10-13-2012, 11:28 AM
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Without knowing how many fish and which species, it is difficult to predict what to expect. But ammonia (and nitrite) above zero does affect all fish somewhat; depending upon the level and how long it lasts and the species, some fish will die within hours, some within days, some months down the road... . So the goal as mentioned is to keep ammonia and nitrite next to zero.
Daily water changes of half the tank should be done if either toxin is above zero. Use a conditioner than detoxifies ammonia and nitrite; I am aware of two that do, Seachem's Prime and Aquarium Solutions' Ultimate. These are effective for 24-48 hours according to the manufacturers, so they will handle the toxins immediately and the next day's water change will get rid of some of them, and this continues until both read zero.
Live plants, especially fast-growing ones like stem plants and particularly floating plants, work wonders because they assimilate a lot of ammonia as their source of nitrogen. And nitrite is n ot produced, as it is when nitrifying bacteria are the sole issue.