Ammonia level Help 

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ohough88

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Hey guys, i'm fairly new to fishkeeping and looking for some advice about my tank. About 12 - 14 weeks ago I bought a 60L tropical tank from my local petsathome, the woman that served me told me to set it up and leave it for a week before putting fish in. I went back a week later and was told by a different member of staff that guppies would be good to start with so I bought 5 guppies. Needless to say 4 days later I discovered guppies are not good to start with as I only had 2 left, one of which I discovered had tailrot which I then had to treat the tank for. I was taking my water to be tested about twice a week and they kept telling me all the levels were high and to just keep doing water changes. After I took the guppies that survived back to the store I didn't have anything in the tank for about a week. Because of the bad advice I was given they gave me two danios for free which I still have in the tank. I bought an API freshwater test kit about 5 weeks ago so I could test the water myself, for the first couple of weeks I had quite high ammonia levels (about 1-2ppm)and very high nitrite levels (5ppm). About 3 weeks ago my ammonia started to come down and then my nitrite came all the way down to 0. My ammonia level has never gone down to 0 though, every time I test it I always get 0.5ppm. The nitrite level has stayed at 0 and my nitrate level fluctuates between 5-20ppm. I use nutrafin aqua+ as a water conditioner and am currently doing a 25% water change every other day. I've tested the tap water and the the new tank water containing the aqua+ before I add it to the tank and both read 0. I don't think i'm overfeeding because I only feed them a small pinch of food every other day so i've got no idea why the ammonia level is stuck at 0.5ppm.

Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

ExiledxAssassin

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You are in the Nitrogen Cycle stage. (click the underline words and read the very helpful steps to get your tank cycled)

It is reccomendable to do a fish-less cycle (it is better choice), trust me I wish I started doing fish-less when I started too..

But anyway, if you can i'd take those 2 danios back and try either adding raw shrimp or pure ammonia into your tank and let it finish cycling..

You will have ammonia (up to 4.0ppm) and VERY high nitrItes (off the scale readings) which you will need to wait for to go down.
 
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ohough88

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You will have ammonia (up to 4.0ppm) and VERY high nitrItes (off the scale readings) which you will need to wait for to go down.

That has already happened, the nitrites have gone down to 0 after being at 5 ppm for a while.
 

Kunsthure

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

I had a similar problem but it turns out that I have 1ppm of ammonia in my tap so that was my first thought. But seeing as how you've already tested...

Do you have any snails? If so, maybe one died and is decomposing in a hidden location. Did you get out all the dead fish and possible tail pieces? Do you vacuum your gravel? Decomposing anything can cause lingering ammonia.

I'd try a very large water change and a really deep and thorough gravel vac and see if that helps. Does your water conditioner detoxify ammonia and nitrites? If not, you may want to consider getting some Prime or Amquel+ because those will at least detox the ammonia until you sort things out.

Are you planning on adding more danio once your tank is stable? They're happier in bigger groups.

ETA: I disagree with taking back the danios and doing a fishless cycle. You've got 0 nitrites and some nitrates which mean all the bacteria are in place. Your tank is essentially cycled, there's no sense in taking them back.

-Lisa
 
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ohough88

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Thanks for your reply.

I don't have snails and i'm pretty sure I got all of the dead fish out. I have a gravel cleaner but it doesn't seem to do much when I use it.

How large of a water change should I do? The conditioner says on the bottle that it removes chlorine, chloramine, neutralises heavy metals and protects scales and fins. Nothing about ammonia and nitrites.

I'm planning on getting another 3-4 danios once I can get the ammonia to go down.
 

Kunsthure

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I'd do 75-80% to see if that helps. Do you have a battery powered vac or the kind attached to a siphon? I've found the siphon ones work much better for deep cleaning because they have greater suction. The downside is that you can only vacuum for so long before you take out all the water.

-Lisa
 

Tigerfishy

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The water conditioner you are using does not detoxify ammonia and nitrites. It is also not very economical for the price (a 250ml bottle is the same price as a 500ml bottle of Prime for you guys to compare. I used to use Aqua Plus too)

Try to find Seachem Prime, I got mine on eBay. Use it with water changes every day. Prime detoxifies the ammonia and nitrites so the filter can remove it and cycle, but it will not harm the fish. Prime will last you forever, as only a few drops per bucket of water conditions it all! I'll never go back to Nutrafin.

(Oh and stop using Nutrafin Cycle if you bought that too, it won't help any, more personal experience there for you too!!)
 
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I have both kinds. I've only used the battery powered one once though because it just sucked the gravel up into the little bag on it. I'll do a 75-80% water change later today and see if it helps.
 

Kunsthure

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Get down to the bottom glass with the vac and vacuum the whole tank (some people advise against it because they think you'll ruin the cycle, but most of the bacteria is in your filter so it's ok. And speaking of your filter, check it too and see if there's anything decomposing in there, but hold off on swishing it in discarded tank water since your cycle is so new). You'll probably be surprised by how much gunk you'll see. I couldn't stand it so I switched to sand.
 
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ohough88

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Ok, i've found some seachem prime on ebay so I'll give that a go when it comes. I actually cleaned the filter in the tank water I removed a few days ago, it looked like i'd dropped a handful of sand in the bucket after.

The thing I don't get is the ammonia level never changes no matter how long I leave it. I can test the water the day after changing it and its 0.5 and then I can test 5 days after changing water and it's still 0.5.

EDIT - I really don't like the gravel I have in the tank, would it be possible to change it either for pebbles or sand?
I've read that changing gravel is not a good idea because it can effect the bacteria in the tank, does anyone have any experience of changing gravel and what effect it can have?
 
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