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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 55 gallon which has had a 0 ammonia reading for over a week now after getting a mini cycle from adding a canister filter. I added a tiny albino bristlenose pleco (about 1.5") and a piece of driftwood. Tuesday I had a fish die out of nowhere. I did a water change and tested the water and I had a slight jump in ammonia to .25, which I assumed the water change would take care of. I tested the water yesterday a few hours after adding Flourish comprehensive and my ammonia was at 4! :shock: I started freaking out and immediately did a 70% water change and dosed an extra tiny bit of Prime to help neutralize any leftover ammonia. I tested the water again this morning and it's back at 4! I just did another 70% water change and now I'm just at a loss. All my other fish are acting normal. The only changes are the addition of this tiny pleco and the driftwood. The driftwood has been slowly lowering my ph, which I thought would be a good thing, but maybe it's killing my bacteria? I just honestly don't know what to do. I'm at my whits end with all the issues I've had with this tank. I cannot for the life of me figure out this ammonia. I've never had it like this. I have a planted tank with 12 plants planted and 5 floating. I use Prime for a conditioner. I use the API master liquid kit to test the water. There is no ammonia in my tap water. I've cleaned my canister. I've been vacuuming my sand every day. Any thoughts?

I've also got an ammonia alert tag for inside the tank coming today to help me determine if the ammonia is free or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WoW 4 ppm of ammonia is high!

What do you have in your tank decor wise? How old is your test kit?
I have a fake rock cave and a Colosseum with a bubbler from petsmart and a sunken ship from walmart. Other than that I just have a the driftwood and plants. I just got this test kit in August. I'm not sure if there's a date of manufacture or anything on it.
 

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Ok this tank is cycled right? If soo then if the ammonia isn't coming from the tap water it has to be coming from something entering the tank or something that is already there. If the tank is cycled it should be able to handle the ammonia from the fish especially with live plants. So with that thinking I am sure you don't add anything to the tank that has ammonia in it. So the only other thing I would think about is the decor you have in there. Not the driftwood unless its fake. If it was me I would be doing some process of elimination here. I would personally take out one of the decor first do a water change and wait to see if it raise or not. If it does then take the other one out and do the same thing. Make sure nothing is entering from the outside of the tank too. This is just my thoughts here and it maybe not be either things. But I would want to make sure it was me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How and when did you clean your canister?
Yesterday. I turn it off, disconnect the hoses. remove the lid and baskets, "shake" the filter pads off in the canister water and then replace the water in the canister with water from the tank, replace the baskets and hook everything back up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok this tank is cycled right? If soo then if the ammonia isn't coming from the tap water it has to be coming from something entering the tank or something that is already there. If the tank is cycled it should be able to handle the ammonia from the fish especially with live plants. So with that thinking I am sure you don't add anything to the tank that has ammonia in it. So the only other thing I would think about is the decor you have in there. Not the driftwood unless its fake. If it was me I would be doing some process of elimination here. I would personally take out one of the decor first do a water change and wait to see if it raise or not. If it does then take the other one out and do the same thing. Make sure nothing is entering from the outside of the tank too. This is just my thoughts here and it maybe not be either things. But I would want to make sure it was me.
Yes, it's cycled. I was worried that the Flourish was upping some form of ammonia for the plants, but that must not be the case. This is something that I just started adding. The driftwood is not fake. I'm a little confused though why solid structures would give off ammonia. I didn't try taking anything out because I just didn't know that was possible.
 

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Yes, it's cycled. I was worried that the Flourish was upping some form of ammonia for the plants, but that must not be the case. This is something that I just started adding. The driftwood is not fake. I'm a little confused though why solid structures would give off ammonia. I didn't try taking anything out because I just didn't know that was possible.
I know i have read were some plastic decor has give ppl problems in the past. It may not be the case here. But I would want to know for sure if it was me. Not saying you have too cause thats alot of work. It just could be a possibility.

FLourish doesn't have ammonia in it that I know of would have to check the indigents again.
 

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Yes, it's cycled. I was worried that the Flourish was upping some form of ammonia for the plants, but that must not be the case. This is something that I just started adding. The driftwood is not fake. I'm a little confused though why solid structures would give off ammonia. I didn't try taking anything out because I just didn't know that was possible.
I'm doubting the driftwood being the issue ..or the new fish.
Hmmm, What fish died? How long do you think it was dead?
I'd perhaps also buy a new liquid ammonia test, just the individual one. I know you're getting the alert tag but it's not as accurate as the kit as I'm sure you know. Quite a mystery you have here.


Do you have snails by any chance? Ones that hitch hiked in, or ones you put in there yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I know i have read were some plastic decor has give ppl problems in the past. It may not be the case here. But I would want to know for sure if it was me. Not saying you have too cause thats alot of work. It just could be a possibility.

FLourish doesn't have ammonia in it that I know of would have to check the indigents again.
Hmm. I didn't know that! I took out the ship for now. I'll take out the rock cave as soon as I can track something down for my gourami to hide in as a replacement. The Colloseum will be the hard part though. It's just big, and has tubing attachments with suction cups and... ick. lol.

Flourish doesn't have ammonia, I checked. I just didn't know if there was something in it that would convert to some for of ammonia for the plants but not harm the fish? I don't know lol, I just had wondered since that was the only new thing I was adding to the tank.

I'm doubting the driftwood being the issue ..or the new fish.
Hmmm, What fish died? How long do you think it was dead?
I'd perhaps also buy a new liquid ammonia test, just the individual one. I know you're getting the alert tag but it's not as accurate as the kit as I'm sure you know. Quite a mystery you have here.


