper but not currently. I can only carry about 2 gallons of water and can only pour in about the last 1 gallon. She can carry 5 gallons. I have a Python known for sucking in smaller fish and it's 50' of pain in the butt. I have shorter suction/remover into buckets that I usually use. Because of my tendency to overfeed (I'm pretty much cured now) I was doing weekly 50% water fills before this sudden ammonia issue occurred. My readings were always all close to 0 with Nitrates up to 50 ppm. Just dirty water. My friend is currently without a job or she would not be able to do all of this. I have nobody else to help me. Never thought it was going to take this much trouble.

    ALL tanks have Seachem clay gravel for softness, TONS of live Plants including wisteria and frogswart. Clogs filters like mad so I have intake tube sponge covers at the end of each tube and plants sometimes still manage to get in. The SMELL I've been noticing seems to mainly be coming from the plants - so I'm thinning them out, getting rid of dying stalks etc.

    Oh - found Ammogone from one seller in Australia. Says he may not ship to US due to shipping costs - can't find it any other place. - will keep looking. A similar sounding (Algone) product appears to neutralize Nitrites only
    Found Zeolite all over Amazon but only one that doesn't seem to be mixed with carbon and specifically mentions reducing Ammonia and refreshable and isn't specifically made for a cannister filter and ordered a cannister of it. .

    Tank A 29 gallons: Issue: HIGH ammonia levels. Originally cycled with ammonia 4-6 weeks. Filter: AquaClear 50, including Ammonia remover media. Recently cleaned filter (media in tank water, but had to replace nearly decomposed sponge filter), Also added special sponge filter over the end of the intake tube, cleaned impeller and all other parts. 2 Airstones, After filter clean, next day, removed all fish. found one small dead fish - unidentifiable, did a complete tear-down, including sifting all the clay substrate and getting rid of hundreds of snails that I've been fighting. The tank is no longer cycled but ammonia is currently hovering between 0 ppm and .25 ppm, 0 Nitrites, 0 Nitrates). Waterchanged about 50% - 4 days ago. Raised ammonia to 1.5 ppm - but quickly reduced back to 0-.25 ppm depending on the day. So I think I'm getting close to it starting to cycle. Every time I stop adding AmGuard the ammonia goes up to 1.0 ppm and I have to fight to get it back down. Adding Prime and AmGuard DAILY. Concerned too many chemicals are preventing the tank from cycling.
    Fish include:
    2 powder blue Gourami (about 3"),
    2 red/blue Gourami (about 3,5 inches)
    1 dwarf blue gourami (about 2"),
    5 Cherry barbs (1/2")
    4 Corycats (2 inches),
    2 Bluefin Algae Killifish (about 1" and skinny build),
    2 Dwarf Honey Red Gourami (about 1"),
    4 Chinese Algae Eaters (1", max size 4 inches, a skinny fish),
    1 Moonlight Gourami (3 inches, max size 6")
    2 Gold Gourami (about 1" max size 5")
    2 Tetra Glofish pink (1", max size 2")
    1 Blue Phantom Pleco (1/2 inch - max size 7" over several years)
    Total 28 fish. doesn't appear overstocked at all right now. Many ground/night feeders. But it sure sounds like it on paper.

    Tank B 29 Gallons Issue: VERY HIGH AMMONIA 8 PPM, 0 Nitrites, 0 Nitrates. Originally cycled with ammonia for 8 weeks before adding fish in May. Filter AquaClear 50, including ammonia reducing media. Cloudy water but not seriously. NO FISH have died except some initially I got from a local plant store. Currently missing a fish but it hides VERY well, it's "bigger" brother is braver and I see him daily. This tank is NOT cycling. No nitrites or nitrates. Adding Prime and AmGuard Daily - not making ANY difference, other than not allowing any fish to die.
    Fish include:
    1- Tan Gourami - 5 inches, wasn't supposed to be over 3".
    2- Bristlenose Lomon Pleco L144: one 1", the other 1/2" excellent algae cleaners
    2- Bluefin Algae eaters - rarely see these, they are keeping well hidden
    2- Blue Gourami - 3" - max size 5" but one is already approaching 7" in size.
    2- Blue Dwarf Gourami currently 3" unknown max size (different markings)
    1- Gold Gourami; Currently 4" max size 5"
    2 - Catfish unknown variety: PLUMP but about 1.5" long
    2- Gold (yellow/pink) Dojo Loach: one shy, one bold but don't seem to eat much
    2- Pearl Gourami: 4" (max size 6")
    Total 16 fish but this appears VERY overstocked - some of the Gourami's are getting huge and there are few small fish. These fish really need a bigger tank or at least an additional tank. May be contributing to the ammonia.

