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High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish!

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High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish!
Old 11-17-2009, 09:36 AM   #31
 
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Sounds like a plan. The reason for mentioning the dime size amount of food is that some folks can and do feed every other day ,or every three days, and then try to make up for the days missed by feeding a little more. I also have next to no faith in bacterial supplements and by testing my source water,,along with using only dechlorinator and said water,, I know what is in the water. Some report great success with these supplements and others do not. By eliminating what goes in the tank,, one can have a better grasp of possible contributers to problems regarding water.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:46 AM   #32
 
Oh I understand :) Hard to tell the experience level/methods of someone's fish keeping based on a few posts!

I always monitor my fish within the first few weeks to see what their individual appetites are, as they never seem to be the same. Even between my flame dwarf gouramis there is a difference! I start out small and then gradually work up to how much they can eat in 3 minutes. Never had more than a micropellet or two go wasted!

I've personally never used the bacterial supplements either before now, but the fact that I now have live fish in this toxic environment has me trying anything. Since I have heard some reports of it doing good things, I figured it couldn't hurt. However,ammonia removing products I am avoiding, because as was said before, that can only delay this whole process right now.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:30 PM   #33
 
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Originally Posted by mikaboshi View Post
Oh I understand :) Hard to tell the experience level/methods of someone's fish keeping based on a few posts!

I always monitor my fish within the first few weeks to see what their individual appetites are, as they never seem to be the same. Even between my flame dwarf gouramis there is a difference! I start out small and then gradually work up to how much they can eat in 3 minutes. Never had more than a micropellet or two go wasted!

I've personally never used the bacterial supplements either before now, but the fact that I now have live fish in this toxic environment has me trying anything. Since I have heard some reports of it doing good things, I figured it couldn't hurt. However,ammonia removing products I am avoiding, because as was said before, that can only delay this whole process right now.
1077 and I generally agree on almost everything, the exception being biological supplements. I would certainly use Stability in your situation. I have used it myself, and it is live bacteria and that cannot hurt. Some of these "supplements" are chemicals, I agree not to use them. But I believe Stability is OK.

Prime is detoxifying the ammonia by changing it to ammonium which is harmless to fish, that is why the fish appear fine. Test kits read ammonia and ammonium as the same, so the high ammonia number indicates obviously this is ammonium. The fish will be fine. But the source of the ammonia is still an issue, however, if you continue your present method of pwc with Prime and Stability I would expect the nitrification cycle to re-establish itself. The nitrosomonas bacteria use ammonia and ammonium so no issue there.

On the pwc, it may not need to be so often, given that the "ammonia" is actually ammonium which is harmless to the fish. Monitor the fish's behaviour; any sign of gasping at the surface means ammonia (in this case the most likely reason) and a pwc will help if that occurs.

Byron.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:31 PM   #34
 
Thanks Byron for the shoutout on the biological supplements. :)

I was thinking that daily water changes wouldn't be helping if I'm trying to reestablish my bio filter, so I'm glad you chimed in about that as well.

Thanks everyone for the all of the help you have provided me! I truly appreciate it :)
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:52 PM   #35
 
Well, its been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. I've only done 1 water change since then, of ~20%. This was done with a nice cleaning of the gravel. I didn't want to do more because I wanted my bio filter back!! I used Prime at full tank strength to remove chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia from the new water.

I've been doing my daily regiment of Seachem's Stability product. I've been feeding them every 3 days, and sparsely. If there was anything wasted out of these feedings, both myself and the fish missed it. Besides Prime and Stability, I have used no other chemicals in my tank.

My readings right now:

Ammonia - 4
Nitrites - .25
Nitrates - 0

So I don't know if the biological supplement is really helping me or not; in two weeks I would think that it would have done a bit more than that if the Stability was really helping at all. This seems to me just a normal cycling.

My fish still aren't exhibiting signs of stress or ammonia poisoning, so I can be grateful that they are being such troopers! Especially for dwarf gouramis which in the past have not been quite as hardy for me.

