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Help! Ammonia Problem

This is a discussion on Help! Ammonia Problem within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Yes. Big pwc. Lots of them every day until the levels are 0. Plants are a long term solution. Duckweed is... well... a weed! ...

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Help! Ammonia Problem
Old 01-08-2013, 06:20 PM   #11
 
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Yes. Big pwc. Lots of them every day until the levels are 0. Plants are a long term solution.

Duckweed is... well... a weed! Odds are the OP wont kill it. When it overgrows, you just yank some out and toss it or give it away.

Also, Marimo Balls have to be taken out and wrang out once a week. I use my Turkey Baster to roll it over to keep it from getting brown spots. Mine is doing well with just the proper lights, some turning, some squeezing, and some fish poop
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Last edited by Bluewind; 01-08-2013 at 06:25 PM..
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:54 PM   #12
 
I respectifully disagree unless ammonia is extremely high. Like pegging the kit.

thriving, live plants will bring down ammonia in a matter of minutes and hours and bring them down to 0 faster than any partial water change.

Plus the plants will also suck out carbon dioxide and oxyginate the water as well. Again in a matter of minutes and hours.

Still just my .02
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:10 PM   #13
 
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Personally, I would do a combo. I would do at least a 50% pwc and then toss in plants. Next day, I would do a test and do a pwc depending on how high it was.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:11 PM   #14
 
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The live plants, even simple floating plants, will certainly help. But you need immediate help, and this means a major water change. Your tap water is zero ammonia you mention, so fine; do a 75% water change immediately if you haven't already. This is the only way to dilute ammonia. Tomorrow do another 50% water change. If ammonia still reads above zero, do another the following day until ammonia is zero.

Use a good water conditioner, one that detoxifies ammonia can't hurt in this situation.

Having live plants would be a cushion in such circumstances, as plants grab a lot of ammonia.

And be prepared for some of the fish to die, esp the corys. Corys cannot cope with ammonia above zero. The water changes will get rid of the ammonia and let's hope help the fish. But they may be too far gone, just so you know.

Byron.
I agree with Byron that the immediate water changes are needed, and more water changes until your ammonia levels are zero. Fish cannot tolerate any levels of ammonia for any length of time without damage. You may also want to consider the addition of bacteria in a bottle to help with the cycle of this tank.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #15
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Hello Bryan:
Is this correct that “Corys cannot cope with ammonia above zero”? So they are a good indicator fish for water quality. Do cory's show a specific behavior or color when exposed to poor water conditions? Are there other fish that are good indicators of water quality?
Thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:29 AM   #16
 
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Hello Bryan:
Is this correct that “Corys cannot cope with ammonia above zero”? So they are a good indicator fish for water quality. Do cory's show a specific behavior or color when exposed to poor water conditions? Are there other fish that are good indicators of water quality?
Thanks
pop
Hmm, this confuses me a little. Would you even want to see your fish change colour and think 'hey, my waters bad.' Knowing the damage it would be causing them.
Surely the best indicator, and the only one you ever want to have to use, is the API test kit!?!
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:36 AM   #17
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The live plants, even simple floating plants, will certainly help. But you need immediate help, and this means a major water change. Your tap water is zero ammonia you mention, so fine; do a 75% water change immediately if you haven't already. This is the only way to dilute ammonia. Tomorrow do another 50% water change. If ammonia still reads above zero, do another the following day until ammonia is zero.

Use a good water conditioner, one that detoxifies ammonia can't hurt in this situation.

Having live plants would be a cushion in such circumstances, as plants grab a lot of ammonia.

And be prepared for some of the fish to die, esp the corys. Corys cannot cope with ammonia above zero. The water changes will get rid of the ammonia and let's hope help the fish. But they may be too far gone, just so you know.

Byron.
+one
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:08 AM   #18
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Hmm, this confuses me a little. Would you even want to see your fish change colour and think 'hey, my waters bad.' Knowing the damage it would be causing them.
Surely the best indicator, and the only one you ever want to have to use, is the API test kit!?!
The issue is really how often do people test? I did a water change and added 12 fish and didn't test for 3 days and I wouldn't have even done that if I was not curious. I've set my tank up in such a way as to feel comfortable that it will be stable. I watch for dead plant material, count the fish each morning at feeding and smell the water. If I did not have plants I would probably be on edge as I would have no ammonia sink and ammonia seems to be the first and most likely problem that can quickly crop up and kill fish... oddball diseases aside. I even have three kinds of snails to help eat up some of the crap that may appear... not an effective buffer but every little bit helps.

Oh, I also have a sand substrate so anything that goes to the bottom stays visible and doesn't go hiding in the gravel to rot and cause issues that way. I know that vacuuming the gravel is great but how often does that get done?

While I don't agree that a "canary" fish is a great idea it is certainly worth knowing what habits or changes might be indicators of potential problems. I think that anyone who watches their fish might notice some slight changes but might not attribute it to ammonia poisoning until it is blatantly obvious and often too late.

I think that the API test is a great tool, knowing your fish is better as it will tell you that you should test to be certain.

Jeff.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:31 AM   #19
 
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I'd have to disagree Jeff. Just on the notion of 'why take the chance'. What if your plants have reached their uptake maximum from the tank and your fish don't display typical, or any, signs of ammonia poisoning? It's somewhat unlikely but I would guarantee its happened many many times. And then what, dead fish because you 'knew best'? Is it worth it to save yourself 10 minutes a week for periodic testing?
All the knowledge possible can't replace the cold hard facts of knowing accurately the levels of ammonia in your tank. Your fish may show zero effects of 0.1 in your tank but it'll still be doing slow long term harm.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:45 AM   #20
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Hmmm.... I'm not entirely sure what you are disagreeing with.

It comes down to how often is often enough. I could test today and have a slow rise starting tomorrow. Is once a week enough? I waited three days... and never suggested any particular timeline for testing... just that I feel confident that my tank is stable. Everyone has their own level of comfort for this. The longer I have my tank running I may find the longer I go between tests... I honestly don't know yet. I'll be testing again on the weekend, so that puts me at 4 days. I might do ammonia tests and skip some of the others, again, I don't know yet.

As far as the plants are concerned, I never found anything about ammonia uptake limits, I suppose that doesn't mean that there isn't one. Because it is the nitrogen that they are using from the ammonium they apparently just keep sucking it up... and as much as 50 times faster than the bacteria will, depending on the plant. I think that the plant will run out of ammonium long before any upper limit on absorption is reached. Of course this means that you would have to have enough plants to sink the ammonium that your tank is generating.... over stocked and under planted is not good as the bacteria method is not as stable as the planted method. I'm at 8 types of plants with from 2 to 9 individual specimens of each type... down from 10 as two didn't work out.

Perhaps my statement, "I think that the API test is a great tool, knowing your fish is better as it will tell you that you should test to be certain." is the issue. I am not suggesting that you don't test until something appears amiss... just that being able to notice something amiss while between scheduled tests would indicate that you should test now and not wait.

This leads me to consider some testing... jars, ammonia, plants. Let's see how much they can take up.

Jeff.
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