Did I Kill My Bacteria?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by ystrout, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. ystrout

    ystroutWell Known MemberMember


    I have an urgent problem I hope you guys can help me with. I moved appartments and moved my 20G long tank. I decided to do a deep clean since I had a snail problem, so I boiled my rocks to kill the eggs. I transferred 50% of the original water and kept my filter sponge in current tank water.

    I noticed a foggy tank the next morning, and did some tests and noticed 1 ppm of nitrite and quite a bit of nitrate. No, to very little ammonia. I figured I must have taken too long to transfer my filter media and my bacteria died. So I've been doing daily water changes. I noticed I still have the same nitrite, lots of nitrate, and now .5-1 ppm of ammonia! The changes were making things worse. Turns out my tap water has .5 ppm of ammonia in it.

    I was confused as to how I have ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate... I thought that when I have that much nitrate, my tank is cycled and I shouldn't be having ammonia or nitrite readings anymore.....

    So do you guys think that by adding the new tap water, with all that ammonia, I'm overwhelming my biological filter? Putting so much ammonia in there that the nitrite builds up? Then when I do water changes to address the nitrite, I am adding more ammonia and this vicious cycle just gets worse?

    BTW, I'll be doing water changes with good water going forward... But I am wondering if I have a cycled tank still?

  2. bNissan

    bNissanValued MemberMember

    How long did your filter media spend in standing water? It is my understanding that it is recommended to keep BB in moving water when transporting it.

    It sounds like you are going through a mini cycle.

    What do you condition your water with? Seachem Prime will detoxify ammonia in your water which should allow your BB to catch up after a water change.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Sarcasm Included

    Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    Don't address the nitrites with water change, this is a mini-cycle produced by your tap water having ammonia in it. Since you have ammonia in your water supply your maintenance should be frequent small water changes. So if you fill your tank 25% you would have .125ppm, which is trivial and your fish won't notice it.

    edit: the nitrites should disappear in a day
  4. OP

    ystroutWell Known MemberMember

    I use seachem Prime. And it probably sat in a bag of tank water for two hours, not moving much, but sloshing around. So you guys don't think my fish are in much danger? The prime does a good job at detoxifying ammonia?

    I lost a zebra danio yesterday... I think it may have to do with the stress of the move since my rummynose tetras are doing fine, and they're rummynoses.... Most sensitive fish I've ever owned.
  5. bNissan

    bNissanValued MemberMember

    It sounds like you are just going through a mini cycle and should be fine.

    Prime is rated to detoxify ammonia for 24 hours if I am not mistaken, that should be plenty of time for an established bacteria colony to take care of it.
  6. OP

    ystroutWell Known MemberMember

    So I guess no more water changes for the next few days? Right? Ammonia was able to get to .5ppm in the tank because I've done a bunch of 25% water changes.....

    Ammonia was .5 ppm this morning, hopefully lower when I get home from work. I did a partial water change last night. I'm not sure how long it takes for ammonia to be broken down though...

    Nitrite is also about .5 ppm. How dangerous are these toxin levels for my fish?

    I took my plants out before the move. I'll buy some more that should help eat the nitrate. It wasn't at a dangerous level though. Something like 40 ppm so I'm not worried about that.

    Are toxin levels of .5 ppm of both ammonia and nitrate not very high?

    And can I put prime in again tonight when I get home? After 24 hours since I used last?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2017

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