Ammonia Is Super High!!

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Pearl Boba

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hi, I just set up my new 35 gallon tank and decided to do the fish less cycle. It’s been a few days and I decided to test the water. The ammonia level is at 8.0ppm !! I didn’t do anything to the water, all I did was add the substrate, start the fliter and heater then let it run for a few days. Is this normal?? Also how do you know if the tank has been cycled?
 

Jenoli42

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Pearl Boba said:
hi, I just set up my new 35 gallon tank and decided to do the fish less cycle. It’s been a few days and I decided to test the water. The ammonia level is at 8.0ppm !! I didn’t do anything to the water, all I did was add the substrate, start the fliter and heater then let it run for a few days. Is this normal?? Also how do you know if the tank has been cycled?
check the ammonia levels in your tap water/water source.

that's a ridiculous level of ammonia if you haven't added anything like TSS or Dr Tims or any ammonia... what test kit are you using?

you know you are cycled when your tank is stable at 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite and 5-20 ppm nitrAte.

here's a quick run down:

you need ammonia in your tank to get your ammonia-eating bacteria growing. it sounds like you have that now...but we should figure out why it's at that level.

your ammonia-eating bacteria poo. the poo is nitrite. nitrite is very toxic to fish.

once there is nitrite, though, a second colony of bacteria start to grow. these guys eat nitrite. the grow more slowly. they poo nitrAte. nitrate is not harmful to fish below 40ppm. and you manage nitrate with weekly water changes to keep it around 20ppm or less to be safe.
 

Wraithen

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Where did you get all the stuff? What's your ph? What test are you using? In exact detail, how are you testing?
 
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Pearl Boba

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Jenoli42 said:
check the ammonia levels in your tap water/water source.

that's a ridiculous level of ammonia if you haven't added anything like TSS or Dr Tims or any ammonia... what test kit are you using?

you know you are cycled when your tank is stable at 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite and 5-20 ppm nitrAte.

here's a quick run down:

you need ammonia in your tank to get your ammonia-eating bacteria growing. it sounds like you have that now...but we should figure out why it's at that level.

your ammonia-eating bacteria poo. the poo is nitrite. nitrite is very toxic to fish.

once there is nitrite, though, a second colony of bacteria start to grow. these guys eat nitrite. the grow more slowly. they poo nitrAte. nitrate is not harmful to fish below 40ppm. and you manage nitrate with weekly water changes to keep it around 20ppm or less to be safe.
My tap water ammonia level is 0ppm and I am using the freshwater master test kit. I also just found out my nitrite is 0ppm. Also thank you for the information about cycling !

Wraithen said:
Where did you get all the stuff? What's your ph? What test are you using? In exact detail, how are you testing?
My ph is 6.0 and I am using the freshwater master test kit.
 

Wraithen

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Pearl Boba said:
My ph is 6.0 and I am using the freshwater master test kit.
The tank, filter, decor, came from where? Ammonia doesn't appear so it likely came from one of these. There's no plants or anything else in the tank either right?
 
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Pearl Boba

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Wraithen said:
The tank, filter, decor, came from where? Ammonia doesn't appear so it likely came from one of these. There's no plants or anything else in the tank either right?
Yes there are no plants or decor. The tank and fliter is from my LFS. I did add substrate, could this be where the ammonia is coming from?
 

Wraithen

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If the substrate was new then it's the rest of your tank. Call your lfs tomorrow and ask about the history of that stuff if it wasn't new. Anything used may have been a reptile tank.
 
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Pearl Boba

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Wraithen said:
If the substrate was new then it's the rest of your tank. Call your lfs tomorrow and ask about the history of that stuff if it wasn't new. Anything used may have been a reptile tank.
The tank was the only thing that was used but I cleaned and wiped it down.. The fliter which is meant for a 70 gallon is also clean. My substrate is power sand at the bottom then aquatic soil on top, could soil have made my ammonia levels go up? Also how can I make the levels go down? Should I start adding plants, I heard it helps..
 

