Ammonia at 8.0ppm! SOS

  1. M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    New aquarium person here. After receiving extremely poor advice at pet store I am in a bad situation with my tank and my poor fish that are still alive in it! My ammonia is at 8.0 and I can't seem to get it to drop...someone help!
     
  2. b

    bkaiser3 Well Known Member Member

    You need to do a huge water change asap. How big is the tank
     
  3. el337

    el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to the forum :)

    What test kit are you using? What size tank and what fish do you have in it? I agree that you're going to have to a few large back to back water changes (at least 50%) to get that ammonia down as close to 0 as possible. Do you have a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite like Seachem Prime? If not, I would get it for your water changes.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    I have a 55 gallon tank with about 25 fish left in it...I know that's probably too many but again poor advice from the pet store! They are mostly guppies, tetras, 3 gouramis and 3 catfish...also 2 African dwarf frogs even though one is missing...I have no idea how long the ammonia has been so high because I didn't have an ammonia kit just a regular strip kind and everything was coming out perfect on it but my fish were dying...I finally found out it was the ammonia when it was too late for a lot of the fish...I did 3 10 gallon water changes in the last 3 days and no changes in the ammonia level...I ordered smart start and prime and they should be here Tuesday but i honestly don't know how they work...I am just very upset the fish have to be going through that right now and can't fix it!

    I now have the API freshwater master test kit
     
  5. b

    bgb420 New Member Member

    Use the start smart as it is indicated on the bottle. I have only used stability by seachem. It's a similar product. Do 50%water changes 2 days in a row then start the bio treatment. I do 30%weakly changes and treat with prime to the amount in the tank not only how much you change. Put in enough for the whole 55 gallons every water change regardless of how much you change. It is safe to over treat 5 times with prime. If you're restating your cycle you will see that ammonia turn into nitrites and then it will turn to nitrates. The only way to get rid of the nitrates is with water changes. Plants will take a small amount out but never enough to eliminate water changes. Once it is cycling properly you shouldn't see that ever. It does all of it constantly.
     
  6. jhigg008

    jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    How long have you had the tank? I agree that you are going to have to do multiple back to back water changes ASAP. Are you sure it is at 8 ppm? Either way if it is green something needs to be done. Can you return some or all of the fish while you are getting the tank cycled?
     
  7. T

    Teishokue Well Known Member Member

    i would do a bit more than 50%. even with a 4ppm you'll still have a lot of problems stressing the fish. you might wana go closer to 75-80% water change. this should leave you to about 2 ppm. you'll stress the fish both ways but you save them on nitro burn.
     
  8. Mifuluhu

    Mifuluhu Well Known Member Member

    The frogs will never find food in a tank with catfish....move them! Don't ever listen to those people at big box pet stores either!

    Hope you get things right! Do you have a nicer pet store nearby? You might find help there.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    For about a month...yes still 8ppm...I doubt I can return them...not in good standing with the store at the moment...also kind of attached to the fish...just want to save them

    So I change 50% of the water first and then use the start smart? Right after the water change? And when do I use the prime? I'm sorry I just want to make sure I get this right
     
  10. Mothercrow

    Mothercrow Well Known Member Member

    Change that water ASAP. You have got to get that ammonia down!

    Prime is a water conditioner, it will replace whatever you're using to dechlorinate the water now. You will treat the water that you're putting into the tank with the Prime, and they're telling you to use enough Prime for the volume of your entire tank. Prime binds the chlorine and cloramines so they don't harm your fish, but it also helps neutralize ammonia. It's super important. There is a paragraph in the instructions about dosing extra Prime in case of emergency, I think that might apply in your case.

    I'm not familiar with Smart Start, but if it's like Seachem Stability then I would add that after the Prime.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    I just did a 60% water change...ammonia down to 2.0...I tested immediately after the water change. Is that ok to do that? Definitely better than 8.0! Will be receiving the prime on Tuesday and will do another large water change and then the prime. Thank u to all who helped! Appreciate it highly...got the tank for my daughter and to lower my blood pressure and seems to be doing the opposite! Will get back on Tuesday when the products come in. Again thank u all
     
  12. Grimund

    Grimund Well Known Member Member

  13. b

    bgb420 New Member Member

    The prime is best mixed with the water before it goes in the tank but if you just use a hose than I would put it in right before you put the new water in. Use the start smart right after its full. I did half of my bio treatment straight into my filter box and the rest into the tank water since most of your bio is housed in your filters. The rest is in your substrate and decor. Only like 3%is in the water itself.
     
  14. Mothercrow

    Mothercrow Well Known Member Member

    2ppm is better, but I think you want it lower than that as soon as you can. As far as I know it's fine to test after a water change, right now you're trying to get your ammonia down to a safe number and you need info. I'm fairly new, too, but don't panic, there's a lot of help on this forum.

    What the people who are trying to help will want you to do is to test ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in your tank, but ALSO test ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in the water straight from your tank as well. That will help you to know if you need to correct for problems that are coming from your tap water. Knowing the pH of both tank and tap water will help, too.

    Prime and bottled bacteria can help you keep your fish alive through the cycling process, but until then, you've got to keep the ammonia down. I might be wrong, but I think it needs to be below 1ppm.
     
  15. Grimund

    Grimund Well Known Member Member

    Mothercrow - it is dependant on his pH how much ammonia he can get to before needing to worry. The test kits will register ammonium and ammonia, ammonia being toxic. Low pH allows more ammonium to be produced, lessening the risk for ammonia poisoning.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    As of this morning my tank ammonia is 4.0, nitrites and nitrates both 0 and PH 7.2
    Tested my tap water ammonia 0, nitrates and nitrites 0 and PH 6.8
    Gonna do another large water change now...should the PH be lowered as well?
     
  17. Grimund

    Grimund Well Known Member Member

    Don't do anything to lower pH. You'll risk a pH crash which is far worse to deal with in a timely manner.

    Just complete a large water change, preferably 75%, then test your ammonia again.

    Edit: it seems like you're far from being cycled. I would recommend a product like stability to get you cycled faster and prime for emergencies. Water changes are going to be required almost daily to keep your ammonia and nitrites in check.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    I have a bacteria supplement petsmart brand...I usually put that in with my water changes but read that it was bad...I haven't used it last 2 water changes..any insight on that?
     
  19. Grimund

    Grimund Well Known Member Member

    I usually trust Seachem for water supplies. I used Tetra safe start, but that's for initial, low stock setup. Seachem Stability is designed for startup, but usable every water change to establish a proper cycle.

    How is your petsmart brand bacteria bad to use?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    M

    MCosta Valued Member Member

    I have read so much I honestly forgot the reasoning behind the person saying not to use it...I have better products coming in the mail tomorrow...just did a 75% water change...ammonia down to 1.0...getting there!