Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Ammonia Level (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/ammonia-level-62624/)

Kelli Morton 02-13-2011 04:22 PM

Ammonia Level
 
Hi, I'm VERY new here (just signed up today) and have a question. First, let me give a little background. we have a fairly new (set up around Jan 20th) 36 gallon Aqueon Aquarium. It's mainly for educational purposes (we homeschool our special needs son) as well as for relaxation We had one several years ago and after enjoying it for many years, we took it down after my husbands Pacu's ate every other fish in the tank (thanks Walmart for the wrong information) but here we are again The tank we had before we already established when we got it (the people gave it to us completely set up with fish and plants still in it!) so I'm not sure how all this works. We set up our tank, let it run 24 hours after adding the chemicals (Start Right, Aquarium Salt, and Easy Balance) then added our 2 live plants. Called PetSmart the next day and they said it was safe to now add fish. We have river rocks, purchased at Lowes and sifted all the sand out then washed with a mild bleach solution and rinsed 5 times and dried well before we added them into the tank (per the PetSmart person's advice). So we went and bought fish. We got 3 sunburst mollies, 3 orange platys and a pleco and 2 african dwarf frogs, a male betta and a ghost cat. Came home, put the bags in the tank for 20 minutes, then netted them out of the bags and into the tank. They did great! We realized they had forgotten to give us two fish we asked for (dalmatian mollies) so we went back on Sunday to get those two. While there the girl said it was safe to add a few more as well if the others were okay, so we got 3 guppies and a blue mystery snail and a black mystery snail. She also said we needed to add another ghost cat because they preferred to be in small groups, so we got one of those. Came home, did the same with acclimating them, then turned them out. We came home to find one of the ghost cats had died while we were away from home for a couple of days, his tail was stuck in the filter bottom. Then later in the day we found one of our frogs had died. Then the next morning the other frog got his foot stuck in the filter inlet at the bottom and when we got it loose, he died shortly after. So far, that's our only losses. The other fish seem happy. My husband got a refund for the fish we lost, and while there the girl looked at the receipt and told us "you should NEVER add that many fish at one time!" To which he responded "the girl kept telling us we should add more!" So anyways, long story short, she checked our water and said everything was great, other than an ammonia spike, which was making our water slightly cloudy and apparently killed the fish and first frog (???). She said to do a 25% water change and add the weekly chemicals as well as another teaspoonful of aquarium salt. We decided we also needed a test kit (which they DID NOT tell us we should get, but we had with the other one), to keep check on the levels. So, on January 31st is when we started doing the 25% water changes daily....the ammonia level is STILL too high, even though we are not overfeeding (we only do two small ground up pinches of food two times per day and an algae tablet for the algae eater and snails who at this point do have a little bit of algae growing in the tank as well). I should also add that we discovered this morning that one of our mollies gave birth to some sweet little fry and they are hiding out under the river rocks and in the plants. Everything else in the tank looks good, we just can't get the ammonia level to drop. (the tank was not properly cycled to begin with, please, please don't yell at me about it, I posted in another forum on another site a short while back and everyone there proceeded to tell me what a horrible person I was for not cycling the tank, that I needed to immediately return all the living fish, and that I should have known better than to listen to the girl at PetSmart)....any advice for keeping things going well in our little fish community would be great! The girl at PetSmart also said not to add any of the chemicals they have to lower the ammonia level, but I'm telling ya, we're gonna have to do something. I believe we've already went through the "bloom" that I've heard spoken of, because for about 2 weeks after the tank was set up the water was cloudy with little particles in it, after a few days the water cleared right up) We have a total of 12 fish, at this point, and that's all we are planning to buy (we are hoping at least some of the fry survive, but figured we'd do a survival of the fittest kinda thing with them since we only have the one tank) We got this tank for my 9 year old son who has multiple serious progressive special needs as well as a neuromuscular disease, so it's just a hobby tank for us all to enjoy when he spends most of his time either on the sofa or in the bed due to the disease. Thanks so much for any help.

Kelli Morton

jeaninel 02-13-2011 06:50 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Have you read up on the nitrogen cycle of aquariums? You are going through what every new aquarist goes through when they first set up a tank...the trials and tribulations of cycling their new tank. Cycling a new tank can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. The best (and only way IMO) to keep ammonia and nitrites in check is through partial water changes which may need to be done on a daily basis until the tank is completely cycled. Once the tank is cycled and you have steady readings of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and some reading (preferably kept below 20 ppm) for nitrAtes then weekly partial water changes are all thats needed. So, it is good that you purchased a test kit (hopefully a liquid test kit, not the dip strips which are junk). This is an essential tool in determining where you are in the cycle. You'll need to test your water daily. If you have ammonia or nitrite levels .25 or higher do a water change of about 25-50% depending on how high the reading is. Feed lightly only once per day.

Also, stop using the salt. You don't need it. It's a waste of money. Salt is ok for treating certain ailments/diseases but other than that, you don't need it and it could be even be harmful to certain fish who are more sensitive to salt than others.

Post back here with your readings for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and Ph and any questions you may have. We are here to help, not to judge. We all went through the same thing when we first began keeping fish. Good luck!

