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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a freshwater 10 gallon set at 79 degrees with full spectrum fluorescent lighting, some plants driftwood, sand substrate and 2 platties and a dwarf frog. I have had this setup for a month and 2 weeks now so it is a relatively new tank.

2 weeks after setting up the ammonia never spiked and stayed under .25, but after treating for ich with an herbal medicine and sea salt, the ich was eradicated but for the last 3 weeks the ammonia levels have stayed over 8.0. The fish show no signs of distress and to this day there is no sign of nitrates or nitrites.

I have been doing 50% water changes very week to normalize the salinity and remove the medicine/ammonia but the ammonia isn't budging. I did do a switch from gravel to sand substrate afterwards too and got a new filter a fluval c2 which is an enormous upgrade from the little aqueon filter I had before.

So I realize the ich treatment, changing of filters and substrates has greatly stalled the cycle, and I am wondering if at this point it would be better to let it cycle on its own or should I just pick up some supplemental bacterias?

Also the tank is starting to get that fish tank smell. Is that smell from the algae? That's about the one thing I have not cleaned, was the algae with a pad.
 

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Bacteria supplements are a cause of great debate here on TFK and every other fish forum. I think this is largely due to inferior products marketed in years past that just didn't work. Sometimes the cultures were just wrong and sometimes the bacteria/archea was/is killed from poor shipping and/or storage.

I think these products have now come of age and in time hobbyists won't think twice about starting a new tank using a bacteria supplement if they don't have filter media or substrate from an established tank.
However, it should be noted that even with a bacteria/archea "seed", it's not instant pudding and ammonia and/or nitrite spikes can occur.

Footnote: When cycling a new tank, it's good to use a conditioner like Seachem Prime to temporarily (24-48 hrs) detoxify ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and heavy metals.
 

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We need more data, as if the ammonia really is 8 ppm, and is ammonia and not ammonium, the fish would all be dead. So other factors are involved.

What is the pH in the tank? And what is the tap water pH [if testing again, remember to shake tap water vigorously before testing pH]?

What meds/treatments for ich did you use?

Are the plants OK? Meds can sometimes weaken or kill certain plants. This adds to the ammonia, but also removes the plants' ability of dealing with ammonia.

Which water conditioner are you using? Some detoxify ammonia.

Not everyone will recommend bac terial supplements, but I do, heartily. If you add a good one, it does seed bacteria. Seachem's Stability, Tetra's SafeStart and Dr. Tim's One and Only are all good and they do work to speed up the establishment of nitrifying bacteria.

Byron.

Edit. I see AD posted simultaneously, but we are on the same page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The ph is between 7.6 and 8.0. I have not tested the tap water ph but tap water ammonia is about .25. I have been adding ammo lock by API every 2 days for the last week or so. The plants are all healthy green and strong most of them added after the ich treatment but the 2 healthiest ones added before. The ich treatment I used was an herbal ich attack by kordon. It heavily discolored the water but its back to normal after several water changes.

I am using water conditioner by API. Although I don't know if their ammo lock also conditions the water? I have been adding both but the wc only after water changes.
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The ph is between 7.6 and 8.0. I have not tested the tap water ph but tap water ammonia is about .25. I have been adding ammo lock by API every 2 days for the last week or so. The plants are all healthy green and strong most of them added after the ich treatment but the 2 healthiest ones added before. The ich treatment I used was an herbal ich attack by kordon. It heavily discolored the water but its back to normal after several water changes.

I am using water conditioner by API. Although I don't know if their ammo lock also conditions the water? I have been adding both but the wc only after water changes.
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First off, the Ammo-lock is saving the fish, by changing toxic ammonia into harmless ammonium [I believe that is how it works], so that explains why the fish are not suffering and dead. Does the product label say how long it is effective? I've never used this.

I asked about pH because it affects ammonia in a similar manner; above 7 ammonia is the toxic ammonia, but below 7 it is mainly ammonium.

I tried the Kordon product once and it didn't do anything, except muddy the water as you said.:lol: But, that's past.

Byron.
 

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tagging along with Bryon-- the ammonia is probably locked up.

Most test kits test both locked and free ammonia as the same. Including the api test kit.

Seachem has an ammonia multitest that measures the dangerous free ammonia and the total (including the locked) ammonia. so you can tell if more ammonia lock is needed.

