Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down?
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down?

Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down?

This is a discussion on Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hey there! Would just like to say this is a very useful forum and I appreciate all the help I've received from it, even ...

Check out these freshwater fish profiles
Schwartz Cory
Schwartz Cory
Dwarf Loach
Dwarf Loach
Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down?
Old 03-04-2011, 04:08 PM   #1
 
Ammonia Levels Won't Go Down?

Hey there!

Would just like to say this is a very useful forum and I appreciate all the help I've received from it, even if it wasn't directly towards me yet!

Anyway, I decided to purchase the API liquid test kits for ammonia levels the other day. I wasn't really having many issues but I wanted to check my ammonia levels to be safe. I did recently have a platy who grew what looked to be a tumor on the side of his head and he died a few days later. The tumor seemed to appear out of nowhere, so it was another good reason to buy a kit.

Well, I tested the water and to my surprise the test turned dark, dark green signifying 8.0ppm or higher. This caught me pretty off guard, so I did around a 40-50% water change. The next day I did another test and the results were the same. Again, I did about a 40-50% water change. The next day, I did another test and the results were slightly better but not by much. Test revealed a dark green colour that was slightly more translucent than the previous tests. Again, I did a similar water change, then tested the water the next day with the same results.

Given the amount of water turnover, I'm really confused as to why the ammonia could possibly be so high? I tested the tap water and it came out 0 ppm. I'm afraid to change any more water as I'm worried that could shock their systems too much with the water chemistry changing so much.

Does anybody have any suggestions? Here's my set-up and fish:

Tank:20G Tank w/Penguin Biowheel filter (the one that can filter up to 50G)
Fish:
4 Black Skirt Tetras
4 Fancy Guppies
1 Platy
2 Dwarf Gourami
1 Dwarf Puffer
1 Ghost shrimp
4 Ammano Shrimp

There's also some of what I believe to be malaysian trumpet snails in the tank. No live plants, standard gravel substrate.

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
Bryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2011, 05:08 PM   #2
 
leogtr's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
Hey there!

Would just like to say this is a very useful forum and I appreciate all the help I've received from it, even if it wasn't directly towards me yet!

Anyway, I decided to purchase the API liquid test kits for ammonia levels the other day. I wasn't really having many issues but I wanted to check my ammonia levels to be safe. I did recently have a platy who grew what looked to be a tumor on the side of his head and he died a few days later. The tumor seemed to appear out of nowhere, so it was another good reason to buy a kit.

Well, I tested the water and to my surprise the test turned dark, dark green signifying 8.0ppm or higher. This caught me pretty off guard, so I did around a 40-50% water change. The next day I did another test and the results were the same. Again, I did about a 40-50% water change. The next day, I did another test and the results were slightly better but not by much. Test revealed a dark green colour that was slightly more translucent than the previous tests. Again, I did a similar water change, then tested the water the next day with the same results.

Given the amount of water turnover, I'm really confused as to why the ammonia could possibly be so high? I tested the tap water and it came out 0 ppm. I'm afraid to change any more water as I'm worried that could shock their systems too much with the water chemistry changing so much.

Does anybody have any suggestions? Here's my set-up and fish:

Tank:20G Tank w/Penguin Biowheel filter (the one that can filter up to 50G)
Fish:
4 Black Skirt Tetras
4 Fancy Guppies
1 Platy
2 Dwarf Gourami
1 Dwarf Puffer
1 Ghost shrimp
4 Ammano Shrimp

There's also some of what I believe to be malaysian trumpet snails in the tank. No live plants, standard gravel substrate.

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
hey Bryan,

see you have too many fish. thats it. minimize their numbers or get a larger tank. Those are the only options you have because their bioloads are too much for a 20 gallon so your tank is always going to have high toxic parameters. Hurry before some die.

good luck!
leogtr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2011, 05:38 PM   #3
 
Calmwaters's Avatar
 
Have you tested you water from the tap? I would defiantly rehome the puffer or move him into a 5 gallon tank by his self as he grows and gets older he will pick on the other fish.
Calmwaters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 10:08 AM   #4
 
I second calmwaters with the puffer.

You may have gotten a bad test kit for ammonia, I'm not sure though. I've bought expired nitrate tests before and my lfs took it back for a good one.
PRichs87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 10:30 AM   #5
 
+1 (to leogtr) you are overstocked, that is enough fish to stock a 55 gallon fish tank. I would use this as an excuse to get a bigger tank. Also you need to test for nitrites and nitrates. I'm betting your nitrates are through the roof also. How long has the tank been setup?

