Ammonia poisoning

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Deell, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. DeellNew MemberMember

    I'm new here, and could really do with some assistance please! I have a 40 litre tank with 4 guppies, 2 mollies and 3 cory cat julii.
    My tank has been going about 2 months and the fish have been very happy until my last water change a couple of days ago. I rinsed out the aquarium sponge in the dirty water as advised by my local shop and I think in doing so may have reduced the helpful bacteria levels and caused an ammonia spike. the guppies have lost some colour, the Mollie's are at the bottom of the tank gasping and the cats keep swimming to the top. The test carried out at the shop this morning confirmed high ammonia levels. They advised a 25% water change over the next 3 days - I've just completed one, and I've added 3 Pure Aquarium bacteria treatment balls. Also no food for 24 hours.
    I feel terrible about this, am I doing the right things? Anything else I could be doing? Any chance the fish will recover?
    The other problem is that I'm going away for 10 days on Friday and there is no one I can ask to come and feed the fish - what shall I do whilst I am away? Provided of course I have any living fish left by Friday! :( Is there anything else I can do in the short time I have to help them? The shop said auto feeders would exacerbate the problem but don't want to leave them sigh no food at all!
    other info: temp 26 degrees Celsius, fake plants, rock decoration (manufactured) and small piece of wood. Filter came with the tank and working well - it's an Aqua45 tank.
    Thank you very much, any advice much appreciated!
    PS: according to the strip: GH 180, KH 180, PH 8, nitrite 0, nitrate 40 (possibly higher hard to tell from colour). Will be purchasing ammonia test kit later today - recommendations (UK)
  2. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Hello and welcome to Fish Lore!!!! Pleasure to meet you! :) It's good to have you here! :D

    Well, first off, that tank is too small for the mollies and cories, and the cories need to be in schools of six or more, so........

    As for the ammonia spike, yes, it's quite possible that you lost a lot of your beneficial bacteria necessary for your cycle when you rinsed the sponge, but also having such a heavily stocked tank doesn't really help your situation here, I'm afraid.

    Fish can go for a week or more without food, meaning yours should be fine imo without food that long. But, ammonia is your real problem here.

    What I would do is:

    Get a liquid test kit, something like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

    Do more water changes, these will be vital to getting the ammonia levels down.

    Test often with the test kit.

    Rehome the mollies and cories. I know this is very hard, but it's best for the health of your fish.

    Others can chime in on this too, so I'd wait for more responses. :)

    I wish you the best of luck. :)

  3. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello and Welcome to Fish Lore!

    I hope you enjoy the forum!

    Ken :)

  4. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    If you're going away for 10 days, feeding probably won't be a problem. Definitely don't use auto feeders. 10 days is relatively okay to go with no food for the fish.

    Your ammonia, though, is going to go through the roof in such an overstocked tank with no water changes happening, unfortunately. If you don't rehome/return your mollies and cories before you leave, I don't think there's a very high chance of any live fish by the time you get back :-\

  5. DeellNew MemberMember

    You're all so lovely, I'm so glad I've found this forum - just wish (for my sake and the poor fish) that I had found it sooner...Thank you for your help.
    I am really annoyed with myself for making such a silly mistake - I thought I was being careful to UNDERstock my tank, and only bought on recommendation from the fish shop but lesson learned - I'll definitely do my own research going forward.
    I will do my best to get the fish back to the shop this week (will they take fish back normally?) it's a big outfit. Another silly question though - how, with very little equipment, do I transport them?
    Thanks again.
  6. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    Common frezer bags are fine. Just make sure you put tank water in them and leave plenty of air in the bags.

    I've had to return fish to two different stores so far (I've made my own mistakes :))...neither offered a refund or "buy-back", but both were willing to rehome them back into their own stock. Some stores have a guarantee, but I have yet to see one that offers more than 48 hours. As long as you're okay with taking the hit money-wise, it should be okay. I don't know what kind of options are available in the UK, but you could always try to rehome them locally through a Craigslist-type website.

    Some stores won't take them back at all because they're afraid the returned fish might be coming from a contaminated home tank. Just depends.

    Best of luck! :;th
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  7. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    I don't know where in the UK you are but if your Lfs won't take the fish back have a look on Facebook for local fish selling/swap groups near you, you could also try Gumtree
  8. DeellNew MemberMember

    Good advice thank you! I've put some posts up in local Facebook groups , failing that I will try to take them back to the store Thursday before I leave. I'm not leaving them to die in there, poor things. For future reference, would I be best with about 6 guppies in there and nothing else? I really don't mind about the money, just don't want them to die as a result of my ignorance - live and learn for sure. Thanks again!

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

    PS: coradee I don't suppose you're anywhere near St Albans and fancy adopting them? :)

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2015
  9. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    I'd personally max it at 4-5 guppies for your size. But you could also add some inverts, such as snails or shrimp.
  10. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Sorry I'm 'oop north' & to the left, I can dip my toes in the Irish Sea ;)
    Hope you manage to rehome them ok
  11. DeellNew MemberMember

    Was worth a try - thanks for the tip on swap groups I've found a few and hope someone wants them! I'll stick with the 4 guppies then to be safe and maybe some shrimp if I feel brave!

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Deell, please keep in mind that members need to have a minimum of 50 posts before they are allowed to buy/sell/trade/free with one another.

    Also, Welcome to FishLore!
  13. DeellNew MemberMember

    Oops sorry!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  14. DeellNew MemberMember

    I just wanted to thank you all again for your advice - the catfish have all successfully been caught and returned to the store as I could not find a home for them, but hopefully they will be okay there. Unfortunately most of the others have died and do not fancy the chances of the last few, doing my best though. I will not be making another move into the world of fishkeeping without first asking advice on here in future!
  15. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Aw, you're welcome! I hope all goes well for you and your fish. :)

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