Cycle - Day 6 - Confussed? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Cycle - Day 6 - Confussed?

I am a bit confused, day 6 with 4 fish (african cichlids). The problem I am having is that my API test kit shows 1.0 ammonia. I have been doing water changes every other day to get the levels down and using prime.

The problem is before doing todays water change, I tested my tap water (city water) and its giving a reading of 1.0 ammonia directly from the tap. So my tank matches exactly. What should I do? Do I bother doing a water change, how can I tell whats good/bad etc... This seems like it makes it a lot more difficult when trying to keep the fish safe.

My Nitrates, and Nitrites have been 0 every day. My PH is 7.8 and temp is 78 degrees.

What do I do, what do I look for, how do I know when to do a water change
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 08:33 PM
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Okay if your tap water is testing positive for ammonia and so is your fish tank it can be one of two things... 1st is your test kit is expired they normally only are accurate for 1year and should be replaced every year. The second is that your tap water does indeed have ammonia in it and you are going to have to start sourcing your water from somewhere else such as ro water purchased from your local fish shop or supermarket.

Cheers Zac
p.s i am thinking that it is likely to be that there is ammonia in your tap water.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 08:37 PM
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it is very unlikely that your test kit is expired. most likely you are ammonia in your tap water. depending on what type of filter you have you can add an aquaclear ammonia removal bag. it will fit in most filters just make sure that you get one that is not too big to fit

AquaClear Ammonia Remover Filter Insert - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 09:27 PM
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Ammonia in the tap water is common in many areas. I doubt your kit is bad. I'd just use R/O water with the weekly w/c and be done with it. Check your tap water every few month, chances are city will change the treatment and you then can use your water again, may also be worth while calling them (considering you'd feed this very ammonia water to family and all).
Meanwhile, don't stress, do weekly w/c and just watch yur fish if they appear stressed out 'hanging' on the bottom any abnormal signs.

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post #5 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 01:40 AM
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my thought would be that a cycled tank would be fine with a 25-30% w/c that has 1.0 ammonia in it seeing how your tank will already have the BB to convert it. or you could just get a large container to have the water preped for a w/c. seeing how the w/c water should be the same params and temp as your tank water a container to prep your water is ideal and used by many on this forum. maybe through a cheap filter in your vat so that bb can form there and cycle that water before its even added to your tank. or you could go to the super market every week or so and buy D/I water (big hastle and exspense IMHO) just my two sense
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 03:30 AM
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I would see that I am using a dechlorinator such as PRIME for water changes and maybe double the dose for the water used at water changes. Some water conditioners don't detoxify ammonia and some do. I might also see that aeration was plentiful in this tank as well.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 12:04 PM
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As 1077 suggested, use a good water conditioner that will detoxify ammonia, like Prime (and there are others). No need to not use tap water, or resort to expensive RO units.

Understand that Prime and other conditioners detoxify ammonia by changing it to ammonium which is basically harmless to fish. Your test kit will still read ammonium as ammonia, at least most of them do, the API does. So while it shows ammonia at 1 in the tank, it is most probably ammonium which is harmless.

Bacteria will still use ammonium or ammonia to cycle, so no harm there. Use an ammonia detoxifying water conditioner and continue normally. Monitor ammonia and nitrite, the latter will rise as the cycle progresses. Prime claims it also detoxifies nitrite, so that is a good conditioner to use. Cycling takes anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to work its way through.


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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