10 gallon glofish tank with 3 glofish tetras, ammonia not going down?

jcsatx14

Member
Hello! I am new to fish keeping and recently I bought a 10 gallon aquarium starter kit from topfin. I did a lot of research before buying the tank, the cycling and what to get, and I was able to get it cycled. I let the tank cycle for about a month (January 22 to February 22) (I did add apI quick start during the month) before buying the 3 glofish tetras on febuary 28th. At this time, the tank had 0 ammonia. The next day I went to check the water with an apI master test kit, and saw the ammonia level spiked. I knew that there would be a spike in the water at the beginning, so I let the tank cycle for a week (February 29th), then checked the water again, to see that the ammonia was still at 8.0 ppm. I did a 25% water change yet the ammonia did not go down. I heard that if I did a 25% water change every day for a week it would cut down. It didn't. currently I have done water changes from March 2nd to March 5th. I have not done a water change today (March 6th). I have as well added seachem stability daily since March 2nd, (as it said on the instruction, today is day 3 of adding it, as it says add one cap per 10 us gallons on day 1, then add a capful for each 80L (20 gallons) daily for 7 days, therefore because I have a 10 gallon, I add half a capful) As of today, (March 6th) I tested my water again, and I had 4 ppm ammonia 0.25 ppm nitrite and 5.0 ppm Nitrate. My Ph is at 8.0 and the temperature of the water is 75.8 degrees Fahrenheit (24.3 degrees celcius). I recently bought a new filter yesterday, (March 5th) Upgrading my filter from a topfin whisper 10 to a Aqueon quietflow 10. Is there anything I'm doing wrong? What can I do to bring that ammonia down to 0 ppm?
 

eirynne

Member
From what you've said, you never actually cycled your tank which explains why you are dealing with an ammonia spike right now.

Letting the tank run after adding API Quick start won't do anything unless you are also adding an ammonia source to feed the bacteria you've just added. When you added your fish, suddenly there was an ammonia source but no bacteria to eat it.

If you are switching your filter, make sure to add the filter material from the old filter into the new one to transfer over any good bacteria that may have started to grow there now that there is an ammonia source.

The best thing you can do is finish the 7 day stability cycle and then keep up with daily water changes of 25-50% until your bacteria colony grows large enough to handle the ammonia that your fish are creating. You want to keep the tank's ammonia and nitrites as low as possible since you are doing a fish-in cycle.

Pick up some Seachem Prime to nullify their effects & keep your fish safe!
 
  • Thread Starter

jcsatx14

Member
eirynne said:
From what you've said, you never actually cycled your tank which explains why you are dealing with an ammonia spike right now.

Letting the tank run after adding API Quick start won't do anything unless you are also adding an ammonia source to feed the bacteria you've just added. When you added your fish, suddenly there was an ammonia source but no bacteria to eat it.

If you are switching your filter, make sure to add the filter material from the old filter into the new one to transfer over any good bacteria that may have started to grow there now that there is an ammonia source.

The best thing you can do is finish the 7 day stability cycle and then keep up with daily water changes of 25-50% until your bacteria colony grows large enough to handle the ammonia that your fish are creating. You want to keep the tank's ammonia and nitrites as low as possible since you are doing a fish-in cycle.

Pick up some Seachem Prime to nullify their effects & keep your fish safe!
ok, thanks! also, would you recommend I add Tetra safe start too to the aquarium?
 

eirynne

Member
jcsatx14 said:
ok, thanks! also, would you recommend I add Tetra safe start too to the aquarium?
You could... but it technically is supposed to add the same good bacteria that the Stability is adding. It certainly won't hurt to add both but there is some argument in the aquarium community as to whether it really helps.

I used both at different times out of impatience and who knows if it worked or not but I never dealt with a nitrite spike so I'd like to think one or the other probably did!

