I am writing in concern to the water quality of my tank, but first some info. I have a 27gal cube tank that has a Marineland bio-wheel 350 filter with heater set at a constant 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It is well decorated and has a 5inch stone bubbler. The inhabitants are: 3 Red Wag Platties, 3 LongFin Black Skirted Tetra, 2 Fancy Guppies (one baby) and 2 Cory Catfish. Their is ammonia in the tank that keeps returning. When there is ammonia present I add API Ammo Lock to clean it up. My question is, why does the ammonia keep returning? I have followed the rule of 1inch of fish per 1 gallon in tank. Also, every time i clean my tank thoroughly (usually once every 2 weeks) there is a white hazy cloud that fills the tank for days, and water clearifier doesn't seem to help. Could this be the tank cycling from the cleaning? I usually take out about 8 gallons of water with a gravel vacuum and wipe the glass down.
I hope you guys can follow what i wrote (kind of jumbled).
Let me know if you need more info.
Any help is appreciated,
Ammolock has been reported to give false positive ammonia readings depending on test kit used.
Water changes of 50 percent once each week or perhaps twice a week if tank has not cycled should be favored over product like ammolock in my opinion.
Feeding fish once a day or every other day can also help keep ammonia levels manageable.
Leaving filter material in filter till it literally begins to deteriorate, and only cleaning this material in old aquarium water will help preserve healthy biological filter.
PRIME would be the dechlorinator I would recommend for anyone looking for full function water conditioner.
As 1077 said, stop using the ammo lock.
The white cloud your seeing is potentially a beneficial bacteria bloom. What are you using to wipe the glass down with? I would suggest leaving the glass alone right now anyhow as that is where alot of the good bacteria are.
Also on a side note, Black skirts and Cory's both do better when there are 6+ together.
I'm thinking even more frequent water changes then what 1077 suggested however, perhaps 30-40% every other day maybe even daily.
Did you say you clean the tank thoroughly every few weeks? What do you mean by that?
I'm guessing you're losing beneficial bacteria every time you clean and your tank will never completely cycle this way.
What are you using to test your ammonina? Is ammonia present after you change the water, if using tap water have you tested your tap water to see if ammonia is present? I agree with more frequent water changes, especially if your tank has not cycled yet. The reading that you are getting after using the ammonia lock could actually be ammonium, which if you are using a liquid test kit for ammonia it may read both ammonia and ammonium NH3 and NH4+. As someone else mentioned the white cloudiness in the water possibly could be a bacterial bloom, using a clarifier will not help, this is something that will clear up on its own.
To Answer the Questions Above:
I am using the API liquid NH3 andNH4+ test kit. Ammonia is still present after a 25% water change with no ammonia coming from the tap. The current ammonia reading in my tank as of now is 4.0ppm. By clean "thoroughly" I mean I wipe the glass down with a papertowel when I seed excessive growth, take the plants out that have fish food and waste attached to it (black stuff), clean the suction cups on my heater, air pump and thermometer. When I add new water in I add in water conditioner by Aqueonn (not directly into tank). The tank has been running for about 2 months now with feedings taken place early more and at night, but now it's been once a night.
If I cut the feeding down to once every other day will the baby guppy survive? I stopped using Ammo Lock today to (as I am all out) and won't buy anymore. I plan I getting a different test kit that also shows Ph levels. For now I changed the filters and we will see what happens. So are water changes recommend or should I let the bacteria grow for awhile?
I will add a picture today of the current state of my tank under my aquarium tab.
Thank you for all the help guys much appreciated.
I think you are doing too much "cleaning." A partial water change regularly, usually about 30% or 40% once a week, should be adequate; vacuum the substrate at the same time, unless you have live plants rooted in the substrate, in which case leave it alone. Filter media should be rinsed (in a bucket of water from the tank) when it needs it, so the water keeps flowing easily. Don't replace media unless it no longer works, i.e., the water can get around it.
Stop using the clarifier. These chemicals work by binding together minuscule particulate matter into larger particles that can then (theoretically) be removed by the filter pad/media. But these chemicals also bind the gills of fish, which is highly stressful. And stress weakens the immune system, leaving the fish more vulnerable to other issues. Cloudy water is usually harmless to fish and it is better to clear it naturally.
You mentioned the ammonia isn't in the tap water; have you test tap water on its own for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Even though I suspect the ammonia is due to the rigorous cleaning, it is worth knowing this.
You said you wipe the glass down with a paper towel.. something tells me you're not simply using a dry paper towl to wipe the glass. Are you wiping glass on the inside of the tank?(DON'T)
You mention black stuff in your tank... thats probably Algae. Not a major concern at the moment but how much light is your tank getting? EIther froma bulb or the sun.
Argh !! why did you change your filter.. 1077 specifically mentioned to leave it in. You're disrupting the bacteria buildup process, getting rid of the only thing that will take care of the ammonia.
Bacteria grow primarly on the on the surface of objects such as , the glass, your filter, plants and other decorations.
Without any fish in the tank you can change significant portions of water (50%+ ) with no worries. With fish I wouldn't do more then 50% a day, and only that much in an emergency such as this.
You said your ammonia is 4ppm? How the ..... are your fish still alive in that? That really makes me question the accuracy of that test. Perhaps bring some water to your LFS and have them test it. Most will do it for free or if not, it should be a very small fee.
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I do question the accuracy of the tests too. I'm going to be purchasing a new test kit, any recommendations. Would like it to test ammonia and ph if possible, but nothing outragously expensive. In the mean time I will do 25% water changes, but should I leave the gravel alone? I heard a lot of beneficial bacteria growth is in the gravel.
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