Help! Ammonia levels not going down!

Evelyn1919
  • #1
About Liquid Test Kit

Hi,
I was reading a thread before and something that I didn't know about really caught my eye.
Now, is it true that the liquid test kit is not really accurate if you don't shake the liquids before using them???
Since I have my tank I've been checking and I never shake the liquids before doing the tests except for the Nitrate one because that's what the directions say. Is it very super important to shake them all in order to get the right readings???

I would appreciate all the advice.

Oh by the way to keep you updated on my tank I did another 30% water change to my tank last night and the water is not as cloudy anymore, now I can actually see my fish! Also before doing the water change I checked water chemistry and here are my readings (which are still not good at all):
ammonia: 8.0
nitrites: .50-1
nitrates:2.5-10
pH: 6.4-6.6

Anything else I can do besides water changes? I don't mind doing them but I just want the fish not to die. The neons are acting very shy and they are all separated all over the tank and not together like the tiger barbs and the rasboras. Should I do an even bigger water change if my readings are as bad again tonight?
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #2
Yes you must shake them, as directed. The chemicals in the solutions separate after being in active, like oil and water for an exaggerated example, so must be shaken prior to use. Nitrates for example, shake bottle 1 for 30-60 seconds (cant remember) prior to adding to test tube. Shake test tube for 30-60 seconds(again can't remember) and while doing so, shake bottle 2 of the nitrate solution. Apply bottle 2 after both have been shaken, then add. If you don't shake, you will get a false reading on nitrates, if any reading at all.
 
luna
  • #3
Yes you must shake them, as directed. The chemicals in the solutions separate after being in active, like oil and water for an exaggerated example, so must be shaken prior to use. Nitrates for example, shake bottle 1 for 30-60 seconds (cant remember) prior to adding to test tube. Shake test tube for 30-60 seconds(again can't remember) and while doing so, shake bottle 2 of the nitrate solution. Apply bottle 2 after both have been shaken, then add. If you don't shake, you will get a false reading on nitrates, if any reading at all.
FLCF, she's not talking about the nitrates one...I think she said she's been following those instructions. Rose had said in another topic that you should shake ALL of the solutions to make sure they're mixed well or you can get false readings, and she's worried about the other tests.

I shake them anyways, just because they're chemicals suspended in solution and it makes sense to shake them before use (I also shake my bottle of Prime and my VitaChem), but not because I was told I should...her concern here is that she hasn't been shaking the other bottles - the instructions don't tell us we should for any but bottle 2 of the nitrates - and she's worried that those freaky numbers she's getting in her tank could be worse than what she's seeing.
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Luna you are so right!
I have been only shaking the #2 nitrate bottle because that's what the directions say.
I was just wondering if I should just shake them ALL (ammonia, nitrites etc.).

I guess I'll do that tonight and see what happens.

Thanks!!!
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #5
Hm, with the API liquid test kit, I was certain that bottle 1 needed to be shaken, maybe I just added a step for myself to feel comfortable?

As far as shaking the rest of them. *shrug* good point. I've always shaken them myself. I know the water conditioner AquaSafe requires you to shake it prior to adding its contents; as you said, Prime does not.
 
susitna-flower
  • #6
If your ammonia test continues to read 8 , I would suggest more aggressive water changes. I would do 2 x 25% change each day until it comes back down to 0.....
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I've been doing water changes for the last three days. First I did a 50% water change, 2nd day I did a 30% water change and last night I did a 30% water change. The ammonia levels in my tank are still not going down at all! The nitrite levels are also increasing and the nitrate levels stayed. I don't know what else to do in order to get the ammonia levels down. Shouldn't they be going down now that I'm doing all these water changes or is it way too early for the ammonia levels to go down? What else can I do to solve this big problem???

Here are my readings from last night:
Ammonia: 8.0
Nitrites: .5 to 1
Nitrates: 5
ph: 6.4

Would it be good or bad for me to add ammolock???
Also another neon tetra was dead this morning so now I only have 5 left. They are all acting very shy and hiding all the time. They don'g swim together like all the others either.
 
SereneReyn
  • #8
it would seem to me that all the water changes should dilute the ammonia a little bit... have you tested your water straight out of the tap, by any chance? some people here have ammonia readings in their tap water. ew.
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Someone here advise I test the water every 24hours or right before I do the water change every day and that's what i've been doing. Should I do bigger water changes like 50% daily or would that kill all the beneficial bacteria that will be building up everyday???
 
lisamorie
  • #10
are we talking about your 75 gallon tank? it's not new is it? for age you just said 5-- is that months, years or days?


