Cycling Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Librarian, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    9E4F2336-C47C-4233-81FC-8B8ABEF517DE.jpeg527785E0-58B0-4CD4-89F7-87660EEAD980.jpeg I set up two tanks- one for work (I'm a children's librarian) and one for home the week of February 20-24. Tank at work is great. Happy fish, beautiful situation. Only difference is tank at work has gravel. Tank at home problems. We've done water changes and used Prime as advised by our reading and pet store clerk. We added extra ceramic in the aquaclear Fluvial 50 filter about 3 weeks ago, removing the carbon. There are two tetras in the tank swimming but not eating much. We've done lots of reading and do not know how these guys are alive, except for the pH level. Please help.
  2. DonthemonValued MemberMember

    Have you tested the water you are using? Tap water? That low of a ph effects the ammonia and the cycle. Needs a couple 50% water changes ASAP to start.

  3. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    The pH of the tap is 7.0. We've done the 50% water changes every other day for weeks on end. No changes, just sky high ammonia.

    Our ammonia in tap water could be been 0 and .025 it's hard to tell. The water in the tank is getting cloudy. What to do?

  4. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    are you adding anything other than SeaChem Prime to this tank?

  5. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    No, I'm not
  6. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    That's good but leaves me scratching my head. Since you don't have ammonia in your source water we know it isn't coming from there.

    You said the only difference between the tank at work and this one is it has gravel. What kind of substrate do you have in this one? It looks like black diamond blasting sand or at least some kind of black sand.
  7. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    It's the black Carib Sea sand. We got it because we read gravel could hurt Cory catfish whiskers.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I wouldn't think ammonia would be leaching from it since it is specifically for fish tanks but 2 little fish should not be producing this much ammonia.

    Your low PH could be slowing down the cycling process but I don't think that the whole problem. If I were you I would get some crushed coral. If at all possible the chunks will be best. Just put a handful in a media bag and place it in your filter. It will add some hardness to the water and will stabilize the PH at a higher number. You should be able to keep it the same as your tap water of maybe just a tiny bit higher. The CC won't raise the PH instantly but it will help.

    This is a much more natural way of keeping the PH stable than adding bottled stuff. When the PH drops too low ammonia turns into ammonium and that is why it is not affecting your fish. Ammonium isn't as toxic as ammonia. Unfortunately the API tests don't know the difference so they just register all of it the same. Ammonium isn't very good food for the bacteria either and that could be why your cycle isn't growing.

    Once the PH is raised up the ammonium will revert back to ammonia so it is really good that you have prime to protect your fish.

    This is when you may have to do your water changes daily to get and keep the ammonia level down as low as possible and use Prime to detox what is left.
  9. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    Oh, really interesting. Ok, we'll go get some crushed coral from the pet store and put it in the tank. I wonder how long it will take for the pH to rise. The tank is cloudy today. We have moss balls we took out of the tank and have them soaking in distilled water. Should we put them back in the tank?
  10. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Some folks have reported it working quickly. The coral very slowly dissolves and that is how it adds hardness to the water.

    This still doesn't answer the question as to where the high ammonia levels are coming from. With just 2 little fish and you doing 50% water changes every other day it shouldn't be there. Have you researched the substrate to see if maybe ammonia is leaching from it?
  11. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    Which is more effective to put the coral in the Fluvial filter in-between the ceramic and sponge (I've got additional ceramic in there now instead of carbon) or would you just hang the crushed coral in a mesh bag?

    Python coming tomorrow so plan on 50% water change. Also, the gH and kH test bought.

    I never knew a hobby of simply having a 20 gallon fish tank would be so time-consuming and randomly a lot of extra work, i.e. tank at work no problems at all!
  12. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Try dechlorinating some tap water and then test for ammonia.
  13. JeffsgloValued MemberMember

    How much are you feeding the fish? And how often? Are you siphoning the substrate?
  14. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I don't think it should be a problem to put the moss balls back in. Since they are basically a plant they may help absorb some of the ammonia.

    Either way will work. If you just hang the mesh bag try to situate it so that water is running over and through it. If you don't have room in the filter you can hang it below the output of your filter and it should work as well.

    I've never used a python but I imagine it would make quick work of water changes. :) Just be sure to add enough Prime to treat the full 20 gallons when you refill an not just to 10 gallons you are replacing. You also want to turn your filter off during the water change. Wait until the tank is filled back up and the Prime has had a chance to mix well before turning the filter back on.
    I have to think either your substrate or maybe a decoration is leaching ammonia into this tank. Is the tank at work and this tank getting water from the same water company?
  15. NoOneValued MemberMember

    I bought a python, GREAT investment!
  16. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I am very tempted. The bucket method I have always used is getting harder for me to do but I still want to use tank water for my plants so that is what keeps me doing it the way I do it. :)
  17. NoOneValued MemberMember

    You could use a standard siphon to empty the tank but use the python to fill. It's the bomb!
  18. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    23AA632E-675B-4404-AC51-1DF209FCF031.jpeg Update tonight. We did a 70% water change to bring down ammonia. I realize this is a dangerous level of water to change at one time. Attached is a photo of the new levels and the house tap pH is to the left of the test kit key. Tomorrow the crushed coral arrives. Used Primes after water change. Fish not eating 5th day.
  19. FancytailaquaticsNew MemberMember

    Do you have chlorine or chloramines in the water? If so you need Prime, 10 years experience. I also hate to say it, but if ammonia is that high, it never cycled or going through a mini cycle. I tried to read i all, but maybe missed something?
  20. LibrarianNew MemberMember

    According to the town water report we have a small amount of chlorine in the water. .002-1.64 is the range on the report. We added two capfuls of Prime after this water change. Tomorrow the rh and kh testing kit comes. We've been working on this since late February!