Bringing Ammonia Levels Down

Kiks

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You need to cycle your tank. That's the only way to have consistent 0 readings of ammonia and nitrite, that is unless you're carrying out 100% water changes daily for some reason, which I assume you won't be doing.
A tank should be cycled before adding any fish. Some people use fish to cycle their tanks, but I'll advise you not to do this. Especially if you aren't very experienced.
Since your ammonia is above 0 I assume you have fish in your tank already. Do water changes until ammonia is as close to 0 as possible to fix the problem briefly, but you will need to cycle in order to address the issue properly.
 

Jenoli42

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View attachment 437661 i just invested in my first API master test kit and got these results. My ammonia levels aren’t high, but I know it’s not good to have any at all. What’s the best way to bring it down?
congrats!!! now you can track your cycle progress!

you have a betta in your tank, right?

do you also have SeaChem prime on hand?

the other poster is correct: if you have fish then you'll need to do water changes until your bacteria colonies grow and bring toxins down to 0.

prime keeps your fish safer as long as levels aren't above 1ppm total combined of ammonia + nitrite. I'm seeing ammonia at around .75. that's means you could just dose with prime. but if it goes up or your nitrites appear, you'll need to do water changes and use prime.

I hope this makes sense & helps?
 
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Nightshadethebetta

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congrats!!! now you can track your cycle progress!

you have a betta in your tank, right?

do you also have SeaChem prime on hand?

the other poster is correct: if you have fish then you'll need to do water changes until your bacteria colonies grow and bring toxins down to 0.

prime keeps your fish safer as long as levels aren't above 1ppm total combined of ammonia + nitrite. I'm seeing ammonia at around .75. that's means you could just dose with prime. but if it goes up or your nitrites appear, you'll need to do water changes and use prime.

I hope this makes sense & helps?
Yes, thanks so much! I’m so glad I got the test, cause now I know my issue. I also just put a filter in, so I’m hoping that helps. This is my first betta, so I’m definitely a beginner! But I’m learning a lot I’m not familiar SeaChem.
 

Jenoli42

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Yes, thanks so much! I’m so glad I got the test, cause now I know my issue. I also just put a filter in, so I’m hoping that helps. This is my first betta, so I’m definitely a beginner! But I’m learning a lot I’m not familiar SeaChem.
you're on the right track. any level of ammonia can harm fish. your level without a detoxifier like prime can hurt your betta. if you don't want to buy prime or any other detoxifier, then you'll need to do daily 25% partial water changes or more if your levels get above 1ppm to keep them below that total level.

what water conditioner are you using? stress coat?

your beneficial bacteria live in your filter media so it's excellent you now have one so they can grow and eventually cycle your tank
 

Sarah73

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What do you have in your tank? Meaning fish. What kind of fish do you have?
 
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Nightshadethebetta

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you're on the right track. any level of ammonia can harm fish. your level without a detoxifier like prime can hurt your betta. if you don't want to buy prime or any other detoxifier, then you'll need to do daily 25% partial water changes or more if your levels get above 1ppm to keep them below that total level.

what water conditioner are you using? stress coat?

your beneficial bacteria live in your filter media so it's excellent you now have one so they can grow and eventually cycle your tank
I use API water conditioner and I add a little touch of stress zyme each water change to help things clean and to help his previously ripped fin (which is now healed). I plan to do another water change Monday. My poor betta has early stages of popeye, so I’m doing everything I can

What do you have in your tank? Meaning fish. What kind of fish do you have?
I have only one male betta fish in his own 2.5 gallon tank.
 

Jenoli42

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I use API water conditioner and I add a little touch of stress zyme each water change to help things clean and to help his previously ripped fin (which is now healed). I plan to do another water change Monday. My poor betta has early stages of popeye, so I’m doing everything I can
I would urge you to consider daily water changes. Popeye is most commonly caused by your fish being in consistently poor water conditions. your ammonia level is unhealthy, so that's the most likely cause. until your bacteria grow in your new filter media, the only way to bring down ammonia is water changes & feeding only lightly once a day. good luck!
 
