Ammonia levels in my three tanks

  • #1
Hello All,
I have had my tanks for about a month now. The ammonia levels in two of them are threw the roof. One of the tanks I have finally gotten down to .25-.5ppm. Is this tank still at a high risk of losing fish? The other two tanks are both at 8.0ppm. One of the other two tanks has 4 angelfish and a rainbow shark in it. Two of these angle fish are breeders. I am going to do a 50% water change today. The onther one is a tank that is getting chcilids put in it so as you can imagin I want to get it well enough that I am not going to go out and spen $10 per one fish just to bring it home and find it dead the next morning.

List of fish that are in tanks

29 gallon - .25-.5ppm
2 Plecos
1 Bullhead Catfish
1 Albino Cory Catfish
1 Tuxedo Molly
2 Banjo Catfish

29 gallon - 8.0ppm
Nothing as of now

10 gallon - 8.0ppm
4 Adult Angle Fish
1 Small Rainbow Shark

Any information at this point and time would be greatly appreciated.

If you have ever cared for a bullhead catfish would you please let me have a little information on that species of fish alsol.

Thanks in advance,
  • #2
hI wsg, welcome to fishlore ;D

u kept 4 adult angels in a 10 gallon tank!!! you r seriously overstocked!!! u'll need at least a 30-40 gallon tank for 4 of them. your 29 gallon is also overstocked, common plecos grow up to 18 inches and bullheads 12 inches!! I don't think it is safe to keep mollies and smaller fish with bullheads.
  • #3
Chances are very good your tank is still in the cycle process..Do you have any Nitrite or nitrate readings..It took my tank 6 weeks before it cycled.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks for the information. I will not let the pleco or the bullhead grow to be full size in my tank I have a fish store that takes trade ins for half the price of what he will sale them for so I will do this. Soon the mollie that is in the tank will be gone they were just being used to cycle the tank. The 10 gallon tank is going to be moved over to a 29 gallon tank as soon as I get it balanced out. The only reason that I have the 4 angle fish is because they came with the two tanks that I bought.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
No idea in I have either nitrate or the other readings cause I only have a test kit for ammonia. If I can get into town today I will go by petco and have them do a complete test on the water.

Is an ammonia level between .25-.5 ok for fish to live in cause that is what my tap water also tested at?
  • #6
I would be doing daily water changes until ammonia levels are down...You are aiming for a zero ammonia level..Anything above that will stress or kill fish..You need to get the rest of the test kit because the nitrite and nitrate readings are very important. This is a good article on cycling your tanks here ... It will benefit you and make your fish experience much better if you understand the cycling process. Welcome to the world of fishkeeping. This is a great site for answers to your questions..
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Ok. I will get the rest of the kit next pay check. It is still about 2 weeks away though. I guess I will have to use the lfs to have the nitrite and nitrate levels check. What would you suggest nbI daily?

Also I was wondering if I did not let the fish in my tanks become full grown before trade in if the 29 gallon tank with fish in it would still be concidered over grown.
  • #8
Your 10 gallon is way overstocked right now..As far as your 29 gallon I would be making some plans to move fish ASAP for two reasons...One as you know there are too many fish and the will grow quickly and two: your ammonia levels are pretty high for healthy fish.. Your empty tank would be a good place to move fish however it doesn't sound like it is cycled..I would check with your lfs and see if they can give you some media that has good bacteria on it..Some will do that..Also I remember reading somewhere on here that you can get an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals for next to nothing..I think it was Dr Fosters and Smith website..... And you will have to excuse my ignorance but I can't figure out the acronym NBI..
  • #9
The tank with ammonia readings that have declined to .25 is on its way, but ammonia is only half the battle.  The ammonia is declining because it is being converted to nitrite, which is just as deadly for your fish.  More than likely, since your ammonia is in the process of declining towards zero, your nitrite levels are in the process of spiking.  Adding fish under that circumstance could well kill them.

Tank stock levels are determined by the adult size of the fish, not their current size.  Consequently, your tank would still be considered overstocked even though the fish are not yet grown.  You can get away with it for a short time if you are diligent with monitoring water quality and performing water changes, but it would really be best for the fish to go ahead and start thinning the tank out a bit.
  • #10
If you haven't already, please click on the link in my signature called "FishLore Articles for Beginners". It will give you great information to get back on the right foot. Your angel tank needs at least daily 50% water changes. Your ammonia level is past toxic, and angels are usually very sensitive to water conditions. If you continue to allow their ammonia level to stay high, I'm afraid you will lose them. They are under severe stress right now even if they don't act like it.

If you can afford to do this, go to the PetSmart website and look up an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit. They run under $15.00 online. Print the page that shows the kit and the price, and take the printed page to PetSmart. They should honor the online price. These master test kits usually run about $30.00 if you buy them locally. Sometimes they will have them on sale, but the PetSmart idea is the easiest way to get it at a good price if a PetSmart is available to you. Otherwise order it online if you can. You will have to do it for now, but don't depend on your pet store to test your water. Most of the time, they will only tell you if it's okay or not, and won't give you numbers. What they consider acceptable may not be acceptable to you. Acceptable to us at FishLore is zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and under 20 on the nitrates. Any level of ammonia or nitrites is not considered acceptable to hobbyists. Your fish store might be an exception, but most of them aren't real concerned about your water quality like you will be. If your fish dies, you buy a new one.
  • #11
In addition to moving/returning fish to bring your tanks all to more manageable bio-loads and getting that API test kit, you might consider a product like Bio-Spira or Zymbac-FW to give the nitrogen cycle a push. AmQuel+ can help with the high ammonia levels as a short-term solution, but the long-term thing is to get the bio-loads down and the nitrogen cycle going good.

Check this link: to find the pages for the varieties of fish that you have and see the adult size for each along with the recommended tank size, etc.

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