Do you have snails by any chance? Ones that hitch hiked in, or ones you put in there yourself?
A bolivian ram had died, but he didn't die in the tank. My son noticed he was swimming on his side on the bottom of the tank. I got him out before he died.

ETA: No snails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's back up at 2. I really don't know what to do :-(
 

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It's back up at 2. I really don't know what to do :-(
Well all I can say is at least it is down from 4ppm!. The water changes are working but the reason is a complete mystery at this point.
That reading you got of .75.. that the same day as that water change? I would not take a test till the next day to avoid false low readings
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Well all I can say is at least it is down from 4ppm!. The water changes are working but the reason is a complete mystery at this point.
That reading you got of .75.. that the same day as that water change? I would not take a test till the next day to avoid false low readings
In my log book I have down that I got a reading of .25 and then did a water change. I don't know why I wrote it out backwards :-/

I found the pleco dead when I went to do a water change. I don't know how long he'd been dead in the tank. He was very active yesterday, and yesterday evening he swam down into the corner and had hopped around a little bit and then rested under a plant. He didn't move the rest of yesterday, and he was still there when I went in to do the water change, so he was in that spot for almost 20 hours. There was no decay on his body, but since he'd been in the same spot for so long, I have no way to gauge when he passed. Could this have raised the ammonia that much?
 

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In my log book I have down that I got a reading of .25 and then did a water change. I don't know why I wrote it out backwards :-/

I found the pleco dead when I went to do a water change. I don't know how long he'd been dead in the tank. He was very active yesterday, and yesterday evening he swam down into the corner and had hopped around a little bit and then rested under a plant. He didn't move the rest of yesterday, and he was still there when I went in to do the water change, so he was in that spot for almost 20 hours. There was no decay on his body, but since he'd been in the same spot for so long, I have no way to gauge when he passed. Could this have raised the ammonia that much?
I don't think that much. Maybe a little. I think somehow you started a new cycle..and at 4ppm Ammonia the other day I'd dare to say it's no mini cycle. Something crashed it and I don't see anything you've done that should have been able to do that. With his death I'm believing your readings are correct. Dern.. Well keep track and continue water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't think that much. Maybe a little. I think somehow you started a new cycle..and at 4ppm Ammonia the other day I'd dare to say it's no mini cycle. Something crashed it and I don't see anything you've done that should have been able to do that. With his death I'm believing your readings are correct. Dern.. Well keep track and continue water changes.
Oh my gosh... I think I could cry.. I ordered some Stability in the hopes that it will help whatever I have going on. I guess I'm lucky that more fish haven't died with ammonia this high out of nowhere.
 

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I have a 55 gallon which has had a 0 ammonia reading for over a week now after getting a mini cycle from adding a canister filter. I added a tiny albino bristlenose pleco (about 1.5") and a piece of driftwood. Tuesday I had a fish die out of nowhere. I did a water change and tested the water and I had a slight jump in ammonia to .25, which I assumed the water change would take care of. I tested the water yesterday a few hours after adding Flourish comprehensive and my ammonia was at 4! :shock: I started freaking out and immediately did a 70% water change and dosed an extra tiny bit of Prime to help neutralize any leftover ammonia. I tested the water again this morning and it's back at 4! I just did another 70% water change and now I'm just at a loss. All my other fish are acting normal. The only changes are the addition of this tiny pleco and the driftwood. The driftwood has been slowly lowering my ph, which I thought would be a good thing, but maybe it's killing my bacteria? I just honestly don't know what to do. I'm at my whits end with all the issues I've had with this tank. I cannot for the life of me figure out this ammonia. I've never had it like this. I have a planted tank with 12 plants planted and 5 floating. I use Prime for a conditioner. I use the API master liquid kit to test the water. There is no ammonia in my tap water. I've cleaned my canister. I've been vacuuming my sand every day. Any thoughts?

I've also got an ammonia alert tag for inside the tank coming today to help me determine if the ammonia is free or not.
Prime still tests positive with most ammonia test kits even if the ammonia is locked.

Hopefully your ammonia dot showed ammonia at first but then almost none after the first Prime dose.

Additionally, the plants will consume the ammonia directly so Prime is not needed.

The danger with prime is that it also locks up oxygen. So you dose and dose and more and more oxygen is locked up.

I would stop adding the prime. add some anacharis plants if you don't have some already. stop changing the water, stop adding food. Then the tank will heal itself. It shouldn't take more than a few hours if the ammonia is free for the plants to consume the ammonia. If locked it could take longer.

the pH will recover as the ammonia is lowered.


my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Prime still tests positive with most ammonia test kits even if the ammonia is locked.

Hopefully your ammonia dot showed ammonia at first but then almost none after the first Prime dose.

Additionally, the plants will consume the ammonia directly so Prime is not needed.

The danger with prime is that it also locks up oxygen. So you dose and dose and more and more oxygen is locked up.

I would stop adding the prime. add some anacharis plants if you don't have some already. stop changing the water, stop adding food. Then the tank will heal itself. It shouldn't take more than a few hours if the ammonia is free for the plants to consume the ammonia. If locked it could take longer.

the pH will recover as the ammonia is lowered.


my .02
Thank you for this info. I'm not sure where to find anacharis but I'll take a look on eBay. I have three anubias, three Amazon swords, three planted water sprites, two water wisteria, a java fern, and several sprite sprouts floating.


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