high ammonia in est tank HELP!!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by rosalie68, May 13, 2008.

  1. rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    i have had my 55 gal for about 2 years now. i had issues at first setting it up but havent had anything wrong in over a year. no fish losses. i changed my filter and did a water change and left my fish in the care of my sister for 2 weeks while on a wedding/honeymoon cruise. when i came back all my fish were acting funny and i changed my filter again b/c it appeared to be dirtier than normal. i will admit that i cleaned off the part of the filter that im not supposed to and i changed the carbon. i tested the water and got a high ammonia reading. im guessing it was around 4ppm. the highest on my tester. so it could have been higher than that. i had a small amount of nitrite. the second or third color on the chart. the water was light purple in the tester. i dont have my tester here to look at the numbers. the nitrate was around 40ppm i think. but i have always had a problem with nitrate. it never seems to go down and the tester always stays dark red. im using the api master tester the one with the test tubes and droppers. i vacuumed the rocks in hopes to get rid of ammonia. still high. then i found a pretty large fish dead a few days later. about 8 inches a black shark and then i started losing more fish. since i had came home i was doing water changes almost everyday of about 25% with no improvement of the ammonia. i got the nitrite out after a few days but now almost 2 months later the ammonia is still at about 2 or 3 and when i stop changing the water it gets higher. help i dont know what to do. i am planning on moving my fish to a 220 gal but i dont want to stress them out. i havent lost a fish in about a month but im sure they are probably not happy with those water conditions. oh and i have also used amquel and i had to put copper in the water to treat a small outbreak of ich and i have used stress coat and aquarium salt. even though the ammonia may be locked how do i get rid of it and why is it this high. do i need to cycle my tank even though its established. help!!
     
  2. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

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    welcome to fishlore!!!!!!!! keep changing DAILY at least 50% of your water...treat the tap with prime unless you use bio-spira to re-cycle..I think cleaning the filter set you back to a mini cycle..so treat it as if its a new one agian....as far as ich, just turn up the heater to 83 for two weeks and that will kill the ich..with daily water changes, the oxygen will be fine...as far as your nitrates, two things...test your tap water, sometimes we have nitrate in it, and also really bang that #2 bottle on the counter to mix up the crystals when you are testing...its a pain but needed...hope this helps!!

    ps..I noticed you have other tanks..if they are cycled, cut some of the filter media out of them and put into the 55 gallon...:) that will speed things up..but still continue daily water changes until 0 ammonia and nitrites
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  3. haddaj04

    haddaj04Valued MemberMember

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    also take a stocking full of substrate from another one of ur tanks and hang it in ur 55 gallon this should help as well
     
  4. Peterpiper

    PeterpiperWell Known MemberMember

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    You should not use copper in your main tank ( IMO, you should not ever use it )
    The copper will affect all life forms in the tank, fish, corals and bacteria.
    Did you start having issues with ammonia after the copper was added?
     
  5. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

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    Hi Rosalie, Welcome to Fish Lore :)

    Sorry you are having problems with your tank, you've already gotten some good advice, so good luck, I hope things turn around for you.
     
  6. capekate

    capekateFishlore VIPMember

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    Hello Rosalie and welcome to fishlore! ;D
    As the advice above is sound.. it seems you are going through a mini cycle again. With changing the filter media most likely set you back. I know.. I have an established tank that at the moment is also going through a mini cycle and I have also lost fish. I did too much of a cleaning and also rinsed out the filter media. It set me way back and now have high ammonia in the water, tho the nitrite is at zero, thank goodness and my nitrate since doing daily water changes for the last 13 days is at about a 10 on the API test kit.
    Keep doing those daily water changes.. your cycle will come around again. You will just have to treat your tank as you would a new one.
    good luck with it.. I know personally how frustrating it is. Just dont rinse out the filter media and do only a tiny bit of gravel vacuuming at a time. Also the copper med may have sent your cycle out of whack as well. :-\
     
  7. OP
    OP
    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    thanks for your replies. im so glad i found this message board!! i got rid of the ich right away. copper is the only thing that has ever worked for me to get rid of ich. the ammonia was very high before i added copper. im sure its probably out by now with all the water changes and i havent added anymore since the ich is gone. i dont have any live plants or corals or any fish that i am aware of that it would hurt. i wish i wouldve know it was bad for the bacteria.i didnt know that its bad for my tank. i dont have the 220 gal set up yet. i only have a 10 gal set up. the filter is a whisper filter and it only takes those carbon and cotton cartridges. so should i just take the rocks then?? what exactly do i put them in thats safe to be in the aquarium?? our pet store said nylon? which is safe?? he also was sayin something about bacteria but i dont know what kind. i do know that it has to be kept in the refridgerator. could this be the bio spira that everyone is talking about?? also will water changes effect the cycle?? and how long does it take to get back to normal? sorry so many questions but i love my fish and i have a few that grow really big and have had them for a long time. i just want them to make it to live in the 220 gal tank. thank u so much all of u!!!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  8. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

