8 PPM Ammonia reading - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-16-2018, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question 8 PPM Ammonia reading

Hey guys, my 20 gallon freshwater fishtank is about a month old. I've been trying to cycle it and do regular water changes, but the ammonia test keeps showing higher ammonia readings. 3 days ago it read about 4 ppm so I did a 50% water change, and now it is reading upwards of 8 ppm. My fish haven't shown any behavioral changes and they seem fine. I have 6 plants that are also doing fine. I'm wondering if the reading could be incorrect.

For reference, I have Mollies, Corycats, and snails. All other readings are perfect, and my tap water does not show any ammonia. Should I just keep doing water changes or should I just try to let the tank cycle? Thanks!

Last edited by rboeger93; 10-16-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-20-2018, 01:21 PM
Hi! I think I might know the answer since I experienced it myself.

My first thought is that you might be over feeding them.

I did this too but did not realize the consequences of doing that.

I know all the sites and recommendations that are out there say
1 only feed as much as their eye is big
2 feed only as much as the can eat in 2 minutes

Well. My fish is a total glutton! I read somewhere that they are opportunists and that's probably true.

On the outside is sound like no biggie, right? That's what I thought too.

As it turns out your bio filter grows bacteria that can break down the waste matter and then everything is just fine.

But if you overstock your tank or overfeed your fish, the good bacteria can't take care of it and that's why there is too much amonia for a.healthey environment.

I also learned that when you do your partial water changes, use a gravel vac while taking out the prescribed amount of water.

So here is it summed up.

Be careful not to overstock your tank. It should be 1inch of fish to 1gal of water.

Be careful to not over feed. I hear they can go 3 or so days without eating. I know you want to make sure they have enough because I did it too. Just resist it!

Item last. When you do partial water changes, do it with a gravel vac (super cheap at Walmart, less than $10)

I hope I was able to help you!
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-24-2018, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice!

My first thought was also food, so I've been giving them less food lately. Maybe enough they they finish it in 1.5 - 2 minutes. I haven't noticed any change though. I've been doing daily 25% water changes to try to get the ammonia down, but it just about stays the same.

I think ultimately the problem is that I added too many fish too quickly. This was my first tank and I didn't do enough research and the pet store didn't really warn me.

I'm going to keep doing daily water changes until I see some improvement, unless you think it will be detrimental to cycling the tank. The fish seem to be doing ok anyway.

Edit: forgot to mention I vacuum the gravel whenever I do a water change.

Last edited by rboeger93; 10-24-2018 at 06:08 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-25-2018, 03:33 PM
Are you using an dechlors or ammonia locks like Prime?

Could be the ammonia is all locked up.

At anyrate I would try the seachem ammodot or the multitest ammonia test kit. The dot only registers the danger free ammonia and the test kit measures total ammonia and free ammonia.

Most test kits like the api test kit measure the total ammonia and cannot differentiate between total and the dangerous free ammonia. One danger of things like prime is you test ammonia, dose and test ammonia and repeat. The danger is that prime and ammonia locks do lock up the free ammonia but also reduce the oxygen. And possibly suffocate the livestock with the same symptoms as ammonia poisoning.

If the ammonia is all locked up the thing to do is basically nothing by stopping the prime dosing and the ammonia will then come down.

my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-27-2018, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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I only use an aqueon water conditioner when I put new water into the aquarium. I haven't used any ammonia neutralizers because I've heard they can mess up the cycling process. I'm thinking it must be non dangerous ammonia because I use the API test kit. I will try the dot and see what it shows.

If I do have non dangerous ammonia, is that ok to just leave in the water? Will it eventually get cycled out?

Thank you for the help.
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