Betta Fnally Healing from Fin Rot but now Ammonia Spike Question

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by VeggieXL, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    My male betta Bodhi has finally started growing his fins back after a vicious assault by some fin rot. His tank had been moved away from a sunny window. This direct sunlight I believe gave the bacteria a prime location. But the move also caused most of my plants to die. I have been removing dead leaves left and right. Could this be causing an ammonia spike? I am at 1ppm right now! Keep in mind I have .25 ammonia in my tap. ( its been verified)
    so what I'm trying to do is switch his tank water to distilled store bought water to eliminate the constant presence of ammonia. But it being distilled means it lacks the nutrients of my tap water. So I need the name of a product that would add these in. I have been having trouble googling it because I don't really know exactly what Im looking for.
    5 gallon tank
    only one plant remaining
    ammonia 1 ppm
    nitrite 0
    nitrate 1-5 ppm
    ph 7.4
  2. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Seachem do a product called Replenish that you should be able to get, there'll be other products you can get over there, google Ro remineralising or similar
  3. Chunk101

    Chunk101Well Known MemberMember


    Well, rotting leaves/plant could definitely cause an ammonia spike in a small tank. You should try to remove as much decaying plant matter as you can. I used turkey baster to siphon out dead stem parts in substrate.

    How did you verify the presence of ammonia in your tap? I ask because I read on other posts that with the API master test kit, sometimes it shows a false positive for low amount of ammonia, something like that.
    I would double check the presence of ammonia in tap, before doing anything drastic. Sometimes there is a spike of ammonia in water system but it can go away too.

    Plus with enough bio-filtration, I would think your tank should process that amount of ammonia with no problem.

    I would think about increasing the surface area of your tank, i.e sponge, another piece of filter media, increase amount of substrate before adding remineralized distilled water.

    However, if you really want to add distilled water, the products that you're looking are stuff like Seachem equilibrium. Called R/O water conditioners.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  4. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    Yes the rotting plants can cause an ammonia spike and 1ppm is certainly a big spike. If you haven't already done it I would highly suggest adding the emergency dose of seachem prime (5x normal dose.) source:   Once your biofilter is up and running (completing cycles) you should have no reason to buy distilled water. The biofilter will eliminate the ammonia and since you are already using prime it should nullify the .25 in your water then the bio filter will break it down. Distilled water like you said has nothing in it and is a major hassle and could cause lethargy and lack of color in your fish.

    BTW, what filtration are you running in the tank? I didn't see it in your profile.

    Best of luck to your Betta and again, welcome to Fishlore.

  5. OP

    VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    Ok I will look into replenish.

    I verified by calling the water company along with testing other sources and getting 0ppm.

    I did the extra dose of Prime. Hours after that and I'm at 1ppm still. I removed all but one plant. Maybe i should just do a 100% WC with the DI water. I don't have the replenish yet but 1ppm is high and probabl worse for him then soft water, right?
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  6. Chunk101

    Chunk101Well Known MemberMember

    Dosing with prime converts harmful ammonia to ammonium, which is not/less harmful. API test doesn't distinguish between ammonia and ammonium.

    I think doing a 100% pwc with DI/DO water is very risky and potentially fatal.
  7. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    The 5x dose will not necessarily get rid of the reading. What it does it make the water non toxic to the fish for 24-48 hours. In the meantime your fish can reduce it's stress and ammonia and you can focus on cleaning up the tank. Don't do a 100% water change, that will be very stressful to the fish. What would be more idea is 20-50% water changes daily until the ammonia drops down. 1PPM is alot of ammonia, in fact any ammonia is too much, once your tank is cycled then it should read 0 at almost all times.

    Also, what filtration are you running in the tank?
  8. OP

    VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    Ok i didn't do the 100% WC. I have however, been doing daily 50% WCs for a week to treat his fin rot. So I should just continue to do these? I don't really know how to describe a filter. Uh, it's a built in one with a bio wheel and a filter pad. At the same time i bought another smaller one, an internal power filter that is also running. Thought it might help keep the water clean.
  9. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

  10. OP

    VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    should I get a product like Tetra Safe Start to help out the cycle? I mean, the tanks been running since March and the ammonia is still here. Do you think that would be a good idea with a fish in the tank? Would it cause big swings in Nitrite?
  11. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    Tetra safe start will help to cycle the tank. However you need to wait a 24 hours after dosing with prime before you add TSS. Also with TSS you shouldn't do any water changes during the first 14 days to help the bacteria establish themselves. Pretty much just monitor for signs of stress in the fish and react accordingly. TSS is intended to be used only with fish IN the tank, so yes you will be fine adding it to the tank. More beneficial bacteria won't hurt anything :) and yes there might be a nitrite swing but that is part of the cycle.

    On the filtration, thanks for letting us know. I just wasn't sure that you had a filter in there since I didn't see it in the profile :)
  12. OP

    VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    Wow, 2 whole weeks without a water change? WC's are kinda his only defence against fin rot. On the other hand the ammonia levels don't seem to be changing. I guess I will add some TSS and watch him like a hawk for signs of fin damage or stress.
  13. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah it's a little scary with your fin rot situation. You could probably get away with continuing the 50% changes until the ammonia drops before doing the TSS. Personally I would wait until the ammonia drops below .50 before adding the TSS with the fin rot in mind. More water changes really won't hurt anything as long as they are reasonable.

    Keep in mind that you can top off the water as the level lowers. Just remember to let the water that you are adding to the tank sit out for 24 hour so the Prime won't increase the cycle duration.
  14. OP

    VeggieXLNew MemberMember

    Agh, I wish I had read this 5 minutes ago! I just bought and added 1 teaspoon of TSS. I will test the ammonia now and see maybe if it was already below .50 when I put the TSS in.

    EDIT: Oh no! Ammonia is back to 1.00!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  15. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    I would just keep an eye out. TSS bacteria can get overwhelmed by the ammonia is why I say that you should wait till the ammonia is below .50. If you are adding when the ammonia is known to be high then it is a higher chance of the bacteria being overwhelmed. But really the main thing you should watch out is for stress in the fish.

    When you are doing a TSS cycle it is best to NOT pay super close attention to your test strip readings. Your levels will jump up and down throughout the cycle (enough to drive you nuts.) It is completely normal to see high ammonia or nitrite during the first 14 days. Again the main thing to watch out for is fish stress such as; surface breathing, side floating, loss of appetite, abnormal swimming, flashing or anything that looks odd.

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