TexasDomer

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What kind of aquatic soil? Some can release ammonia.

Do water changes to reduce ammonia.

Is there a reason you put sand underneath the soil?
 

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Pearl Boba said:
My tap water ammonia level is 0ppm and I am using the freshwater master test kit. I also just found out my nitrite is 0ppm. Also thank you for the information about cycling !
ok, good to know.

so, it's mysterious how you have that level of ammonia. what kind of substrate are you using? did you "feed" the tank any fish food?

also, what is tap pH?
 
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Pearl Boba

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TexasDomer said:
What kind of aquatic soil? Some can release ammonia.

Do water changes to reduce ammonia.

Is there a reason you put sand underneath the soil?
I used ADA aquatic soil and ADA powers sand. The power sand is suppose to provide more nutrients for the plants. I haven’t added any plants yet though..
 

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Aquatic soil will leach ammonia for a while. Add plants as soon as you can and keep up with wayer changes amd your tank will cycle.
 

TexasDomer

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That would be it. You can fishless cycle the tank using the ammonia released from the soil. It'll take a long time to stop releasing ammonia, so I would do water changes any time it gets above 4 ppm.
 
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Pearl Boba

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Jenoli42 said:
ok, good to know.

so, it's mysterious how you have that level of ammonia. what kind of substrate are you using? did you "feed" the tank any fish food?

also, what is tap pH?
I am using ADA aquatic soil and ADA powersand. I haven’t put in any fish food yet and the tap PH is about 7.2

TexasDomer said:
That would be it. You can fishless cycle the tank using the ammonia released from the soil. It'll take a long time to stop releasing ammonia, so I would do water changes any time it gets above 4 ppm.
Ahh I see, thank you so much! I should probably be doing a water change right now haha

smee82 said:
Aquatic soil will leach ammonia for a while. Add plants as soon as you can and keep up with wayer changes amd your tank will cycle.
Ok so add plants, got it! I also will do a water change right now, thank you so much!
 

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Just curious, but why did you put the sand on the bottom? Most applications have the sand capping the soil. I'm not familiar with the sand you have though.

Agreed it's from your soil and sand. It's likely ammonium.
 
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Pearl Boba

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Wraithen said:
Just curious, but why did you put the sand on the bottom? Most applications have the sand capping the soil. I'm not familiar with the sand you have though.

Agreed it's from your soil and sand. It's likely ammonium.
It’s power sand and apprently if you put it under the soil it creates a lot of nutrients for the plants. And yes I’m just finishing up the water change and I will test it again, thank you!
 

Jenoli42

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Pearl Boba said:
I am using ADA aquatic soil and ADA powersand. I haven’t put in any fish food yet and the tap PH is about 7.2
I think folks on here have put you in the right direction! the impact of that soil and sand was above my head.

hey, I am curious about why your pH drops from your tap at 7.2 to your tank at 6.0. if that is also because of the soil or sand then nevermind. if not, then you might want to test your tap water kH. i'm just wanting to make sure you're not going to have pH swing that can harm your fish in the future because your water isn't buffered.

also, pH below 6 can mean bacteria grow more slowly. (some people have great experience with BB at this pH, though - when our 0kH water dropped to 6 most of our BB died.)

if your kH is fine and it's because of the substrate, then nevermind. you're on the right track!
 

smee82

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A
Jenoli42 said:
I think folks on here have put you in the right direction! the impact of that soil and sand was above my head.

hey, I am curious about why your pH drops from your tap at 7.2 to your tank at 6.0. if that is also because of the soil or sand then nevermind. if not, then you might want to test your tap water kH. i'm just wanting to make sure you're not going to have pH swing that can harm your fish in the future because your water isn't buffered.

also, pH below 6 can mean bacteria grow more slowly. (some people have great experience with BB at this pH, though - when our 0kH water dropped to 6 most of our BB died.)

if your kH is fine and it's because of the substrate, then nevermind. you're on the right track!
Aqua soil will drop the ph in a tank.
 
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