20 Gallon Tank Ammonia spike, what do I do next? :( - Page 2

Fish99

I use Stability and my cycle is very......stable.

There is a school of thought that bottled bacteria is useless. Im not sure if that is what he means but I personally don't have a problem with it.
Yes, exactly. Think about it, we need lots of filter area and water flow for benifitial bacteria to survive. There is VERY little area and zero flow in a bottle. I don't doubt there could be some bacteria in there but what type I don't know.

Is it just me or are there lots of threads of people on this very forum having problems with cycling and using the bottle? Including this one?

As for companies making stuff and advertising, these products are not regulated in any way. Much like the pills advertised on late night TV, they can say anything they want.
This is straight from the Seachem Stability website Q&A:

I have finished the suggested 7-day dosing, however, my tank is still not fully cycled. Why?
A: Since every tank will cycle differently, it is difficult for us to give an exact time frame as to when your tank will be fully cycled. However, generally most tanks are cycled within 4-6 weeks.

4 to 6 weeks? generally? Isn't that the general time a tank cycles anyway??
To each his own, but I don't buy it.
 

MacZ

We're talking about the company that developed the Prime water conditioner and Purigen.
Products containing sodium thiosulfate have been in use for water conditioning before the company existed. At least the principle behind purigen was also not discovered by them.

I'm not completely unimpressed by bacteria products but many are indeed not containing the necessary bacteria and they safe you at best a week of cycling time in my experience. Also there are so many myths around beneficial bacteria and many companies still use these myths for marketing.
E.g. that the cycle can only work above a certain pH. Yes. When you only look at the two main genuses of nitrogen metabolizing bacteria available in bottles that's true. Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas have quite high pH ranges (above 7) for their highest efficiency. So what to do according to the manufacturers when your pH is lower than that? Raise it. Buy their other chemicals.

In countries where people try to emulate the water requirements of their fish, bacteria products are used sparingly if at all and even though store employees try to sell it, most people here that buy it are beginners with no hobbyists around them and only buy it once.
We also have no need for conditioners either as federal law here requires water providers to remove chlorine and the like before sending the water in the system.

The only thing I can understand you guys using as it's vital is de-chlorinator. Many other things people chugg into their tanks or cram in their filters in North America make no sense to me at all.
Free markets are strange. Marketing makes people believe there is a solution (literally and figuratively) for every aquarium problem available in a bottle. Most of it is either snake oil or an expensive pro-active quick fix to a low-tech, low-budget AND low-effort solution.

As for companies making stuff and advertising, these products are not regulated in any way.
People are always yelling to deregulate markets in the EU, but looking at the US I'm very glad we have regulations for chemicals and meds here.

There are some products used regularly elsewhere (and often recommended here on the forum) that are either banned here (especially meds) or shelf warmers (liquid CO2 stuff especially) that have been advertised once and are the only thing left in a old yellowed display stand they got 10 years ago.

Sorry for the wall of text, but this always grinds my gears.
 

PAcanis

Certainly we must have some people here trying to emulate a fish's natural environment. I can't believe it's exclusive to other countries.
 

MacZ

Certainly we must have some people here trying to emulate a fish's natural environment. I can't believe it's exclusive to other countries.
You definitely have, many of them on world renowned levels of fishkeeping. They are a minority, though.
I was referring to those that emulate the water parameters as well, which is definitely an even smaller fraction.
 

Drafe

Update: It's Wednesday morning and my nitrite is 0 ppm, with ammonia still 1 ish ppm? Why didn't my ammonia drop if it was converted to nitrite???
 

Bwood22

Ok so I just did a water test and my readings are not looking good. I have an ammonia reading close to 1 ppm, nitrite levels are .25 ppm. I feel like this problem needs to be in a thread of its own so I will be creating another thread to seek help from, explaining everything.

I actually don't disagree with with any of the aforementioned thoughts related to bottled bacteria. I also think it's ludicrous to think that this magical potion will cycle your tank in 7 days. But I use it to help kick start my cycles. Does it work? Ehh....maybe. I'd like to think it helps somehow. I'm convinced that it definitely doesn't hurt anything. And I done some things in my tank that could majorly disturb my bacteria colony and it has proven to be rock solid.

