Ammonia In Water After Adding Prime

dennis1573
  • #1
Hello, I just purchased a small 3.5 gallon gold fish tank for my little girl. It’s been 3 weeks and sadly we’ve already had 2 goldfish die. Before I get another fish I want to make sure I’m doing everything right. I tested the water and the ammonia level was really high. I then got tap water and treated it with prime but that too still has an elevated ammonia content (1ppm). What can I do to bring those levels down? Really don’t want to kill another goldfish.
 
mattgirl
  • #2
Prime won't remove the ammonia so it will still show up in your tests. It just renders it less harmful. Are you saying that you have ammonia in your tap water? I normally recommend water changes to get the ammonia levels down below at least 1 and then add prime but if you have that much ammonia in your tap water changing it won't bring the levels down.

Right now Prime is going to be a life saver for your fish. If you do have that much ammonia in your tap water you are probably going to have to use a different water source. If it were me I would be buying regular drinking water. you don't want to use distilled water because it doesn't contain the necessary minerals but drinking water should.
 
Floundering_Around
  • #3
Welcome to fishlore! Firstly, a water change should be your number one way to remove ammonia from the water. Adding prime only detoxifies the ammonia but it will still show up on a test reading

A few questions to help clear up some things...
1. Is this a tank with a filter?
2. do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

On another note, goldfish are not at all suited for a tank any size smaller than 20 gallons (for fanyones. Bubble eyes, ryukins, etc.) and streamlined comets and feeder fish grow to over a foot long and hsould not be in anything smaller than a pond. Both types of goldfish produce huge amounts of waste that will quickly bbreakdown into ammonia and kill the fish.
A 3.5 gallon tank is better suited to a single betta fish, once the tank is done cycling
 
Hunter1
  • #4
Welcome to fishlore! Firstly, a water change should be your number one way to remove ammonia from the water. Adding prime only detoxifies the ammonia but it will still show up on a test reading

A few questions to help clear up some things...
1. Is this a tank with a filter?
2. do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

On another note, goldfish are not at all suited for a tank any size smaller than 20 gallons (for fanyones. Bubble eyes, ryukins, etc.) and streamlined comets and feeder fish grow to over a foot long and hsould not be in anything smaller than a pond. Both types of goldfish produce huge amounts of waste that will quickly bbreakdown into ammonia and kill the fish.
A 3.5 gallon tank is better suited to a single betta fish, once the tank is done cycling

Exactly what I was going to say.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you all for your replies. To clear somethings up yes the tank is filtered. I bought this one and no not entirely sure I understand the nitrogen cycle.

I have not tested the tap water itself only tested after adding prime and saw ammonia levels still elevated as mentioned before.


First time owning a goldfish. My daughter really likes them since the 1st was given to us a little kids Dr. Seuss themed birthday party. I was told the tank should keep the goldfish well. It’s a common goldfish not a fancy one.
 
mattgirl
  • #6
Hopefully Dennis will come back and clarify. If he does in fact have ammonia in his tap water then water changes alone aren't going to lower it. At least with a tank this small buying water won't break the bank. .... I see you answered while I was typing. If I understand correctly you are talking about testing the water in the tank after doing a water change. It wasn't clear from your first post. You may want to test your tap water but I would be willing to bet the high ammonia is coming from a fish that produces huge amounts of waste. It would take 50-60% water changes daily to put a dent in the ammonia levels.

Dennis, I know you don't want to put your daughter through watching her fish die. A tank this size would be perfect for a Betta and I am sure your little girl would love it. Goldies are nice but they need a really big tank or a pond. They produce way to much waste for a small tank and a lot of them grow huge if given the proper care.

I normally don't recommend re-homing a fish but if possible that may be the best thing you can do for the one that is left.
 
Hunter1
  • #7
I’m not a goldfish expert but have read a lot about them.

They need a bigger tank.

But the great news is a betta fish can be pretty happy in a 3.5 gallon, cycled, filtered, heated tank.

And your daughter will probably like a betta as much or more.

This idea will probably draw some criticism on here but if I was in your situation, I would use the goldfish to cycle the tank with the fish-in process. (Start a new threat asking how to do this)

In the mean time show your daughter some bettas at the fish store but tell her you can only have one or the other. Once the tank is cycled, trade the goldfish in and get a betta the same day.

Goldfish get too large for your tank and have a large bioload. Betta fish do well l in a smaller tank and have a small bioload.

Hopefully Dennis will come back and clarify. If he does in fact have ammonia in his tap water then water changes alone aren't going to lower it. At least with a tank this small buying water won't break the bank. .... I see you answered while I was typing. If I understand correctly you are talking about testing the water in the tank after doing a water change. It wasn't clear from your first post. You may want to test your tap water but I would be willing to bet the high ammonia is coming from a fish that produces huge amounts of waste. It would take 50-60% water changes daily to put a dent in the ammonia levels.

