Ammonia/nitrites rising, advice?

Echostatic

Member

James95

Member
Do the water change, and dose the full tank volume with an ammonia detoxifier like Prime or Amquel+ to protect the fish and shrimp from ammonia poisoning. Continue to monitor the water parameters and follow the above steps accordingly. Sorry to hear that you're experiencing a minI cycle

Also, if you want, adding one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water can help to protect the fish from nitrites.
 

bass master

Member
Good advice above, occasionally for whatever reason tanks can lose their cycle and go through what you're dealing with now. Small daily water changes done while dosing the entire tank with prime or amquel+ should keep your fish safe while the bacteria builds back up.

In the mean time, however, I wouldn't recommend salt, especially with your mystery snail in the tank.

-Bass master
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
The only ammonia neutralizer I have is ket marine pro-ammonia detox, but it says it's safe for freshwater too. How small do you consider a "small" daily water change to be? I'll avoid the aquarium salt. While my fish didn't seem to appreciate the stress of a big water change, it still seems perky and energetic, and is actively examining the intake sponge on the second filter I just added. Hopefully he will stay this way... Thank you for the advice, I'll try to keep things alive until my bacteria can get their stuff straightened out.
 

James95

Member
bass master said:
Good advice above, occasionally for whatever reason tanks can lose their cycle and go through what you're dealing with now. Small daily water changes done while dosing the entire tank with prime or amquel+ should keep your fish safe while the bacteria builds back up.

In the mean time, however, I wouldn't recommend salt, especially with your mystery snail in the tank.

-Bass master
Ah good catch I missed the part about the mystery snail.
 

bass master

Member
James95 said:
Ah good catch I missed the part about the mystery snail.
That's why its great to have a whole community that looks over each question

I can't say I'm familiar with your pro-ammonia detox product but if it says that its safe for freshwater it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and use it then buy some prime/amquel+ as soon as you can. The thing that's so great about these specific products is that they detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate while keeping it available for nitrifying bacteria to process

as for a "small" water change I'd suggest roughly 10-20%; enough to manage toxin levels but not too much as to shock the fish in any way. Of course if toxin levels keep rising you'll want to up the amount of water you change

-Bass master
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member
Echostatic said:
Bump for attention, just a bit worried here. I finished my 50% water change.
Sometimes it take a bit of patience to wait for the right person to come along who can help.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Lucy said:
Sometimes it take a bit of patience to wait for the right person to come along who can help.
I posted it in my blog forum area, and when it didn't even have any views for a while, I didn't know if maybe some people filtered blogs out of their searches or something, so I moved the thread and bumped it just to be safe.

I used the ammonia detox, I'll see if I can track down one of the products mentioned tomorrow. Thanks again for the advice, it's nice to have a helpful community. Without it I would surely have a dead tank by now >.>

I got amquel+. Just did a test before messing with the water, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrites 2 ppm, nitrates 5 ppm. If the amquel+ renders everything harmless, is there any advantage to doing a water change, or would that just slow down the bacteria? My fish and shrimp seem to be hanging in there so far.
 

aylad

Member
If Amquel+ works like Prime, it detoxes temporarily... not permanently. Doing a partial water change now will help give the bacteria more time to catch up.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
It said to allow 24 hours between doses, so I'm guessing that's about how long it lasts. I'll do a partial water change tonite. My dwarf gouramI keeps swimming back and forth along the glass, I dunno what that could mean.
 

James95

Member
Echostatic said:
It said to allow 24 hours between doses, so I'm guessing that's about how long it lasts. I'll do a partial water change tonite. My dwarf gouramI keeps swimming back and forth along the glass, I dunno what that could mean.
Glad things are looking up (somewhat). The dwarf gouramI behavior is a little weird, but all the water changes and such could be stressing him out a little bit. He'll probably be fine
 

Girlsbeforefish

Member
ammonia .25 PPM
Nitrites 1 ppm
Nitrates 10 ppm

I added 1 dwarf gourami, 13 crs and a mystery snail about 24 hours ago. Ammonia and nitrites were at 0. The tank should have been cycled... I'm about to do a 50% water change. What should I do about this?
How did you cycle your tank to begin with? Did you use TSS? That is the only common way you can fully cycle a tank in 2 weeks. I find it incredibly hard to believe a few shrimp and a single DG caused your cycle to go whack. It seems to me that your tank wasn't cycled. The plants in your tank may have taken in some ammonia/nitrite and caused it to go zero which made you believe your tank was cycled.