Here's a link to get you started. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

leogtr 02-13-2011 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelli Morton (Post 589367)
Hi, I'm VERY new here (just signed up today) and have a question. First, let me give a little background. we have a fairly new (set up around Jan 20th) 36 gallon Aqueon Aquarium. It's mainly for educational purposes (we homeschool our special needs son) as well as for relaxation We had one several years ago and after enjoying it for many years, we took it down after my husbands Pacu's ate every other fish in the tank (thanks Walmart for the wrong information) but here we are again The tank we had before we already established when we got it (the people gave it to us completely set up with fish and plants still in it!) so I'm not sure how all this works. We set up our tank, let it run 24 hours after adding the chemicals (Start Right, Aquarium Salt, and Easy Balance) then added our 2 live plants. Called PetSmart the next day and they said it was safe to now add fish. We have river rocks, purchased at Lowes and sifted all the sand out then washed with a mild bleach solution and rinsed 5 times and dried well before we added them into the tank (per the PetSmart person's advice). So we went and bought fish. We got 3 sunburst mollies, 3 orange platys and a pleco and 2 african dwarf frogs, a male betta and a ghost cat. Came home, put the bags in the tank for 20 minutes, then netted them out of the bags and into the tank. They did great! We realized they had forgotten to give us two fish we asked for (dalmatian mollies) so we went back on Sunday to get those two. While there the girl said it was safe to add a few more as well if the others were okay, so we got 3 guppies and a blue mystery snail and a black mystery snail. She also said we needed to add another ghost cat because they preferred to be in small groups, so we got one of those. Came home, did the same with acclimating them, then turned them out. We came home to find one of the ghost cats had died while we were away from home for a couple of days, his tail was stuck in the filter bottom. Then later in the day we found one of our frogs had died. Then the next morning the other frog got his foot stuck in the filter inlet at the bottom and when we got it loose, he died shortly after. So far, that's our only losses. The other fish seem happy. My husband got a refund for the fish we lost, and while there the girl looked at the receipt and told us "you should NEVER add that many fish at one time!" To which he responded "the girl kept telling us we should add more!" So anyways, long story short, she checked our water and said everything was great, other than an ammonia spike, which was making our water slightly cloudy and apparently killed the fish and first frog (???). She said to do a 25% water change and add the weekly chemicals as well as another teaspoonful of aquarium salt. We decided we also needed a test kit (which they DID NOT tell us we should get, but we had with the other one), to keep check on the levels. So, on January 31st is when we started doing the 25% water changes daily....the ammonia level is STILL too high, even though we are not overfeeding (we only do two small ground up pinches of food two times per day and an algae tablet for the algae eater and snails who at this point do have a little bit of algae growing in the tank as well). I should also add that we discovered this morning that one of our mollies gave birth to some sweet little fry and they are hiding out under the river rocks and in the plants. Everything else in the tank looks good, we just can't get the ammonia level to drop. (the tank was not properly cycled to begin with, please, please don't yell at me about it, I posted in another forum on another site a short while back and everyone there proceeded to tell me what a horrible person I was for not cycling the tank, that I needed to immediately return all the living fish, and that I should have known better than to listen to the girl at PetSmart)....any advice for keeping things going well in our little fish community would be great! The girl at PetSmart also said not to add any of the chemicals they have to lower the ammonia level, but I'm telling ya, we're gonna have to do something. I believe we've already went through the "bloom" that I've heard spoken of, because for about 2 weeks after the tank was set up the water was cloudy with little particles in it, after a few days the water cleared right up) We have a total of 12 fish, at this point, and that's all we are planning to buy (we are hoping at least some of the fry survive, but figured we'd do a survival of the fittest kinda thing with them since we only have the one tank) We got this tank for my 9 year old son who has multiple serious progressive special needs as well as a neuromuscular disease, so it's just a hobby tank for us all to enjoy when he spends most of his time either on the sofa or in the bed due to the disease. Thanks so much for any help.

Kelli Morton

hi there!!! welcome to the forums!!!!!



okay if your ammonia is rising above 0 just do a 50% water change daily. You also have to have a liquid master test kit to make sure the measurements are accurate. Dont use test strips those are horribly inaccurate and yeah dont use those. What kind of filter do you have? what about air stones do you have any of those?you should get some if you dont! do you know how the other person cycled the tank? how long ago? give us more info about your aquarium. do your fish require a heater? find out more information about your fish you really need to do that. Check out several profiles about each fish and make sure you know their specifications. here in this website we have the tropical fish profiles you can begin checking those out to see the profiles of each fish that you have. remember get a master test kit if you dont have one!! and the only thing that I can recommend is to do 50% water changes daily to keep the ammonia levels from rising. Now you know not to trust the petstore people for fish care!

your going to get all the help you need here and you will not be harrassed because you where misinformed. Alot of people here have been in the hobbie for years and take this hobbie very seriously but they do understand that when someones fish die it is not because one doesnt care or is neglectful.
If you joined our community its because you do want to know more and you do care about your little fishies!!

remember do those water changes. The best medicine that you can give your fish right now is water. Ammonia will harm and kill your fish no matter the amount.

If you have any questions dont hesitate to ask ANYTHING that you might have in mind just ask it can make a big difference to the health and well-being of your little fishies!!!!!

take care!! Im very glad that you joined our community and again welcome to the tropical fish keeping forums!!!!!!!!:wave:

here is a link to a very helpful guide that all beginners go through here:

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/


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