Ammonia And Nitrite Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by wolf1021, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    So my 48-gallon freshwater tank has gotten a HUGE spike of Ammonia and Nitrite but I got the Nitrites down by using API quick start because I thought my cycle got restart or destroyed but my Ammonia is still high (4.0ppm) however my Nitrites got down to 0ppm but my Ammonia won't go down if you could help. ( tank has been cycled for about 1 year and Ph is a little high like 8 or 6 ppm)

  2. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm confused...what is your pH level? )8 would be high, 6 would be low).

    It would appear you somehow lost your cycle if your ammonia is at 4ppm. With an ammonia level that high, I'm surprised your fish are still alive. But if you pH dipped down close to 6, it could be that your bacteria became dormant and the ammonia is not being processed. But luckily, if you pH is close to 6, the ammonia has turned into ammonium, which is far less toxic (some say it's nontoxic). If that is the case it would explain why your fish have not died.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  3. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    What's your pH at? pH isn't measured parts per million, and the difference between 6 and 8 is literally 100x.
    Ammonia at 4ppm is extremely toxic, you'll need to do some massive water changes. Assuming you do weekly water changes, do a 50-80% right now, and another later today. If you don't do weekly water changes, let me know, since the water change schedule will have to be changed.
    Any chance you have SeaChem prime or marine stress coat?

  4. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    my Ph is actually 8 ppm I just ran out of Ph down and my Ph is extremely high and I used the last of my prime early this weak trying to get the nitrite down because it was killing one of my rose line barb( it ended up killing him) and I tried doing a 30 percent water change but I am just afraid it will kill my cycle once more.
  5. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    8 is not extremely high, it's within a good range. Don't use pH down, it causes massive pH swings since the pH reverts to what it was in 24-36 hours, and that often ends up killing fish.
    Water changes, quite simply, cannot affect the cycle. Messing with the fitler will. 95% of the beneficial bacteria is housed within the filter, so unless you pour straight tap water into the filter without dechlorinating it, or throw out the filter cartridge, your cycle will be fine.
    SeaChem prime will not reduce ammonia or nitrite levels, and will only detoxify combined ammonia and nitrite of 2ppm for 24 hours.
    A 30% water change will not help at all in this case, as ammonia will still be 3ppm after a 30% water change, and that is still a lethal level.
    When you say you're out of prime, do you have another dechlorinator?
  6. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    yes, I do have other dechlorinator and so what's wrong with beneficial bacteria because isn't suppose to turn ammonia to nitrites but it is only working with nitrites because it was 5.0 ppm yesterday but now it is 0ppm. also, how can I prevent this from happing again
  7. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Did you mess with your filter at all? Did you change out an old cartridge or put pure tap water in? Messing with the filter is the only way to cause a spike that bad, unless you have multiple dead and decaying fish in the aquarium.
  8. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    I did change the filter but that was about last month ( I do it monthly) and I would never put tap water in my filter and I do not have any dead fish however my nitrites did spike about 1 and half weeks ago and killed 3 of my regular barbs but I got that one under control
  9. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Changing the filter completely kills your cycle. You should only rinse it in old tank water to clean it.
    4 and 5ppm are quite excessive amounts, I'm not sure what caused that, but it must have been something big. Is your tank overstocked? And have you done a water change yet?
  10. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    I did a water change this week hoping to lower it and my tank (46) has about 10 fish 3 bottom feeders and the rest barbs ( 1 peacefull firemouth)
  11. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    As I explained, a 30% water change is going to do almost nothing for high readings like that. When you're going through the cycling process of the tank, you have to change water daily. There isn't bacteria to convert it, so the only way to remove ammonia and nitrite is to do water changes.
    By bottom feeders, do you mean plecos? Common plecos are massive waste producers and get 2 feet long. And by firemouth, do you mean cichlid? What kind of barbs do you have, there are hundreds, and some get very large?
    And have you done the water change I recommended? They're going to be burned alive until you lower that ammonia, and at this point, they are almost certainly going to have permanent damage done to their gills.
  12. wolf1021Valued MemberMember

    yes, firemouth cichlid, 1 bristle nose pleco, 1 Siamese algae-eater, and 1 rainbow shark and for the barbs, I have 3 rosy barbs, 2 green, 1 Roseline and 1 regular barb. and I'm going to do the water change tonight is there any possible way their gills will repair ( with salt or chemical or something?)
  13. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    You have some stocking issues, but we can take care of those later. As for the gills, it depends on pH and honestly just time. I can't say for certain at this time, I've only had two fish in 4ppm ammonia or over, and both do have severe gill damage, but they are still alive and active. One was a betta, and since they can also breathe atmostpheric oxygen, it is doing better, the other is a goldfish, and after almost 6 months, one gill has halfway recovered, the other may be dying.
    pH below 7 turns ammonia into ammonium, which is much less toxic, and generally doesn't cause much damage.
    Your tank is overstocked, and a full filter change may cause that much ammonia, but it doesn't quite fit the timeline. I do hope this works out for you.

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