Dead Fish - Ammonia levels won't go down - Bacteria Infection? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-15-2010, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Dead Fish - Ammonia levels won't go down - Bacteria Infection?

Hi all,
I'm having major problems with my tanks since 6-8 weeks ago I had a power failure and 2 of the tanks filters didn't come on automatically and not realising they sat for 3-4 days only until i noticed they were cloudy and my livebearers & other fish were not looking very happy. In discovering this I tested the water to find ammonia levels very high so did a 50% water and added ammo lock. Over a week to 2 week period of doing water changes from 25% to 75% I lost all but a few live bearing fish & a few others. I got advice from the fish shop that the ammonia had burnt the fish and had caused a bacterial infection through out the tanks. They advised me to competely empty them out and wash everything with 50% bleach mixed with 50% water and leave in the sun and start all over again using Start Smart Instant Cycle and then treat the tanks with API Furan and Melafix. It has been over 3-4 weeks since doing all of this and haven't had anymore fish deaths but my ammonia levels a still testing 8.0 Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is 0. I was using Ammo lock every 2nd day until 2 weeks ago along with Melafix daily and have been doing 25-50% water changes weekly. I decided to discontinue the ammo lock and melafix as I i've got to thinking maybe less is better with treating the fish. I've also used Stress zyme when doing water changes. Can anybody answer why the level won't go down. After doing a water change the levels go down but then rise again with in a couple of days. When the fish were sick they had white spots all over them, a white coating, tails were frayed , some swam at the top some sat on the bottom. My tanks were perfect before all of this and now I can't get it right. There has been no spikes in the Nitrite or Nitrate. Another thing i've noticed I can't seem to raise my PH levels which are around 6-6.2. Any suggests in what might be going on? Your advise would be much appreciated. Cheers

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-15-2010, 01:15 PM
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I've heard of Ammolock killing the bacteria filter in aquariums before. Since you have no nitrite or nitrate in your tank, there's evidence that you have no bacteria at all. I'm not sure if it's the Ammolock or residue bleach that is wiping out your bacteria. Either way, you need to start cycling over again.

This does NOT mean wash out your tank all over again. Rather, do another 50 -75% water change and add more safe start (I prefer the Tetra brand). Test your water daily. You may have to do partial water changes daily as well. If you can, get some gravel from an established tank, to help jump start the bacteria growth in your tank.

After your tank is cycled, the pH should settle and then you can work at raising it if you need to. I know that raising pH is pretty simple, but I'm not sure how to do it (I have the opposite problem, too high of a pH) because I've never needed to do it before.

Good luck!

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post #3 of 5 Old 10-15-2010, 01:41 PM
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Be careful as messing with the Ph with chemicals is not a good thing like PH up or PH down. You might want to consider fish that will adapt to your soft water when you get fish. I know that lowering Ph is easy as adding driftwood. You can look on-line to see what to do. I never trust the LFS people. They are out to sell you fish and suppies and do not know much about fish like people in this forum. I would never have used bleach and water for a tank. I heard of putting bleach and water in a bucket to clean shells and stuff and let it air dry for a few weeks outside. You can not use wood in bleach. Any bleach would have to be really diluted. I can't beleive someone told you to use bleach & water to clean your tank. It will kill any good bacteria or anything in your bio-filter and any small amount left will really do some damage to plants,fish, or any bio-filter that you have.Mixing different chemicals is not safe also. I use Cycle to start up new tanks. If you can clean out any bleach or what ever that may linger in your tank and maybe get new gravel or sand. I like pool filter sand. It's cheap at $12 for a 50lb bag and it's courser then play sand. If you have a friend that has a tank already set up using one of their filter pads in your filter can get the bio going also. Next time they change pads ask for one to help your tank along. I hope that you can get your tank up and running soon. Someone else here can help you here if you do not know what to do. Most replys are fast. Hang in there!
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-15-2010, 02:30 PM
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The pH should settle in time, but if it doesn't you can raise it by using aragonite. There are aragonite based substrates for sale in most pet shops. If the substrates don't appeal to you can can just put it in your filter instead.

Unfortunately you got bad advice... the bacteria that infect fish are almost always going to present in your water so taking the whole thing down is pointless, and much more work.

Medications and Ammo Lock can interfere with cycling, if you can, treat the fish in a separate tank so you can let this one do its thing. It's going to be very stressful to treat the fish in a cycling tank.

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post #5 of 5 Old 10-15-2010, 05:37 PM
I would suggest using Prime instead if you have it available over there. It sounds like your original cycle is totally dead so yeah you will have to start all over. Its that or you need to find some mature media.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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