Another suggestion is to take the puffer and guppies back and get a nice big sponge filter to get the bio load under control.

Last edited by lipadj46; 03-05-2011 at 10:34 AM..
lipadj46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
 
Thanks for the advice, everyone.

As for the dwarf puffer, we used to have two of them and they picked on the other fish and nipped the tails constantly so we had them separated. One did pass away, and every since I put the other DP into the main tank again he has left the others alone and seems to be very happy.

As for overstocking, I didn't realize it was so overstocked. I was going roughly by the 1" of fish for every gallon of water. I guess that would be more accurate before the fish had grown at all, so I'll definitely chalk that up to a beginner's mistake and I'll find a way to rectify that. It was probably pretty easy to forget about the shrimp in terms of bio-load as well since they're always hiding.

Does it make sense that after doing large water changes the test would still read out with such high levels, though? I read the kits expire roughly 2-years after they were created and this batch of kit was created in 2010 so it should be good. I can only assume the tests are accurate and take measures to make the water safe for the fish.

Thanks again to everyone for your help!
Bryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:28 PM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan View Post

Does it make sense that after doing large water changes the test would still read out with such high levels, though? I read the kits expire roughly 2-years after they were created and this batch of kit was created in 2010 so it should be good. I can only assume the tests are accurate and take measures to make the water safe for the fish.

Thanks again to everyone for your help!
I believe the liquid kits have about a 3 year shelf life. It would not make sense if you tested right after the water change, but since you tested the next day it could make sense. I would vacuum the tank really well and rinse your filter media in tank water also cram some more sponges in your penguin and also slide a sponge over the intake. Get a #2 sponge filter and put that in the tank too. These will considerably increase your BB colonies. Then do 50% water changes with prime until your ammonia levels go to 0. Also check your nitrites and nitrates.
lipadj46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 06:16 PM   #8
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Something in all this is not quite right. If the initial ammonia was really 8ppm, the fish would all be dead. At 4-5ppm many fish will die. Let's look at everything to sort this out.

1. What is your pH, of the tap water and the tank water?

2. Have you tested the tank water for nitrite and nitrate, and if so, what are the readings? Have you tested the tap water for nitrite and nitrate?

3. What water conditioner are you using?

4. Other than water conditioner, is any other substance going into the tank water?

5. How long has this tank been set up [from your comments on the puffers, I'm assuming it is not recent, but please confirm with the approximate length of time]?

I don't consider your fish (and shrimp) stocking level to be that much of a problem, though I would agree with making some changes, but more for other reasons than the present problem (if there is one). I won't go into this until we sort out the "ammonia" and your answers to the above questions will assist in this.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2011, 10:47 AM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Something in all this is not quite right. If the initial ammonia was really 8ppm, the fish would all be dead. At 4-5ppm many fish will die. Let's look at everything to sort this out.

1. What is your pH, of the tap water and the tank water?

2. Have you tested the tank water for nitrite and nitrate, and if so, what are the readings? Have you tested the tap water for nitrite and nitrate?

3. What water conditioner are you using?

4. Other than water conditioner, is any other substance going into the tank water?

5. How long has this tank been set up [from your comments on the puffers, I'm assuming it is not recent, but please confirm with the approximate length of time]?

I don't consider your fish (and shrimp) stocking level to be that much of a problem, though I would agree with making some changes, but more for other reasons than the present problem (if there is one). I won't go into this until we sort out the "ammonia" and your answers to the above questions will assist in this.

Byron.
Hey Byron, thanks for your response. I'll answer as much as I can right now and I'll have to get back to you on some of the other things.

1 & 2. I haven't tested the tank or tap water for ph, nitrite and nitrates yet so I'll have to pick up a kit or two and check those out and let you know.

3. Water conditioner I'm using is Tetra AquaSafe.

4. I haven't put anything into the water other than the AquaSafe. Foods that I use are Tetra Tropical Flakes, Hikari Algae Wafers and frozen pe mysis shrimp.

5. The tank has been set up for about 6 months now. It went through a period of quite a bit of brown algae on the ornaments and it was there for a while, then it quite suddenly vanished. I've read new tanks generally go through that but it was a little shocking how quickly it just disappeared.

I'll get back to you asap about the other levels.
Bryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
 
Calmwaters's Avatar
 
What kind of test kit are you using? If its the strips then that maybe the problem. I would suggest getting the API master kit its very reliable and is the one most of us on here use.
Calmwaters is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ammonia and nitrite levels SiennaSkye Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 08-11-2009 01:44 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:47 AM.