Just make sure to keep testing your water to keep an eye on the ammonia/nitrite levels & to do frequent water changes & your tank will cycle eventually
 
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jcsatx14

Member
eirynne said:
You could... but it technically is supposed to add the same good bacteria that the Stability is adding. It certainly won't hurt to add both but there is some argument in the aquarium community as to whether it really helps.

I used both at different times out of impatience and who knows if it worked or not but I never dealt with a nitrite spike so I'd like to think one or the other probably did!

Just make sure to keep testing your water to keep an eye on the ammonia/nitrite levels & to do frequent water changes & your tank will cycle eventually
ah ok, thank you very much!

eirynne said:
You could... but it technically is supposed to add the same good bacteria that the Stability is adding. It certainly won't hurt to add both but there is some argument in the aquarium community as to whether it really helps.

I used both at different times out of impatience and who knows if it worked or not but I never dealt with a nitrite spike so I'd like to think one or the other probably did!

Just make sure to keep testing your water to keep an eye on the ammonia/nitrite levels & to do frequent water changes & your tank will cycle eventually
I do have one more question, if I get the old filter material, when should I change it out to a new one?
 

eirynne

Member
jcsatx14 said:
I do have one more question, if I get the old filter material, when should I change it out to a new one?
It is a huuuuuuge misconception that you should change filter media. Unless it is literally falling apart, you won't be getting rid of it (and even if it is... you'd keep it in the filter for a month or so with new media before taking it out). The filter media is where most of your good bacteria live so if you throw it away every few months, you'd be cycling your tank every few months which neither you nor your fish would probably like very much!

If you can fit the filter media from both filters into your new one, I would do that since it will give the bacteria more places to live.

The most you'll ever want to do is every month or so you should ring out the sponges etc. in some old tank water to help remove any gunk.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
eirynne said:
It is a huuuuuuge misconception that you should change filter media. Unless it is literally falling apart, you won't be getting rid of it (and even if it is... you'd keep it in the filter for a month or so with new media before taking it out). The filter media is where most of your good bacteria live so if you throw it away every few months, you'd be cycling your tank every few months which neither you nor your fish would probably like very much!

If you can fit the filter media from both filters into your new one, I would do that since it will give the bacteria more places to live.

The most you'll ever want to do is every month or so you should ring out the sponges etc. in some old tank water to help remove any gunk.
ah ok! thank you very much
 

mattgirl

Member
Can you give us a list of the products you are adding to this tank?

As eirynne has said, if you weren't adding ammonia during that month your tank wasn't cycling. Now that fish are in there they are producing the ammonia necessary to cycling a tank but it needs to be kept low.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
mattgirl said:
Can you give us a list of the products you are adding to this tank?

As eirynne has said, if you weren't adding ammonia during that month your tank wasn't cycling. Now that fish are in there they are producing the ammonia necessary to cycling a tank but it needs to be kept low.
I am using API quickstart
API stress coat +
seachem stability
and (just got right now) Microbe-lift Nite-out 2
 

