Nitrates and Ammonia levels rising- Help! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-20-2012, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrates and Ammonia levels rising- Help!

I set up my 25 gal tank 4 months ago. And until now, all of the nitrate and ammonia levels have stayed at 0.1 and 0 respectively.
We moved our tank into a different room 4 days ago, which meant that we had to drain about 75% of the water. We kept 10 gal of that water, and the rest is fresh.
A couple of things to note:

Before the move the tank contained:
2 Mollys
2 dwarf Gouramis
1 pleco

After the move we added:
6 zebra Danios
1 African dwarf frog
2 Platys

Heat of the tank is about 76 and I have a AquaClear mini filter.

I've lost 3 danios in the past 2 days....maybe they just aren't a good fit for the tank? Most of the fish are hanging around the top of the tank "gasping" today.
I understand that due to the increase of waste being created, this could be causing the levels to rise. Do I need to change 25% again?
Any suggestions appreciated.
Thanks!
ETA: My current Nitrate Levels are about 0.8 and Ammonia 0.1

Last edited by erikarae; 12-20-2012 at 11:10 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-20-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikarae View Post
I set up my 25 gal tank 4 months ago. And until now, all of the nitrate and ammonia levels have stayed at 0.1 and 0 respectively.
We moved our tank into a different room 4 days ago, which meant that we had to drain about 75% of the water. We kept 10 gal of that water, and the rest is fresh.
A couple of things to note:

Before the move the tank contained:
2 Mollys
2 dwarf Gouramis
1 pleco

After the move we added:
6 zebra Danios
1 African dwarf frog
2 Platys

Heat of the tank is about 76 and I have a AquaClear mini filter.

I've lost 3 danios in the past 2 days....maybe they just aren't a good fit for the tank? Most of the fish are hanging around the top of the tank "gasping" today.
I understand that due to the increase of waste being created, this could be causing the levels to rise. Do I need to change 25% again?
Any suggestions appreciated.
Thanks!
ETA: My current Nitrate Levels are about 0.8 and Ammonia 0.1
Well, you added a lot of fish after the move and that's the main culprit. Do a 50% water change right away. You might want to get an ammonia block product for the immediate conditions; however, live fast growing stem plants will help with the stability of your tank in the long run. Even with a well established tank, stocking additions need to be somewhat gradual as related to the size of the tank.

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-20-2012, 05:03 PM
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I agree the increase of new fish was part of the likely issue, and another could have been the move. Did you clean the filter at all when you moved it? Did you touch the substrate at all? These are two prime areas where the nitrification bacteria live, and if they were somehow disturbed (= killed) this could be the issue.

Nitrifying bacteria don't live in the water, so that is not an issue; but any significant change in GH and/or pH could also impact the fish.

The gasping at the surface is almost certainly poisoning, likely by ammonia. But chlorine could be in this too...did you remember to use a conditioner when the new water was added?

Which test kit are you using? The 0.1 and 0.8 nitrate numbers intrigue me...are these ppm? And ammonia at .1, is this really 0.1, or is it 1 ppm? Either way is trouble for the fish, but the latter especially so. A water change using a good conditioner to keep ammonia zero is advisable.

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 #4 of 6 Old 12-22-2012, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the helpful information. I did do about a 50% water change yesterday and added a PH balancer. Today the fish seem happy and no one else has died
Byron, I just have the nutrafin test kits- the ones where you add the drops, wait and then match the color of the water to the strip. I'm probably reading them totally wrong as far as numbers go. However, the ammonia was completely down today, and the nitrates, although not at a zero, were greatly reduced. So that's a good sign.
I picked up a gravel vacuum yesterday- cause I didn't know that sand needed to be vacuumed Did that. Also discovered that I'm not cleaning the filter as I need to be. I'll do that soon. Yep! I'm a total newbie at this!
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-22-2012, 07:36 AM
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You don't want to clean the filter at this point. You're starting to establish your bacterial colony and you will kill a lot of it off if you replace filter pads or clean out the filter. Byron was asking if you did that for clarification - not that you should have done it.

Only replace filter pads when they start to fall apart. If you need to rinse gunk off of the pads when you do your weekly water changes, swish the pads in the tank water that you have removed - don't wash or rinse in tap water.

Keep up with water changes and use a good conditioner like Seachem Prime when you replace the water. Good luck!
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-22-2012, 02:03 PM
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What exactly is this "pH balancer" you mentioned adding? And, what is the pH of your tank water, and of the tap water, so I can see any fluctuation which is or can be dangerous and stressful. When testing tap water, shake a jar of tap water briskly for a few minutes to outgas the CO2 before testing. No need for this with the tank water.

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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