08-15-2011, 06:18 AM
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High nitrogen, zero nitrites in established tank
I have a 16G tank with two tiger barbs, two 2" clown loaches (they tend to hang out with the barbs), a siamese flying fox about 2", and a paradise fish. Total fish length about 13", so I figure it's not overstocked. I also have five plants and it's lit with an 11W light. (It's in a bright spot although not in direct sunlight)
I've been struggling to keep ammonia levels in this tank under control for the last few months. Nitrite is always zero, but ammonia measured with two different kits reaches 4-8 a few days after a water change. I've tried (at different times) swapping fish between this tank and my 35G one, 60% water changes twice a week, dried bacteria, zeolite, ammo-lock and using water from my established tank for water changes. I hoped that would bring a lot of bacteria along with it. I never disturb the ceramic bio noodles in the filter, although I do rinse out the synthetic wool used for mechanical filtration - it collects a lot of algae. I've read that high levels of ammonia will kill the nitrosonomas bacteria. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation, and know what level of ammonia I have to stay below in order to get the cycle re-established?