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Ammonia levels out of control

This is a discussion on Ammonia levels out of control within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> So you dont even need fish in the tank for it to cycle?...

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Ammonia levels out of control
Old 10-04-2008, 09:14 AM   #11
 
So you dont even need fish in the tank for it to cycle?
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:24 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staticfiend
So you dont even need fish in the tank for it to cycle?
Nope, you can add pure ammonia, use fish flakes or even a prawn. The idea is to add waste that adds ammonia to the water and feeds the beneficial bacteria in the tank in order to convert it to nitrates. Nitrates are a good sign in your tank and levels between 5ppm to 40ppm is safe. Although 40 is a bit high.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:28 AM   #13
 
Whats a good level for Nitrites?
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:32 AM   #14
 
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0

You want 0 ppm Ammonia, 0 ppm Nitrites, and <40 ppm Nitrates. Nitrites are poisonous to fish just like ammonia. When your tank has cycled you'll have bacteria that will convert nitrite into nitrate.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:47 AM   #15
 
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Hello from the dark side of the hobby... sorry to but into this freshwater thread, but an important point has not been recognized.

What type of test kit are you using? You said that you are adding chemicals to lower the ammonia. What exactly are you adding? If you are adding a water conditioner to remove ammonia, such as Amquel, Ammolock, etc, then please continue reading...

Test kits which utilize Nessler's reagents will give you a false positive when using these products. There is no ammonia, but the kits will read positive anyhow. You must use a Salicylate-based ammonia test kit in order to achieve the correct reading. For proof of this, simply read the instructions in your test kit.

Another big topic is pH. At low pH levels, say 6.4 or below, nitrosomos bacteria are not capable of breaking down ammonia into Nitrite. Have you tested your pH? If this applies to you, you must first raise your pH above 6.4, and then allow time for the nitrosomos bacteria to consumer the ammonia. Unfortunatly your fish will be more stressed during this time, because the toxicity of ammonia increases as the pH increase. Hence, this is a delicate balancing act.

The real problem probably occured in week 2 or 3. You likely tested your water and thought the tank was "cycled". In fact, some nitrosomos and nitrobacter bacterias were present; enough to reduce the current ammonia and nitrites to zero. Unfortunately, at this point you added livestock to fast. The result was a quick spike in ammonia to a level that the nitrosomos were unable to handle. The reaction was problably to add a water conditioner, which then caused a false positive reading of ammonia. You continued to add more conditioner and do water changes, and continued to get false positives.

Just a guess, but i'd bet my avitar pic that i'm right on this.-)
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:15 AM   #16
 
I got the API master test kit. My ammonia is still right around 0 (yellow) My PH is around 7.6 on the low and 8.0 on the high. The Nitrates were between 20-40. But the Nitrites seem to be at a 5! What should I do to fix this? I plan on doing a water change tomorrow. But is there a chemical I should add? I was adding Clor Am x at the begining when I was using tap water. Now I've switched to Spring or Well water. Then when the ammonia was high the dude at the fish store sold me Microbe Lift "special blend"
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:32 AM   #17
 
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Well if you read 7.6 on the low scale pH meter that just means you pegged it. The high range is your true pH.

The microbe stuff was more than likely a waste of money, sorry.

Your best bet to reduce the concentration of ammonia and nitrites is a water change. 50% today, 50% tomorrow, and 50% each day until the nitrites are under 0.5ppm. The good news is you have nitrites, so you have bacteria already converting ammonia, you just need to get the nitrites under control so your fish can make it while you mature the nitrite half of the cycle.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:37 AM   #18
 
What is the order what happens when a cycle is occuring in a tank?
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:39 AM   #19
 
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http://www.fishforum.com/freshwater-...ium-cycle-252/
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:06 PM   #20
 
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Sometimes Nitrobacter bacteria take several weeks to develop, and they are responsible for the conversion of Nitrite to Nitrate. Be patient, and don't worry. The toxicity of NItrite at pH levels above 7.0 is very small. Just wait it out.
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