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I have been running my tank for about 6 weeks and do weekly water changes of about 25%. My levels are the following using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit:
pH low: 7.6
pH high: 7.4
ammonia: 4.0 ppm
nitrite: 0 ppm
nitrate: 0 ppm

I have been changing the water of about 25% for the last 3 days to try and get the ammonia down, but it will not go below 4.0 ppm. It is at 4.0 even when I check it directly after the water change. I checked the straight tap water and it is .50 ppm. I add the API stress coat with every change. I have not added any additional fish to the tank.

What can I do lower the ammonia levels? I would prefer to do it without chemical but I'm open to suggestions. I have listed my tank specs below.

Type: Freshwater
Substrate: Gravel
Size: 50 Gallons
Inhabitants:
6 - Glofish Tetra
1 - Blue Gourami
1 - Bristlenose Pleco
Filtration: Tetra FS 30-60 Power Filtration System and Tetra Whisper 10i Internal Power Filter
Lighting: Marineland LED Aquarium Light with night light effect
Temperature: 78 F
Décor: Anacharis Plants, Anubias Plants, Driftwood, and Marimo Moss Balls
Food: TetraMin Tropical Flakes and Omega One Veggie Rounds
 

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I would stop adding the stress coat or any other chemicals.

and stop adding food.

then see if the ammonia levels come down in a couple of days.

my .02
 

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How do I dechlorinate the tap water?
this is just a temporary 'fix'.

So stop doing water changes, just replace the water that evaporates.

I think you will find ammonia will drop down all the sudden.

then if you feel you absolutely must conduct water changes, resume with the dechlor.

But in the mean time stop adding food, stop doing water changes (just top off with untreated tap water), and stop adding the chemicals.

my .02
 

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You could do it that way as beaslbob(a little debatable how safe this way is.but it's working for him) The way I recommend dealing with it is daily water changes of 50% or even 80% till you're cycle is more on it's way .Then you can resume the 25% weekly changes once nitrAtes appear on your test and NitrItes are at 0(ammonia should be 0 by that point too). I find Seachem Prime to be a better water conditioner especially when cycling a new tank. And fast growing plants do help speed this process up.
 

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I agree - stop feeding.
 

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So how often should I be feeding them normally?
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Every tank's is different.

You should feed enough so you don't get cloudy water, algae, and so on.

In my planted tank I feed once every day or two. But in a tank where I get direct sunlight it's once every 3-4 days.

When I go on vacation for up to three weeks I just leave. The fish are still there, and the tank looks cleaner and the fish are glad to see me back. :lol:


my .02
 

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If you mean during the cycling process your safe to go a week or two before feeding to get the ammonia under control. After the cycle that's all up to you. Normally feed 1 time a day enough to begone in minutes .. But then I skip a weekend here and there or a week sometimes


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Do you test your water before or after your weekly water changes? I'm interested in the lack of a nitrate reading.... have you ever seen nitrites...? if so, give the nitrate test bottles a realllly really really good shake and retest....

How are the plants doing?


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And how are the fish acting?
 
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