Can't seem to bring my ammonia level down.

Stacyjoh

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I am new to fish keeping. I made the mistake of getting fish before cycling the tank. I have sense learned this was not a good idea. I have a 50 gallon pentagon corner tank. I have a Tetra advance power filter in it. I have a heater that is keeping it between 76 and 78 degrees. I have had the tank set up for about 4 weeks.
My fish
1 angelfish
1 common pleco
1 smaller pleco
5 black tail tetras
2 cherry barbs
1 dalmation molly
2 cory catfish
I have no live plants

I have lost 2 black molly and 1 dalmation molly and one silver molly over the last few weeks. i have sence stopped adding fish until i figure out what may be going on, and this is when I got a liquid ammonia test kit. I tested about 2 weeks ago and the ammonia was and 4.0 ppm. I did some water changes and used tetra safestart. This brought the ammonia down to between 1.0 to .50 ppm. My nitrate and nitrite stay at 0 and my ph is around 7.6. I have checked my tap water, which I am on well water and it has 0 ammonia in it.
I then bought some Prime and started using it with my daily water changes and it still seems to hang around 1.0 ppm. Except for the issues with the Molly fish (which I'm not sure if that was because I have no salt in my tank) the other fish seem to be doing fine.
Also I should add that this tank was used when I got it, and it was also used as a saltwater tank. It was pretty gross when I got it. But I cleaned it out really good with vinager and water, and let it dry for a few days before adding water. I just would really like to get this ammonia down. Any help would be greatly appriciated.
Thank you
 

cabrerarm

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I'm going through the same thing. The advice I was given on the forum was to do 50% water changes every day for a week with prime. After the first water change I waited 24 hours then tested the amonia levels then did the next change and so on and so on. It's working for me and I'm lowering my amonia bit by bit.

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Stacyjoh

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I did not add them all at the same time, I added them a few at a time over the amount of 3 weeks or so. I have been doing the daily 50% water change for the last week, but have only been doing it with prime for a few days.
 

Dom90

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I did not add them all at the same time, I added them a few at a time over the amount of 3 weeks or so. I have been doing the daily 50% water change for the last week, but have only been doing it with prime for a few days.
That's the problem right there. Every time you do a water change, you need to use Prime. It neutralizes the chlorine. Chlorine kills all bacteria, including the beneficial bacteria you are trying to colonize.


 

CindiL

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Hi, Welcome to Fishlore

With that many fish I would not use Tetra Safe Start. This is what I would do:

1) Back to back water change if necessary to get that ammonia down to .25
2) Add Prime
3) Instead of TSS, because the amount of fish you have get Seachem Stability and follow the directions on the bottle. You can use Prime while using Stability to keep your fish safe.

TSS works best with only a couple of small fish as you cannot do water changes for two weeks with it.

This should jump start your cycle and get things going

Edit: Also, mollies are bred in fresh water for the most part so the lack salt would not be an issue. They do need harder water though, can you find out your GH? (General Hardness).
 

Dom90

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Yes, I am a strong advocate of Seachem Stability, stuff that actually works. I still have some left in a 500mL bottle at home, I will be using to kickstart the cycle on my new 40B.
 
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Stacyjoh

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Ok thank you everyone for the help. So I will keep doing the water changes with Prime,and I will pick up some Seachem Stability tomorrow. Also CindiL the hardness in my water is on the soft side. Is there anything I can do to bring that up so I can keep Molly fish alive?
 

CindiL

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Ok thank you everyone for the help. So I will keep doing the water changes with Prime,and I will pick up some Seachem Stability tomorrow. Also CindiL the hardness in my water is on the soft side. Is there anything I can do to bring that up so I can keep Molly fish alive?
Do you know how soft? You can pick up or order a bottle of Seachem Replenish which is a combination of calcium/magnesium. You can add it right to the tank. It will be helpful for you if you have a GH/KH test so you know how much to add and where you water starts out at. I use softened and R/O water so my GH starts out as 0 and I bring it up to about 150 which keeps the mollies (and other live bearer fish) very happy
 

cabrerarm

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Going off topic here. Will the seachem replenish supply enough calcium for snails in a tank or do you think buying cutlefish bone is a better option.

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CindiL

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Going off topic here. Will the seachem replenish supply enough calcium for snails in a tank or do you think buying cutlefish bone is a better option.

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Yes, it will definitely supply enough calcium. I have nerite snails in my tank and their shells all look good.

My GH is 75 and my KH is at 40. Should i use the Seachem Replenish along with the stability and prime? Or should I wait until I get me Ammonia down?
I would add in the replenish with every water change. Aim for a GH of 150. Your mollies will thank you. In general, soft water fish can tolerate hard water and take what they need. Hard water fish cannot get enough of what they need for ideal osmotic functioning.
 
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Stacyjoh

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So yesturday I did a 50% water change and added Prime, Stability, and Replenish to bring my GH up. Then this morning my common Pleco was dead :-( Do you guys think this was due to the water change and treatments or maybe it was an issue with my uncycled tank? I have had the pleco since the begiining of my tank 4 weeks ago. My ammonia was at .50 before water change.
 

CindiL

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Ah, thats too bad. Maybe the ammonia unless it was related to ph and the water change. What is your tank and tap ph Stacyjoh? Can you test them both?
 
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Stacyjoh

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CindiL, I am at work right now, but will check the PH when I get home.
 

CindiL

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Oh ok. I am wondering with your low alkalinity if your ph in your tank dropped before that water change. Besides testing the tap and tank, test your tank every day until your next normal water change to see if the ph remains stable.
 

Dom90

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I wouldn't really mess with pH or GH levels in an unstable tank that is still cycling. It can cause too much stress for some fish, in addition to dealing with ammonia levels present.


 

CindiL

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I wouldn't really mess with pH or GH levels in an unstable tank that is still cycling. It can cause too much stress for some fish, in addition to dealing with ammonia levels present.
I just want to get an idea whats going on with her ph. If she is having large ph swings due to low KH it would need to be addressed cycling or not so her fish don't die. As far as GH, it is just calcium and magnesium which fish need for osmotic functioning. Even soft water fish need some GH. I think it is fine to dose this ongoing during cycling.
 
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