But anyways...back on topic. It's looking like the OPs tank isn't cycled after all. Or is crashing.
Drafe... did you create another post?
Have you changed your water out to dilute this ammonia? Do you have a hidden dead fish in there somewhere?
 

PAcanis

You definitely have, many of them on world renowned levels of fishkeeping. They are a minority, though.
I was referring to those that emulate the water parameters as well, which is definitely an even smaller fraction.

Definitely a minority.
I know when I go through one of those YT videos showing 50 award winning biotopes there might be 2 people from the USA included. Your wording came off a little elitist for other countries and aquarium keeping and I had to say something. Seeing as how I live here :)
 

Drafe

I actually don't disagree with with any of the aforementioned thoughts related to bottled bacteria. I also think it's ludicrous to think that this magical potion will cycle your tank in 7 days. But I use it to help kick start my cycles. Does it work? Ehh....maybe. I'd like to think it helps somehow. I'm convinced that it definitely doesn't hurt anything. And I done some things in my tank that could majorly disturb my bacteria colony and it has proven to be rock solid.

But anyways...back on topic. It's looking like the OPs tank isn't cycled after all. Or is crashing.
Drafe... did you create another post?
Have you changed your water out to dilute this ammonia? Do you have a hidden dead fish in there somewhere?
Yes, I created another post last night, I also did a water test this morning and I have posted my results on the new thread specifically dedicated to the ammonia issue. I wasn't able to change that water last night since it was late and I wasn't able to cram In one. I dosed it with prime to temporarily hold it down until I get back from school today and change 50% of the water.

I haven't found any dead fish, but I did remove my live lucky bamboo in fear that some part of the plant may be decaying causing that ammonia. Last night the ammonia was closer to 1 ppm but today morning the ammonia is kinda in the middle of .5 and 1 ppm
 

MacZ

Definitely a minority.
I know when I go through one of those YT videos showing 50 award winning biotopes there might be 2 people from the USA included. Your wording came off a little elitist for other countries and aquarium keeping and I had to say something. Seeing as how I live here :)
I'm just a tiiiiny bit of a consumerism/capitalism critic. ;) My opinion is mainly that if people would put the animals first more and wouldn't be as influenced by marketing a lot of fish would have a happier and longer life.
 

Bwood22

Last night the ammonia was closer to 1 ppm but today morning the ammonia is kinda in the middle of .5 and 1 ppm
Well that could be a good sign.
Just keep at it and keep that ammonia diluted below .5ppm.
50% water change might not be enough to accomplish that. Let your water tests dictate how much water you change.
You will be fine.
 

Coradee

Several threads have been merged.
Members can advise you best if all the information is in one place & they can see what’s previously been suggested or tried & not have to repeat questions.
 

Fish99

Update: It's Wednesday morning and my nitrite is 0 ppm, with ammonia still 1 ish ppm? Why didn't my ammonia drop if it was converted to nitrite???
Simple, It has not "converted" yet. It takes time. Weeks in fact. There is one Seachem product I will recommend to help you.
Seachem - Ammonia Alert
This thing is awesome, no test tubes needed. You will of course still need to watch nitrite levels to keep the fish safe though the process.
EDIT: And use water changes to keep the fish safe not some bottle of something from the pet store.
 

Drafe

Alright, well I tested my parameters again and ended up with 1 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5 ppm nitrates. I just did a 50% wc. I will be dosing it with prime and stability to help. Wondering where those trates came from. Maybe from the conversion of trites to trates?

I have .25 ammonia on my tap so should I do a larger wc rn or just go with that 50%?
Anything else I should be doing different?
Simple, It has not "converted" yet. It takes time. Weeks in fact. There is one Seachem product I will recommend to help you.
Seachem - Ammonia Alert
This thing is awesome, no test tubes needed. You will of course still need to watch nitrite levels to keep the fish safe though the process.
EDIT: And use water changes to keep the fish safe not some bottle of something from the pet store.
Hmmm, I will deffinetly look into that. That product has piqued my interest. Thanks!
 

