Question Ammonia problems

Stirling

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I have 2, 15 g tanks and 1 is worse than the other but I cannot get pH above 6-6.4 or kH up in either and 1 tanks ammonia level just keep rising no matter what, currently at 1 ppm - it was at 8 ppm, got it down to 0.25 and now its back up at 1. The other tank is stuck at 0.25 ppm.
I’ve had these tanks for about 7 months now and have never have these issues before I don’t think .. what is going on!?
 

vyrille

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I have 2, 15 g tanks and 1 is worse than the other but I cannot get pH above 6-6.4 or kH up in either and 1 tanks ammonia level just keep rising no matter what, currently at 1 ppm - it was at 8 ppm, got it down to 0.25 and now its back up at 1. The other tank is stuck at 0.25 ppm.
I’ve had these tanks for about 7 months now and have never have these issues before I don’t think .. what is going on!?
I'm seeing a lot of these 8ppm ammonia tanks lately...What is your stocking? Did you add anything new? What is your maintenance regimen?
 
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Stirling

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I'm seeing a lot of these 8ppm ammonia tanks lately...What is your stocking? Did you add anything new? What is your maintenance regimen?
Nothing new added, usually 25% change every other week.

I’ve been using Prime and ammolock or whatever -
did I just accidentally crash my cycle by replacing foam in filter, but left same media in, at the same time as 25% water change? Or is there something going on here that I really just don't understand?

I finally got the API master test kit after having my aquariums up, cycled and running for a while now. Tank #1 - almost 7 months, Tank #2 about 4-5 months. My test strips were coming out pretty perfect and I was told that most fish prefer a lower pH anyway, so I wasn't too worried about any of it - especially because all my fish, plants and inverts seem totally fine in Tank #1 and pretty much thriving in Tank #2.
I thought it was really strange that in the past few days I hadn't seem some of the usual suspects hanging out in their normal tank spots, and -
In Tank #1: I found 1 dead guppy (2 definitely aren't in the tank; but, strangely haven't found any bodies - maybe they were eaten or stuck in gravel?)
In Tank #2: 1 missing bloodfin tetra but have REALLY searched for over 24 hours and is usually with his school, so pretty sure he's a goner too :(

My tank details (I'm going to include dead/MIA fish

Tank#1 - 15g long rectangle
Aquaclear 50 filter
Lg. gravel substrate
(a few) Rocks
5 live plants (I have to apologize, I'm absolutely terrible at names): 1 for sure is Java Fern on wood and Hornwort.
4 Platys (1 male, 3 female)
4 Guppies (1 male, 3 females) - only the 1 male is left
Pond snails
Trumpet snails
3 Assassin snails

Tank #2 - 15g tall ractangle
Aquaclear 30 filter
Sand and Fluval Stratum substrate
Lg. drift wood
4-5 Live plants - Red water lily (from bulb - growing like mad), some kind of Anubias (I think), Rotala Indica (also thriving)
3 Pristella Tetras
5 blood fin tetras (1 missing, probably dead)
1 three stripe Cory
2 mystery snails
Pond snails
2 Assassin snails
3-5 dwarf shrimp (cherry, green, blue)


(South Boston)
My tap water parameters are -

(High Range) pH - 8.4

Ammonia - 1.0 ppm
 

vyrille

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Nothing new added, usually 25% change every other week.

I’ve been using Prime and ammolock or whatever -
did I just accidentally crash my cycle by replacing foam in filter, but left same media in, at the same time as 25% water change? Or is there something going on here that I really just don't understand?

I finally got the API master test kit after having my aquariums up, cycled and running for a while now. Tank #1 - almost 7 months, Tank #2 about 4-5 months. My test strips were coming out pretty perfect and I was told that most fish prefer a lower pH anyway, so I wasn't too worried about any of it - especially because all my fish, plants and inverts seem totally fine in Tank #1 and pretty much thriving in Tank #2.
I thought it was really strange that in the past few days I hadn't seem some of the usual suspects hanging out in their normal tank spots, and -
In Tank #1: I found 1 dead guppy (2 definitely aren't in the tank; but, strangely haven't found any bodies - maybe they were eaten or stuck in gravel?)
In Tank #2: 1 missing bloodfin tetra but have REALLY searched for over 24 hours and is usually with his school, so pretty sure he's a goner too :(

My tank details (I'm going to include dead/MIA fish

Tank#1 - 15g long rectangle
Aquaclear 50 filter
Lg. gravel substrate
(a few) Rocks
5 live plants (I have to apologize, I'm absolutely terrible at names): 1 for sure is Java Fern on wood and Hornwort.
4 Platys (1 male, 3 female)
4 Guppies (1 male, 3 females) - only the 1 male is left
Pond snails
Trumpet snails
3 Assassin snails