Dennis, I know you don't want to put your daughter through watching her fish die. A tank this size would be perfect for a Betta and I am sure your little girl would love it. Goldies are nice but they need a really big tank or a pond. They produce way to much waste for a small tank and a lot of them grow huge if given the proper care.

I normally don't recommend re-homing a fish but if possible that may be the best thing you can do for the one that is left.
Seems we were giving the same response at the same time.
 
mattgirl
  • #8
Seems we were giving the same response at the same time.
Often hearing the same thing from various folks confirms that the advice is probably sound advice.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
So currently I’m fishless. After the last fish died last night I emptied the water out of the tank and rinsed out decorations. I then filled a bucket with tap water and treated it with Prime and let it sit overnight.

This morning is when I decided to take a reading to get a baseline and saw that it read 1ppm of ammonia.

I will be going back and will consider a betta fish taking my daughter with to pick one out.

Another question is a nitrogen cycle needed for a betta fish also?
 
Jellibeen
  • #10
Can you test your tap water before adding Prime? If your tap water has ammonia in it, you should probably be buying drinking water for your tank.
 
Mazeus
  • #11
Another question is a nitrogen cycle needed for a betta fish also?

Yes, all tanks should be cycled for healthy happy fish. Plus if the tank wasn't cycled you'd need to do so many more water changes to keep the ammonia down.

A betta is such a great fish! I have one and he is very interactive, and they come in so many colours. I'm sure your daughter will love picking one out.
 
DylanM
  • #12
Another question is a nitrogen cycle needed for a betta fish also?
A nitrogen cycle is needed for any fish you would get for a tank. In this case your options are pretty much a betta, or shrimp. I've had plenty of people tell me minimum for a goldfish is 30 gallons, first time I've heard 20 gallons, so it is definitely not an option to get another one of those in this tank, as it will inevitably die.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Not home at the moment. But I do plan on testing the tap water before adding Prime.

I’ll post results once I do.

Thanks again for all of your help
 
Mazeus
  • #14
Oh, just one more thing. A betta is a tropical fish so you you'll need a heater, unless the room you keep the tank in is kept at 78-80F.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I did buy a thermometer for the tank and was reading around 75.?? Not good enough huh?
 
Mazeus
  • #16
That's a wee bit low for a betta. Is that a consistent 75 or is that the evening temp?
 
Hunter1
  • #17
And too hot for goldfish.

Some won’t like this but you can cycle the tank with the betta but ONLY if you are willing to do WCs as needed, frequently.
 
Aqua Hands
  • #18
Lets not let this become a SALTwater thread you guys
 
Hunter1
  • #19
Lets not let this become a SALTwater thread you guys
I hope I didn’t offend anyone. My goldfish comment was in case the OP was still considering a goldfish.

We provide advice based on experience but people also listen to lfs employees and observe things in other tanks contrary to our advice like goldfish in tiny tanks.

In that position I would wonder who to believe; the internet know-it-all’s, or the owner of a tiny tank with goldfish in it.

Unfortunately, most of us have learned lessons the hard way, dead fish.
 
Aqua Hands
  • #20
I hope I didn’t offend anyone. My goldfish comment was in case the OP was still considering a goldfish.

We provide advice based on experience but people also listen to lfs employees and observe things in other tanks contrary to our advice like goldfish in tiny tanks.

In that position I would wonder who to believe; the internet know-it-all’s, or the owner of a tiny tank with goldfish in it.

Unfortunately, most of us have learned lessons the hard way, dead fish.
yep, just posting because some people get way too upset on here somtimes. You know how it is
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Okay I tested tap water and it tested between 0ppm and .5ppm. Not sure why or how ammonia level went up to 1ppm after adding prime.

We finally decided on a betta fish. Was thinking of just adding him into tank with a new batch of tap water and treatment of Prime. Also pet store recommended a bacteria supplement.

What do you guys think?

Also 75 degrees was a night temperature reading. I live in Florida so I’m sure the temperature gets warmer during the day. I’ll test tomorrow.
 
Jellibeen
  • #22
Hm, I think you should figure out why you’re getting a positive ammonia reading before you add fish. It’s definitely weird. I’ve never heard of Prime adding ammonia.

Are you using test strips or a liquid test kit? Test strips can be inaccurate or hard to read.

I know this is a lot of information! Getting started with a new aquarium can be a bit of information overload. It’s a fulfilling experience once you get the hang of it. It is great that you are reaching out to learn how to do things.

Is it possible you are adding too much Prime? I use a syringe to measure it out since my tanks are small.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Yes definitely may have added to much Prime to tap water. But decided to buy drinking water and tested it with Tetra Easy Strips. Here are the results of drinking water test:

Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Hardness 35 or so
Chlorine 0
Alkalinity 40
Ph 7.0
Ammonia 0

Should I add bacteria to start nitrogen cycle? I believe I read some where that the filters that came with the tank had bacteria in them.
 
