Help, too much ammonia
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Help, too much ammonia

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Help, too much ammonia
Old 10-31-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
 
Exclamation Help, too much ammonia

My tank has been cycled and everything was pretty good except now I have a lot of ammonia in my readings. I lost two fish--an albino cory and an albino paradise fish. They had pinkish faces just before they died. Here are today's readings:

pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 2.0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5.0

It's a 10 gallon. I'm wondering if I just have too many fish in there. Right now I have 2 paradise fish, 1 cory cat, 2 barbs and 1 red-eye tetra (plus the other two I mentioned, which died). Is that too much? The filter I'm using is for a 10 gallon. If I get a filter for a 20 or even 30 gallon, will that help the problem? I've been doing 1/4 water changes daily but the problem is our tap water has 1.0 ppm ammonia in it so it doesn't help much so that's why I'm wondering if it's a good idea to get a bigger filter, if that will solve the problem. It seems like there's too much ammonia, not enough good bacteria in the filter to keep up with it? Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks. I've been using Prime daily too to take away the ammonia toxicity.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:57 PM   #2
 
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Yes, that is far too many fish for a 10 gallon, along with some other problems. A 10 gallon is best for a species only tank, or maybe a small centerpiece fish with a school of bottom dwellers.

When a tank cycles, it only cycles to the amount of ammonia there was. Put too many fish in and they will produce more ammonia than it can currently handle. When adding fish, you should only do one (or one school for those that require a school like tetras and corys) every 1-2 weeks to allow the system to adjust.

With Ammonia in your tap, Prime is required but putting in fast growing live plants in addition help a lot with that.

If you can, I think you should try and return most of the fish as they simply will not work in a 10 gallon together. You can look at the fish profiles here on the site to see their requirements, an example is Paradise fish need a 25 gallon tank minimum. The tetras, barbs, and corys are all schooling fish which means minimum of 6 each and a 10 gallon is too small for that many schools.

A larger filter will not change anything, other than to increase water flow which will actually cause more stress.
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whitecloud7 (11-01-2012)
Old 11-01-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geomancer View Post
Yes, that is far too many fish for a 10 gallon, along with some other problems. A 10 gallon is best for a species only tank, or maybe a small centerpiece fish with a school of bottom dwellers.

When a tank cycles, it only cycles to the amount of ammonia there was. Put too many fish in and they will produce more ammonia than it can currently handle. When adding fish, you should only do one (or one school for those that require a school like tetras and corys) every 1-2 weeks to allow the system to adjust.

With Ammonia in your tap, Prime is required but putting in fast growing live plants in addition help a lot with that.

If you can, I think you should try and return most of the fish as they simply will not work in a 10 gallon together. You can look at the fish profiles here on the site to see their requirements, an example is Paradise fish need a 25 gallon tank minimum. The tetras, barbs, and corys are all schooling fish which means minimum of 6 each and a 10 gallon is too small for that many schools.

A larger filter will not change anything, other than to increase water flow which will actually cause more stress.
Thank you for your input, yeah that's what I thought, as the problem happened after I added three of them. It was fine up until then. I really like the plants idea. What kinds of plants do you recommend? I've always wanted plants but have had difficulty with them in the past. They'd shed their leaves, they'd rot and end up as bare sticks. I've just never had luck with them. I'm talking about the anarchis, swordtails, wisteria. (?) I think that's what they were called. I've tried growing bulbs and they just turned fuzzy and rotted. I've tried floating duckweed on top but that doesn't work with a filter. I have two little bulbs on the hood (came with the setup). Not like the long bulbs that go across the hood like I had years ago so I don't know what to do, I'm wondering if they just didn't have the right light source. Any suggestions? thanks so much
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #4
 
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As far as fast growing, easy to grow, low light plants, I LOVE Brazillian Pennywort. You basically just toss it in the tank, floating. I might add a small bit of Seachem's Comprehensive fertilizer one time a week, usually the day AFTER your weekly water change. It grows quickly, offers shade/protection for the fish's eyes. Some others that are easy and good low light plants would be Java fern, java moss even the moss balls, if you like those. Easy and good in low light situations.
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whitecloud7 (11-01-2012)
Old 11-01-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
 
Prime will lock up the dangerous ammonia but normal test kits will still test ammonia.

The danger is that you add prime , still test ammonia, add more prime and so on. All the whilet the first dose completely locked up the ammonia and subsequent doses were unnecessary.

Plus prime and other ammonia locks and dechloranators also lock up oxygen. So it is entirely possible to lock up the oxygen and suffocate the fish. And in the process the fish exihibit the same behaviour as ammonia poisoning.

you can get a multitest kit which measures both total ammonia and free ammonia plus I believe the ammonia dots you put in the tank just measures the free ammonia. Either way you can get a feel for if enough prime has been added and not add any more.

As mentioned by others I would also add a much fast growing live plants as possible to rapidily remove the ammonia and carbon dioxide and return oxygen. anacharis are my favs.

so over all I always recommend adding plants and not chemicals to help condition tanks.

Still that's just my

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whitecloud7 (11-01-2012)
Old 11-01-2012, 02:47 PM   #6
 
I'm going to echo what others have written. If you have ammonia in your tap water you absolutely need to use Prime. All dechlorinators actually create ammonia in the process. Unlike many dechlorinators, Prime also includes a binder that detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for up to 48 hours, giving your bio-filter time to process the ammonia. I would not be afraid to do up to a 50% weekly water change, but use the amount of Prime required for the entire tank (1 capful to 55g I think).

I also echo sentiments regarding adding plants [even floating] to help process ammonia and reduce the need for a larger beneficial biology colony. Living plants also otherwise filter water and provide a secondary food source.
Speaking of food sources, it's a good idea to make efforts to otherwise reduce ammonia - controlled feeding, tank/filter/gravel maintenance etc.

good luck - keep us posted.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:41 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by whitecloud7 View Post
I have two little bulbs on the hood (came with the setup). Not like the long bulbs that go across the hood like I had years ago so I don't know what to do, I'm wondering if they just didn't have the right light source. Any suggestions? thanks so much
For these hoods, you can get two of the 10W Daylight CFLs. That's the lowest wattage you can find probably, the ones I use in my tank are made by GE. You want the ones that have a color temperature around 6500K which most brands call Daylight (they should give the number on the box). The bulbs will be a tight fit and may touch the metal reflector but that's fine.

That will be upper end of what's called 'moderate' lighting and you should do well. Floating plants are a good idea as it will help cut the light down a little bit so you don't get algae problems. Leave them on for 10 hours a day to start, a regular light timer hardware stores sell are great for this as you can set the timer and never have to remember to turn your lights on/off each day.

Java Moss, Java Fern, Anubias, and Moss Balls are the easiest plants to grow probably, but they are also among the slowest growers which means they don't help as much in removing ammonia. They are nice looking plants though so by all means use them if you like them. Stem plants which you mentioned can be hit or miss, but are worth another shot if you put in those lights.

As someone else mentioned, use Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Supplement, it's a balanced fertilizer that you add once a week and will give your plants all the nutrients they need provided your tap water isn't super soft. Get the smallest bottle you can find, it will last you years with only a 10 gallon. The dose is 0.8 mL per week. I use a medicine syringe for babies to measure that out.
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