Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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friendlytank 01-11-2009 08:28 PM

Massive ammonia pls
Ok, so here I am...I just knew this wouldn't go as smoothly as the people at PetSmart/That Fish Place said it would :( I cycled my new 50 gallon tank for over a week, added everything they told me to..dechlor, stress zyme and salt and added 5 black skirt tetras. All was fine until the other day when I added to Gouramis. The lady at PetSmart said it would be fine. I've been very careful about feeding them, actually not even feeding them everyday and when I do, only a few flakes. Anyhow, I was told that I didn't have to test the water daily. Today I noticed the fish were extremely aggresive against one another so something told me to test the water and holy cow, I'm glad I did!! My ammonia levels are reading 8.0+ nitrites are 5.0 and nitrates are .25. I know there are a lot of people that come on here unexperienced, and to be quite honest, I feel like an idiot having to come here and air my dirty laundry to ask for help....but, I have no alternative on a Sunday night, I know you guys know what you're talking about and I really don't want to loose my fish :( Thanks in advance for your advice :)

Twistersmom 01-11-2009 10:20 PM

I would do a big water change, about 50%. Sometimes adding a little more salt can help lower the nitrites. Test your water daily. If levels are that high tomorrow, after doing a 50% water change today, do another. You may need to do daily water changes for a while to keep ammonia and nitrates in a safer level. If you can return the Gouramis, it might be a good idea, then add them later when your cycle has kicked in, zerro ammonia,zerro nitrites. Once your levels are lower try switching to 25% water changes instead of 50%. Good luck! Hope they all make it!

friendlytank 01-11-2009 11:53 PM

I did a 50% change tonight and things seem to be leveling out already. The nitrites are now 0, down from .25 (so it must have been on the low side) and the ammonia is down to 4.0. I just read a very interesting article about Prime causing false high readings for ammonia. I mean, if my ammonia really was 8.0 like it was reading, I think all my fish would be LONG gone. The ph isnt low enough to make the ammonia any safer. It's hovering around7.4-7.6.
Thanks for the advice.
I will see if I can give the gouramis back.
I will update in a couple of days. I am hopeful that another 50 % tomorrow will take me to 2.0 and so on...if it works that way, I should be ammonia free by Wednesday.
Keep your fingers crossed ;)
Thanks again!!

onefish2fish 01-12-2009 12:23 AM

you've stated that you cycled your tank for over a week in your first post, however generally speaking a cycle takes longer then a week to complete which sounds like your case.

i wouldnt keep doing 50% waterchanges as that alone can be stressful on the fish. i also would leave the pH right where it is as its not harmful and a stable pH is better then an unstable one.

WisFish 01-12-2009 07:39 AM

I agree that you don't want to over do the water changes. 20-30% daily or every other day might be better. I don't know if I'd return the fish at this point. I'm sure they are the ones producing the ammonia that's helping to cycle the tank. As the bio catches up, you should be able to stretch out the water changes until the tank is truely "cycled".

Twistersmom 01-12-2009 09:35 AM

Your ph is fine. In highly toxic levels of ammonia and nitrites, I still recommend 50% water changes, but as stated above, smaller water changes are more ideal.

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