DuaneV

Member
jcsatx14 said:
Hello! I am new to fish keeping and recently I bought a 10 gallon aquarium starter kit from topfin. I did a lot of research before buying the tank, the cycling and what to get, and I was able to get it cycled. I let the tank cycle for about a month (January 22 to February 22) (I did add apI quick start during the month) before buying the 3 glofish tetras on febuary 28th. At this time, the tank had 0 ammonia. The next day I went to check the water with an apI master test kit, and saw the ammonia level spiked. I knew that there would be a spike in the water at the beginning, so I let the tank cycle for a week (February 29th), then checked the water again, to see that the ammonia was still at 8.0 ppm. I did a 25% water change yet the ammonia did not go down. I heard that if I did a 25% water change every day for a week it would cut down. It didn't. currently I have done water changes from March 2nd to March 5th. I have not done a water change today (March 6th). I have as well added seachem stability daily since March 2nd, (as it said on the instruction, today is day 3 of adding it, as it says add one cap per 10 us gallons on day 1, then add a capful for each 80L (20 gallons) daily for 7 days, therefore because I have a 10 gallon, I add half a capful) As of today, (March 6th) I tested my water again, and I had 4 ppm ammonia 0.25 ppm nitrite and 5.0 ppm Nitrate. My Ph is at 8.0 and the temperature of the water is 75.8 degrees Fahrenheit (24.3 degrees celcius). I recently bought a new filter yesterday, (March 5th) Upgrading my filter from a topfin whisper 10 to a Aqueon quietflow 10. Is there anything I'm doing wrong? What can I do to bring that ammonia down to 0 ppm?
So you didnt actually "cycle" the tank before adding fish. To "cycle" means to add a source of ammonia to grow Nitrosomas that eat ammonia. They produce nitrites. Then a bacteria called Nitrospira grows to eat the nitrites. They produce nitrates. In a "cycled" tank, you have enough beneficial bacteria of both types to convert all ammonia to nitrates instantly. That is the "cycle".

That beneficial bacteria lives in your filter media. If you remove the filter media you INSTANTLY lose your cycle. Dont EVER change it, just lightly rinse it in some old tank water every now and again.

Here's the thing with water changes: Its a math problem. If you have 8ppm ammonia and change 25%, you'll still have 6ppm. If you have 4ppm and change 25%, you still have 3ppm. See how it works? Let alone the fact that if your tank is producing ammonia, its going up every day. To get a handle on high amounts of ammonia you need to be doing MASSIVE water changes. To get 8ppm to a safe level you're looking at a 90%+ water change which would bring it to .7, still not quite safe for fish, so 95% would be better.

So, to answer your question, THAT is what you're doing wrong. You need to do a MASSIVE water change so your fish don't die. On top of that you're going to have to monitor it daily and do whatever sized water change is necessary (not a predetermined, irrelevant, amount) to bring it to a safe level.

On top of that, again, do NOT discard your filter media. EVER! That's where your cycle lives and if you toss it you will be starting over.
 

mattgirl

Member
jcsatx14 said:
I am using API quickstart
API stress coat +
seachem stability
and (just got right now) Microbe-lift Nite-out 2
The only thing I would add to that list is Prime. It is first and foremost a water conditioner but goes one step farther and also detox low levels of ammonia. It is very important to get that ammonia level down below one with water changes. You really need to get them down as quickly as possible. Once you get them down you need to keep them below one with water changes even if that means changing some water every day.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
mattgirl said:
The only thing I would add to that list is Prime. It is first and foremost a water conditioner but goes one step farther and also detox low levels of ammonia. It is very important to get that ammonia level down below one with water changes. You really need to get them down as quickly as possible. Once you get them down you need to keep them below one with water changes even if that means changing some water every day.
ah ok, thank you, I will get some prime after work

DuaneV said:
So you didnt actually "cycle" the tank before adding fish. To "cycle" means to add a source of ammonia to grow Nitrosomas that eat ammonia. They produce nitrites. Then a bacteria called Nitrospira grows to eat the nitrites. They produce nitrates. In a "cycled" tank, you have enough beneficial bacteria of both types to convert all ammonia to nitrates instantly. That is the "cycle".

That beneficial bacteria lives in your filter media. If you remove the filter media you INSTANTLY lose your cycle. Dont EVER change it, just lightly rinse it in some old tank water every now and again.

Here's the thing with water changes: Its a math problem. If you have 8ppm ammonia and change 25%, you'll still have 6ppm. If you have 4ppm and change 25%, you still have 3ppm. See how it works? Let alone the fact that if your tank is producing ammonia, its going up every day. To get a handle on high amounts of ammonia you need to be doing MASSIVE water changes. To get 8ppm to a safe level you're looking at a 90%+ water change which would bring it to .7, still not quite safe for fish, so 95% would be better.