For now I would do daily water changes with Prime until your tank regains its balance.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
No TSS. I used lots of fish food and the biggest piece of sponge filter I could cram into my HOB filter from an established tank to cycle it. I had ammonia and nitrite spikes, and they both dropped to zero. At one point my nitrites were above 5 ppm, there should have been plenty of bacteria present in order to bring that down to 0 and keep it there in a few days time.

Even if plants did absorb the toxic stuff making it appear cycled, I would think they could handle the snail and shrimp and whatnot if they could handle the rotten food.
 

James95

Member
Echostatic said:
No TSS. I used lots of fish food and the biggest piece of sponge filter I could cram into my HOB filter from an established tank to cycle it. I had ammonia and nitrite spikes, and they both dropped to zero. At one point my nitrites were above 5 ppm, there should have been plenty of bacteria present in order to bring that down to 0 and keep it there in a few days time.

Even if plants did absorb the toxic stuff making it appear cycled, I would think they could handle the snail and shrimp and whatnot if they could handle the rotten food.
Adding biomedia from another tank usually instant cycles a tank. Sometimes it can take some time for the bacteria to catch up, but you started off better than most people do.

Personally, I think your bacteria are just playing catch up. For all extents and purposes, your tank is cycled because of the established biomedia you added.
 

Girlsbeforefish

Member
I used lots of fish food and the biggest piece of sponge filter I could cram into my HOB filter from an established tank to cycle it. I had ammonia and nitrite spikes, and they both dropped to zero. At one point my nitrites were above 5 ppm, there should have been plenty of bacteria present in order to bring that down to 0 and keep it there in a few days time.
Fish food is actually not a good way to cycle with established media. The food needs to start decaying which can take 5-7 days and that could have caused some bacteria loss.

Did you vacuum all the rotten food before adding fish? The rotten food could have caused your problem.
 

James95

Member
Girlsbeforefish said:
Fish food is actually not a good way to cycle with established media. The food needs to start decaying which can take 5-7 days and that could have caused some bacteria loss.

Did you vacuum all the rotten food before adding fish? The rotten food could have caused your problem.
I would tend to agree with you, but the fact that the OP stated ammonia and nitrite spiked and then dropped to zero leads me to believe that the bacteria were being properly nourished.

Either way, the OP is still having ammonia and nitrite problems that can be remedied with Amquel+ and partial water changes until the tank reaches its equilibrium.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Yeah I cleaned the remaining food out just before buying the fish. I actually added the sponge a few days after adding the food, how long can the bacteria last before needing food? I was worried about the nitrite eating bacteria because it took longer for nitrite to show up, but they took nitrites down to 0 after a few days. That's why I'm so confused here, the tank showed all the signs of being cycled, then this happens...
 

James95

Member
The nitrogen cycle is a two way street. The bacteria can grow and reproduce, and they can also die off. Cycling isn't an exact science and we can't always understand why we get nitrite or ammonia readings. Just keep up the water changes, Amquel+, and water testing until things go back to normal.
 

Girlsbeforefish

Member
I would tend to agree with you, but the fact that the OP stated ammonia and nitrite spiked and then dropped to zero leads me to believe that the bacteria were being properly nourished.

Either way, the OP is still having ammonia and nitrite problems that can be remedied with Amquel+ and partial water changes until the tank reaches its equilibrium.
Yea. I agree that this problem can be solved by daily water changes with an ammonia detoxifer into the tank stabilizes but I am trying to find why this happened in the first place so it doesn't happen again. Maybe I'm just doing to much

Yeah I cleaned the remaining food out just before buying the fish. I actually added the sponge a few days after adding the food, how long can the bacteria last before needing food? I was worried about the nitrite eating bacteria because it took longer for nitrite to show up, but they took nitrites down to 0 after a few days. That's why I'm so confused here, the tank showed all the signs of being cycled, then this happens...
I have heard of bacteria living for up to 2 weeks without food but that seems to far off. I wouldnt want to keep my bacteria unfed for 2-3 days max.

Did you do any excessive cleaning before adding fish?
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
I didn't clean a thing until just before leaving to buy fish. I heard about excessive cleaning hurting the cycle, so I just did water changes, cleaned the food out and "spot cleaned" the gravel where the food and snail poop (from the 20ish ramshorns that live there, if they makes a difference) had gathered.
 

Girlsbeforefish

Member
Did you gravel vac the whole tank? That could sometimes lead to a minI cycle.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
No, just spot cleaned the gravel with heavy buildup, where the food was sitting. I vacuumed maybe 1/5th of the gravel, and not all the way to the bottom glass. Maybe those were the spots that ended up holding the most bacteria...
 

Girlsbeforefish

Member
I'm thinking you didnt clean up enough of the rotten food. Did you do any cleaning prior to the one you did before buying fish?

