Help! Algae AND Ammonia - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Help! Algae AND Ammonia



This stuff will NOT go away. At first, I was manually switching my lamp on and off but read that too much light and/or too little will allow algae to grow. I have it on a 12/12 on/off cycle. I dont know how many watts the bulb is. I am not over feeding, if anything, Im underfeeding. I also have a rediculous ammonia problem that refuses to go away. I've used ammo-lock and stress-zyme along with frequent water changes but the tests still show 4ppm. Im at a loss, please help
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 04:55 PM
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how long has the tank been set up? if its brand new, then it is starting its cycle and does not yet have the proper bacteria colonies to consume the ammonia and keep it at zero. A healthy, stable tank should have no detectable ammonia in it all the time. If the tank has been up and running for a while, then perhaps you did something to it recently which disturbed (disturbed = eliminated) the existing bacteria colonies, and so the tank will now need to re-cycle. Hopefully you don't have fish in there, but if you do (as suggested by the fact that you said you are feeding), then do very frequent water changes to keep the ammonia diluted for your fish's sake until the tank (re)cycles.

Can you give us some more information on your tank? Size, how long has it been running, filtration, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels (provide the actual numbers), etc...

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 05:11 PM
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12 hours light is a bit too many I would say for this tank, try bringing the lighting down to 10 hours. Also, take out all your plants and do a bleach dip (1 pt bleach 20 pts water) for about 2 minutes. Make sure to rinse them plenty in dechlorinated water afterwards! If your plants aren't being stifled by algae they will be able to grow more, and therefore take up more nutrients, which will mean the algae can't grow as much.

This is a balancing act- you want to make sure you have enough heat, light and nutrients for your plants, but not any excess for the algae. Do you add a liquid fertilizer? From what I saw the plants you have are rooted plants, so there's no need to dose with a liquid one. What you should have are fertilizer tabs to put in the gravel under your plants. This will help the plants grow, but again, not the algae.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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The tank has been running for about a month and a half now. For the first few weeks, my PH was running a bit high, which I believe is what killed off the bacteria. We had 4 fish in there that died pretty quickly, but one left that refuses to die. The tank itself is a 47 gallon, it has a bio wheel filter with 2 charcoal filters, nitrite and nitrate or nil but ammonia is off the charts (4ppm-ish). As for the light, ill knock it down 2 hours and see what happens. I was doing liquid fertilizer, but I will take your advice on the tabs instead.


How often should I add the stress-zyme. The salesperson told me to do it every day until ammonia went away, but this is the same person's advice that got me into the present situation.

Thank you both for your advice.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 10:44 PM
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well, the good news is that your tank is fairly new, so it is most likely in the beginning stage of its cycle. With a little patience (should be pretty soon, actually), the ammonia will no doubt begin to disappear. You'll then see a spike in nitrites (which is also very bad for fish, similar to ammonia) as the ammonia goes away, and finally the nitrites will go away as the nitrates begin to rise. Then you'll be in business and can go and get some more fish :)

As far as the stress-zyme, I used it for my freshwater tanks, but I only used it once a week for the first couple of months. I actually don't know whether or not adding it daily would be harmful, so hopefully someone else can chime in and let us both know. Until then, I don't think it would be a bad thing if you dropped back to adding it weekly, at least it will be easier on your wallet :)

Good luck, and keep us in the loop as your tank progresses!

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-17-2008, 11:21 PM
Using StressZyme will give you a false ammonia reading. When using StressZyme the ammonia is still present only in a not-toxic form. It will still read positive when testing.

The algae problem is more than like due to over feeding. The decaying food provides nutrients for the algae. You can use natural means to help rid the problem by using plants like elodea to compete with the algae for nutrients. Over feeding could also be contributing to the high ammonia readings.

Stop using the StressZyme altogether.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-18-2008, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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What about the Ammo-lock?
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-18-2008, 10:40 AM
The best thing one can do to help reduce the ammonia is water changes, good tank maintenance, and proper basic care. I do not like using chemicals at all in my tanks, unless absolutely necessary. I don't even use carbon in my filters. Balance must be achieved in the biotope without the use of gimmicks and chemicals. Filtration and maintenance are key in keeping a tank healthy.

The tank has a problem. Fix the cause, or problem, instead of treating the symptoms. Fix the problem and the symptoms go away. Don't fix the problem and you'll be fighting the symptoms forever. It may cost more initially, but you'll save money in the long run.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-18-2008, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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how long should I wait between bleach dips for the plants? I did one today and worked very well, but I think one or two more dips are required because it was so thick. I cant believe that there was green plant under that crust of algae.

Oh, and my fish is about to bite the dust, it seems to have an issue with its swim bladder. It will swim straight but when it "idles" it tilts off to one side.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-23-2008, 04:22 AM
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i would be leaving the light running for 8 hrs only
and adding
snails
siamese flying foxs
and either a pleco or bristle nose
they will help keep the algae at a bay
as for the ammonia i normally suggest a water change i would do at least 50%

2 community tanks
and 2 angel breeder tanks
plus 1 platty tank( my sons)
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