Can't get my ammonia levels down

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by ravenxcore, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    So I've had my tank set up for about 6 weeks. (And had filters & media in my previous tank for another 6 weeks prior to that) I did an in fish cycle, a few cherry barbs and a few cory, lost a few but after about three weeks, nobody died, my levels started to drop and finally hit 0,0,0...

    On week 3 I added two gourami's & two cory's (dwarf & opaline) My ammonia level's did a tiny spike to .50 and Nitrate stayed at 0, I did my water changes, and they went back to 0 again and stayed that way.

    On week 4 I added about 7 fish. (a few cory's and two cherry barbs to complete my school because two had died), did the same as previous week, but went back down to 0,0,0.

    Week 5, I added 5 fish (a school of longtail zebra danio's) small spike, and after 1 day, and a water change dropped to normal.

    Week 6 (this week) I added 4 more corydoras, and my ammonia levels shot through the roof, and for the past three days no matter what I do I can't get them to stay down. Even my Nitrate's are up a bit.

    I've lost two catfish in two days, and my ammonia is crazy, between 3.0 and 4.0.

    Last night I did a 50% water change, used regular water conditioner, and ammo-lock (two tablets). I did turn my filters off during the water change (off for about 15-20 minutes max) and I'm wondering if this may have disrupt my cycle?

    Today I did a 25% water change, no ammo-lock this time, filters off again.

    Am I completely disrupting my cycle by turning my filter off? What the heck am I doing wrong? I don't think my tank is over stocked, seeing as I even moved some fish into my other tanks just in case.

    40g breeder tank
    6 cherry barbs
    5 platy (females)
    2 gourami (dwarf & opaline)
    16 corydoras (panda's, Agassiz, albino & emerald)

    I had 5 longfin zebra danio's but moved them into my other tank as well as my only male platy.

    Any insight would be helpful!!!

  2. Castiel*Well Known MemberMember

    Hi, You should possibly look at contacting your local water plant or check for city information on any possible changes they have done lately? Have you tested your tap water?

  3. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Test your tap water for sure. Let it sit for 24 hours first, although if there's ammonia in your tap water, fish tanks are the least of your concerns.

    Is it possible that one of the dead fish has gotten stuck in the filter or buried behind something? I'd take apart the filter then really thoroughly search through the tank. A dead fish or rotting plant is often the cause of phantom ammonia sources. I'd bet you find your answer this way.

    Turning the filter off during water changes won't hurt your cycle. It's actually a good idea to turn it off so you reduce stress on the filter's motor.

  4. Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    I think it's too many fish too soon. That's 20 fish in 4 weeks to a newly-established tank. The bacteria was overrun, in my opinion.
  5. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    wow, thanks for the suggestion, I just tested it right out of the sink and it tested at about 1.0 ammonia. I've literally been feeding my fish ammonia. I've tested the tap water before and it came out fine, but that was a few weeks ago. I guess it's time to go buy some bottles water!!!!
  6. Marie1Well Known MemberMember

    If your tank has cycled, then you would have had some nitrate. I wonder if you were every actually cycled to begin with if after 3 weeks of a fish in cycle, you had no readings of anything.

    If you have other tanks that you know are cycled, take some of the bio media from them, and put it into this tanks filter. Use Prime as needed and this should solve the problem.
  7. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    Just went to the store, purchased 15 gallons of Poland spring water. Tested it = 0 ammonia. Removed 15 gallons of water and added the ammonia, and while I was mid water change, watched one of my cory's, my largest and favorite, die. He was swimming mid tank and looked like he was being pushed by the current a bit, and sure enough before I could even say "uh oh" he float to the top. I scouped him out and put him in a tiny 2 gal bowl with fresh Poland spring water and a little bit of tap so the temp wasn't too cold, and he swam around a bit, than float to the top. Every time I tapped the bowl, he'd swim some more, than float. I put him back in the tank after the water change was done in hopes that he'll be okay, but now he's doing the same thing, swimming a bit, than floating. BTW after my water change my levels are cut almost in half.

    I'm wondering the same thing. The problem is I didn't have a nitrate test until after I moved into the larger tank, only ammonia, so I have no way of knowing if my nitrate spiked to show the cycle coming to a close.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2014
  8. Marie1Well Known MemberMember

    You should invest in a API freshwater master test kit. You should also be able to get ammonia readings by calling, or going to the web site of your water company to see if there is actually ammonia in the tap water. Sometimes there is. But I would not trust whatever test you are using at this point.

    Your not adding ammonia are you?
  9. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Well duh. Why didn't I think of that?
  10. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    I have a master kit

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  11. Castiel*Well Known MemberMember

    Maybe misspelled? I hope you didn't dose your tank with Ammonia with Fish in it.
  12. Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    Yes, hoping that was a typo....
  13. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    Haha yes, def a typo lol! Did not add ammonia to my tank. Meant to say added the ammo lock and my auto correct kicked in

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  14. Castiel*Well Known MemberMember

    OK, good! Yes Sorry to hear about your cory!! Did you make sure water temps were the same, and the bucket you used didn't have any contaminates in it.
  15. ravenxcoreWell Known MemberMember

    I did make the of no contaminates, but I did not have time to make sure the water temp was the same unfortunately. My Cory literally floated before my eyes so I had to act fast to get him out of the tank and the poland spring water I had just purchased (room temperature) was only tested for ammonia, not temp checked. I did add a cup of warmer water to the mini tank to ensure I didn't shock him with cold water though with water conditioner. He was still alive this morning, laying on his side on the bottom of the tank, so I added an air stone just in case. I guess we'll see how he is when I get home from work. Keeping my finger crossed. going to bring him to my LFS to see if they have any ideas on what's wrong.

    Update on tank - I retested this morning and my nitrate was under 5, and ammonia was about .50, I didn't have time to test my ph and nitrite (daughter was getting too curious as to what mommy was doing and wanted to play with the tubes haha)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2014
  16. Castiel*Well Known MemberMember

    Yes I understand the kids and fish tanks, my nieces are always trying to "Help" ah ha ha ha!

    Good to have ammo-lock in there, the .5 ammonia reading wouldn't be settling with the fish too well.

    hope your cory gets better! They are sensitive little fish!

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