Bwood22

Go ahead and dilute that ammonia.
Any nitrate in your tap?
You could have a little bit of nitrite converting...possibly.
 

Drafe

Go ahead and dilute that ammonia.
Any nitrate in your tap?
You could have a little bit of nitrite converting...possibly.
No, I don't have any trates. Only ammonia and trites. Was the 50% enough for now or do I need more
 

Bwood22

No, I don't have any trates. Only ammonia and trites. Was the 50% enough for now or do I need more
Was does the ammonia test say?

It needs to be under .5ppm ammonia.
 

Drafe

Was does the ammonia test say?

It needs to be under .5ppm ammonia.
It's .5 ppm for now. I have to wait and test the water tomorrow morning. Also, I bought this Fluval Biomax cylinder-looking thing about three months ago when I first set up my tank. The whole bag doesn't fit in my filter so I never used it. Can I just put individual pieces of it and drop them behind my filter cartridges so I can provide more surface for the bb to grow?
 

Bwood22

It's .5 ppm for now. I have to wait and test the water tomorrow morning. Also, I bought this Fluval Biomax cylinder-looking thing about three months ago when I first set up my tank. The whole bag doesn't fit in my filter so I never used it. Can I just put individual pieces of it and drop them behind my filter cartridges so I can provide more surface for the bb to grow?
Absolutely!

In fact, i have my entire HOB full of bio media with some polyfil sitting on top of it. The water rises up through the bio media and polishes thru the polyfil and spills over into the tank.
I know that's backwards, usually you want mechanical first in your filter but who cares. Doing it this way makes the polyfil easier to access and replace when needed.

Having said that....Its not a great idea to trash your filter cartridge yet...but in the future it will be a great way to keep clear water and not have to waste money on a filter cartridge every.....what? 30 days?
Polyfil is cheap. And every once in a while i just dump the bio media in a bucket with a little tank water and give it a swirl to clean it if needed then put it back in the filter.
 

Fish99

It's .5 ppm for now. I have to wait and test the water tomorrow morning. Also, I bought this Fluval Biomax cylinder-looking thing about three months ago when I first set up my tank. The whole bag doesn't fit in my filter so I never used it. Can I just put individual pieces of it and drop them behind my filter cartridges so I can provide more surface for the bb to grow?
No, use course foam and fill it up with it. Foam is way better than most "bio media" , K1 and K1 micro is good too. The more you can fit in the filter the better.
 

Drafe

No, use course foam and fill it up with it. Foam is way better than most "bio media" , K1 and K1 micro is good too. The more you can fit in the filter the better.
Ok, I already decided to switch to sponge type filter media instead of catridges so I’ll be buying coarse sponge to replace the catridges this weekend. I’ll use both the sponge and ceramic rings if that’s ok
 

Fish99

Ok, I already decided to switch to sponge type filter media instead of catridges so I’ll be buying coarse sponge to replace the catridges this weekend. I’ll use both the sponge and ceramic rings if that’s ok
Well, ceramic rings have been tested and they, well....suck.
Take a look at these rocks and fancy exspensive stuff. One they get good and covered with that brown stuff (BB benifitial bacteria) we need for our cycle they have now also plugged up all their little holes and have zero flow. Now you have a smooth rock which is a horrible filter media. If you clean them to open these little holes you have now destroyed all the BB that took so long to grow and you get to start over. I hope this makes sense.
 

Bwood22

Ok, I already decided to switch to sponge type filter media instead of catridges so I’ll be buying coarse sponge to replace the catridges this weekend. I’ll use both the sponge and ceramic rings if that’s ok
Again, I would strongly advise against messing with the filter right now until your tank has been running fully cycled for at least 8 weeks.

You are going to set yourself back if you go changing things up.

Look....you can fill your filter with Barbie doll heads or Fruit of the Loom Whitey Tighty underwear and you are going to grow bacteria.
You have extra stuff to add to your filter...that's great....but don't remove anything.