Ulu
  • #24
I have bought and tested over a dozen different types of drinking water and the pH on those things is all over the place, from a fish keeper's standpoint.

Tetra easy strips will not give you any accurate readings but can be used to spot potential problems if you're in a hurry.

I would not rely on them if you want your fish to thrive.

I think the a betta would be a perfect fish for this little tank, but there are a number of other Nano tank options, and if you search up Nano tank you can read all about them.

The fish will supply all the bacteria you need if you're just patient enough to let the tank cycle. Fead him a responsible amount of food and clean up his waste and change 50% of his water everyday.

Put an Indian almond Leaf in with him to soften the water and kill unwanted organisms.

Ask the fish store for a Jungle Leaf or the smaller betta leaf.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
I’ll look into an almond leaf and jungle leaf.

With those reading posted above you think Betta is ready for his new tank? He’s still in his small cup from pet store.

Thank you to all that have replied.
 
Ulu
  • #26
Jungle Leaf is just the brand name. Please get that fish in a bigger container ASAP.
 
Jellibeen
  • #27
Yeah! Definitely move him into his new tank. The drinking water has good parameters.

You should test the water everyday while the tank is new. The ammonia may build up before the bacteria has a chance to establish.

Its also important to be wary of overfeeding. It can be tempting to overfeed. Fish actually have very small stomachs. I suggest keeping the food out of reach of your daughter. You can give her a small amount to feed the fish everyday, but its easy for children to dump in way too much food which will increase ammonia.
 
Adriifu
  • #28
I would complete a 50% water change before adding your betta. Add Prime and test. If the ammonia/nitrites are at 0 ppm, add him. If they're anything above that, perform another water change. Make sure to test your water every single day. Do the same process as stated above until there's no nitrite or ammonia readings for over a week. This means that your tank is cycled. Here's some information:

You'll want to purchase a heater ASAP. Bettas need a steady temperature of 78-86 degrees. Make sure there are plenty of hiding places and plants, fake or live. If they're fake, make sure they're silk. Anything plastic can harm the betta. Never replace the filter media. You can add new media without throwing out the old. You can also rinse the old media in old fish tank water. You do not want to lose your beneficial bacteria. Good luck. Feel free to ask more questions.
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Awesome thank you guys.

Betta is getting acculimating in new tank was told to wait 15-20 minutes then release him in tank.
 
Adriifu
  • #30
Awesome thank you guys.

Betta is getting acculimating in new tank was told to wait 15-20 minutes then release him in tank.
Remember to keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrites. Anything above 0 ppm will harm him. Good luck
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
Yep, just ordered a Tetra heater on Amazon it will be here Monday.

Oh u think I should add Prime even though drinking water test looks good?
 
Adriifu
  • #32
Oh u think I should add Prime even though drinking water test looks good?
Prime is great for just dechlorinating your water in general. It will also help detoxify ammonia/nitrites that may result from your betta's waste. You'll need a dechlorinator regardless of whether the quality is great or not. It's easier than letting your water sit out for 24 hours. Doing so may allow chlorine to dissolve, but it's easier to just add Prime.
 
Hunter1
  • #33
If all you use is bottled water, Prime is unnecessary.

But my primary residence is on well water with no chlorine, ammonia, nitrites or nitrates and I still dose lightly with Prime.
 
AquaticJ
  • #34
75 as an evening temp or even a daytime temp is perfectly fine for a Betta. People seem to cook them these days.

Good luck on your first Betta!
 
mattgirl
  • #35
With just the one beautiful little guy in there the ammonia will build up very slowly unless you are vastly over feeding him. Water changes of at least 50% every 5 days to no more than a week should keep the ammonia almost negligible.

Get a siphon for cleaning the substrate with each water change to remove his poop and you should be golden. I've not read back through the thread so can't remember if it has been suggested but you own water testing kit will be one of the best investments you can make. I use and recommend the API master kit. With it you can know exactly what is going on in the tank. Without if you can only guess.

Please stick around and let us know how things are going. If you keep up with the water changes I feel sure you will be coming back with happy news.
 
Lacey D
  • #36
So sorry to hear about your goldfish experience, but that's how a lot of us started. I really wish the store had given you better advice about tank requirements. But a betta should work really well there! Welcome to Fishlore, and welcome to the hobby
 
dennis1573
  • Thread Starter
  • #37
Thanks to all of you who have posted. Much appreaciated.

So far so good with KikI (betta) our daughters have named him.


x6syu.jpg

I will try and get a better pic of him and repost.
 
Hunter1
  • #38
That’s a great picture, and a lil girl’s tank.

Perfect!!!

Hope she appreciates you.
 
SegiDream
  • #39
Get a siphon for cleaning the substrate with each water change to remove his poop and you should be golden.

Preferably a small size gravel vac/siphon if you decide to buy one. Regular size vacs will drain a 3.5 in no time flat lol.
 

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