Ammonia spiking - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ammonia spiking

Hey guys I have a 55g setup that is about 8 months in. I have been dealing with LFS but none of us can seem to figure out why the water quality is always bad ammonia is always 2+ up to 8 and never any nitrites or nitrates. All my fish seem happy and healthy but just concerned with longterm effects of high ammonia. please help
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 12:58 PM
Hi what is your routine for water change? do you use anything to remove chlorine off water? what is your filter and how and when do you clean it?
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post #3 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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i do water changes once a week sometimes more frequent just depends on the ammonia levels. they are usually about 20%. i am using a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine usually stress coat. I had a penguin 350 but after much deliberation with the LFS i added another filter it is a tetra for 40g tank then added a power head. I also vacuum the gravel once every 2 weeks.
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:39 PM
and you have had this aquarium for 8 months? and the cycle isn't complete?
I would suggest maybe trying a different conditioner like prime, and stop to vacuum the gravel until the cycle is complete also feed lightly
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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I also only feed once in the morning i feed a little flake food for the guppies, a few floating pellets for the 3 blood parrots and some shrimp pellets for the 5 clown loaches. I keep the temp around 76. this has been going on now for about 7 months with no luck. I am also making a 200 mile move in less than a week. the tank and gravel is also about 10 years old and sat for 2 yrs with about 4 inches of dark green water that the previous owner had put snails, turtles, and plants in

Last edited by dj7984; 03-10-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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I went through 2 bottles of stability at the LFS suggestion and still no luck, so then moved on to prime and have used 2 bottles and still no change. my total load is 3 blood parrots, 5 clown loaches, 3 plecos, 1 raphael cat, 2 mollies and about 20 guppies that i keep taking out left and right but they are breeding like crazy. all these fish are juvenile none are adults
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:53 PM
ok well if you can afford it after you moved and you re install your aquarium you could try to plant it with a lot of live plants that are suited for the types of fish, water parameter and lights you have. An aquarium with enough plants for the amount of fish will see no noticeable cycle happening as the plants will absorb all the ammonia
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-10-2012, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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i currently have about 4 planted plants in there they look like grass one piece of bamboo and some floating plants
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-11-2012, 02:26 PM
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We need some more data in order to properly diagnose this issue. It may or may not be real trouble. After 8 months I doubt the cycle is "stuck" but more likely something else is going on.

First, have you tested your tap water for ammonia? Also you should test it for nitrite and nitrate just to know, though from what you have written i doubt these two are present. But... won't hurt to test it for all three.

Second, what is the pH in the aquarium? This is significant with ammonia. I am assuming it is acidic (below 7), as ammonia at 8 ppm with a basic pH (above 7) would mean dead fish by now, assuming the test is accurate. Ammonia at any level above zero will have long-term effects, and above 1 your fish cannot survive for long and would certainly be showing signs of this.

And which test are you using?

This is not directly related yet, but I must comment on the fish load. This 55g tank will not support all these fish as they mature. Are you planning on a much larger tank, by which I mean a 6-foot or long? You can read on most of these species in our profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar. Maximum fish sizes and minimum tank sizes are included for each species.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-11-2012, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yes i have tested my tap water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and the PH as well as 3 LFS. I am using an API master test kit for home testing. I also confirm my result with one of my LFS and they get the same results which are as of today after a 30% water change
ammonia 2
nitrite 0
nitrate 0
ph 8

but give it 2-3 days and the ammonia will be back up to 7+

as your question about tank size as soon i get settled into my new house i am on the hunt for a 200g tank for the loaches and blood parrots
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