Ammonia in tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by tek1681, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. tek1681

    tek1681New MemberMember

    I"m new at this and I"m having trouble with ammonia. Fortunately the fish I have now are not dying or sick. I have done water changes and replaced the filter cartridge twice. My 10 gallon tank ran fishless for 2 weeks before I added fish and I lost 2 within a few days. I waited a week and get my water tested and the levels was border line between Non stress and stress so the pet store said they thought it was OK to get new fish. I got 2 more which now my tank consists of 3 total fish. I did get a test kit of my own and after a few days I tested the water and the ammonia was extremely high. I went bak to the fish store and they suggested to keep my current fish from dying a product called Ammo-Lock. Well my fish are doing fine but I still can't get rid of the ammonia after doing water changes and I am not detecting any nitrites. I just need some advice. Any will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Gunnie

    GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to FishLore!  Let's see if all these fine folks here can get you on the right road.  First off, if you don't know about cycling and the basics, please read the articles listed .  They will give you insight on what probably happened to your fish.  It sounds like your pet store is only interested in selling you fish, and is not concerned whether you can keep them alive or not, because they get to sell you more fish.  If you water tested out as not perfect, they should not be telling you it's okay to add more fish.  More fish just adds to the water quality getting worse.  This is what I would do to get your tank started:

    1.  Get a master test kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.  Make sure you get the one that contains the nitrate test kit, and you will have all the tests you need to get started.  You can get them online for around $15.00, so check around locally and see if you get lucky and catch one on sale.  Normally your lfs (local fish store) will sell them for around $30.00.  PetSmart and Big Al's online are 2 places to order one.

    2.  Post your readings here.  We want to know your ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.  This will help us determine where you are in your cycle.  We don't want to know if they are high, we want to know what the number levels are.

    3.  Don't change the filter cartridge unless water no longer flows through it.  This is where most of your good bacteria lives, and when you through it away, your ammonia and nitrite levels rise until the bacteria catches up again.  If the filter looks gunky, try rinsing it in some used tank water in a bucket or small pitcher and try to reuse it.  I know your filter directions probably tell you to change the filter often, but don't do it.  I don't change mine but maybe every 6 months when they can't be rinsed anymore. 

    4.  Water changes are good.  Keep doing them.  If you just can't seem to get the ammonia levels down, get some amquel plus and add it after your next water change.  This will neutralize the ammonia in your tank so it won't harm your fish.  If you use amquel plus or ammo lock though, if your ammonia test has a card that reads from yellow to orange, you will get a false positive.  You need the ammonia test that reads from yellow to green for an accurate reading when using these products.  The AP master test kit has this ammonia test.  Also, if you are using test strips, they are notorious for giving you bad readings.

    Also, tell us what your fish are in your tank.  Some fish produce a lot more waster than others, and your tank may be a bit small for your fish.  Goldfish are very messy fish as an example, and usually require at least 10 gallons of water per goldfish for this reason.  And remember, the smaller the tank, the harder it is to maintain because you have less water to work with.  Your ammonia levels rise much quicker in a 10 gallon than a 100 gallon tank, so you have to watch them more closely. 

    You can do this.  Let us help you.  You will love it here!   ;)
  3. OP

    tek1681New MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice. I have a test kit and my numbers are. PH 7.0 Ammonia 6.0 Nitrite 0 and Nitrates 0. Thanks for the advice regarding the filter cartridge. I was told that I needed to change those once a month but they suggested I put in a new one to help deal with the ammonia. My husband reminded that the ammonia spiked after we switched that cartridge and I guess I have gotten some bad advice. I appreciated all the help you have given me so far and more advice will be much appreciated because I'm not sure the girls at my big Pet Store chain really have the best advice out there. Luckily my fish are doing fine. I did do a water change yesterday of about 25%. How often can I do them to get the ammonia down?
  4. OP

    tek1681New MemberMember

    Oh and me fish are 1 Mickey Mouse Platy, The senior member of my tank. The other 2 are 1 Red Minor Tetra and 1 Black Skirt Tetra. They people at the fish store said that even though they are schooling fish they would be OK, More bad advice? Maybe they weren't expecting them to make it. Thanks again.
  5. Gunnie

    GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Any ammonia in a tank is bad, but over 2.0 is considered toxic. Your fish should all be dead with a reading of 6.0! Since your tank is not cycled, ammonia and nitrites will be present to some degree. That is why so many people cycle their tanks now without fish, because it's really hard on the fish, and some may not make it. My suggestion is to do at least a 50% water change even twice a day if you have to to get that ammonia level down. I would definately get that amquel plus and use it until the ammonia is under control. I wouldn't worry about how many of each fish you have right now until your tank is cycled. I don't think you will be able to add any more fish to your 10 gal. anyway. I think you're pretty much stocked to the max. Just hang in there, and let us know how you are doing. ;)
  6. Butterfly

    ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!!!
    Gunnie is right on the dot with her advice, theres nothing I can add except to remind you to read those articles she gave you the link for thoroughly. Just hang in there.