Cannot manage Ammonia! 75% H2O changes daily, 3 mo tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Cannot manage Ammonia! 75% H2O changes daily, 3 mo tank

Hi All, I have had fish for years but moved up to a 30 gallon. I've had the tank 3 months and only have 3 fish (Kribensis, leoporinus and algae eater). My ammonia levels are out of control. I am doing daily 75% H2O changes with Amquel+ but the ammonia is staying between caution 5% to toxic! What can I do, or what am I not doing?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 01:56 AM
Your tank by the sounds of it is cycling. How long have you had ammonia problems? Also what are you using to test it?

First I would read up on cycling/ the nitrogen cycle so you understand what your tank is doing.

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply! I know the ammonia is part of the cycling stage, but the toxicity levels worry me. I AM wondering if the lesser version of ammonia (ammonium?) is triggering the reader. I am using the marcel in-tank reader, where it goes from yellow to blue green. I have had ammonia problems from the beginning, but they have been spiking the last 2+ weeks. I know the ammonia is the first part of the cycle. Should I play russian roulette and do bi-or-tri weekly H2O changes instead of daily? Thanks so much!

P.S. the fish are bottom feeders and have not been coming to the surface like they say ammonia poisoning can do...

"]Your tank by the sounds of it is cycling. How long have you had ammonia problems? Also what are you using to test it?

First I would read up on cycling/ the nitrogen cycle so you understand what your tank is doing"
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 03:04 AM
Test your tap water, or whatever water you are using in the tank.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 09:22 AM
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After three months the tank should not be in the first stage (ammonia) of cycling, so there is a problem somewhere. As previous replies have mentioned, have you tested your tap water? Some areas have high ammonia in the municipal water. Three fish in a 30g will not be causing ammonia that the bacteria cannot handle by now unless something else is occurring. However, the Amquel should handle that, especially with daily water changes.

A partial water change once every week is standard permanent maintainance, so don't get below this. I don't know about the ammonia detector you mention, but I would suggest a good test kit (liquid) like the API. Or take a sample of tank water to your lfs to test, most stores will do this for you if you are a regular customer. Your readings may not be accurate, and this certainly needs to be resolved.

On your question of ammonia/ammonium, ammonia is highly toxic and ammonium is not. Test kits available to aquarists like the API read both as "ammonia' and both are consumed by noitrosomonas bacteria as part of the normal nitrogen cycle. So ammonia or ammonium should have no effect on test kits or cycling. It does matter to the fish however, as ammonia (which occurs in acidic water but not in alkaline) will not harm the fish. However, the nitrite (the second stage of the nitrogen cycle) is also toxic, so it is not wise to just ignore things because it is ammonium.

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 #6 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 09:06 PM
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I agree with Byron. After 3 months your tank should be cycled. I also suggest ditching the Mardel tester and going with the API liquid test kit...much more accurate. Try testing your tap water for ammonia as suggested. Another possibility is overfeeding. Are you vacuuming the gravel regularly?

How big is the Leporinus? I believe it will eventually need a bigger tank.

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 #7 of 9 Old 07-04-2009, 10:36 PM
the marcel readers are akin to strip readers no? those are usually inaccurate. Try a liquid test or take a water sample to your local lfs and see if they will test it for you.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-06-2009, 07:52 AM
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my dad has one one of those in his can be terribly inaccurate....I agree with the others, get a test of your tap and tank water at your LFS and while you're there pick up an API master test kit
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-09-2009, 02:10 PM
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Not to question your intellect but was the tank washed with Windex or other glass cleaner by any chance? My bf thought he was doing me a favor by washing down my aquarium (inside and out) with Windex before he gave it to me for Christmas. I found out the hard way when I couldn't add fish to my tank for a full two months while cycling because the ammonia level was off the charts.
After many trips to the LFS (with all of us scratching our heads), he casually mentioned that the tank should be perfect because he washed it twice with glass cleaner before I set it up. DOH!!!

So, many many gravel rinsings and tank rinsings later, I was able to start the whole process over.

Just a thought.........

Maybe I can save someone the grief I went through by mentioning this.

Good luck!
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ammonia , amquel+

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