Ammonia Off the scale and not going down HELP PLEASE

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topgun4334

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Hi everyone i am new to this site and this is my first post anyway i have had my first tank now set up for about 3 months which has an internal filter. When i first set the tank up it had high ammonia levels etc but through time it was treated to have very low ammonia and good nitrate levels so the tank was cycling. Now all of a sudden the ammonia has shot back up again and the tank is not converting at all there is just high levels of ammonia there is no conversion into nitrite and/or nitrate. The testing kit i am using is a new testing kit so it cannot be the kit i am using. Feeding wise the fish are being more underfed than overfed i do regular 10% water changes using RO water and i put a cap full of seachem stability when doing a water change, the past few days i have been using ammo lock dosing the tank every 2 days to control the ammonia but it seems to have gone up more than anything. Does anybody have any ideas why this has happened and how i can keep it under control your help would be most appreciated regards Dan
 

Nick G

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Hi Dan, Welcome to Fishlore! A little more information would be helpful. How big is the tank?, and what fish do you have in it?
 
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Nick Goody said:
Hi Dan, Welcome to Fishlore! A little more information would be helpful. How big is the tank?, and what fish do you have in it?
Hi sorry nick thank you for the fast reply the tank is a 85L tank with x3 balloon molly's, male and female gouriami, molly, x4 guppies, red tail shark, x2 tetras
 

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I wouldn't say that overstocking is an issue then. How long have you had the fish? Did you add them gradually or all at once?
 
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Nick Goody said:
I wouldn't say that overstocking is an issue then. How long have you had the fish? Did you add them gradually or all at once?
I have had the fish now ever since i had the tank they were all added gradually over the first 2 weeks or so of when the tank was left to cycle for about 1 week during this time it was treated with stability. The tank has been running now for about 3 months and after about the 1/2 months it was running fine now all of a sudden everything has gone to pot the ammonia is reading higher than the card its a dark green and there is no nitrite or nitrates present. And feeding wise they are only fed once a day and that's in the morning and they were being fed 3 fish flakes but now to make it more accurate during feeding i feed them about 8 tiny pellets.
 

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It sounds as if your tank is having a mini-cycle. Do you clean the filter when you do waterchanges?
 
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Nick Goody said:
It sounds as if your tank is having a mini-cycle. Do you clean the filter when you do waterchanges?
I do a 10% water change every week with RO water and the filter which is an internal filter is cleaned every 6 weeks but is not washed out thoroughly its just swilled out in the old tank water
 

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Nick Goody said:
What test kit are you using?
I am using an API freshwater master testing kit, i have also had the water tested in the fish shop i regularly visit too.
 

Nick G

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Well it seems as if you're doing all the basics right Lets see what advice others have to give.
 
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Nick Goody said:
Well it seems as if you're doing all the basics right Lets see what advice others have to give.
That is a relief, i thought i have been doing something wrong i always seek advice as fish keeping is new to me, from the shop i visit and i do research into anything i do to make sure but nothing beats experience such as the likes of you and other people on here say if the tank was mini cycling as you said before can it be sorted out simply or is it a long process ? thank you for your help i just hope some one can provide an answer to this mystery
 

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I have been going through a similar crisis (I over cleaned everything) and this is what I have been doing per the wonderful advice I've gotten from the folks on this forum: start doing massive water changes daily (twice daily or even more if necessary) to get those ammonia levels down. 10% will not do it. More like 50-80% depending on how the water tests after a change. I was told to wait an hour before testing again. I ultimately found it very difficult to change the water twice a day, so I got some AmQuel+ and started using it with the daily water changes. Used a bottle in a week and just switched to Prime yesterday. The nitrAtes are finally rising again; never had any nitrItes. I also added a used carbon filter from my 10 gal (just stuck it behind my internal filter) to help. Good luck getting this under control! I've lost 3 tetras and fear I am about to lose my smallest cory. I'll consider myself lucky if I don't lose anymore.
 

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what about gravel vacs? have you been doing those? if so, how deep?
 

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muelleh said:
I have been going through a similar crisis (I over cleaned everything) and this is what I have been doing per the wonderful advice I've gotten from the folks on this forum: start doing massive water changes daily (twice daily or even more if necessary) to get those ammonia levels down. 10% will not do it. More like 50-80% depending on how the water tests after a change. I was told to wait an hour before testing again. I ultimately found it very difficult to change the water twice a day, so I got some AmQuel+ and started using it with the daily water changes. Used a bottle in a week and just switched to Prime yesterday. The nitrAtes are finally rising again; never had any nitrItes. I also added a used carbon filter from my 10 gal (just stuck it behind my internal filter) to help. Good luck getting this under control! I've lost 3 tetras and fear I am about to lose my smallest cory. I'll consider myself lucky if I don't lose anymore.
Great advice here! I agree that you will need to increase the amount and frequency of your water changes. A 50% change should cut the level in half, and you may have to do this more than once a day until you get ammonia down to a manageable level.

jerilovesfrogs said:
what about gravel vacs? have you been doing those? if so, how deep?
This is a good point. Regular gravel vacs will also help bring those levels down.
 