So, it looks like now all I can really do it wait for the cycle to occur! At least NOW I have some proof that its planning on doing it at all! (again... haha)
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:07 PM   #36
 
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Do daily water changes of 20% until your ammonia levels drop considerably.
Don't feed the fish more than once a day - even then a small amount.
Have a fast day for your fish. I fast my fish every wednesday.
Make sure you vacuum the gravel thouroughly at every water change.
See what your levels are after a week...?

BTW - i'm unclear as to why your nitrites and nitrates levels are at '0'. Nitrites at least should have peeked by now but you;ve added some chemicals to control the ammonia so that may be the problem there...?
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:42 PM   #37
 
Even when I was doing the daily water changes, I had no change in ammonia levels.

And I always only feed my fish once a day unless a problem like this occurs - thus why I am now on every 3 days.

If you read my last post my nitrites are now starting up, they are at .25 now instead of 0. I only ever added Ammonia clear the 3rd day I had the huge spike because I was worried that an amount that big would severally stress them out or outright kill them. That was about 3 weeks ago. Now the only chemicals I am using are Prime and Stability.

And I never, ever do a water change without doing a sweep with the vacuum. It makes absolutely no sense to me why I would go through the trouble and not just do that little thing while I'm in there! And I have lifted every single ornament in my tank to ensure nothing was hiding out in there.

And my tank already cycled once, yes. I don't know what happened to kill my bacteria.

At the time of my posting on 11/14, the very first post, I had already been doing daily PWCs of 20% and that did not help me at all - my levels from 3 weeks ago to now of ammonia have remained at a constant 4.0. The only change is now that I've STOPPED doing the PWCs I've finally got a cycle going again, it seems, as evidenced the presence of nitrites. So I think nfored was right when they said the water changes were just slowing me down.

Last edited by mikaboshi; 11-25-2009 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:34 PM   #38
 
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There is something here but I can't deduce what it is. An ammonia reading of 4 is very high and at a pH of 7.6 the fish would be dead. Fortunately you are using ammonia detoxifying water conditioners so that means the ammonia is actually ammonium (that's how Prime detoxifies ammonia) which is harmless. But the nitrite stage will not be harmless, and a daily 50% water change will be mandatory if the nitrite rises.

I went back and you state that the tap water has zero ammonia--you are certain? It has to come from something. And I don't think the tank is overstocked with the 4 fish you mention.

I'm at a loss.

B.
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Old 11-26-2009, 01:43 PM   #39
 
Yes, I've tested the tap water for ammonia. Twice before, and I actually just went and tested it now as well. It is at zero - a solid golden yellow. I also emailed my city's water department, and the only additives they use are chlorine and fluoride, no chloramine even.

I retested the tap water also so Nitrites and Nitrates - both also zero.

Just did another test on the tank as well to cure my own curiosity on where those levels are at:

Ammonia - 6.0 (!!)
Nitrites - .50
Nitrates - 0

So both my ammonia and Nitrites are now higher from yesterday!

I'm at a loss as well - never have I had this issue in the past!!
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Old 11-26-2009, 01:54 PM   #40
 
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Originally Posted by mikaboshi View Post
Yes, I've tested the tap water for ammonia. Twice before, and I actually just went and tested it now as well. It is at zero - a solid golden yellow. I also emailed my city's water department, and the only additives they use are chlorine and fluoride, no chloramine even.

I retested the tap water also so Nitrites and Nitrates - both also zero.

Just did another test on the tank as well to cure my own curiosity on where those levels are at:

Ammonia - 6.0 (!!)
Nitrites - .50
Nitrates - 0

So both my ammonia and Nitrites are now higher from yesterday!

I'm at a loss as well - never have I had this issue in the past!!

"Golden yellow" is zero? Earlier you mentioned the API test kit; my API ammonia kit has zero as white which is clear, no colour in the tube at all. Golden yellow with my API kit would be extremely high ammonia. I can't explain that.

Monitor the fish behaviour; at any signs of stress, heavy respiration, gasping at the surface, do a 50% pwc. That's my best advice. And maybe get the store to test the tap water for ammonia.

B.
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