Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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namora 06-14-2009 06:37 PM

ammonia levels high
 
I have a two year old eclipse 6-gallon tank with a bio-wheel and filter. I clean the tank once every 2 weeks and feed my fish 3 flakes twice a day. i have two guppies and two snails and no live plants. i have a bunch of decorations and gravel and a heater.

i had a lot of guppies and neon tetras but they kept dieing, i thought it was just because of the new tank, but recently another fish died. i had been testing for ammonia and nitrites and the strips looked good.

the problem is despite using ammonia remover when adding new water, the ammonia is really high, and the testing strips don't accurately measure that.

discuss: any tips on getting rid of ammonia? any really good ways to test for it? does the bio-wheel really work? do guppies die easily?

Arkamaic 06-14-2009 06:52 PM

API makes a good test kit for ammonia. It's not in strip form but rather chemical form.

A rough rule for fish is 1" per gallon, so maybe earlier you were putting too many in there which was not good. Guppies are usually pretty hardy fish.

Usually water changes with ammonia free water will do the trick. TRy getting a better test kit and then see how it goes. You may have to get your water some other way.

The main Purpose of the Bio-Wheel is to be a "home" for the beneficial bacteria that your tank needs to function properly.

namora 06-14-2009 07:00 PM

i'll look into the API kit, thanks : )

I know about the 1" rule, so i dont think i had too many fish. 4 i think at most

what does the beneficial bacteria look like? i've been getting really gross looking black sludge around the wheel where the water goes into the tank... but i'm not sure if that's supposed to be there

Byron 06-14-2009 07:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by namora (Post 204687)
i'll look into the API kit, thanks : )

I know about the 1" rule, so i dont think i had too many fish. 4 i think at most

what does the beneficial bacteria look like? i've been getting really gross looking black sludge around the wheel where the water goes into the tank... but i'm not sure if that's supposed to be there


Four guppies or neons in a 6 gallon tank is not overcrowding. There is another source for the problem that we must find.

You mentioned that your ammonia and nitrite test strips looked good, but you also say the ammonia is high--what makes you think this? Which brand of water conditioner that detoxzifies ammonia are you using? As Arkamaic suggested, your tap water may contain ammonia. Unfortunately, some municipal water does have ammonia in it. Test a sample with your ammonia test kit to find out if that is your problem. If it is, you can treat the water with a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia when you do your partial water change every week.

A partial water change of minimum 25% of the tank volume should be done every week. That will keep the aquarium more stable with respect to the water quality, and your fish will thank you. When you say "clean the tank" every two weeks, does that include the filter? The filter should only be cleaned when it needs it, that is, when the particulate matter is enough to impeded the water flow through it, and then just rinse it in tank water. The beneficial bacteria colonize every part of the filter as well as everything in the tank, and you want to preserve them. If you are thoroughly cleaning the filter every two weeks and using tap water you are killing off a lot of bacteria, and in a smallish tank with no plants that will cause ammonia to increase. I don't think this is the entire problem, not with only four fish, but it is another part of what may be the problem.

I know flake food labels say to feed three or four times a day, but that is not necessary for adult fish; fry need more frequent feedings, but mature fish can manage quite well on one feeding a day or even less if need be. As long as you're not overfeeding, twice a day is OK.

Another thought, what is the water temperature? It should be around 77F for guppies and neons. If your heater is keeping the water too warm (say above 80F) that could be a part of the problem, or the heater may be malfunctioning.

You can't see any of the bacteria, they are microscopic. I suspect the "sludge' around the filter is algae. It is common in all tanks, and tends to accumulate at the filter outflow. You can simply clean it off with an aquarium scraper or sponge, or even a razor blade and paper towel, when you do the weekly water change.

API test kits are good; the best is the liquid test kit, and they have one that includes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH which is a good buy rather than buying them separately.

One of us will probably have more to offer when we have the above questions answered.

namora 06-14-2009 07:51 PM

i have api test strips, and they say to wait 60 seconds before reading. but the color didnt change and i thought the water was fine. when my fish was sick i tried to leave it out for longer (like 5 min) and noticed that the color does change at the bottom but it's hard to see. i had a in-water indicator for a while but it didnt seem to work. i'm going to get the liquid one and that should clear up confusion..

i clean the intake tube with a brush and change the filter cartilage, but i think the problem is that i used regular water to clean out the filter itself ._.''

i just lowered the heater setting to 77, but another problem is that on hot summer days the temperature goes up a lot. any way to cool the tank?

i dont want the algea in the water, but how do i get rid of it without using tap water?

Arkamaic 06-14-2009 08:48 PM

Sorry must have mis read, namora said a lot of guppies/tetras so I assumed, but incorrectly.

You could try turning on the AC in your house/apartment, turn on a fan and point it at the tank, opening the lid to on the hood helps well, but also causes water to evaporate quicker, especial with the high heat you spoke of. Others freeze some water in a bottle and place it in the tank. Just be sure and moniter the temperature of the tank doing this, as to not cool it too much.

namora 06-14-2009 08:54 PM

no problem. i meant a lot over a long period of time..

good ideas : )

thanks for the advice guys! it really helps. hopefully i can keep my fish alive for their predicted life time now ^_^''

i'm going to bed now, so feel free to comment, i'll read any tomorrow

Unrulyevil 06-14-2009 09:16 PM

you cant 100% get rid algae. it will always be there in one form or another. It's ok to clean your filter with tap water as long as you do not remove/clean bio wheel. Also.. ..do not turn off your filter .. it has to be on 24/7 ( Just saying)

Buy some "Cycle" and start adding it to your tank.

Lupin 06-15-2009 03:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arkamaic (Post 204685)
A rough rule for fish is 1" per gallon, so maybe earlier you were putting too many in there which was not good.

:question:

Inch per gallon rule is pure bunk. It may have served as a guideline for most beginners but this is easily misinterpreted and does not consider the size, temperament and many other variables of the fish. Imagine someone keeping a 10" oscar in a 10g tank because of this rule.:-?

The issue lies in this as Byron already pointed out correctly.
Quote:

I clean the tank once every 2 weeks and feed my fish 3 flakes twice a day.
Two weeks is too far. Consider that this tank is too small and ammonia is easily saturated (and not diluted by the limited space) especially when you feed your fish twice a day. IMO, change the diet routine to once a day and fast the fish once or twice a week and do water changes at least twice a week. With a 6g, the maintenance is not really too tedious.

Byron 06-15-2009 09:51 AM

Namora, others have added good advice that I won't repeat. But I have a question to follow up on the matter of the filter cleaning, as this concerns me. You say you replace the cartridge every two weeks; what exactly is in the cartridge?

On the sick fish, there is so far no indication that this was due to ammonia, although it is still a possibility. I want to get this resolved for you, as we all do; neons and guppies should live for years, not a few weeks or less.


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