In the future if you plan on cycling with fish food, putting the fish food into a mesh sack or a panty hose and then into your tank will save you the trouble of cleaning up the food as you can just take out the sack of food.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Ya I'm wishing I had kept it all together. I did no cleaning before the one I did before buying fish. I didn't see any rotten food anywhere afterwards, it looked like the snails had eaten much of it before I cleaned.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
ammonia 0 ppm
nitrites 2 ppm
nitrates 10 ppm

Nitrites haven't changed since yesterday. Gonna keep up the water changes... The dwarf gouramI hasn't eaten this morning or now to my knowledge, it just keeps swimming all over the tank. It has eaten flake food before, but mostly ignored it today. It did follow a piece of algae wafer I dropped for my snails and shrimp, but it was too hard and dry to eat.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
ammonia 0 ppm
nitrites .5 ppm
nitrates 5 ppm (so hard to tell sometimes)

It looks like my nitrites are finally dropping. The dwarf gouramI was much calmer when I got home, and ate a flake of food, which is more than can be said for yesterday. It's gone back to swimming all over the glass now, though. I don't know what that's all about. Maybe it's just a little "odd".
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
ammonia .25 ppm
nitrites 0 ppm
nitrates 5 ppm

Awesome, as soon as the nitrites go back to normal, the ammonia starts rising again. I don't see how. I have no decomposing food lying around, I haven't added anything new except for a piece of cuttlebone yesterday... I'm baffled.
 

bass master

Member
Fish are constantly excreting waste plus the decomposing matter caught in your gravel and filter will also contribute to ammonia build up. Levels might fluctuate as the bacteria come back into balance. Just keep up the water changes, monitoring, and prime/amquel+ treatment and things should go back to normal soon enough.

-Bass master
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Alrighty then, straight and steady as she goes.
 

Fall River

Member
+1 to the "straight and steady"
Stay the course Echo. You'll be balanced in no time.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Ammonia and nitrites hold steady at .25 ppm... Strange.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Nitrites are FINALLY at 0, today and yesterday. Ammonia continues to hold at .25 ppm.
 

James95

Member
Woohoo! I'm happy to hear that nitrites are finally at zero. Hopefully the ammonia will drop within the next few days. I have my fingers crossed
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
It's possible I was overfeeding. I read it's one of the most common mistakes to make, and was trying not to, but I think I still did. I was pretty good about flakes for the DG, but I wanted to make sure the snails and shrimp got enough food, so I was adding an algae wafer a day. Apparently they don't need that much. I've started adding 1/2 a wafer every 2 days, hopefully that'll do the trick.
 

James95

Member
Half a wafer a day sounds like a better idea. Like you said, overfeeding is the number one mistake. It takes time to learn and gain experience
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
I'm not sure if you misread, or are saying 1/2 a wafer a day is better than 1/2 a wafer every 2 days. (I don't want to underfeed either!) It'll be so nice when I don't have to add amquel plus every day >.>
 

James95

Member
Echostatic said:
I'm not sure if you misread, or are saying 1/2 a wafer a day is better than 1/2 a wafer every 2 days. (I don't want to underfeed either!) It'll be so nice when I don't have to add amquel plus every day >.>
I did misread. Good catch. How many shrimp and snails are you feeding? If it's only a couple, then every other day is probably enough. You could also switch to feeding 1/4 wafer per day.
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Nitrites are still zeroed out, but ammonia has spiked to 1 ppm despite a 30% water change yesterday. I don't understand what could *possibly* be causing this. Between this and 0 ppm KH despite daily calcium carbonate additions, this tank is so confusing...
 

catsma_97504

Member
How's your tank doing now? Did you find any hidden debris that could have been adding to the ammonia levels?
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
Well I think the lack of KH and now acidic water may have killed off my ramshorns. They don"t have any of that fuzzy mold around them like I would expect, but they haven't moved in a while... Aside from that, I dunno.
 

catsma_97504

Member
Snails cannot tolerate acidic water for long. Do you have another tank you could move them to?
 
  • Thread Starter

Echostatic

Member
I do have a 10 gallon that is cycling, ammonia has zeroed out but nitrites are very high. Though, from my understanding, they have lungs and nitrites only affect oxygen absorption in gill-equipped critters. Safe?
 

catsma_97504

Member
Nitrites are far more toxic than ammonia. It will still affected their osmoregulation.

If nitrites are excessive, you will need to do a 75% water change, if not multiple changes back to back, to get it under control before it affects your inhabitants.
 

Most photos, videos and links are disabled if you are not logged in.

Log in or register to view

Top Bottom