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    yes the bacteria bio-spira has to be kept cold...thats probably what the store was talking about...its harder with the carbon cartridges to take some of the media, but ripping some off will help...I dont think the rocks will make a whole lot of difference as you have a 10 gallon of rocks going into a 55 gallon...best bet is to get some bio-spira and daily water changes until your ammonia and nitrites are gone...no one can say how long it will take, but patience is something needed with cycleing...took me weeks to cycle mine...but I did it with fish and it wasnt a nice thing ...but my kids survived...thank goodnees...glad the ich is gone!! goodluck!
     
  9. OP
    OP
    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    thanks im going to call and see if he has any biosprira.
     
  10. OP
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    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    ok so i just went and got the bio spira. he had me change 50% of the water and fill it back up and use amquel. then put in the bacteria. and he says not to feed them for 3 days. he told me that after about 48 hours the ammonia should start to come down. the ammonia was between 4 and 8 ppm. no nitrite. so we shall see in 2 days. i also rinsed the cartridge from the 10 gal tank in aquarium water and stuck it in the back of the 55 gal filter. the 10 gal one was so dirty i had to rinse it b/c it was clogged but i didnt use tap water like i was doing in the past. so does this sound ok?? i hope it works!!
     
  11. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

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    I don't have experience with bio spira, but rinsing the filter in used tank water is right.
    Good luck.
     
  12. susitna-flower

    susitna-flowerWell Known MemberMember

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    Sounds like you are on the right track now. The copper left in the tank "MAY" cause problems with the bio-spira, but if not you should be on the way now....If you are having problems with nitrate, are you vacuuming your gravel every week? It sounds like your tank may be overstocked, and that 220 gallon needs to get cycled....You can stock it with fish if you use the recommended amount of bio-spira for that one. Good Luck.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    well i get the stand for it tomorow and then next week i will have my filter and heater and lights. and then i can start the cycle. he was telling me that i dont need bacteria and that it would be fine if i put my fish in with the old filter nad some of my rocks and to watch the ammonia level and if it starts to get high then add the bacteria. do u all think this is ok?? i wanted to put bacteria in it before i added fish b/c i dont want to get new tank syndrome and lose all my fish after all of this. i think just putting a filter and some rocks from a 55 gal into a 220 gal isnt going to be much b/c this tank is way bigger. i also dont want to use the old rocks in the new tank. sorry so many questions but i dont know too many people that know much about fish. just the man at the fish shop here. thanks for all your help i really appreciate it!!
     
  14. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

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    If you can afford it, id go the bio-spira route with the 220 also...although seeding it from your cycled 55 will help, but will take a bit longer because of the size difference...as far as the 55 with the new bio-spira, dont test it or change water for the 7 days recommended...you can feed your fish tho..they wont appreciate not eating for 3 days LOL ...after the week is over, start testing, and depening on what your readings are, will depend on your next steps..HOPEFULLY, you will be totally cycled, and back to where you were to begin with...If it was me, id wait to get the 55 cycled and on track before worrying about the 220..but thats me ;)
     
  15. OP
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    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    thanks! yah i need to get the 55 gal fixed first. we just moved so we have the 220 at our new place and the 55 at the old place. i really want my fish here with me but its going to take time to get the new one set up and get the water right for the fish before i transfer them. im very nervous about moving them and worried about putting them in a brand new tank. i never have good luck with new tanks but of course i have learned so much more in these 2 years! all of your replies mean so much to me and have helped me tremedously! thanks for the advice im sure i will have more questions soon. im always trying to learn more. im obsessed with my fish!! lol. thanks again!!
     
  16. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

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    its nice to know another good fish lover! you will be fine with bio-spira...it helps so very much if its affordable ...:)
     
  17. OP
    OP
    rosalie68

    rosalie68Valued MemberMember

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    ok so its been over a week and i tested my water and the ammonia is still high. its about a 2. i just dont get it?? no nitrite. do i start doing water changes again? am i still waiting for my tank to cycle? im so confused!!
     
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