Cycled Tank Now Having Ammonia Problems??? Help Please

Benji109395

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Hey, I have a 55g tank I set up and cycled. The process took about 2 weeks. Before adding any fish my ammonia and nitrites both spiked then went down to 0.

I added a Tin Foil barb, 2 Bala sharks, and 2 Tiger Oscars to my tank and ever since then my ammonia levels have been fluctuating.. It started raising and got to 1ppm where I immediately did a 50% water change, waited about 6 hours and did it again. The next day I checked and the ammonia was .25ppm. I did another small water change and then finally yesterday morning my ammonia was at 0ppm. Success! Or so I had thought.

My tap water does have ammonia in it, and I use FritZyme's ACCR to condition it before adding the water to my tank. It says 1 capful per 10 gallons. I use a 5gallon bucket and still add the entire cap.

I woke up this morning and my favorite little Oscar is acting STRANGE. He's staying on the bottom of the tank, mouth part open, and periodically takes huge "breaths" (do fish breathe like that?? Lol).. he normally swims around begging for food and watching me when I'm near the tank.. I'm super worried about him...

I just tested my water.
Ammonia - 0.50ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - 5.0ppm
My tank is set at 77 degrees.
I have 2 different filters. 1 rated for 75g tanks, the other 60g. And a power head to maximize flow.

We also have a Pleco. I sometimes forget about the poor guy.
Any suggestions on what's causing this problem??

I took a picture of him (without flash of course) and he got mad I think cause he swam away.. I hope he's okay and I'm just freaking out.. lol
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Mick Frost

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Cichlids have a tendency to "yawn", though it's not definitive as to why they do it. If your temperature or PH fluctuates with the water changes, that could be stressing him out.

As for the Ammo issue, it's normal when adding fish. Your tank was cycled for not having any fish in the tank, with a very small bacterial colony. It will take some time for the colony to grow to a size that can handle the new bioload.

Daily 10-15% water changes and close monitoring is the answer. Increase the water change % if Ammo gets too high.

A product like Seachem Stability would help, especially if you're impatient or if life interferes with the task of daily maintenance. Either way, you're looking at 1-2 weeks.
 
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Benji109395

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I forgot to mention I've used Stability since day 1. Added it as directed for 7 days, and use it after water changes. I also added a bottle of 7 when I added the first shark and my Barb to strengthen the bacteria colonies (hopefully) but I've been stressing over the ammo issue.
Thanks for the advice though, it does make sense. What would you consider "too high" when it comes to the ammonia? I'll definitely start doing daily water changes ASAP.
 

Mom2some

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Generally:
If Ammonia + nitrites > or = 1.0 do a big water change, dose Prime (which protects against ammonia & nitrites up to 1.0) & retest next day.
If Ammonia & nitrites < 1.0, dose Prime & retest next day.
Despite your careful efforts your bioload is too much for your new bacteria colony, but using the above directions you can safely build it. Good luck!
 

Mick Frost

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For Ammo, 0.5 is the "start worrying" point, 1.0 is "panic"
For Nitrite, 1.0 is dead fish, I worry at anything over 0
 
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Benji109395

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Mom2some said:
Generally:
If Ammonia + nitrites > or = 1.0 do a big water change, dose Prime (which protects against ammonia & nitrites up to 1.0) & retest next day.
If Ammonia & nitrites < 1.0, dose Prime & retest next day.
Despite your careful efforts your bioload is too much for your new bacteria colony, but using the above directions you can safely build it. Good luck!
I've never uses Prime. Does it actually work well? What is it intended to do?

Mick Frost said:
For Ammo, 0.5 is the "start worrying" point, 1.0 is "panic"
For Nitrite, 1.0 is dead fish, I worry at anything over 0
I definitely panicked when the Ammo was 1.0! My Nitrites have stayed 0 for almost 2 weeks now. Hoping it stays that way
 

ganjero

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How did you cycle the tank? As others mentioned it can be a case of bioload increase which was too much for you bacteria colony, and this created a new cycle.

Prime works well, it inhibits the toxicity of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates for 24hrs (it also converts chlorimines into non toxic ammonia for 24hrs.). If you have a well established filter 24hrs should be enough to consume the ammonia and nitrites before they become toxic again. In your case, if you continue to have ammonia readings you would need to does prime every 24hrs until you filtration system is able to consume the ammonia.