So, to answer your question, THAT is what you're doing wrong. You need to do a MASSIVE water change so your fish don't die. On top of that you're going to have to monitor it daily and do whatever sized water change is necessary (not a predetermined, irrelevant, amount) to bring it to a safe level.

On top of that, again, do NOT discard your filter media. EVER! That's where your cycle lives and if you toss it you will be starting over.
ok, and the 95% water change won't like affect the fish too much right?
as for the filter media, that would include the filter cartridge's right?
EDIT: I just did the water change (70%) and it is down to 0.50ppm, the fish are stressed,
 

DuaneV

Member
As long as the temp & PH are close to the same, no problem. But honestly, even if theyre off a bit, the ammonia WILL kill your fish, so its better to get that out of there.

And right. DO NOT throw away the filter cartridge.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
DuaneV said:
As long as the temp & PH are close to the same, no problem. But honestly, even if theyre off a bit, the ammonia WILL kill your fish, so its better to get that out of there.

And right. DO NOT throw away the filter cartridge.
ah ok, thank you Duane,
 

MissNoodle

Member
Best filter media to keep are ceramic rings and sponges. They last long time. Keep those in, and you can toss and replace the fabric cartridges
 
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jcsatx14

Member
MissNoodle said:
Best filter media to keep are ceramic rings and sponges. They last long time. Keep those in, and you can toss and replace the fabric cartridges
ah ok, will cartridges work well for now? its all I can currently get so far
 

MissNoodle

Member
To get your cycle going, yes leave them. Once you get new media, leave that in for a month before discarding the old
 

mattgirl

Member
jcsatx14 said:
ok, and the 95% water change won't like affect the fish too much right?
as for the filter media, that would include the filter cartridge's right?
EDIT: I just did the water change (70%) and it is down to 0.50ppm, the fish are stressed,
Sometimes our pets don't really enjoy trips to the vet or even their bath but we have to do it for them anyway. It is the same with our fish. They may get slightly stressed with water changes but fresh clean water is necessary for their well being. Eventually your fish will get used to the water changes and it will get to where they are less stressed by them.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
MissNoodle said:
To get your cycle going, yes leave them. Once you get new media, leave that in for a month before discarding the old
okay, thank you, I will make the switch once I make enough money and get a larger tank

mattgirl said:
Sometimes our pets don't really enjoy trips to the vet or even their bath but we have to do it for them anyway. It is the same with our fish. They may get slightly stressed with water changes but fresh clean water is necessary for their well being. Eventually your fish will get used to the water changes and it will get to where they are less stressed by them.
That is true, they are starting to come out now

mattgirl said:
Sometimes our pets don't really enjoy trips to the vet or even their bath but we have to do it for them anyway. It is the same with our fish. They may get slightly stressed with water changes but fresh clean water is necessary for their well being. Eventually your fish will get used to the water changes and it will get to where they are less stressed by them.
That is true, they are starting to come out now,
 

AquaticJ

Member
I think your test is inaccurate. If your ammonia was 8 ppm at a pH of 8.0, your fish would be deader than Disco.

like Mattgirl said, your fish may be slightly stressed during water changes, but nothing long term. I do huge water changes multiple times a week on Ram fry tanks. All good over here, so don’t be afraid of them.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
AquaticJ said:
I think your test is inaccurate. If your ammonia was 8 ppm at a pH of 8.0, your fish would be deader than Disco.

like Mattgirl said, your fish may be slightly stressed during water changes, but nothing long term. I do huge water changes multiple times a week on Ram fry tanks. All good over here, so don’t be afraid of them.
oh, that's odd, I am using the API master test kit though, and it reads 8ppm
EDIT: I just tested my water after a 70% water change yesterday, it went from 4ppm to 1 ppm, I'm going to do another large water change today.
 
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jcsatx14

Member
I just did the 90% water change, as well I added prime and some Tetra easy balance+ to the tank to lower the nitrite and Ph.
 

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