Ammonia level keeps rising Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by christine828, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. christine828Valued MemberMember

    My ammonia level has gone from .25 to 1.0 over the past week and a half. Nothing has changed, I am still doing daily 50% water changes with Amquel+. I am fresh out of ideas since the ammonia level has been out of whack for 2 months now, and now its increasing again. I ordered a bottle of TSS last night. My question, I know I can't use Amquel+ with TSS but do I use another conditioner to remove the chlorine?

  2. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hi Christine, according to tetra, use a plain water conditioner that does not detox, remove or neutralize ammonia if you use TSS.

    It might be a good idea to try and figure out what's going on before trying TSS.
    Have you tested your tap water?

    Good luck.

  3. christine828Valued MemberMember

    I have tested my tap water and it's fine. I have another tank with 2 goldfish that I fill from the same tap and their water tests a little high in nitrates but everything else is 0. My tropical tank has 0 nitrates.

    It started with the tank not being cycled, I had the ammonia level over 4, I have been doing daily water changes for over 2 months now with Amquel+ and I got it all the way down to .25 with 5 nitrates and 0 nitrites for about 2 weeks then ammonia started rising again and now it's back up to 1.0 with 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates. I'm so confused...

  4. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Perhaps the Amquel or TSS (not sure what this is) are tainted? Do you use them in the other tank, too?

  5. christine828Valued MemberMember

    I have considered that something might be up with my Amquel+. The bottle is almost empty, I've been using it for a few weeks and just within the past week and a half or so has the ammonia been on the rise, but that has been on my mind, too. I am going to the pet store today for some new Amquel+ since the other bottle is almost gone anyway. The Amquel+ just detoxes the ammonia though, so the fish are kept safe during cycling, I don't know if that would affect the ammonia level???

    I have also used the Amquel+ on the goldfish tank, but in much less quantity because I read a drastic drop in nitrate levels can be harmful so I didn't want it to remove them all at once.

    I have not used the TSS (Tetra SafeStart) yet.
  6. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Maybe you should cut back on chemicals and just try doing water changes. We use Prime as a dechlorinator, which we've had great luck with consistently.

    I'd be a little worried about putting too much chemical stuff in the tank. It might sabotage you in the long run. :;dk

    Forgot to ask, what are you using to test your water? Strips or the Master Kit?
  7. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Christine, how long after you add the Amel+ are you testing? The makers of that product say that it is not compatible with the API ammonia test. People end up getting a powder-based kit direct from Kardon's website, usually. Others say that if you wait 24 hours to test, you can get accurate results with the API.

    Have you tried adding more places in your tank for more beneficial bacteria to grow? You could add more filter media to your filter (if there is any space), and add terra cotta pots, etc. Looking at your aq info, it doesn't seem like it is a bioload problem, but it never hurts to give the bacteria extra places to grow.
  8. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Ken posted this in another thread. I thought it might be helpful to you to have this information.

  9. christine828Valued MemberMember

    I am waiting a full 24 hours after adding the Amquel+ before I test. As far as more places for the bacteria to grow, forgive me for sounding dumb, but what do you mean? We have 2 (fake) plants and 4 decorations from small to large inside the tank, as well as 2 filters running. I'm also not sure how I could add more media to the filter, it's pretty jammed in there as it is. If there is a better filter to try, I am open to suggestions.
  10. christine828Valued MemberMember


    I'm not sure what you mean by cutting back on the chemicals, Amquel+ is the only chemical I am using at the moment. I can't stop that or my fish will suffer from the ammonia in the tank. I just ordered, but have not received yet, TSS to help the beneficial bacteria grow in the tank. TSS is not a chemical, so they say.

    I am using the API Master Test Kit for testing.
  11. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Maybe instead of chemical, I should have used the word "stuff". :oops:

    I have never used TSS. I guess I'd prefer the most natural cycling of the tank possible and I don't like to expose my fish to more "stuff" than I absolutely have to.