I would do two 25% water changes per day and cut back on feeding, maybe skip a day here and there even, or just feed every other day to cut back on the waste the fish produce. I would also use prime (if you are NOT using biospira) because it changes the ammonia and nitrites so they are not hamful to the fish.
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
this is the 75 gallon that i've had for 5 weeks (now almost 6).
I used biospira and everything was looking fine until I added the school of neons in the tank. i'm not using prime but I have ammolock. is prime better thank ammolock?
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #12
I personally would have been doing 50% water changes with ammonia that high. As said in your other thread, your not worried about the abcteria at this point. The cycle is going to have to go through the full process most likely. Your goal here is to keep the fish healthy and as minimal stressed out as possible. Ammonia that high is horrid for them as far as living conditions go. Check the parameters prior to the water change and if it's still 8+ do a 50% (This is what I would do / have done) then 12 hours later do another 50% change ( no need to test at this time. I wait 24 hours from the 2nd water change to test again. At this point, you SHOULD definitely start seeing some improvement. If you're not, then you are a) testing wrong, b) have a defective kit and need a new one, c) have something crazy going on that is unexplainable.



Keep up the good work though. I know you've been fighting it for awhile. From one semI newbie to another, it does get better over time It can be horrendous at first. One little thing knocks the balance of everything off, and you find yourself right back at the beginning.
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I will do that.
thanks for the advice and I'll keep you all posted on what's going on with my tank.

**Also, if this means that my tank is going to be going through the whole cycle again would it be better if I just go to the LFS and get some biospira and add it in the tank???
 
susitna-flower
  • #14
Basically the bacteria isn't IN the water, so changing water at this point is not going to slow down your cycle....I would do a 50% change and then another 25-50% change within a few hours....mainly you are just trying to dilute the ammonia concentration....

Change water as much as it takes to keep the level down.
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #15
Basically the bacteria isn't IN the water, so changing water at this point is not going to slow down your cycle....I would do a 50% change and then another 25-50% change within a few hours....mainly you are just trying to dilute the ammonia concentration....

Change water as much as it takes to keep the level down.

The Fish from the North speaks words of wisdom. I agree 100%.
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
ohhhhhhhh............
but would the biospira help or would it just be another waste of money???
i've spent a lot of money on biospira already but if that's gonna solve my problem then I would get it anyways.
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #17
ohhhhhhhh............
but would the biospira help or would it just be another waste of money???
i've spent a lot of money on biospira already but if that's gonna solve my problem then I would get it anyways.

That's completely up to you. As stated in your other thread by CBC, it would be wise to do water changes for about a week until results look a little bit more 'rational' then add the bio-spira. Bio Spira does cause minI spikes, and is to be expected, but when you are in your current state, it could increase the ammonia/nitrite levels higher than they already are. If you really want to add some, buy it and wait a week or wait a week and buy it. I'd hate to see you 'flush' more money away. You'll be doing a lot of water changes in the next week, most likely. Bio-spira requires AT LEAST 7 days of no water changes to be effective.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #18
That ammonia level is tremendously high and toxic. I'd do a 60-70% water change now and 50% daily, testing the water before each water change.
ammonia: 8.0
nitrites: .50-1
nitrates:2.5-10
 
Evelyn1919
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
ok.
i'll be doing lots of water changes then.

thanks for sall your help!!!
 
Peterpiper
  • #20
I feel you must establish if the readings you are getting are true and correct.
If your test kit can show readings higher than 8 Ammonia.. Then if before a water change you have a reading of 8, and you do a 50% water change, then test the water again, you should have a reading of 4.
If you are still getting a reading of 8, Then I would take the test kit and some of the tank water to the lfs and have them test the water using their test kit. If the LFS gets a diferent reading to the one you got at home ask them to show you how to use your test kit on your tank water. if they get the same reading as when they used their test kit then it was the way you have been testing.
If they get a reading of 8 when using your test kit.. then you need a new kit
 
lisamorie
  • #21
I feel you must establish if the readings you are getting are true and correct.
If your test kit can show readings higher than 8 Ammonia.. Then if before a water change you have a reading of 8, and you do a 50% water change, then test the water again, you should have a reading of 4.
If you are still getting a reading of 8, Then I would take the test kit and some of the tank water to the lfs and have them test the water using their test kit. If the LFS gets a diferent reading to the one you got at home ask them to show you how to use your test kit on your tank water. if they get the same reading as when they used their test kit then it was the way you have been testing.
If they get a reading of 8 when using your test kit.. then you need a new kit


that is great advice-- I was just rereading this thread and with all of the water changes, I cannot understand how your ammonia is staying the same? something isn't making sense?
 
Halibut
  • #22
that is great advice-- I was just rereading this thread and with all of the water changes, I cannot understand how your ammonia is staying the same? something isn't making sense?

If the ammonia level was well beyond 8(for example 16/24ppm) you could do water changes and not see it change, also current fish in the tank will continue to produce waste which in turn will make more ammonia and so on. I'm not a fish expert by any means but after the research Ive done it doesn't sound like the cycle has progressed very well so ammonia isn't being converted as it should yet.
 
Faye Rod
  • #23
On March 28th, Evelyn said "this is the 75 gallon that i've had for 5 weeks (now almost 6).
I used biospira and everything was looking fine until I added the school of neons in the tank. i'm not using prime but I have ammolock. is prime better thank ammolock?"

