Help, can’t get ammonia down!

Bgillenkirk15

Member
I have a 55 gallon tank with an fx6 fluval canister filter and a marineland 70 gallon hang on the biggest one on it and I have 5 red belly piranhas in it about 5 inches roughly 6 inches and I do not have substrate no plants just logs and I cannot get the ammonia down its insane I feed them every couple days I've had them for a few years and its always been somewhat of an issue and its just uncontrollable at this point I can't get it down for the life of me I'll do everything I can I've read a lot about it can anyone please help me
 

CoryBoi

Member
How often do you do water changes?
when and how do you clean the filters?
 

kallililly1973

Member
Check your source water. Do you have any pics?
 

nikm128

Member
My guess would be the media in your filter can't hold enough beneficial bacteria to handle the bioload of the piranhas.
Might I suggest adding a second filter?
 

kallililly1973

Member
OP said they had an FX6 and a Marineland filter. I would say pics or it didn't happen. No fish can survive a few years with ammonia present. I don't believe anyways.
 

CHJ

Member
How is your tap?
Did you just do a full media replacement in both filters?
With that filtration I'd think you could keep an unhappy adult koI in that tank or a 30" RTC that is similarly unhappy, or even a dachshund who is real good at swimming and equally unhappy.
Have you considered a substrate?
 

nikm128

Member
kallililly1973 said:
OP said they had an FX6 and a Marineland filter. I would say pics or it didn't happen. No fish can survive a few years with ammonia present. I don't believe anyways.
I missed the fx6, still strange
 

kallililly1973

Member
nikm128 said:
I missed the fx6, still strange
Probably a fake post. That's why I said pics or it didn't happen.
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
Why would I make a fake post I genuinely need the help I have a ton of money invested into the mess like I said I've had them since they were the size of quarters its been an on an off issue I have a 350 dollar filter along with the biggest marineland hang on you can buy what do you guys want photos of I'll I'll whatever you need to see and I have a pretty decent amount of ceramic rings stars and balls in the filter along with nitrate or nitrite reducing pad and phosphate pad just trying to find something that works I try to stay away from chemicals I try letting it run its coarse I've done the whole change 25-50% water every few days nothing helps at all my tap water ammonia is about 1 and I put prime in it anyway I just need some help like I said I don't have any substrate to minimize cleaning maybe I need it to help with beneficial bacteria that's why I'm asking for tips I don't knows
 

kallililly1973

Member
What is the Ammonia Nitrites and Nitrates of your source water? I only asked for pics cause I wanted to see the Piranhas
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
I'm not home at the moment but soon as I am I will get you pics and levels thank you for the help
 

nikm128

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
Why would I make a fake post I genuinely need the help I have a ton of money invested into the mess like I said I've had them since they were the size of quarters its been an on an off issue I have a 350 dollar filter along with the biggest marineland hang on you can buy what do you guys want photos of I'll I'll whatever you need to see and I have a pretty decent amount of ceramic rings stars and balls in the filter along with nitrate or nitrite reducing pad and phosphate pad just trying to find something that works I try to stay away from chemicals I try letting it run its coarse I've done the whole change 25-50% water every few days nothing helps at all my tap water ammonia is about 1 and I put prime in it anyway I just need some help like I said I don't have any substrate to minimize cleaning maybe I need it to help with beneficial bacteria that's why I'm asking for tips I don't knows
It’s just strange to be seeing ammonia after 6 months tops, even stranger is fish surviving it for so long.
How old is your test kit? Could it be bad? Are you using a liquid test kit or strips?
 

sfsamm

Member
nikm128 said:
It’s just strange to be seeing ammonia after 6 months tops, even stranger is fish surviving it for so long.
How old is your test kit? Could it be bad? Are you using a liquid test kit or strips?
Also what's the ph of your water?
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
I completely agree with you I'm shocked they've survived it for so long my self

