Originally Posted by PeeG
I cycled the tank using gravel and a plant from a 1 gallon tank I had that was already cycled. I let the tank cycle for about 3 months occasionally supplementing with powdered flake food. My ammonia and nitrite were at 0 but I don't have a test for nitrates. I used to use Prime but I wanted to try another brand for a while.
I have pretty hard water but I'll adjust the pH and temp to be friendlier to more of the fish.
I am the only one who feeds the fish. I normally feed very small amounts about 5times a day, but with the ammonia problems I started feeding 1x/day.
The ammonia was was 8ppm at one point without any additives. I panicked and did a 50% wc and have been doing about 25% daily now. I'm using ammo lock to keep the ammonia as close to 0 as possible.
Is there any reason that maybe my biological filter failed and the tank is recycling?
Would not mess with the pH, You only have one fish (molly), that would not appreciate the pH you have,and raising it would make ammonia more toxic.( ammonia is less toxic at lower pH.)
Temp of 76 degrees F would suit all of the fish.
Using gravel and plant from already cycled tank was/is a good idea but...you would need to feed the tank each day with food or the bacteria would die off within a week, possibly less depending on food available.
If this was done, and fishes were added slowly ,two or three at a time with a week to ten days between new additions,then the bacteria could grow slowly along with the food available (fish food,fish poop).If too manyFish were added at once?, and too much food was offered,then ammonia levels along with nitrites would become problem.
Apparently it's just ammonia you are seeing elevated and as mentioned ,,it could be due to the ammonia reducing products Ammolock,zeolite, which work by rendering toxic ammonia to less harmful ammonium. Test kits often measure total ammonia whether it be toxic ammonia,or less toxic ammonium.
Do not use salt in the aquarium when using zeolite. Zeolite is recharged by soaking the product in brine solution which causes it to release what it has absorbed and is thus re-charged.Using salt could cause the product to release toxins (ammonia)back into the aquarium. Not sayin you are doing this ,just a warning.
I would feed as you have been once a day, and perform water changes using a water conditioner such as Prime when needed.
I can't say for sure that false readings are what you are seeing with regards to ammonia but it is what I suspect, for if ammonia levels are much above .50 for extended period,,fishes would begin dying and as mentioned,,some of the ammonia products can render false positive results.
Would help to know if you have nitrAtes(,perhaps fish store could test for these?) which would signal that bacteria are present and active.
I'm not a fan of ammolock or zeolite and prefer to do larger water changes more frequently using Prime. The less product's in the aquarium,,the better to me.
Some water conditioners work better than other's and some are very good at clogging or gumming up filters, and possibly hampering the fishes respiration by interfering with gill function.
Prime and Water changes are all that is needed to maintain your tank.