The important thing to do right now is to let it grow bacteria all over whatever you have in there.
 

Fish99

Yes, only add don’t remove at this point. In a few months you can SLOWLY switch things out. I thought you said add rings, didn’t know you wear gonna remove anything.
I don’t recommend Fruit if the Loom underwear either, Hanes are much more comfortable. Plus if they are dirty and you don’t know who was wearing them who knows what weird diseases your poor fish could get. Ahaha
 

Bwood22

Plus if they are dirty and you don’t know who was wearing them who knows what weird diseases your poor fish could get. Ahaha
But It's probably a good ammonia source.
That's gonna be my all-in-one tank cycle recommendation....just add dirty underwear and a box of General Cure.
 

Fish99

But It's probably a good ammonia source.
That's gonna be my all-in-one tank cycle recommendation....just add dirty underwear and a box of General Cure.
Question: Can fish get Gonorrhea? It is a bacteria, I looked it up. ahahaha
 

Drafe

Update 24 hrs since the 50% wc: Ammonia is .5 ppm or in the middle of .25 and .5 (Sorry I can't really tell the difference). Nitrite is .25 ppm. I will dose seachem prime and stability now if that's ok?

Edit: Here is the test results if you guys can distinguish the colors better than I can.
1636676555553.png
 

Drafe

Update 48 hrs after wc: Ammonia still the same, nitrite 0 and nitrate is 5 ppm. Ph is 7.5 or 7.6 I believe. Don't know why ammonia isn't still going down, even a little bit. On another note, when can I feed my fish. I haven't fed them in almost a week.
 

mattgirl

Have you ever seen a true zero reading for ammonia? If not this may be as low as you are going to see. Some folks never see a true zero. .25 or a bit under is the lowest they ever see. I would start feeding these fish. Just a little bit daily but you do need to feed your fish. If there are leftovers you are feeding too much. use your siphon or turkey baster to pull out any leftover food.

To be perfectly honest I would never stop feeding fish out of fear that the ammonia will spike. If it does just get it back down with water changes until enough bacteria grows to take care of it.
 

Drafe

Have you ever seen a true zero reading for ammonia? If not this may be as low as you are going to see. Some folks never see a true zero. .25 or a bit under is the lowest they ever see. I would start feeding these fish. Just a little bit daily but you do need to feed your fish. If there are leftovers you are feeding too much. use your siphon or turkey baster to pull out any leftover food.

To be perfectly honest I would never stop feeding fish out of fear that the ammonia will spike. If it does just get it back down with water changes until enough bacteria grows to take care of it.
As far as I can remember, I haven't seen true 0 ammonia unless I'm only testing my ro/di water. I think I will wait a day before I feed them. Do you know why some people don't get a true 0 ammonia reading?
 

mattgirl

As far as I can remember, I haven't seen true 0 ammonia unless I'm only testing my ro/di water. I think I will wait a day before I feed them. Do you know why some people don't get a true 0 ammonia reading?
I can only suggest. I can't force you to feed your fish. Feeding them is actually a good thing. We need ammonia to cycle a tank. No food means very little if any ammonia but you are going to do what you are going to do. Not feeding them may be why your cycle isn't moving forward.

No I don't. I just know I see it often enough to just accept the fact that some folks never see a true zero reading.
 

Drafe

Guys, I think I finally made it. I think I have cycled (or re-cycled) the tank!!!! I am really grateful to you all, thank you sooo much!!! I tested my water parameters and ammonia is less than .25 and trates are 20 ppm. I have never actually seen trates above 5 ppm. Again, thanks a bunch guys

Also added duckweed, since I kinda like them. They should also help a little if I have future problems
 

Bwood22

Guys, I think I finally made it. I think I have cycled (or re-cycled) the tank!!!! I am really grateful to you all, thank you sooo much!!! I tested my water parameters and ammonia is less than .25 and trates are 20 ppm. I have never actually seen trates above 5 ppm. Again, thanks a bunch guys

Also added duckweed, since I kinda like them. They should also help a little if I have future problems
That's great news...now just keep an eye on things and don't make any major changes for at least 2 months. Let it get good and stable.
 