Here's set up I use apI master kit for water testing I'll test everything tomorrow and update you guys
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
So nitrite 0 ppm nitrate I'd say 2.5ppm ph 6.0 or lower ammonia 8.0

So its rough I need some help on moving forward with this I have other fish tanks that I've never had a single issue with but there smaller and the fish aren't nearly as big
 

nikm128

Member
How old is the test kit? I don’t believe it could be that high in a long running tank. I believe I once saw mattgirl say you can have API test some of the same batch as your test kit has to make sure it hasn’t gone bad
 

mattgirl

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
So nitrite 0 ppm nitrate I'd say 2.5ppm ph 6.0 or lower ammonia 8.0

So its rough I need some help on moving forward with this I have other fish tanks that I've never had a single issue with but there smaller and the fish aren't nearly as big
Your PH level is the problem. With a PH that low your bacteria isn't thriving. it can't process the ammonia so it just keeps building up. What is the PH of your source water?
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
My source water is about 7.0 to 7.2 so pretty neutral

What do I do to fix it in the tank
 

nikm128

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
What do I do to fix it in the tank
Well the best thing to do would be big water changes, but since we can’t know how much above 8.0 the ammonia could be, that could be dangerous for the fish since the ammonia is currently way less toxic with the low PH.
Maybe a wc of 80-90% followed immediately by another 50% change a few hours later. That’ll raise the ph and remove a ton of ammonia, but then you’ll be doing a fish in cycle which could be quite the handful at this stage
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
Whats fish in cycle
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
I can do that tho I can do big water changes and that will probably help but for how long
 

mattgirl

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
My source water is about 7.0 to 7.2 so pretty neutral

What do I do to fix it in the tank
If you could get your hands on some crushed coral it would stabilize the PH to the level of your source water. I highly recommend a very big water change to get the ammonia level down as low as possible before adding the crushed coral. Put some in a media bag and put it in your HOB filter. It won't instantly raise the PH so give it a few days. Keep an eye on the PH level. If it doesn't stay up add a bit more CC. It takes different amounts of it for different tanks so I can't tell you exactly how much it is going to take so just add a big handful to start with. Add more if needed.
 
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Bgillenkirk15

Member
Alright I'll start with that how often do you change it
 

Inner10

Member
I'm guessing if you test your KH it's probably darn close to 0, causing your 7ph water to swing down to 6 or below. At a PH of 6 your BB can't thrive. Add some alkalinity buffer to your water, or crushed coral, cuttlebone, seashells etc.
 

nikm128

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
Whats fish in cycle
Cycling the tank with fish already in it. Typically you'd add a non living source of ammonia to feed and grow the beneficial bacteria colony so it can turn ammonia into nitrites, and nitrites into nitrates. With "fish-in", the fish are the ammonia source and have to live through the cycling process in potentially not great conditions if you're not super observant.
Bgillenkirk15 said:
I can do that tho I can do big water changes and that will probably help but for how long
Well I'm still thinking if that would be the best approach to this...How hardy are piranhas? A PH swing of 1 degree in a short time can be pretty stressful, and pretend for a moment the ammonia is actually 12ppm, even a 90% change would leave 3ppm for the fish to deal with for a little while before you can do another big change to get it out.
Bgillenkirk15 said:
Alright I'll start with that how often do you change it
Crushed coral? You should never have to change it really
 

mattgirl

Member
Bgillenkirk15 said:
Alright I'll start with that how often do you change it
On second thought. Since your PH level is so low you may want to change out 50% of the water several days in a row. By doing so you will be raising the PH a bit slower. Add the CC as soon as you get it though. You don't ever have to replace the CC. You may need to add more every once in a while though as it slowly dissolves.
 

sfsamm

Member
With a ph under 6 that ammonia is just almost entirely harmless ammonium. That's why your fish aren't harmed and also why your tank isn't cycling.

If its stable leave it be.

Large water changes may actually cause your ph to spike depending on the actual ph of your source water. I assume that your source is low ph as well though.
 

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