    Tank C: 5 Gallons

    Issue : fluctuating ammonia. When I put in a high dose of AmGuard the Ammonia drops to .25 or 0. If I stop it goes right back up to 2-4ppm. Was fully cycled in 4 weeks. I then did a full tear down like we did with Tank A hoping to get the same results. Also (days later) switched filter out (this was about 2 weeks ago - keeping the biofilter from the old filter until it does cycle. Filter is an AquaClear 20 including ammonia reducing media. Crystal clear plastic tank. When I overfeed I suction excess out. Adding AmGuard and Prime daily. No nitrites or nitrates. Currently 0-.25 ammonia.(hard to tell) So it looks like the tear down may have worked - either that or the new filter. It's not cycling either - zero nitrites and nitrates or it's completely cycled - since ammonia levels are so low again but I really don't think it re-cycled.

    Fish Include:

    5 Golden Harlequin Rasbora: these school beautifully when alarmed - at first terrified of other fish but now comfortable.
    1- "Serial killer" Zebra Danio - killed ALL his buddies, killed a large Gourmi by eating it's fins off. At the time I had no other place to put him - now I do but I will NOT purchase more of these fish only to get killed by this one. The Raspdora's school so tight when he alarms them he has given up even trying to injure them and actually tries to school with him. His behavior is MUCH calmer.

    Total 6 fish - they need a much longer tank to be really happy. If I get another 29 gallon (my floor I don't think could handle a 55 gallon) I will likely introduce them to a new tank and euthanize the zebra if he kills more fish.
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Have you spoken to your doctor about all these medications?
    It's highly possible some of them are simply counteracting others.

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    Wardley's Ammogon was originally made in the US and should be available there. If not, get some of the Zeolite and a bag of rock salt to recharge it with. Or just set up some plastic storage containers with tap water and use floating plants to remove the ammonia.

    You could run carbon in the storage containers too because if the water company is adding ammonia, they could be adding other things.

    Ammonia is poisonous to all animals, birds and fish.
    Please filter the water before you drink it, or drink bottled water.

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    Having tanks in the same room can make it easier to maintain them. If you have a shortage of power sockets, perhaps look at getting a 6 pack power board or something like that. You should be able to run 2 tanks off a 6 pack power board (1 socket for each heater, light and filter).
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Thanks for your advice.

    As far as my medications - I absolutely take medications to counteract the side effects from other medications. For example, all my bronchodilators that I definitely need in order to breathe tend to cause fluid retention and high blood pressure and high levels of anxiety. My resting heart rate is 110 bpm - so that means I have to take blood pressure medicine as well as "water pills" and two kinds of anti-anxiety pills. That's just one example. Looking at my medications I'm not on anything excessive or unnecessary given my health issues - which are extensive - I may even be facing some blood cancer or Lymphoma since they can't keep my iron levels up through frequent infusions of iron. Luckily I have very good insurance.

    Sorry about my pity party but you are ABSOLUTELY right - I'm on way too many medication that cause a lot of other problems. That's why these fish just make me happy and I just want to get the tanks back to the point where they are predictable and I can schedule regular water changes. I wasn't so naïve that I didn't think work would be involved but this has become way out of control with little results. My hope is that my tanks will start to cycle again and life will be easier. It has, however, improved my strength and mobility 100% I was a serious couch potato before I got the fish tanks. My depression is lifting as well.

    Right now I have 6 - 5 gallon buckets ready to refill the tank on Friday once we clean everything out. I'm going to put the fish in two different buckets (with their current tank water) to keep fights from breaking out. Even though there probably will not be any chlorine in the clean water buckets I still plan on adding Prime as a precaution. After that happens I'm counting on the Ammonia to drop significantly from 8 ppm (YIKES) to 1.5 ppm or less. Will play it by ear if I want to use Amguard unless the ammonia gets way out of control. The filter was recently purchased and is still very clean (I might as well remove the old media from the previous filter that I put in the new filter since it's not doing anything but getting filthy and smelly.

    I understand people hate using chemicals to treat their water but frankly driftwood, plants, leaves etc just contain chemicals that do the same thing - being "natural" in my opinion has nothing to do with it - but I have a slight chemistry background ("better living through chemistry"). I trust that these companies want to continue to sell their products and are not adding anything that would cause more harm than good. The fish community is a picky tight bunch - these chemical companies know that and if word gets out one product is bad it's history for that product. The chemicals are easily controlled, and can be adjusted precisely to fit your needs - the "natural" products don't have that kind of control. That is just my opinion. I research out every chemical I buy, read reviews etc. I'm not just pouring everything into my tanks. But when you have ammonia levels of 8.00ppm you can't wait for plants or driftwood tannins or whatever else "natural" to start working before your fish are dead - Even at 8 ppm I have had NO deaths. I owe that to Prime and AmGuard.

