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6 Mollies, 12 Ghost Shrimp, 1 Bristlenose Pleco
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

About 4 months ago I decided to start a home freshwater aquarium or two for the first time. I went with a 29 gallon for a variety of fish and a 9 gallon for a Betta. I went with live plants in both tanks and a gravel substrate. The big tank got Mollies and ghost shrimp while the little tank just has the Betta in it. The little tank has been great except I had to transplant one of the plants as I think it was a little too sharp for the little guys fins.

The big tank however has been a bit of a hassle. I have one bristlenose pleco that's about an inch long and currently 6 adult mollies with 4 unexpected little ones plus about a dozen ghost shrimp. My issue seems to be I can't get the ammonia under control in the big tank. I have nitrates which are also showing as somewhat high, I do 20% water changes just about every other day and a 50% weekly. I've lost a few mollies along the way and when the tank first cycled I tried a few neon tetras who didn't manage to last the night. My plants also aren't doing great as they are yellowing.

I certainly want to keep expanding on my tank and hobby but I don't want to be host to the death box of ammonia water.

Some info:
I've been hitting the tank with Ammo lock every other day, I do condition my water as I change it.
My ammonia reading in my master kit is well.. dark green
My tap water Ph is around 7.6
My hardness is off the scale according to Petsmart but they advised "that's fine" ...doubtful
No nitrites present at all.
I've tried mixing in RO water but that lowers my PH too dramatically and may not be necessary for my tank, I'm not sure.

Any advice is welcome as I truly enjoy watching these guys and want them to be happy and healthy. I plan on starting a 55 gallon soon but want to get things under control first.

Thank you all!
 

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10g: 8 young golden Dalmatian mollies 1 neon tetra 2 nerite snails 10g: 2 nerites, soon molies fr t1
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My hardness is off the scale according to Petsmart but they advised "that's fine" ...doubtful
Petsmart is right.
.
My ammonia reading in my master kit is well.. dark green
How the * swearing noises * is anything alive in there.? My friend, you have a massive problem, but fortunately, one that’s not too hard to fix. How long has the tank been set up? 4 months? Did you add bacteria starter? It’s not the greatest, but it helps. How are your water changes? Filtration?
 

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6 Mollies, 12 Ghost Shrimp, 1 Bristlenose Pleco
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks for the reply!

The tank has been set up for 4 months, I've added a good bit of bacteria starter and add a little more with every water change. Specifically I use "Imagitarium biological booster"
My filter is an Aqueon quiet flow something or another that came with my tank (petco). Usually I try to change about 1-2 5 Gal buckets every two days and then three buckets worth on the weekends.
 

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50 gal w/ Spoiled Guppies , Mollies and 3 Bettas in private tanks
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Hello everyone!
Welcome to the fish keeping / parenting lifestyle and this group.

About 4 months ago I decided to start a home freshwater aquarium or two for the first time. I went with a 29 gallon for a variety of fish and a 9 gallon for a Betta. I went with live plants in both tanks and a gravel substrate. The big tank got Mollies and ghost shrimp while the little tank just has the Betta in it. The little tank has been great except I had to transplant one of the plants as I think it was a little too sharp for the little guys fins.
Gravel only substrate or a plant substrate under the gravel? Gravel alone is not a suitable substrate for live plants because it does not contain anything to help sustainable plant growth which could cause ammonia as they decompose. Any decomp in the tank could increase ammonia levels which is why it's important to prune / remove any dead plant detritus from aquariums asap.

The big tank however has been a bit of a hassle. I have one bristlenose pleco that's about an inch long and currently 6 adult mollies with 4 unexpected little ones plus about a dozen ghost shrimp. My issue seems to be I can't get the ammonia under control in the big tank. I have nitrates which are also showing as somewhat high, I do 20% water changes just about every other day and a 50% weekly. I've lost a few mollies along the way and when the tank first cycled I tried a few neon tetras who didn't manage to last the night. My plants also aren't doing great as they are yellowing.

I certainly want to keep expanding on my tank and hobby but I don't want to be host to the death box of ammonia water.
We would certainly like to help you and to see you continue to enjoy and be successful at fish keeping.
Some info:
I've been hitting the tank with Ammo lock every other day, I do condition my water as I change it.
My ammonia reading in my master kit is well.. dark green
My tap water Ph is around 7.6
My hardness is off the scale according to Petsmart but they advised "that's fine" ...doubtful
No nitrites present at all.
I've tried mixing in RO water but that lowers my PH too dramatically and may not be necessary for my tank, I'm not sure.

Any advice is welcome as I truly enjoy watching these guys and want them to be happy and healthy. I plan on starting a 55 gallon soon but want to get things under control first.

Thank you all!
Getting the ammonia under control in the big tank needs to be the priority. Ammo Lock or other ammonia neutralizers will temporarily reduce ammonia levels but it's not a permanent solution as whatever is causing the ammonia spikes is still in there and needs to be found / removed from the environment to get it under control. Also if you are doing water changes every other day you're not giving the good bacteria needed a chance to flourish and take care of the Ammonia / Nitrite and Nitrates themselves. as was suggested by @Death_by_Dinosaurs you should introduce some bacteria starter per directions (API Quick Start , Tetra Safe Start Plus or Seachem Stability) are products I've used when starting new tanks with great results.
The PH is good. As for the water hardness there are many ways to increase or decrease the hardness. We have 2 large pieces of Mopani wood in our 50 gallon community tank and 1 smaller piece of Mopani wood in each of our 2 betta tanks to help hardness levels stabilize. ]How To Soften Aquarium Water - 5 Safe & Effective Methods
I'm truly surprised that there are no nitrites present as ammonia causes nitrites and nitrates.
If you have the right filtration system it will eventually help balance everything as it completes a deeper cycle.
Good luck , best wishes , I hope this helps and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping.
 

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Ammo lick will lockup ammonia but it still tests positive with most test kits. Dark green almost black test results. use the seachem multitest for ammonia which measures both kinds of ammonia or even the ammo dot which is only sensitive to the dangerous ammonia. With the multitest kit only treat for the dangerous free ammonia.

IMHO your problems if not totally but at least mostly created by the ammonia treatment. Live plants will consume ammonia directly which means no ammonia lock is necessary. Plus the ammo locks are sulfide based chemicals that are dangerous to aquatic life. MDS even states to not dispose of them in rivers and streams. Sure in aquariums, they are supposed to dosed at low enough levels to prevent fish deaths. But the locks still consume oxygen and the locked ammonia still test positive on most all ammonia test kits. So you add more ammonia lock even though the dangerous free ammonia has already be locked and is safe. And so on until fish die.

Without the test kits and with thriving plants, I would recommend simply not adding more ammonia locks, suspend feeding for a few days, and wait for the ammonia to drop down. At that point you should have a nicely balanced out, healthy, thriving ecosystem which would be more or less self sustaining.

Still Just my .02
 

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ammonia lick should have been ammonia lock. LOL
 
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