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Nightshadethebetta

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I would urge you to consider daily water changes. Popeye is most commonly caused by your fish being in consistently poor water conditions. your ammonia level is unhealthy, so that's the most likely cause. until your bacteria grow in your new filter media, the only way to bring down ammonia is water changes & feeding only lightly once a day. good luck!
Thanks for all of your advice! He unfortunately won’t eat, so I’m not sure how to entice him. After how long could I expect to see some improvement? Sorry for so many questions, I’m new at this!!
 

varmint

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I would suggest getting a bottle of Stability and dose as per instructions on the bottle. It will speed up the cycling process. Good luck.
 

Jenoli42

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Thanks for all of your advice! He unfortunately won’t eat, so I’m not sure how to entice him. After how long could I expect to see some improvement? Sorry for so many questions, I’m new at this!!
You won't see improvements sadly until the ammonia is down. that's why he has Popeye & why he's not eating.

sorry if you already understand this, but here's how the cycle works and impacts on your fish:

put simply, your fish poo. that poo breaks down into ammonia which is toxic to fish. imagine breathing your own poo.

one type of bacteria eat the ammonia. those bacteria then poo and create nitrite. nitrite is also very toxic to fish.

a second type of bacteria (nitrobacter) start growing. these guys grow more slowly but they eat nitrite. when nitrobacter poo, they produce nitrate. nitrate is less toxic & perfectly safe for fish until it gets higher than 20-40 ppm. you remove nitrates when you do weekly water changes. most of us keep nitrates below 20ppm.

I hope that makes sense?

getting seachem prime will keep your fish safe as long as the levels of ammonia plus nitrite combined add up to less than 1ppm. (edit: example. ammonia at .5 + nitrite .25 = .75 total toxins = safe with prime)

when your levels are higher, you need to do partial water changes (usually daily) to remove the toxins back down to a safer level. you do this until your bacteria grow and can do it themselves.

so the problem is that your lovely betta is breathing his own poo
 
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Nightshadethebetta

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You won't see improvements sadly until the ammonia is down. that's why he has Popeye & why he's not eating.

sorry if you already understand this, but here's how the cycle works and impacts on your fish:

put simply, your fish poo. that poo breaks down into ammonia which is toxic to fish. imagine breathing your own poo.

one type of bacteria eat the ammonia. those bacteria then poo and create nitrite. nitrite is also very toxic to fish.

a second type of bacteria (nitrobacter) start growing. these guys grow more slowly but they eat nitrite. when nitrobacter poo, they produce nitrate. nitrate is less toxic & perfectly safe for fish until it gets higher than 20-40 ppm. you remove nitrates when you do weekly water changes. most of us keep nitrates below 20ppm.

I hope that makes sense?

getting seachem prime will keep your fish safe as long as the levels of ammonia plus nitrite combined add up to less than 1ppm. (edit: example. ammonia at .5 + nitrite .25 = .75 total toxins = safe with prime)

when your levels are higher, you need to do partial water changes (usually daily) to remove the toxins back down to a safer level. you do this until your bacteria grow and can do it themselves.

so the problem is that your lovely betta is breathing his own poo
Ahh, that makes a lot more sense now. Thanks again for all your help! I’m going to purchase some prime and stability to help my little guy out! Hopefully things will improve soon!
 

Andy S

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If you only have 2.5 gallons of water to deal with I would recommend frequent water changes. Even a 40% water change is only a gallon and will improve things considerably. I would do that daily or even twice daily until you get the ammonia level under control.
 

Hunter1

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I agree. Prime will stabilize you ammonia/nitrites if they are below 1ppm.

So will a water change.

I personally use Prime and think it’s a great product but if you want to save the lil guy, do a 50% water change, then 25% a couple of days running. He should start eating and your ammonia should be at or below.25.

Stability will speed up the cycle.

Bettas don’t have much of a bioload. That’s why people can keep them for years in tank tanks with just water changes and no filter.
 
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Nightshadethebetta

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So I did another 50% water change and added prime. I tested my ammonia again afterwards, and it’s still the same Should I wait longer before testing?

Sorry, I’m so new at this, so I want make sure I’m doing things correctly.

I should also add that my betta is losing his beautiful blue color
 

GreekGills

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Use the dechlorinator and keep up with the water changes. I've had a slight ammonia increase in my tap recently(.5ppm) but a combination of a strong bacteria colony, understocking, and heavy planting all help in keeping my ammonia down.
 
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