If I remember correctly seachem also has an ammonia dot in tank. That measures just the free ammonia so it it show no ammonia you are sefe even if the api kit shows 8ppm.

So I would first do those tests and if the ammonia is locked I would stop all additions of the ammonia lock. It does have the side effect of also locking oxygen so when overdosed can actually suffocate the fish.

The plants will great ammonia sponges and oxygenate the water as well.



my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't believe the herbal kordon did anything. I stopped using it after 5 days of no results, because my fish were dieing from the ich, and opted for giving my tank a fever. The fever eradicated all the ich within 24 hours and after 4 days I turned it back down and it has not come back.
I don't know where to get these other test kits as there are no local aquatic stores other than the big pet chains which have limited supplies
 

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I have the Seachem Stability product but also have a relatively heavily planted tank. I know that Seachem claims their product includes anaerobes but I still am encountering an ongoing read of nitrates. e.g. - 5 to 15 ppm and continue to need frequent water changes.

I have recently reduced the nitrates slightly by putting some rooted plants (Pothos) into my HOB filter, rooted into a mix of peatmoss and sand covered by gravel, ceramic rings and lava rock. I'm still not satisfied because I want to see close to zero nitrates.

Not all of my plants are growing with great gusto. Notably the wisteria are growing slowly and the hornwort which is surprising. The Rotala indica is growing great. The Cryptocoryne affinis is just beginning to spread after 4 months and my Vallisneria americana gigantea is growing like mad but not spreading. The Java fern seems to just reproduce and decay. I'm not sure about this plant, as to how it should behave.

I really expected to have zero nitrates with plants. I've tested my substrate of peat and sand with a zero reading for nitrates. I've trapped out a lot of the snails. I put some purigen in the filter. The nitrates still persist.

Anyway, I'm thinking of trying to dose with Stability again. I wonder if I might have better results if I shut off the filter for a while and dump the stability in there. The anaerobes might establish in the mud (peatmoss & sand) at the bottom (???)

Sorry for rambling off track a bit.

Abbeysdad; Interesting you use the term bacteria/archaea. I use this often in my writings and thought I was the only one. [I may have been the first to use the term archaeal]:lol:
 

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I don't believe the herbal kordon did anything. I stopped using it after 5 days of no results, because my fish were dieing from the ich, and opted for giving my tank a fever. The fever eradicated all the ich within 24 hours and after 4 days I turned it back down and it has not come back.
I don't know where to get these other test kits as there are no local aquatic stores other than the big pet chains which have limited supplies
Which other test kits do you mean?
 

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I have the Seachem Stability product but also have a relatively heavily planted tank. I know that Seachem claims their product includes anaerobes but I still am encountering an ongoing read of nitrates. e.g. - 5 to 15 ppm and continue to need frequent water changes.

I have recently reduced the nitrates slightly by putting some rooted plants (Pothos) into my HOB filter, rooted into a mix of peatmoss and sand covered by gravel, ceramic rings and lava rock. I'm still not satisfied because I want to see close to zero nitrates.

Not all of my plants are growing with great gusto. Notably the wisteria are growing slowly and the hornwort which is surprising. The Rotala indica is growing great. The Cryptocoryne affinis is just beginning to spread after 4 months and my Vallisneria americana gigantea is growing like mad but not spreading. The Java fern seems to just reproduce and decay. I'm not sure about this plant, as to how it should behave.

I really expected to have zero nitrates with plants. I've tested my substrate of peat and sand with a zero reading for nitrates. I've trapped out a lot of the snails. I put some purigen in the filter. The nitrates still persist.

Anyway, I'm thinking of trying to dose with Stability again. I wonder if I might have better results if I shut off the filter for a while and dump the stability in there. The anaerobes might establish in the mud (peatmoss & sand) at the bottom (???)

Sorry for rambling off track a bit.

Abbeysdad; Interesting you use the term bacteria/archaea. I use this often in my writings and thought I was the only one. [I may have been the first to use the term archaeal]:lol:
I wouldn't expect Stability to somehow lower nitrates; in fact, quite the opposite if anything.

Are the nitrates in your source water? Or solely from the aquarium itself?
 

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I wouldn't expect Stability to somehow lower nitrates; in fact, quite the opposite if anything.

