Need help with my ammonia levels. Please my fish are dying one by one - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Need help with my ammonia levels. Please my fish are dying one by one

I have a little 29 gal tank that i am getting started with. I put 3 mollies and 1 platy in to cycle it. I have had it for three weeks and after two weeks i had zero ammonia zero nitrites and maybe 5-10 ppm nitrate. Doing good so i thought. My local pet store has a guy who works in the aquatic dept who seems to know what he is talking about and he said that i should be cycled with the water specs i described above. Just to be sure the next fish i added were some more mollies and platys and three guppies for a total of ten fish. The next two days i completed another water change. The next day i checked my water and my ammonia was at maybe three to four!!!! I immediately did another water change and added some ammonia reducer. 24 hours later i checked and my ammonia was still high again. I noticed some white algae looking stuff on the bottom and soon realized it was the pellets i was feeding them and they werent eating any. Today i did a 45% water change and netted most of the food out added some more ammonia reducer "Cycle" and did the 5X the dose recommended for emergencies. 1hr later ammonia is still at two. Help me please......
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 09:43 PM
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Do you have a gravel vacuum?
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-21-2011, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwoten View Post
I have a little 29 gal tank that i am getting started with. I put 3 mollies and 1 platy in to cycle it. I have had it for three weeks and after two weeks i had zero ammonia zero nitrites and maybe 5-10 ppm nitrate. Doing good so i thought. My local pet store has a guy who works in the aquatic dept who seems to know what he is talking about and he said that i should be cycled with the water specs i described above. Just to be sure the next fish i added were some more mollies and platys and three guppies for a total of ten fish. The next two days i completed another water change. The next day i checked my water and my ammonia was at maybe three to four!!!! I immediately did another water change and added some ammonia reducer. 24 hours later i checked and my ammonia was still high again. I noticed some white algae looking stuff on the bottom and soon realized it was the pellets i was feeding them and they werent eating any. Today i did a 45% water change and netted most of the food out added some more ammonia reducer "Cycle" and did the 5X the dose recommended for emergencies. 1hr later ammonia is still at two. Help me please......
Hello and welcome to TFK First with the ammonia reducer what product are you using? These products will take ammonia and converts it into ammonium, which in this form is not harmful to fish. These products usually work in the water for a couple of days, someone else may have a better idea about how many hours. Most test kits will test for both ammmonia and ammonium and will not distinguish between the two. Also what type of test kit are you using to find out the parameters on your water? How often are you feeding the fish that are in your tank? When feeding fish they should only be fed once a day, and only the amount that they can eat within a couple of minutes. It is better to put too little food in and add a little more if don't feel that it is enough than to overfeed, which as you can see is now causing issues with your water. Also as layden has asked do you have a gravel vacuum? This is an essential item for any tank and when you carry out your weekly water changes the gravel in your tank should be vacuumed. In my tanks which I do not have live plants in the substrate I make sure that I throughly vacuum the gravel, in my tank that has plants in the substrate I still vacuum the clear spots of gravel but do not bother the areas in which my plant roots are. Also when adding additional fish to an aquarium I would usually add no more than 2 or 3 at a time unless I am adding a shoaling speices such as tetras, barbs, corys and others that need to be in groups. When adding these type of fish I would add the recommended group, just for example if I was adding neon tetras to my setup I would add the entire group of 6, or how many I was going to be doing for the group. With livebearers you do not need to add them in as large of a group, I would only make sure that I kept my ratio of females to males 2:1 which is recommended and even better 3:1. Another thing to keep in mind livebearers do produce quite a bit of a bioload, it is not unusal for me to see at least one or more of my platys in the process of pooping any given time that I may look at the tank.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 03:39 PM
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im guessing the tank is just getting into its cycle, not that its done with its cycle. some horrific things happen to the tanks chemistry during the cycle, most notably really high ammonia levels. At two weeks, I think the cycle is just beginning. The ammonia needs to build some for the beneficial bacteria colonies to develop to consume it, and thats likely all it is, IMHO.

keep the water changes coming as often as you need to, with a quick vacuum of the gravel too to keep that gunk out. itll be a hairy ride but itll smooth out in time :)

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 05:38 PM
The cycling process can take 6-8 weeks. If you are not too set against real plants in an aquarium, even adding a couple of floating plants will help with the water parameters, making it safer for your fish sooner. Anytime that you add new fish, the tank needs time to adjust to the extra bio load.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-25-2011, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate everyones advice. I do have a gravel vac. My local fish store reccommended doing the emergency treatment with Prime to reduce the amonia level. I am not sure if it worked because I was unaware that amonia and amonium can both show up when using the test.Does anyone know if there is a test kit that will tell both levels?? I just did another 50% water change. Products I am using are Nutrafin Cycle (Bacteria additive) Nutrafin Aqua Plus for conditioner, the two bottle liquid test kit and the 5 in 1 test strips. When I use the gravel vac, I was told not to go deep into the gravel so I do not disturb the good bacteria, is this true?? Thanks !
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-25-2011, 08:42 AM
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The trick to vacuuming the gravel, unless things have changed in the last couple years, is do try to get all the gunk out of the gravel, but only in 1 section.

for instance, you would vacuum all of the surface of the gravel, then actually get into the gravel for maybe 1/3 of the tank. next time, the next 1/3. And no, vacuuming wont really disturb the bacteria too much, provided you dont go nuts with it.

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post #8 of 8 Old 08-25-2011, 02:04 PM
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I generally do half one week and the other half 2 weeks later. Do it throughly but dont touch the other side at all, even the surface unless there is something obvious there like a plant leaf.

I dont see any problem with Beetlebz's method either though.
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