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LyzzaRyzz 09-02-2012 02:04 AM

Sudden ammonia spike in established tank?
My fifty gallon has had a change of up to .50 in just about two days!
The first day, I did 40% w/c and te second day I did a 50% the next day.
Always use decholrinator, my water is soft, these are my fish as of right now are nine guppies, fry of all ages, five cherry barbs [more in qt to join them] nine pristella tetras five albino cories, four emerald , and three spotted cories. and a rubber nose pleco. Also six ghost shrimps and two apple snails.
I am aware of the guppies need for hard water, though mine are generations born locally, and have seemed to have no other signs of distress.

But what concerned me was that one of my male gups was sitting on the ground, which the males never do. Also along with three mothers, who are about to give birth, we're five about three month old fry, just sitting, and they are never just sitting!
I tested the water it was above .1, but not much. The next morning, I did the 40% w/c and tested it that might, and got about .25. So the next morning I did a 50% w/c and tested it later it was almost .50!!

I added the cories about a week and a half ago, but before that, I had added the none pristellas an the guppy adults at the same time, 18 fish [emergency] and there was no rise in ammonia, just cloudiness. I wouldn't think 12 cories would change te ammonia that much, or a week after introducing!

My tank has four or five big water sprite plants, "big mamas" I call em. I recently pruned them, and took all the babies off, could the loss of the growing baby plants take up that much ammonia? Do the big momma plants use up less ammonia that smaller plants?

The only thing I've done is put some more smaller plants in the tank, and I'll test in the morning and see if there's a change...

Anyone have any ideas??

3ndler3nvy 09-02-2012 02:45 AM

Have you tested your tap for ammonia? What kind of filtration do you have? Are you showing nitrite or nitrate? Mature filters should be able to process that amount of ammonia pretty quickly. I didn't notice if you stated how the tank has been running, has been going for a while?

AbbeysDad 09-02-2012 07:05 AM

You say it's an established tank so we'll presume it was cycled and has been running for at least 6 months. The only likely cause for an ammonia spike is either a sudden large increase in stock, large plant life removal, or a significant decrease in the (nitrosomonas) bacteria population.
It looks like your ammonia levels have increased proportionate to each water change so I also wonder if there's ammonia in the source water OR if there's some issue with your water conditioner, or the amount you're using, or the way you're adding it.
You don't mention your filter. Did you clean in conditioned tank water?

In this special case, more water changes seem to worsen the problem.
I'd suggest you:
1) test your source water.
2) use Prime as the conditioner (since it also detoxifies ammonia).
3) re-evaluate your water change process and how much and how you add conditioner.

VickiReneeBear2012 09-02-2012 09:35 AM

Strange as im

VickiReneeBear2012 09-02-2012 09:36 AM

strange as im having a similar problem... ive just posted a similar thread except my fish are scratching aswell.

LyzzaRyzz 09-02-2012 10:03 AM

My tanks been set up for about seen months. It was cycled, though when I added the cories, I got a bacterial bloom. I have tested the tap, and it shows no signs of ammonia, though I did remove a lot of water sprite recently.
I added some back in, and this morning my ammonia was nitrate and nitrite levels are zero and about three. No rises in that at all, just the ammonia.
Could it have been the water sprite? Would that affect my tank to hugely??

AbbeysDad 09-02-2012 10:28 AM

Ammonia becomes nitrites and nitrites become nitrates. With the exception of very heavily planted tanks with very little stock, nearly all tanks have some nitrates - some very high. It would seem your testing may not be accurate. Regent #2 of the API nitrate test is notorious for element separation resulting in inaccurate test results. Regent 2 needs to be shaken very well and even rapped on a table to ensure it's well mixed.

Perhaps your increase in ammonia is the removal of plants and the addition of stock, but this wouldn't really explain the jumps right after water changes - ?

3ndler3nvy 09-02-2012 10:40 AM

Do you have gravel or sand substrate? Is your tank underfiltered? That amount of ammonia should easily be dealt with within 24 hours if you have proper filtration.

I agree with nitrate bottle #2 on the API kit. I beat the tar out of mine :-)

LyzzaRyzz 09-02-2012 11:42 AM

My confusion..I thought nitrates was the middle one and nitrites was the one with two reagents? It's the two reagent one that is three and the blue one hat is's pretty much always been zero.

3ndler3nvy 09-02-2012 12:35 PM

Ammonia and nitrAte have 2 bottles, nitrIte has 1 bottle that has a blue liquid.

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