Ammonia Up After First Water Change

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by TWRC, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. TWRC

    TWRCNew MemberMember

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    Hello everyone! I'm new to the aquarium hobby, and also new to the forum - despite lurking around for about a month.

    About a month ago, I started the cycle on my 10 gallon aquarium with some Prime, TSS, and one Guppy. About two weeks later, I used an API Master Test Kit to take some readings and came up with:

    7.6 pH
    7.4 high range pH
    0 ppm ammonia
    0 ppm nitrite
    5.0 ppm nitrate

    I figured that it was time to add some more fish, so now I have 5 guppies in my 10g. All was going well, and 3 days ago, I figured that it was time to do my first water change. I used Prime to prep my water and did a 25% water change. Today, I did some readings and came up with:

    7.6 pH
    7.4 high range pH
    0.5 ppm ammonia
    0 ppm nitrite
    0 ppm nitrate

    I'm not sure why my ammonia readings went up, but I wonder if it's because I vacuumed all of my substrate? Did I just remove a bunch of beneficial bacteria from my tank by accident? Should I add some TSS? Dose with Prime?

    Any suggestions on what I should do to lower my ammonia would be great! Many thanks!

    I forgot to mention. The guppies do not seem stressed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2019
  2. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    Vacuuming your gravel didn't do it. One guppy would not have produced much ammonia. The less ammonia the less bacteria you will have. When you added 4 more guppies there will naturally be more ammonia. You are getting the ammonia reading now because there was only enough bacteria to handle the bio-load of one guppy.

    Keep a close eye on the ammonia level. As long as it stays where it is now (below one) add enough Prime every other day to detox the ammonia. If it goes up to one or above change out enough water to get it back down below one. Even if it doesn't go up any more I recommend a 50% water change every week. The healthiest thing for fish is fresh clean water.

    In time enough bacteria will grow to handle the heavier bio-load.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  3. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

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    Welcome to FishLore!

    As mentioned above, you only have enough bacteria to handle the amount of ammonia being produced. Any additional bacteria starves off since ammonia is the food source for the bacteria.

    So since your ammonia production has been increased 4 fold, your bacteria colony has to grow quite a bit in order to catch up.

    So, if it were me, I would buy another bottle of TSS because you may be having to do water changes for a while
     
  4. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

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    add more TSS. test again in 3-4 days. add Prime if ammonia is 1ppm or higher.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    TWRC

    TWRCNew MemberMember

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    Thank you everyone for the replies! I ended up getting another bottle of TSS to add. I'll do another test in a few days, fingers crossed that it does the trick. I'll report back with the results.
     
  6. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    One other note: if you're filter came with filter cartridges, don't change (replace) them until they are falling apart. Just rinse them thoroughly in dechlorinated water when you do water changes. That is where the bulk of your beneficial bacteria is growing. If you remove those cartridges you are removing all that good bacteria.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    TWRC

    TWRCNew MemberMember

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    This is good to know as well. Thank you!

    Out of curiosity, I did a baseline test last night on my tap water and found 1 ppm ammonia in it. I'm happy that my LFS recommended Prime.
     
  8. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    I am happy they did too. Looks like you have a LFS that knows a good product when they see it.

    This farther explains where at least some of the ammonia is coming from. Once your cycle is stronger it won't have a problem with the ammonia in your water. Prime will detox it and the bacteria will remove it.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    TWRC

    TWRCNew MemberMember

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    Quick update. It's been roughly 72 hours since I last added some more TSS, and here are my readings:

    7.6 pH
    7.4 high range pH
    Between 0.25-0.50 ppm ammonia
    0.0 ppm nitrite
    5.0 ppm nitrate

    I'll give it a few more days before I do another test.
     
  10. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

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    Looks about like where I would expect...so far, so good
     
  11. TankGirl86

    TankGirl86New MemberMember

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    Hi! Question about that...I have seen some posts say to change your filter every month and others reccomend what you said Wouldn't rinsing with treated water still wash away the bacteria? Im still a noob. I need all the help I can get.
     
  12. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    No, rinsing doesn't remove established bacteria. It is attached with a very sticky substance to the fibers of your filter media and other porous objects in your tank. Clorine, excessive heat, drying, intense uv light and antibiotics (particularly those that kill gram negative bacteria) etc. will kill it though.
    Here is some additional learning material: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
     
  13. TankGirl86

    TankGirl86New MemberMember

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    Wonderful!! Thanks so much!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    TWRC

    TWRCNew MemberMember

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    I just took a reading before my 25% water change. Slowly but surely, things are starting to look better.

    7.6 pH
    7.4 high range pH
    Between 0.00-0.25 ppm ammonia
    0.0 ppm nitrite
    5.0 ppm nitrate
     
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