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Hi everyone thank you very much for the useful advice, with regards to gravel cleaning i clean the gravel as deep as possible when doing a tank clean once a week, when i clean my tank i just use a vacuum gravel cleaner and wipe down the inside of the glass. Secondly so everyone agrees on here i should do regular water changes 1-2 times a day ? i have been using RO water ever since the tank was started so would using treated tap water be fine i have got aqua safe to treat tap water ? I have been using API ammo lock am i right in believing this just keeps the ammonia at the level it is at currently and stops it rising ? but to properly reduce the ammonia i need to do regular 50-80% water changes ? once i eventually get the ammonia down what it the best option to make sure the tank continues to cycle because it started to cycle but now its stopped so this is why i think i may have a build up of ammonia. Also i have been using seachem stability to increase the bacteria when i do water changes shall i continue to do this or just change the water daily and see what happens and to reduce the ammonia to a manageable level what would be a manageable level ? Sorry for all the questions but your helps been so useful and very appreciated regards Dan
 

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I don't know what seachem is, but if it is a product that has bacteria in it that you are supposed to use every water change then I would stop using it. Products like that have bacteria that eat ammonia but the bacteria is a land form and will drown in your tank after about a week (thus you have to keep using it), it eats all the ammonia and thus doesn't allow actual aquatic forms of BB to build up.

I would stop using all the products that you are using and go get a botle of amquel + or prime and just use that and tap water. You will have to do 50% water changes until your ammonia gets down to .5 atleast! Then once your ammonia is manageable (under .5ppm) I would suggest another 50% water change and then daily waterchanges of about 30-50% (depending on ammonia levels) until your ammonia and nitrites are zero and your nitrates are climbing, then you can go back to weekly water changes.

That is what I would do. I don't know specifically about the products you are using though.

GL keep us informed!
 

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yeah i agree with not using the stability. one of the only things to use would be tss. but i'm not sure if you could get some? but most of the time, using the fewest products is best.

i don't think more than once a day water change is necessary. the prime will detox the ammonia for 24hrs....until your next (daily) water change. so i'd be nice to get some.
 

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

There is some controversy here about Seachem Stability, but I think it's safe to say that the majority are of the opinion that it does not work and may actually hurt the cycle. Tetra SafeStart is a product that many of us had great success with and I believe it's avaialbe on your side of the pond (but don't quote me on that). Otherwise, bacteria additives are not advised.

Prime or AmQuel+ remove chlorine and chloramine, as well as detoxify ammonia and nitrite, so it's an all-in-one product which simplifies the process. But use up what you have.

I worry about a rapid pH shift if you stop using RO water cold turkey. Do you know the pH of your tap water? And is there a specific reason you use RO water?

I think once a day water changes are fine, it's easier on you and the fish. And with Prime or Amquel+, the ammonia and nitrites are detoxed for 24 hours so you'd just be wasting time and money. I did 50% changes in my 37g daily and I can't ask someone to do more than what I had to do unless it is an emergency.

-Lisa
 

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I'm using stability on 2 tanks right now, I've used it before with mixed results, but it has never actually harmed the process, either it helped, or it did nothing. That's just in my experience though.
 
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Kunsthure said:
Welcome to Fish Lore!

There is some controversy here about Seachem Stability, but I think it's safe to say that the majority are of the opinion that it does not work and may actually hurt the cycle. Tetra SafeStart is a product that many of us had great success with and I believe it's avaialbe on your side of the pond (but don't quote me on that). Otherwise, bacteria additives are not advised.

Prime or AmQuel+ remove chlorine and chloramine, as well as detoxify ammonia and nitrite, so it's an all-in-one product which simplifies the process. But use up what you have.

I worry about a rapid pH shift if you stop using RO water cold turkey. Do you know the pH of your tap water? And is there a specific reason you use RO water?

I think once a day water changes are fine, it's easier on you and the fish. And with Prime or Amquel+, the ammonia and nitrites are detoxed for 24 hours so you'd just be wasting time and money. I did 50% changes in my 37g daily and I can't ask someone to do more than what I had to do unless it is an emergency.

-Lisa
H thank you and everyone else for the reply's you have all been soo helpful i don't know what i would have don without all you feedback. I too believe in keeping things simple but its what i have been advice until i found this site but first i should stop using the seachem or is it safe first to use it up ? and secondly i should stop using the API ammo lock and use Prime or AmQuel+ instead but i add the API ammo lock straight into the tank without doing a water change. But when doing a water change to make the water purer to remove all the chlorine etc ? i do have a few bottles of aqua safe i had when i purchased the tank but i don't think that's the same stuff your advising is it ?

The RO water i was told to use that from the fish shop i visit but i am in too minds about using the stuff do to the fact my tap water i am lead to believe is pH 7.5 but when i tested the RO water straight out the container i store it in its the same i am using a pH testing kit but i am lead to believe these are not as accurate as the hand held pH meter. I always though its supposed to be around pH 6.0-6.5 and the specific reason i am using RO water was that i wanted to keep discus in the tank so i was told by the shop to use RO water when doing water changes to gradually bring the pH down so all the fish inside can get use to the different pH levels and the shop assured me the fish inside would adjust to the pH because i didn't want to do something that would kill my fish. But i have since got a new tank which i shall keep discus in so the pH in the tank can really be pH 7.5

But overall you recommend me using Tetra SafeStart when doing water changes instead of the Seachem stability to ensure the bacteria builds up. And to reduce the ammonia instead of using API ammo lock i should use Prime or Amquel+ until the ammonia is gone. But when doing normal regular water changes just use plain tap water with Tetra safe start. That sounds a whole lot simpler than what i have been doing
 
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