Drafe

That's great news...now just keep an eye on things and don't make any major changes for at least 2 months. Let it get good and stable.
For sure, I know I sound dumb but if I do water changes it won’t destabilize anything right, like killing bb?

Also I have a green water problem coming back now, so I was wondering if I should let the duckweed take care of it or turn on my uv sterilozer I already have
 

Bwood22

For sure, I know I sound dumb but if I do water changes it won’t destabilize anything right, like killing bb?

Also I have a green water problem coming back now, so I was wondering if I should let the duckweed take care of it or turn on my uv sterilozer I already have
The bacteria isn't in the water. It grows on all of your submerged surfaces.
You can change as much water as you wish.

As far as the green water. You can run the sterilizer and let the duckweed do what it does at the same time.
 

Drafe

The bacteria isn't in the water. It grows on all of your submerged surfaces.
You can change as much water as you wish.

As far as the green water. You can run the sterilizer and let the duckweed do what it does at the same time.
alright, thanks!
 

Bwood22

alright, thanks!
Sure thing.

It's really a game of balancing nutrients. You gotta starve out the algae with enough plants and water changes. (And make sure that you don't have too much light).

With enough plants in the tank you should see your nitrate levels staying fairly low.
 

Fish99

For sure, I know I sound dumb but if I do water changes it won’t destabilize anything right, like killing bb?

Also I have a green water problem coming back now, so I was wondering if I should let the duckweed take care of it or turn on my uv sterilozer I already have
Yes do water changes to keep the nitrates down as needed. Water changes do nothing to BB because they aren't in the water, they are on surfaces (mostly in the filter media). Don't forget dechlore!

I would use UV in a heartbeat for green water. It works for bad stuff like bad bacteria and pathogens like ich too. What unit do you have and can you post up how well it works?

Sounds like that bacteria in a bottle knocked your cycle time down to 3 1/2 months, great stuff! LOL
But seriously, good to hear you made it through.
 

Drafe

Yes do water changes to keep the nitrates down as needed. Water changes do nothing to BB because they aren't in the water, they are on surfaces (mostly in the filter media). Don't forget dechlore!

I would use UV in a heartbeat for green water. It works for bad stuff like bad bacteria and pathogens like ich too. What unit do you have and can you post up how well it works?

Sounds like that bacteria in a bottle knocked your cycle time down to 3 1/2 months, great stuff! LOL
But seriously, good to hear you made it through.
Thanks!
As for my UV unit, it has a 5-watt bulb. The name is COODIA Internal Grenn Water Killer on amazon. On my previous green water problem, it was really bad. But as soon as I put in the filter and did 25% wc every day, the water was crystal clear in 4 days. I will let you know about the results after this green water problem
Yes do water changes to keep the nitrates down as needed. Water changes do nothing to BB because they aren't in the water, they are on surfaces (mostly in the filter media). Don't forget dechlore!

I would use UV in a heartbeat for green water. It works for bad stuff like bad bacteria and pathogens like ich too. What unit do you have and can you post up how well it works?

Sounds like that bacteria in a bottle knocked your cycle time down to 3 1/2 months, great stuff! LOL
But seriously, good to hear you made it through.
Speaking about ich, I noticed one of my platies has 2 white spots on her tail. I'm assuming it's the dormant ich that returned from my betta. I do have ich-x by aquarium solutions on hand if I notice more ich signs.
 

Fish99

Thanks!
As for my UV unit, it has a 5-watt bulb. The name is COODIA Internal Grenn Water Killer on amazon. On my previous green water problem, it was really bad. But as soon as I put in the filter and did 25% wc every day, the water was crystal clear in 4 days. I will let you know about the results after this green water problem

Speaking about ich, I noticed one of my platies has 2 white spots on her tail. I'm assuming it's the dormant ich that returned from my betta. I do have ich-x by aquarium solutions on hand if I notice more ich signs.
There is a bacteria infection that can look like ich. Best be sure what it is so you can do the right treatment.
 

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