    You wouldn't believe the power boards and other devices I use to keep my current two aquariums and plant lights and oxygen concentrator running (no place else central to the whole house to put my O2 concentrator and tank refiller) . These were all TWO prong outlets so I have to convert them to three prong until my electrician neighbor put in a GSF??? outlet due to the mix of electricity and water - I need him to put in another one. I'm actually afraid the electricity drawn by a third tank in that room will trip the breaker - this is a small place, so putting another aquarium in my study with Tank C is a minor inconvenience and I have room for much more power in there. This time it will be an extra cost because I'll need to purchase an aquarium stand. I hate assembling those things and fully assembled won't fit in my car (like I could carry it LOL) so I'll double check measurement and order a decent one off of Amazon delivered (unassembled) straight to my front door. I've assembled these things before (my husband swore he'd divorce me if I ever bought unassembled furniture again - but he's dead so no more arguments and I have far more patience). Worst case I'll beg my brilliant daughter and her husband to do the assembly.

    I'm well over $3,000 into this little hobby. Another tank and all the works (I'm very picky about buying the best filters, heaters, thermometers and substrate and "decorations" ) will cost me at least another $500. Not including a $200-$300 stand. My original budget was $1,500 for two tanks. I currently have an acrylic tank and a glass tank - going for glass again this time - love the lightness and strength of the acrylic but my $250 tank is starting to bow at the top - completely unsatisfactory - acrylics (except the every high end) are not ready for regular consumers quite yet. Algae is a b^^ch to get off and you have to use a whole different set of tools to clean it - more $$$ of course. Now the damn thing is bowing on top - hope the stress doesn't blow the tank even if it is "16x stronger than glass". This had exceptional reviews and ratings.

    So wish me well and thank you for all your support and guidance and reading (or skimming) my terribly long posts. I too am a perfectionist to a point and I want to get this right. I want HAPPY fish not just living fish. You can tell by their body language when they are having fun or not feeling well or being pushy - it's so amazing to watch. So human/child-like in their behaviors.

    Oh - I wrote another email to our City water guy and cc'd their legal department requesting full disclosure of any chemicals they are adding to our water that are not included and explained on the report. I said I plan to visit each fish store in the city with notice to people to test their tap water for Ammonia. They may not post it, but I'm hoping they'll at least tell their customers to check their tap water. This city has a history of different water problems in different sections of the city but it was usually due to old infrastructure not chemistry. I drink Britta filtered water because I'm not a fan of bottled water and consuming leached plastic chemicals into my water (heck - I'll test those for ammonia) - I keep bottled water on hand for my picky non-environmentally conscious son-in-law ) - how much you want to bet I find ammonia in both of them.

    Per your suggestion I'm trying to grow algae for tank B because the little monster fish eat it faster than the tank makes it. But I think the water is too cold or it's not humid enough or I need more plants because 1 week and not a speck of algae. Perhaps a little plastic wrap on top of the bowl would help increase temperature and humidity? (it has a light shining directly on it - I don't get sun through any useful windows in my place.

    Thanks again for your great support.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Medications suck sometimes. You take one to treat you for something, then take 3 others to counter the side effects.

    LOL, I agree with your hubby, I hate assembly furniture. And at least you still have a sense of humour :)

    Pets are meant to be good for people's health. They reckon pet owners live longer than people without pets. It's meant to be due to the physical interaction and having to get up and look after them, and giving you something to live for. In your case it's turning you into a body builder lifting buckets of water to keep the ammonia down. The exercise is good for depression and anxiety and virtually all health issues.

    Blue light is also good and if you can spend the first hour after you wake up outside in the sun, it is meant to significantly help people with depression. You don't have to do anything outside, it's just the blue light from the sun that stimulates the eyes and brain. If you can go for a walk while out in the morning sun, it doubles the positive effect. You can buy blue lights (not ultra violet) and have them on in the room during the day, and it has a similar effect. I have 2 lights in my room, one has a 6500K rating and is on during the day. The other has a 3000K rating and is on in the evening and at night. The 6500K globe has lots of blue light in and helps reduce my urges to kill myself, and the 3000K globe helps my body clock and stops me staying up too late, which also screws up your mind.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're feeling a bit better due to the fish. :)
     

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