Tank #2 - 15g tall ractangle
Aquaclear 30 filter
Sand and Fluval Stratum substrate
Lg. drift wood
4-5 Live plants - Red water lily (from bulb - growing like mad), some kind of Anubias (I think), Rotala Indica (also thriving)
3 Pristella Tetras
5 blood fin tetras (1 missing, probably dead)
1 three stripe Cory
2 mystery snails
Pond snails
2 Assassin snails
3-5 dwarf shrimp (cherry, green, blue)


(South Boston)
My tap water parameters are -

(High Range) pH - 8.4

Ammonia - 1.0 ppm
I've come to notice the common denominator here is people using ammo-lock. May i know the the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate of both tanks? Exact values, if i may. I would hazard the dead fish are rotting in there somewhere and giving off the ammonia. and then upon seeing this you dosed ammo-lock which shot it up off the API charts. Anyway, test the waters again, please, we'll work from there.
 

jdhef

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If you pH is down close to 6.0, that ammonia is mostly, or all ammonium. Ammonium is less toxic to fish (some claim it is non toxic), but as the pH level gets that low, the ammonia converting bacteria start to become dormant, hence the rise in ammonium.

You can add some crushed coral to your tank to help raise the KH and pH. You can put some in a media bag and put it right into your filter box (if it will fit). If not you can put the media bag right into the tank, or if you don't like the way it looks, sprinkle some in with your substrate. I would say that for a 15g tank, about 1/2 cup would be enough. Since your tank is small you could also just throw a cuttlebone into the tank (those things they sell in the bird department). Just be sure to get a plain white, unflavored one.
 

Islandvic

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Couple of questions.....

What is your water change interval and about what % is removed/replaced each time?

Is the substrate cleaned with a gravel siphon vac at each water change?

Why was the foam sponge block replaced for the Aquaclear?
 
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Stirling

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I've come to notice the common denominator here is people using ammo-lock. May i know the the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate of both tanks? Exact values, if i may. I would hazard the dead fish are rotting in there somewhere and giving off the ammonia. and then upon seeing this you dosed ammo-lock which shot it up off the API charts. Anyway, test the waters again, please, we'll work from there.
Thanks so much! So, not sure if it makes a difference, but I’m actually using SeaChem’s AmGuard.

I’m planning on another 15% water change and adding small amount of CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral by mixing into corner of large gravel substrate - debating taking fish out into new 5g tank that’s been cycling for a few days now and adding/replacing a bit of current gravel with some smaller gravel that way the next time fish go missing I might be able to actually find them. Opinions?

Exact water levels of both tanks as of this moment :

15g long : temp : 78 F

pH - 6 ppm or lower since test min is 6 ppm

Ammonia - between 2.0 ppm - 4.0 ppm - looks closer to 2.0 ppm

Nitrite - 0 ppm

Nitrate - 20 ppm



15g tall: temp : 81 F

pH - 6.4 ppm

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm

Nitrite - 0 ppm

Nitrate - between 20 ppm - 40 ppm - looks closer to 20 ppm

Thanks again for offering your help!

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Couple of questions.....

What is your water change interval and about what % is removed/replaced each time?

Is the substrate cleaned with a gravel siphon vac at each water change?

Why was the foam sponge block replaced for the Aquaclear?
25% every other week

Yes to siphon vac

Directions say replace foam every 2 months

If you pH is down close to 6.0, that ammonia is mostly, or all ammonium. Ammonium is less toxic to fish (some claim it is non toxic), but as the pH level gets that low, the ammonia converting bacteria start to become dormant, hence the rise in ammonium.

You can add some crushed coral to your tank to help raise the KH and pH. You can put some in a media bag and put it right into your filter box (if it will fit). If not you can put the media bag right into the tank, or if you don't like the way it looks, sprinkle some in with your substrate. I would say that for a 15g tank, about 1/2 cup would be enough. Since your tank is small you could also just throw a cuttlebone into the tank (those things they sell in the bird department). Just be sure to get a plain white, unflavored one.
Thanks!

If I raise pH - won’t ammonia become v toxic?

Also heard it will lower pH at first and possibly kill off bacteria especially if just added on top of existing substrate?

Wondering if I need to move fish?

Also - why would only my guppies die?
 

jmarcf

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How do you clean you filter? Never throw out or replace the aquarium sponge if you can help it. Only ever wash the filter media in aquarium water (siphon some aquarium water to a bucket then wash it in that).

Guppies die easily today because of interbreeding etc. Back in the day they could bounce off walls and survive out of water for a decade (
 
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