55 Gallon Help. Ammonia just will NOT go away
I need help guy's. Here's the back story.
About a month ago I bought a 55 gallon. I stupidly listened to my friend at the pet store and added 2 Gourami, 2 Silvertip Sharks, 2 Rainbow Sharks, and 2 silver dollars on day 1. (yes I know...It's been years since I've had a tank and I forgot all about cycling)
We started off with a UGF and Circulation pump. After the first week or so Ammonia levels started rising. Started water changing with with Aqueon Conditioner with no luck. I was told by the LFS (Petco...) that I needed to use a Powerhead as well to help filter. So I started running both filters and Ammonia kept rising. I consulted the LFS and they told me to change filter pads in the powerhead (Big mistake) so after 2 more pads, and water changes Ammonia is still up.
By week 3 I got it to .5 or so and it stayed stable there, but still no Nitrite or Nitrate spikes. Both at zero the whole time so I'm just assuming the tank has never cycled.
The last few days it has spiked to around 2ppm Ammonia, still 0 No2, No3. PH is 7.6 but we have very hard water here.
I went ahead and switched to Prime with my water changes, but over the last 2 days the levels have remained. I check levels before the changes/prime so try and avoid false results.
The fish are all fine, active, eating and very mobile so I'm really curious how much these levels are affecting them.
Either way, I need to get this figured out quick. I really have no desire to loose these expensive fish.
I also now realize don't listen to my friends, or Petco.....I have since been reading non stop everyday on every aspect of tanks, fish etc to get knowledge, but I'm unsure what to do in this instance.
My plan is to keep doing water changes with Prime, but I was hoping maybe to get some more insight.
Thanks and sorry for the long post.
Is your tank planted with plants by any chance? Now is a good time to consider getting some if not, as they can really help.
I should also note as I missed it, when the tank was doing good, before it took a fall again I added a Ghost knife and a dragon fish.
I also lost a silver tip tonight. He was a runt, seemed to be fine right up until now...ugh
EDIT: Derp, you need to look into some hard water plants for your tank to help along with getting that ammonia under control while the tank cycles. It gives your fish a better chance at surviving through this.
EDIT: You really need to sit down and look at what fish you have and determine what can live in Hard water and what cannot. Rehome/return what can't. Doing so will eliminate some of the load on the tank.
Our water is indeed hard. 8.0PH from the tap.
Edit: Any suggestions on plant types?
Edit: Supposedly all the info I read said all these types are ok in hardwater.
Another edit: How about Dwarf Sagittaria?
As for Hardwater plants, unfortunately I cannot suggest much as I'm more of a soft-water plant person (it is where my experience lies). There are a few people here who are good in this area though and hopefully they will stop by to advise you further.
Vallisneria is usually a hardwater plant, though I am unsure as to the specific type.
Also, I back up on what SF says. Not only are those fish being damaged by the ammonia (it burns their gills and damages their insides), they are cramped into a space not big enough for them. This causes a lot of stress on them and damages them both physically and psychologically.
Let's start from the beginning.
What type of gourami is this? There are many different species with different care requirements.
Silvertip sharks? Are these Bala sharks, ID sharks? Silvertip isn't very clear.
One rainbow shark is fine for your tank, but two will attempt to establish territory of which there is not enough room and will constantly fight. Even if you can't visibly see it these fish will release hormones into the tank that damages all the fish. You should remove one for the safety of all the fish.
2 silver dollars. I don't know much about this specific breed but I'm pretty sure they require schools, and get quite large. They are also herbivores and will eat most plants. It would be best to remove these fish so you can have live plants to help your ammonia problem.
Ghost knives also get pretty big, and they are quite sensitive. Same goes for the goby.
You're hurting these fish by keeping them, it would truthfully be best to return them until you have proper housing for them and your tank figured out. You're doing them no favors at the moment. I am sorry to be blunt but it must be said. They are being poisoned by their own waste while also being cramped in a too small tank. Removing these fish will lighten your bioload and make dealing with the ammonia much easier and a lot less fatal to your fish.
Return the majority of these fish IMO, and plant the tank. Returning the fish will lighten the amount of ammonia produced and make it much easier to properly cycle the tank. Add some plants, and do some research into hard water fish suitable for the tank you have right now. I'd be focusing on getting this tank in shape before moving on to a new one.
As to the tank equipment...UGF are generally regarded as not as good as HOB filters or canister filters. I've heard good things about Aqua Clear filters, and I currently have a thread up about canister filters.
I made plenty of mistakes with my fish tank, and a lot of others have too. It's nothing to be ashamed about, just something to learn from and make the best of.
I won't comment on the fish other than to say that they are being affected by the high ammonia whether you can see it or not. The only saving factor is that your water changes will keep the ammonia down, somewhat, but the prime is rendering the ammonia less toxic IF you are doing water changes and prime conditioning at least once every two days.
Best plant I found for fast growing is the dwarf hygrophila . I didn't see where your water parameters were posted so I don't know where the hardwater note came from... found it.
8dGH is barely hard, mine starts at 23dGH, that damn hard and off any testing scale for aquariums, and my plants (12 species) are doing well even in lower light. Check my aquarium details out, they are all listed there. I know Jen said Valls, which are a very good plant for hard water, they just don't grow fast and are not a great ammonia sink and I'm not sure that your water is really hard enough for those guys to thrive... maybe.
Plants and a 55 gallon... for them to be effective you would need a LOT of plants. I figured that 1 fast growing stem or reasonable sized floating plant for every gallon would look after a large chunk of ammonia but I would anticipate that you will still see a nitrite spike and you won't see any nitrates until after that.
Hmmm... I will comment on the fish after all.
"I really have no desire to loose these expensive fish."
Stop buying and start bringing them back. If your ONLY concern is the expense... wrong reason to be concerned. Buy some nice cheap fish instead so you can worry less about the money and more about the fish... better idea anyway as you would end up with some nice colourful schools with 15-20 fish per school (shoal). a 55 is large enough for three groups of 15 fish if they aren't too large, tetras, rasbora, barbs, corys.... all under $4 a fish too. Maybe a pair of gourami to top it off.
The last three posts have said it very well, and I fully concur. Most of the fish here are far too large for this tank, even now, and future plans can often change. Please return them; some stores will give a credit.
Then decide what sort of tank you want, and plan the fish. Live plants will basically avoid "cycling" and if the fish are plant-compatible this will be a major win for you. We have fish and plant profiles, second heading from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. Please research any planned fish, and feel free to ask questions. Among the members we have almost certainly maintained all of the fish in the profiles.
And lastly, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
Hi I am verry new to the fish world and leared alot latley. I had/still have a verry over corwded tank. After finding out that alll my fish were doomed I have three filters filtering 130 gallons per hour in a 10 gallon tank. When I tested my ammonia it was at a 8.0. I added 10 plants to the tank change the carbon bags in the filters once a week now and vaccumme the gravel twice a week. Waiting for the plants to take control a bit more but my ammonia level is at 0.0 as of now. also I htink the sharks you afre talking about are bala sharks.... They get really big and fast from what I have read and from thoes I have talked to. Hope that my mistakes can help you a bit. good luck and god speed
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