ammonia way too high - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question ammonia way too high

Hi! New to hobby!

Have 75 gallon freshwater tank 1 oscar (4 inches), 1 mixed cichlid (4 inches) and 1 pleco (7 inches) - have had tank setup for 1 month. Ammonia level still at 4.0 - water changes up to 50% every other day to every 2 days - pH 7.6 (maintained since setup), nitrites 0, and nitrates 0. 2 - 60 gallon whisper bio filters, have not changed, but have rinsed.
2 airstones.

Tank does not seem to be cycling - use Wardley's chor-out with each water change, AP aquarium salt used. I have tested tap water for ammonia with readings of 0. I use liquid test kit not strips, fish still eating, but fins are looking beat up or frailed.

Used Ammo-lock 1 week ago - ammonia levels did not change. Ammonia levels also do not change even immediately after water change. What can I do - I don't want to loose my fish or make them suffer.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 07:05 PM
To already have an Oscar and a pleco in a tank only 1 month old is most likely your problem. Did you ever go through a cycle? Your tank is very young to have those waste monsters.

You also said you rinsed the filters... is this Whisper a HOB (hang-on-back) filter or an internal? That could be your problem.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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the filter is a HOB.

I did orginally start HEAVY feeding not knowing any better - but since the high ammonia levels have decreased to 2 pieces per fish (pellats one feeding and cichlid sticks next feeding) once a day or every other day (they do act like they are starving). I have not been adding any food for the pleco.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 07:30 PM
I am not familiar with that type of filter, so I will need to ask some questions.

-Most HOBs have two or three things that go in it One is like a cartridge that contains a sponge-like material, and sometimes carbon. The other is usually a bio-filter, which could be a seperate sponge, or in BioWheel models, the BioWheel.

When you say you rinsed the filters, what exactly did you rinse?
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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both filters have 2 compartments, each compartment having a black sponge (per box - should not be disposed of only rinsed) and a replaceable cartridge (this one contains carbon inside a white absorbable material) - total of 4 of these for tank.

I rinsed the disposable cartridge in tank water, i read on the internet that i should not change the filters while the tank is cycling. Is this right or should i start changing one by one?

please help - i am new to this
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-17-2009, 09:01 PM

You defiantley do not want to change them at the same time, but I would say change one every 2 weeks.

Did you rinse these under straight tap water, or water from the tank?
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-18-2009, 02:44 PM
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I have a Whisper 60 on one of my tanks. I don't change out the cartridge filters (unless they're falling apart), I just swish them in used tank water and put them back in. These cartridges are made so you can use them either with or without carbon. There's a clip at the top of the frame you can take off to open the bag and dump out the carbon. If you prefer to run carbon you can just refill with fresh carbon. I only run carbon when I need to remove meds or tannins. The black sponges I don't touch as this is for your bacteria colony.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
135 Gallon - Angelfish Community
75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
20 Gallon Long - QT
10 Gallon - Empty
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-18-2009, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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i did rinse filter (white part) once under tap water (about 2 weeks ago
) - not knowing any better

should i remove the carbon from the filter cartridge and refill with fresh carbon?

Here are my lastest water conditions:

50% water change last night. Here are my readings from just a minute ago:

pH 8.0 (seems to be rising - why?)
ammonia 4.0 to 8.0 (OMG) - does it spike this high during cycling
nitrites 0
nitrates 0

Fish all still alive, have not fed today, but they do seem hungry. Tested tap water again for ammonia with reading of 0.

Will continue with water changes - planning 75% tonight

Going to local tropical fish store tomorrow for some cycling bacteria conditioner and was going to ask if they had any bacteria infested media I could have to help my tank.

Anymore suggestions are greatly wanted!!
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-18-2009, 08:06 PM
Straight tap is your problem. That killed all your beneficial bacteria in your system, which is causing you to recycle. It is this high because you have some very messy fish.

I would honestly see if some LFS or friend could hold on to them for you untill your tank is cycled. That is very toxic.

Oh, and are you sure you arn't using a faulty test kit?
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-18-2009, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK 75% water change complete - dechlorinator added to fresh water prior to being added to tank (looked at dechl. bottle, does not state anything about ammonia)

I use a siphon tubing to remove tank water and vacuum gravel. I then have a clean 10 gallon bucket (had salt in orginally from local fish shop) to refill my tank. I tested water after dechlorinator from the bucket prior to being added to the tank and the ammonia level was 0. Water temp same as before water change.

Here are my water levels post water change:

pH 7.8
ammonia 2.0 to 4.0 (color green is lighter than before)
nitrites 0
nitrates 0

Anything else? Should I do another water change tomorrow?
I saw some feces vacuumed out, but not a lot. Fish have not been fed. Have not added ammo-lock but one time. Should I add some now? Got some "Cycle" brand chemical, should I add?

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