Edit: forgot to mention to not test for ammonia right after adding prime, as I mentioned about some of the prime's chemical process result in a 24 hrs non-toxic ammonia, so you would ammonia readings. The manufacturers says 24-48hrs for the non toxicity part, but I always go with the lower number to be safe.
 
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Benji109395

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ganjero said:
How did you cycle the tank? As others mentioned it can be a case of bioload increase which was too much for you bacteria colony, and this created a new cycle.

Prime works well, it inhibits the toxicity of ammonia for 24hrs (it also converts chlorimines into non toxic ammonia for 24hrs.). If you have a well established filter 24hrs should be enough to consume the ammonia before it becomes toxic again. In your case, if you continue to have ammonia readings you would need to does prime every 24hrs until you filtration system is able to consume the ammonia.
Okay thank you. As mentioned I was using ACCR from Fritz which is a water conditioner that also removes Ammo. I just googled Prime and it definitely sounds like a better option than ACCR, but would it be safe to stop using it and switch to Prime??


Also, my Oscar is up and acting like himself again. Must of been reluctant to get up for the day.. I know I feel that way some days lol
 

ganjero

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ACCR should be very similar to Prime and work as well. The only thing I do not like is their statement of removing ammonia. These type of product do not remove ammonia, they convert it into non toxi ammonia and for a short period of time (24-48hrs). A well established filter is what removes it before it becomes toxic again.
You can safely switch if that is what you want to use. Just continue dosing ACCR until you buy Prime.

PS. Using liquid ammonia to cycle a tank is the best method. If done right, it should result in a well established filter capable of handling a heavy bioload at the end of the cycle.
 

BobNJerry

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how come you are using the ACCR Fritz Zyme and not the Fritz Zyme 700?

i swear by it.. better then prime imo
 

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I would say you've added too big a bio-load too quickly for your BB in the filter to cope with but it should settle down again. One thing I would say is that you're going to have a massive problem when your fish start to grow, Bala's & Oscar's both get to about 35 cms (14 inches) long & your plec depending on the type will also probably get quite large so I'm afraid they're all going to outgrow your 55g. Oh & the tinfoil will also get to about 32 cms (12 to 13 inches) so when they all grow up you're going to need a swimming pool to keep them in , it's recommended that the smallest tank for a tinfoil (which will probably be your smallest fish) is 75g.
 
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Benji109395

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BobNJerry said:
how come you are using the ACCR Fritz Zyme and not the Fritz Zyme 700?

i swear by it.. better then prime imo
Following advice from pet shop guy. He's the one that informed me of our tap water having ammonia in it and suggested using this for water changes

Seasoldier said:
I would say you've added too big a bio-load too quickly for your BB in the filter to cope with but it should settle down again. One thing I would say is that you're going to have a massive problem when your fish start to grow, Bala's & Oscar's both get to about 35 cms (14 inches) long & your plec depending on the type will also probably get quite large so I'm afraid they're all going to outgrow your 55g. Oh & the tinfoil will also get to about 32 cms (12 to 13 inches) so when they all grow up you're going to need a swimming pool to keep them in , it's recommended that the smallest tank for a tinfoil (which will probably be your smallest fish) is 75g.
Very aware of this, thank you though! We're going to getting a bigger tank. But for now everyone is pretty happy with plenty of space
 

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check/monitor your Ph as well.. it can swing a bit while cycling, especially if your Kh is low. Also try to match temp when you do the water change, even more so for larger %.
 
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Benji109395

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TexasGuppy said:
check/monitor your Ph as well.. it can swing a bit while cycling, especially if your Kh is low. Also try to match temp when you do the water change, even more so for larger %.
I use a digital thermometer when doing water changes, it's always within 1 or 2 degrees. I need to check my pH but I have a hard time reading that one. When I check it with the normal range pH test it shows up 7.6 (highest value) and the high range pH test shows it around like 7.4 so idk about all that.
Whats Kh?
 

TexasGuppy

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KH is alkalinity which basically sets pH. Your numbers should be fine with a pH of 7.4-7.6. when it drops down to 6.5 or lower is when you generally can start to have issues.
 

Seasoldier

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Very aware of this, thank you though! We're going to getting a bigger tank. But for now everyone is pretty happy with plenty of space[/QUOTE]

That tank when you get it & set it up is going to be awesome, hope you keep us updated when it happens.
 
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