Help! High ammonia levels. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Help! High ammonia levels.

I am new to this forum as well as fish keeping. I have a 75 gallon tank with 7 mollies, 4 neons, 2 serpae tetras, 3 phantom tetras, 2 small angels & 1 pleco. Been set up for little over 6 weeks. It is apparently in the cycling process because I keep having ammonia spikes. Last week it was 2 & I did 25% water change & it came down to 0. Yesterday it was 4 & I did a 40% change with ammolock & went to 2. Today it reads 8 & just did 40% change & cleaned gravel and just used stress zyme. Water is very cloudy but fish seem fine. I have 2 filters one is 60 gallon & the other is 80 that is a biowheel as well as a bubbler. Have not fed fish since yesterday. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:30 PM
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First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum --and the hobby too.

Now to the ammonia. Which test kit are you using? A reading of 8ppm would result in very stressed ifnot dead fish, hence my question about the kit. Second, do you know the pH in the tank?

And are there any live plants in the tank?

Byron.

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 #3 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome. 😃I was using the tertra test strips & felt were not accurate so since yesterday am using the master test kit from API. Yesterday I did a full test & it was as follows: ph 7.6 high range ph 7.4 ammonia 4 (today 8 b4 PWC & 4 after) nitrate 0 nitrite 0. As far as the fish I think same thing which is why I'm stumped. Could it be the ammo lock giving false reading? I only have plastic plants in tank. Can the ammonia make water cloudy as well?
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:42 PM
wow that's suuuper high still :S i feel like usually, people suggest .25ppm to be the highest you should really go during cycling. Wonder what's up!
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post #5 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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I had a point that it was barely reading on strips & that was followed by an increase in nitrates to maybe 20 on strip. Then went to 0 again.
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 08:58 PM
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Obviously the AmmoLock is saving the fish. It binds the ammonia into ammonium which is basically harmless but will still show as "ammonia" in tests. I asked about the pH because in acidic water (pH below 7) the same thing happens naturally. Ammonia is highly toxic, ammonium is not.

So that explains how the fish have survived, but doesn't explain the ammonia. You don't have too many fish considering the tank is 75g. Live plants, even some floating, would help with this, as they need ammonia/ammonium and will quickly grab it. Seeding with bac teria in the form of a bacterial supplement wuld also help. Tetra's SafeStart, Seachem's Stability, and Dr.Tim's One and Only are all good products.

The API liquid tests are reliable, so that is a good investment.

Byron.

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 #7 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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So should I have put more ammolock in with today's PWC? I just used the stress zyme. What about cloudy water? That becaus of ammonia level?
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post #8 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Also I can get plants tomorrow but should I continue to check ammonia daily & do PWC's accordingly?
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post #9 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 10:16 PM
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So should I have put more ammolock in with today's PWC? I just used the stress zyme. What about cloudy water? That becaus of ammonia level?
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The cloudy water may simply be the result of the water changes stirring things up, but not ammonia levels. Often cloudy water is the result of a bloom of facultative (decomposition) bacteria due to excessive dissolved organic matter in the water.
Some folks confuse this with part of the cycling process, however it is unrelated to the nitrogen cycle.
Keep up with water changes and watch for an increase in nitrites which may then spike. Pay close attention to conditioning water for water changes and caution when servicing filters to ensure you're not doing anything that might inhibit the development of beneficial bacteria. (e.g. rinsing filter media under the faucet can thwart cycling by killing bacteria).

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post #10 of 22 Old 09-12-2012, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. The one filter is actually from another tank my friend had & just have one new one. The water is actually more clear after the PWC today. Ammonia still high so I added more ammolock as I found on Internet. I hope it helps. Will check levels again tomorrow to see what I need to do. Going to add floating plant or 2 as Byron suggested to see if will help too. Have you ever heard of ammonia levels getting this high during cycling or do I need to be looking for another reason for this to be happening?
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