Could ammolock be the problem? And are you using a carbon filter that might need to be changed?

I'm very new to all of this but thought those two things might be contributing to your problem. I never used bio spira but I didn't think it could be used with ammo lock either?

I know that when I was going through the cycle with fish I was doing two water changes a day if the ammonia was 1.0 or 2.0. It never got higher than that. And after a couple of weeks the nirites increased. About three weeks after that the nitrates took over and -
my tank was cycled!!!! The only thing I added was aquasafe for a water conditioner - it was tempting to use an ammonia lock but I was advised not to.

Good luck!
 
lordingsy
  • #24
Help!!! I am still trying to cycle my first tank. Been well over a month now.

The ammonia levels are just not going down to 0. It seems to be sticking on 1.0.

Is this normal?
 
agsansoo
  • #25
What method are you using to cycle your tank ?
 
lordingsy
  • #26
I am adding ammonia daily up to about 2.4 -3.0 and letting it drop back down.

I have just checked my other levels and they are

Nitrite 0.1
Nitrate 5
ph 5.0
 
CHoffman
  • #27
Hmm..What are you using to test your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate with. How long after you add the ammonia are you checking your ammonia level??
 
agsansoo
  • #28
How many drops a day are you placing in your tank ? Once you get a nitrate readings with your test kit, and do a 30% water change your tank should be ready. If you get a nitrate (not nitrite) reading you should stop adding ammonia.
 
CHoffman
  • #29
That didn't work in my case..My tap has Nitrate in it so I couldn't go by that. You might also want to check your tap for Nitrates before you put fish in there. I had to wait until my ammonia and Nitrites were 0 ,12 hours after adding the ammonia..I only brought mine up to 2 ppm.
 
Lucy
  • #30
Cycling can be so frustrating.
What are you using to test?
Once you started to get nitrIte readings, did you cut the amount of ammonia you were adding in 1/2?
Have you tested your tap water?

Sorry for all the questions, the answers will help the members try to sort things out.

Everyone got me! lol
 
lordingsy
  • #31
I tested the tap water and it shows no ammonia, or nitrite, ph around 7.0.

I am using the nutrafin minI master test kit. The date and everything was ok on the box when I got it.

Please tell me I am nearly there.

I WANT SOME FISHIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
CHoffman
  • #32
I'm not a expert at all..But What I would do to be safe is bring your ammonia up to 2ppm...Test 12 hours after adding ammonia. If your nitrite and ammonia are both 0 then do a 90% waterchange and add fish. But I wouldn't add the fish until your sure ammonia and nitrite are 0 after 12 hours. If you add before your cycle is complete you in for allot of work and waterchanges.
 
lordingsy
  • #33
There are some conflicting views now on whether I add more ammonia or leave it out.

Getting slightly baffled by peoples varying suggestions.
 
CHoffman
  • #34
There are some conflicting views now on whether I add more ammonia or leave it out.

Getting slightly baffled by peoples varying suggestions.

Did you ever test your tap water for Nitrates??..IF there are none in your tap and your getting nitrate results in your tank and your comfortable with the other suggestions then I would do that. IT just really is what your comfortable doing
 
Lucy
  • #35
It's not really conflicting.
agsansoo's advice is correct.
CHoffman's suggestion is if you want to test just to make sure the tank it cycled.

lol, and Yes, you're nearly there, if not already.
 
agsansoo
  • #36
Do they sell Bio-Spiro in the UK ? This will cycle your tank quick.
 
lordingsy
  • #37
Morning all!

I have checked my water again this morning.

Everything has stayed exactly the same 12 hours on.

Is it time for a water change and if yes how much?

Thanks for all your help
 
Lucy
  • #38
I'd be a bit concerned if you still have an ammonia reading.

It won't hurt to go ahead and change the water but I'd I think I'd be apt to test the bacteria as CHoffman suggested.
Once the bacteria can process the ammonia in 24hrs (I've also heard 12hrs) then you should be good to go.
 
lordingsy
  • #39
I think I know what's happened.

I have carried on adding ammonia everyday even after the levels were dropping down to 0 in 12 hours.

After reading the sticky about the cycle AGAIN... I have realised it says to stop adding it when this happens.

Is that right?
 
Lucy
  • #40
Are you doing the "Add Daily" Method?
If so, here's what it says
Once the ammonia finally drops back to near zero, cut the amount of ammonia you are adding daily in half. That will still be plenty to keep the bacteria already developed fed. Continue to add the ammonia daily and test for nitrites. Once the nitrite drops back to zero, do your big water change and add your fish."

I can't find where is says to stop adding ammonia
The bacteria always needs a source of ammonia otherwise it will die off.
My understanding is you keep adding ammonia until your readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes with some nitrAtes show.
At that time you do your water change and you're ready to add fish.
 

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