Ammonia Panic! Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Cam1112, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Cam1112New MemberMember

    While cycling my larger 38L tank I kept two snails in with my betta in a 9L after being told it would be absolutely fine by the pet store when I specifically asked about ammonia levels. Not worried, I did my water tests just now to find 4.0 ammonia and panicked. I saw by betta “gulp” a few times so I immediately started the process of moving him to the new tank (been cycling for roughly a week so I figured it couldn’t be worse than keeping him in his 9L with all that ammonia). The ammonia levels of the big tank are 0.0 and he seems way more active although I honestly hadn’t noticed any inflammation of his gills, eyes, or any of the other symptoms of ammonia poisoning.
    He’s eating fine and seems ok I just want to know if he will be ok, I’m so scared for him.
  2. bryangarWell Known MemberMember

    That’s pretty high. Good thing you moved him. The gulping is normal for bettas, they have a labyrinth organ that allows them to live in oxygen deprived water.

    If you want to speed up the process of your cycling, add all your decorations, gravel and filter media to your new tank and it’ll seed your tank with beneficial bacteria. As long as your current tank was cycled. How long have you had it? Do you know the numbers for nitrite and nitrate as well? You can add the snails, hoping they aren’t dead. Just keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrite levels, don’t let them go above .25 and do a water change if it does.

    He should be fine. Bettas are hardy fish but I would do daily water changes using a good conditioner for a few days to prevent any unnecessary stress.
  3. Cam1112New MemberMember

    you so so so much this has made me feel a lot better. I’ve had the big tank for just over a week now and have been cycling it for around 5-6 days, it’s water ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and ph are all good.
  4. bryangarWell Known MemberMember

    How were you cyling it? You need a source of ammonia to start a cycle.

    Saying good really isn’t helpful. Do you know the actual numbers? What test kit do you use?
  5. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Hi @Cam1112 , many people have the false impression (which they usually get at the fish store) that cycling a tank is just a matter of filling a tank and letting the filter run for some arbitrary amount of time. In reality it is a whole biological process which begins when ammonia is released in the water (and fish release ammonia into the water).

    So if your not 100% on the nitrogen cycle, just click the words and it will tank you to a page explaining it. I highly recommend you fully understand the nitrogen cycle, it is really the most important thing to understand when keeping fish.

    And of course if you have any further questions, feel free to ask.
  6. Cam1112New MemberMember

    I use the master test kit, follow all instructions, and shake any required bottles.

    Thanks for the help, I understand that a tank needs ammonia to get nitrite and then nitrates and I cycled the tank according to advice from the pet store, oh is 7.5, ammonia is 0ppm, nitrite is 0ppm, nitrate is 5ppm but I know fresh water tanks should have some nitrates.

    I realise my tank probably isn’t cycled entirely but I felt the water parameters were safer in the large tank than in the 4.0ppm ammonia tank he was already in so I moved him. I don’t know how this is going to affect the big tank but I did a huge water change in the smaller tank and am monitoring that, although it doesn’t have any fish in it. I’m not sure if I should move him back once it’s safe or if I should let him have the big tank because he seems quite happy in there right now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2018
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Since neither tank is cycled, you may as well him in the larger tank. But if you are gong to be cycling a tank that contains fish (i.e. do a fish-in cycle) then you really need to take steps to keep the fish safe from ammonia/nitrite exposure.

    If SeaChem Prime is available in your country, you should definitely pick up a bottle of it. Prime is a water conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals, but unlike most other water conditioners a standard dose of Prime will detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite for 24 hours.

    So to keep your fish safe during cycling you should test your water every 24 hours. If ammonia+nitrite are less than 1ppm just add enough Prime to the tank to treat the entire volume of the tank. If ammonia+nitrite is equal to or greater than 1ppm, perform a 50% water with enough Prime to treat the entire tank volume. You will need to keep this up until the tank cycles (probably 4 to 6 weeks).

    Note that is Prime is not available, Kardon's Amquel+ along with NovAqua will also detox ammonia and nitrite. But Amquel+ needs to be used along with NovAqua is your have elevated ammonia and/or nitrites.
  8. Cam1112New MemberMember

    Got some prime, about to post an update

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