Are the nitrates in your source water? Or solely from the aquarium itself?
Seachem disagrees. Although I've yet to prove them right, they claim that Stability in conjunction with De*Nitrate, Matrix or Pond Matrix will culture the anaerobic bacteria that will oxidize nitrate into nitrogen gas.
As you well know, the average aquarium is way to aerobic for the easy proliferation of anaerobic bacteria. Perhaps to some degree under decor or in deep sand, but not what we'd term typical. The media's macro/micro pores is supposed to create anaerobic regions. I can buy it in theory, but not for the lack of trying, I can't provide any testimony. ;-)
 

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+1

Additionally nitrates of 10-20ppm are almost normal and expected in a new planted tank. What I happening is the plants are using ammonia to get nitrogen and forgoing nitrates.

Then as the aerobic bacteria build up and consume the ammonia, the nitrates drop down. Usually tanks 3 weeks or so.

My advice is not to worry about nitrates, don't add anything, and stop doing the water changes.

But that's just my .02
 

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Seachem disagrees. Although I've yet to prove them right, they claim that Stability in conjunction with De*Nitrate, Matrix or Pond Matrix will culture the anaerobic bacteria that will oxidize nitrate into nitrogen gas.
As you well know, the average aquarium is way to aerobic for the easy proliferation of anaerobic bacteria. Perhaps to some degree under decor or in deep sand, but not what we'd term typical. The media's macro/micro pores is supposed to create anaerobic regions. I can buy it in theory, but not for the lack of trying, I can't provide any testimony. ;-)

Then I definately recomend against it!!!!!!!

And most especially in a planted tank when ammonia is consumed while consuming carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen.

the exact opposite of growing low oxygen bacteria.

still just my .02
 

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I mean the ones that test for free ammonia vs just ammonia in general
I personally would not waste money on expensive tests you really don't need. I never test for ammonia or nitrite, haven't for years, except when something clearly is wrong (fish sick/dying) I do check water conditions as a first step. But aside from this, once a tank is established, and if proper aquarium husbandry is being done, you will not have issues with the nitrogen cycle.
 
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Seachem disagrees. Although I've yet to prove them right, they claim that Stability in conjunction with De*Nitrate, Matrix or Pond Matrix will culture the anaerobic bacteria that will oxidize nitrate into nitrogen gas.
As you well know, the average aquarium is way to aerobic for the easy proliferation of anaerobic bacteria. Perhaps to some degree under decor or in deep sand, but not what we'd term typical. The media's macro/micro pores is supposed to create anaerobic regions. I can buy it in theory, but not for the lack of trying, I can't provide any testimony. ;-)
This may well be, I've no idea. My initial thinking was that bacterial supplements are adding bacteria to quicken the Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira establishment, and the third stage in the nitrification cycle is nitrates, so one might logically assume nitrate would result. Adding further products to deal with this is another step.
 

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So far as I know, stability advertises anaerobic denitrifyers.

Byron; As mentioned previously, my tap water is zero nitrates.

BEALS; I only wish but who needs to test nitrates when they have discus? They show it by their mood and if I don't change water they won't eat. My tank was set up in december.
 

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Then I definately recomend against it!!!!!!!

And most especially in a planted tank when ammonia is consumed while consuming carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen.

the exact opposite of growing low oxygen bacteria.

still just my .02
B; this will only denitrify excess n and not rob plants of nutrients. To the contrary, these are the microbes which work in the rhyzoshere and enhance n uptake.
 

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This may well be, I've no idea. My initial thinking was that bacterial supplements are adding bacteria to quicken the Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira establishment, and the third stage in the nitrification cycle is nitrates, so one might logically assume nitrate would result. Adding further products to deal with this is another step.
Seachem Stability:

"The bacteria strains in Stability® have been in development for over a decade. The necessary conditions for growth of our bacterial strains encompass a very broad range. When other bacteria begin to die off (usually from high organic loads caused by the undetected death of an organism), Stability® simply works harder and grows faster! The strains function in fresh or saltwater. Stability® contains both nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, a blend found in no other product. Additionally, Stability® contains facultative bacterial strains which are able to adapt to either aerobic or anaerobic conditions. The bacteria in Stability® are non-sulfur fixing, another innovation in the industry. Most other bacterial supplements will form toxic hydrogen sulfide under the proper conditions. Stability® will not, ever."
 

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They have likely put some PNSBs in the mix, which can remain in spore form in a bottle for extended periods. I use these bacteria in fermentaions for use on soil. Too bad I'm such a sad case at getting them to establish in my tank.
 
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