Ammonia level will not zero

  1. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    My 29g that is about 2 months old. Early on I had an ICH outbreak but haven't seen any signs of it for about a month. I do 40-50% water changes (with gravel vacuum, I take out filters and wash them in bucket of tank h2o and condition w/ Prime) 2-3x weekly. For weeks I had mid-high ammonia and nitrites, then they lowered. I thought that I finally had levels straightened out but two days later (even after an h2o change) the ammonia level was high again (approx. .50). I do a water change and it tests ok but by morning ammonia has spiked again.

    My 10g is about 1 month old. It had the same problem at first but after only a week & a half or so it tested great. That only lasted a couple weeks and now ammonia reads .50 as well. I don't know what else to do.

    the fish do not seem distressed in any way (yet?)

    29g- 3 rosy barbs, 4 zebra fish, 1 Bolivian ram

    10g- 3 Cory cats, 2 Bolivian rams (this is quarantine tank. These fish are all ready to b transferred over but I don't know what would be best with the water quality issue).

    Thanks everyone.

    Nik
     
  2. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Have you tested your tap water for ammonia?
     

  3. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Yes I did. It has 0
     
  4. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Are you rising your filtr cartriges 2 to 3 times aweek? That is a bit excessive.
     

  5. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    No sorry, probably once a weeks or less
     
  6. fishyluv Well Known Member Member

    You really dont need to rinse the filters even every week unless they are really bad clogged up. I am wondering if you might be disturbing the beneficial bacteria that is trying to build. I would try leaving the filters alone especially if they are not clogged up. Good luck!!!
     
  7. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Should I try TSS? I have been using Prime. Should I wait 24hrs, do a water change then add a bottle SS?
     

  8. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    if you use TSS, yes thats the way to do it...and I agree rinsing your filters keeps putting you in a mini cycle...
     
  9. AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    I agree too, filter rinsing on a weekly bases with a tank that is not mature is most likely the culprit. Even if not well established you should rinse media when gunked up to keep good filter flow.

    What exactly is your filtration?
     
  10. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I was told to rinse them more often because I have just recently got past a bacterial and a fungal infection in the tank. I have been doing it more often due to that. I read 2-3 months is good to rinse them.

    I guess I will get TSS in the AM. thanks.
     

  11. AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    Ah, did you treat the tank with medication?
     
  12. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Sorry, my phone died. Along with Alyeskagirl's question, I was going to ask have you been doing daily water changes since the spikes started? Are you waiting 24hrs after using Prime to test your water?
     
  13. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I used medicine but I haven't had any medication in either tank for over 3 weeks. Only been doing water change wveryothwr day. I guess I will gave to try everyday for awhile. Yes. Well I wait usually 18hrs or so before testing after Prime.
     
  14. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    A lot of medications can kill your cycle, what did you use? If you use TSS, you wouldn't do any waterchanges after it is added for 2 weeks. If you don't use it I would up the water changes to daily until things level out.
     
  15. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I used maracyn 2 and before that maracyn oxy but that was awhile ago now. It has been over a month since any medicine has been added to the tank at all.

    It was after I finally got past the illnesses that the ammonia level stabilized for about 4 days or so. It just suddenly spiked and I haven't been able to bring it back down. It hovers between .50 & .25. Just under .25 is the lowest reading I have been able to obtain since this battle started. The Ph is 6.6, nitrites & nitrates perfect.

    Ammo lock or like products don't seem to be a great idea b/c it's not really addressing the root of the problem IMO. I have got many mixed reviews on NutraFin Biological Supplement. My LPS recommended it to me but I was told here that it actually creates uneeded bacteria that competes with the beneficial bacterial you are trying to establish. I have also seen people w/ fish knowledge disagree w/ that too though. It's so confusing.

    I am terrified that my fish are going to get sick. I know I have to get a handle on this but I am at a loss for my next move.
     
  16. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Well you have 2 choices, daily waterchanges with prime, or TSS. I have used TSS and can say it worked for me. I have never used nutrafin, I read the instructions on the bottle that said to keep adding it every week, and put it back on the shelf. I do not trust any product that claims to cycle a tank if it needs to be redosed indeffinatly.
     
  17. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    What is you actual nitrate reading?
     
  18. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    My actual nitrate reading is 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm, Ph 6.8

    Lexi u asked about my tap water I forgot that I didn't have the master test kit yet when I tested it and I think my tap water may be a big part of the problem (glad I don't drink it). It reads just under .25 ammonia when I tested it right from the tap. So how do I get around that? Can I use bottled/drinking water?


    I have been doing 60-75% water changes daily/every other day and I still have not been able to get an ammonia reading under .25 and even if I do get a reading that low by the following day it's back up to just over .50ppm. I have also been feeding the fish just once a day. I am so frustrated b/c I have really been busting my butt trying to resolve this and nothing is working.

    Jd, I read in a recent post of yours to cycle a fish in tank you need to get ammonia levels as close to zero as possible then not clean it or do water changes for 2 weeks. Does that mean I need to just wait thru the elevated ammonia levels until the tank is cycled and can deal w/ the ammonia on it's own? Won't the ammonia kill my fish before the cycle is complete?
     
  19. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    The above directions are for someone who has started a "fish in" cycle, but now wants to try cycling with SafeStart.

    In your case you either need to keep doing the daily water changes with Prime OR switch over and give SafeStart a try.

    I have a feeling that the meds you used killed off any bacteria you had started developing, and you basically started over with your cycle.

    If you are doing daily water changes with Prime, you may want to do slightly smaller water changes and let the ammonia stay between .5ppm and 1ppm. The higher levels may speed up the cycle a little. Especially since your ph is under 7.0.(At a ph less than 7 ammonia starts turning into ammonium. Ammonium is much less toxic, but doesn't feed the bacteria as well) The Prime should fully detox those levels* so your fish will be safe.

    (* I persoanlly do not use Prime, but I seem to remember that if you have elevated levels of ammonia and/or nitrite you have to overdose with the Prime. Try to read up on that a little to ensure you are putting enough Prime in to detox all ammonia and/or nitrites)

    I'm sure you mighty frustrated, but hang in there. Someday you'll look back and laugh about all this. But I have to say, were it me, I'd be running to the store for a bottle of SafeStart. Daily water changes get old real fast. But if you do choose to try using SafeStart be sure to wait 24 hours after any Prime was added to your tank as it will cause the SafeStart to fail.

    Oh and while I'm at it, I'll let Lexi rest her fingers and answer for her. Don't get too worried about the ammonia in your tap water. The Prime will easily detox it, and once your tank cycles it you will have enough bacteria to process it within 24 hours, so nothing to worry about.
     
  20. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks Jdhef:), I will only add that the reason for double dosing the Prime is because it only detoxes a little under 1ppm per dose. With lower levels of ammonia in the tank/ tap a single dose for the entire volume of the tank would most likely be ok, but a double dose will not hurt. During cycling a double dose is not a bad idea when the ammonia and nitrite are fluctuating. I do a double dose with water changes because of the ammonia in my tap being so high ( over 2ppm ). The bottle of Prime says you can dose up to 5x the normal dose for high nitrites.