high ammonia levels - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-28-2007, 05:09 AM

You have received tons of good information in this thread but

1) Yes:
The high ammonia concentration is due to the lack of adequate biological filtration.
Underground filters are difficult to cause to function properly and
are typically utilized to maintain tank temperatures in the substrate for plant growth.
As Tracy partially indicated you may now have decaying matter in the UGF which is partially causing the high ammonia concentration.
I have a wet/dry system, am not familiar with cannister or HOB filters and therefore cannot recommend a filter for adequate filtration.

2) Water Changes
You indicated that you had not performed a water change.
Typically during cycling a 25% weekly WC IMHO would be appropriate based on the fish in and volume of your tank.
Refer to 3) for WC recommendations.

3) High Ammonia Concentration
As previously set forth fish will not adapt to a high ammonia concentration.
In the worst condition they will die.
In the best condition they will suffer permanent gill damage as well as damage to internal organs.
IMHO I would perform a 50% water change today and a 50% water change on Tuesday: then return to a typical tank cycling* subsequent to installing adequate biological and mechanical filtration (hopefully tomorrow).

4) Nitrates
Previously set forth in this thread was the concept that fish will become accustomed to high nitrate concentrations.
IMHO this is incorrect.
Nitrate concentrations should be maintained at 20 and preferably 15 or less.


*Please search this forum for utilizing media, gravel, etc. which is currently in a cycled tank in order to accelerate the cycling process in your tank.
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post #12 of 30 Old 01-29-2007, 10:01 AM
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My angelfish is in 8.2 pH and he has been doing really well for a long time. Discus are more sensitive though, they need exact water conditions, I would take them back. I'm sorry about the bad news--it's a shame what people at pet stores will tell you to make a sale, better luck in the future.
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post #13 of 30 Old 01-29-2007, 03:19 PM
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I'm in some disagreement with the previous statement on nitrates. I've seen fish adapted to extraordinarily high nitrate concentrations (180ppm +) in someone else's tank. The fish all appeared healthy that had lived in the tank for a long period of time but any new fish that were added quickly died. Since I couldn't immediately figure out why that would be happening I took over my test kits and ran through everything. Everything was looking good except for the nitrates which were through the roof. Yet all the fish that had slowly grown accustomed to the escalating level of nitrate seemed unfazed by it. While I would always reccomend keeping nitrates low (my main tank is down to 5ppm) for a variety of reasons I'm rather confident that fish can indeed adapt to high nitrate levels if the change happens gradually over time.
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post #14 of 30 Old 01-31-2007, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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The discus are in a different tank, the water and everything is fine in that one. I cant take them back because they were ordered online and shipped to our house. So far hes healthy and swimming around the tank. The ammonia seems to be going down but very slowly. We plan on getting a power filter sometime this week. I used the power filter off the other tank for about a day and it cleared it up some..not much but some.

20 Gallon
1 Discus (blue diamond)
black marble angelfish
pictus catfish
dwarf african frog
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post #15 of 30 Old 01-31-2007, 12:47 PM
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You should always look into the requirements for a particular fish BEFORE you bring it home or have it shipped to you. Same with thinking about tank sizing. If you don't have the proper sized tank already you shouldn't buy a fish and then say oh well you'll get a bigger tank for it later. I'd like to get more discus too but I don't have the proper tank set up for additional fish yet...so I dont have them yet. You wouldn't see me tossing a discus in a bare 10 gallon tank and saying oh well I'm gonna get him a bigger tank later. You're asking for nothing but trouble with those discus in the tank you've described.
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post #16 of 30 Old 02-01-2007, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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The guy said the discus needed to be quarantined anyway for 2 weeks, hes an itty bitty only a baby.

20 Gallon
1 Discus (blue diamond)
black marble angelfish
pictus catfish
dwarf african frog
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post #17 of 30 Old 02-01-2007, 02:05 PM
i dont think you understand us. No matter what you do the discus will not be alright in either the 10 gallon quarantine or the 20 gallon. Im guessing BOTH tanks are uncycled which will kill the discus, and just because they are babies, doesnt mean they wont grow or doesnt mean they wont poop and create ammonia by waste. Another fact, discus are very very hard fish to keep and are deffinaltly not reccomended for the begginer. If you cant give back the discus, give him away to someone who can properly take care of them, even if they dont pay you. Either way you are going to have to lose the discus, whether it be inhumanly letting ammonia or nitrite or space needs kill it, or humanly give it away
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post #18 of 30 Old 02-01-2007, 02:57 PM
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The fact that its a baby is all the more reason that it won't make it. They are much more vulnerable to these sorts of things when young.
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-01-2007, 11:26 PM
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Hey everyone, Try being a bit more kind to people that want to keep fish and do good for the fish, but don't have all the money for big tanks and expensive filtration systems.

I acknowledge that small aquariums and lack of 'improper cycling' are a problem for those who are uninformed or mis-informed, but the glorious hobby of fishkeeping shouldn't be for just the 'well-off' or wealthy. Yes, fish do grow, but it does not happen overnight.

If the water is safe for the fish, don't worry about the tank size providing the FISH ARE THRIVING, the water perameters are safe, and the tank is not overpopulated. You can upgrade your tank system when you can afford to do so.

Personally, I have never fussed with PH levels and the majority of my fish have been long-lived, active, and have grown well.

Let's not give the impression that unless you have a tank that is 55+ gallons you cannot have anything but danios, guppies & tetras.

You know what the definition of hobby is: something of interest that is going to cost you lots of money!
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post #20 of 30 Old 02-02-2007, 01:13 AM
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I am speaking directly on discus. Discus will never thrive in a 10 gallon tank and they are extremely sensitive to pH, gh, kH, and other water parameters. While a lot of fish can survive at less than ideal conditions there is a reason discus are only recommended for advanced fish keepers. While I agree that a 55 gallon tank is not necessary for everyone there are certain species of fish that cannot survive in small and or improperly maintained tanks. I agree that many different kinds of fish can be kept at "sub-optimal" conditions for a long period of time, discus in particular are relatively expensive to be losing due to poor care. Its not like losing a 2 dollar tetra after all.
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