    For example, you can't use a dechlorinator if you're using TSS. According to their own spokesman, many people don't use TSS "right" the first time. That alone would scare me away from the product.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of it. For the sake of your tank, I hope it works for you. I can't imagine your frustration level at this point.

    I do hope you read Ken's link above. The information the company gave him was really thorough, right down to: add TSS, 2 hours later add your fish, etc.

    I hope you do get to the root of your tank issue and are able then to just enjoy your tank. :)
  12. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Christine, what I meant about more places for the bacteria to grow is just that bacteria adheres to porous surfaces such as terra cotta better than nonporous surfaces. I thought maybe adding more place for bacteria to grow would help there be more good bacteria to process the toxins. But if you already have two filters jam-packed with media, then that is not the problem.

    As far as the TSS, it's a great product when used properly. It's just that properly is really hard with that stuff. If your ammonia level starting out is too high, then the TSS will die off. You have to do large water changes to get the ammonia way down before adding the bottle. You must add the entire bottle, and it's a good idea to use a lot of the stuff (I used the 75g bottle for my 30g).

    You can use a dechlorinator, just not one that detoxifies. Tetra, of course, recommends their own product (Tetra AquaSafe) which is what I used. It works well. You won't be able to use the Amelquel+ for a few days before adding the TSS.

    I would respectfully disagree with Lynda. I don't think you are using too many chemicals/stuff in the tank. Amelquel+ is a conditioner that is very similar to Prime. And the only other thing you plan to use is TSS, which is a good product that actually can work. I know the daily water changes can be frustrating, but hang in there. Once you have the TSS in the tank, you can stop the daily WC and you won't even have to test for a week. :)
  13. christine828Valued MemberMember

    I know TSS says to add the fish 2 hours after you add the fish, and to get the ammonia levels down as low as possible before you add it. What are my chances of having success if the ammonia is between .5 and 1, I have waited 2 days after using Amquel+ before adding and the fish are in the tank before the TSS?

    I don't mind the daily water changes, although very frustrating, it just doesn't seem to be getting anywhere since the ammonia is going up instead of down. I have 4 fish (3 of them are less an inch long) in a 20 gallon tank with a 30 gallon filter and I threw on the 10 gallon just to help. I really don't know what else to do, or what I am doing wrong. Why aren't bacteria growing on their own????

    I already have the AquaSafe on hand, it's what I was using before I started with the Amquel+, so thats a plus. How large of a water change should I do before I add the TSS? I am going to reread the TSS link here about 100 times before I use it, too.
  14. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I think you should do a really big water change, personally... maybe 75% a couple of days in a row.

    I can't really say what your chances are. My personal experience with TSS was that it is extremely finicky. When it works, it's awesome. But when it doesn't, it's super-frustrating. Overall, I would say my experience with it was good, though. Even though it got really expensive for me (4 bottles!!), all of my fish survived and actually did very well.

    I don't think you are doing anything wrong as far as the bacteria not growing. It's just a slow process and can take a really long time. Things like changing out the filter media, or rinsing it in tapwater (exposure to chlorine) can kill off bacteria, which would slow the cycling process down. But overall, I think you are doing everything you are supposed to. Just hang in there - it will happen eventually.
  15. christine828Valued MemberMember

    Well, knowing that the TSS is on its way now, I did a 60-65% water change yesterday but I did use Amquel+. I will do 75% today and tomorrow, and see where the ammonia level is. I will use the AquaSafe instead of the Amquel+ and hope the fish don't suffer too much.
  16. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Maybe you could do a couple of smaller changes throughout the day, since they won't have the amel+? Like 40-50%? Don't know if you have the time for that.

    good luck. We're rooting for you.
  17. christine828Valued MemberMember

    I work full-time, go to school full-time and I have a 3 year old son... but I think I can squeeze it in. :) I will do one today when I get home, one tonight before bed, one first thing in the morning, one when I get back home... Good thing I like my fish. :)

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