High Ammonia Level - What to do?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Jsut01, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Jsut01New MemberMember

    Hey guys,
    I posted last week about my tank testing for ammonia. My level reads right at 8.0! It has been there for about a week and a half that I know of. I have changed the water many times, 1/3, 1/2, etc. I have added Seachem Prime and stability. I have added another filter. I have lost about 6 fish total so far. Everyone in the tank now seems ok. They swim around, quite fast, lol. They eat, although I have put them on a diet. I thought maybe the ammonia was coming from over feeding. Now I just don't know what to do? Do I maybe have too many fish? I heard 1" of fish per gallon, but also read that wasn't necessarily true. I most likely do have a few too many, they're addictive. I have 24 total in the tank, not counting my lone ghost shrimp. I have 3 gourami, 1 dwarf gourami, 4 danios, 4 black non tetras, 2 mollys, 3 cherry barbs, 3 red minor tetras, 2 cory cats, 2 platys. I don't think I forgot anybody, lol. My tank is a 55g, I am running a Tetra Whisper 30-60, and a Fluval 50. I don't have any live plants yet, but will they help at this point, will more shrimp or invertebrates help/hurt? I don't have a sick tank to move them to either:(
  2. ShortfuuzzeValued MemberMember

    Sorry to hear you've lost fish!! Ammonia troubles can be frustrating. Live plants will absolutely help with the ammonia levels in your tank. You could also try an ammonia remover media bag for one of your filters, those usually work quite well.

    I'm not sure of the stocking choices as far as if it's too much bioload for your tank so I won't make a suggestion there. But I will ask a question...how often to do you vac? Maybe too much fish and extra food left sitting on the bottom???

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  3. Jsut01New MemberMember

    This tanks only been up and running for about 2 months. I have used the siphon on the gravel twice during water changes after I found the ammonia.

  4. ShortfuuzzeValued MemberMember

    With that many fish in the tank you should be vacuuming once a week. All that fish poop produces ammonia in the tank. If you've only vac'd twice in 2 months with that many fish in the tank I would say that is a big culprit for ammonia.

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  5. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    You will need to do some major water changes to get your ammonia levels down. Stability doesn't work when ammonia is above 4 ppm.

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  6. JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    I don't remember the story leading up to now on the tank, but:

    Have you read about the nitrogen cycle, and have you established the appropriate bacteria colonies in your filters and the tank such that the bacteria should be eating the ammonia?

    If not, then that needs to happen before you can expect the tank to be healthy.
  7. Cory LoverNew MemberMember

    I had crazy ammonia problems not too long ago, but thankfully none of my fish passed away. I really sad you weren't as lucky. :'( The first thing to do is make sure your tank is fully cycled. If it is, do 70% water changes every other day and add some (just a little bit) of ammonia killer that can be bought at almost all fish stores. That should do the trick!
  8. fishfisherValued MemberMember

    What filter are you using? I know that you said that you put an extra one on, but if it's low quality then you may want to buy a nicer one. I was having huge ammonium /nitrites problems but they cleared up in a couple of days when I went from a top fin to an aquaclear 70.

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  9. Jsut01New MemberMember

    I am running a tetra whisper 30-60 and a Fluval 50. I have done several water changes including about 50% today. I will test again tomorrow to see where we are. Crossing my fingers for a lower level. I did notice that the fish were swimming around a lot more when I added the new water
  10. fishfisherValued MemberMember

    Apologies I didn't catch your filters in the original post. You might want to test your tap water. Here out of the tap it's 1.0 ppm.

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  11. fishfisherValued MemberMember

    Ammonium that is out of the tap at 1 ppm. I understand completely how addictive this is! MTS (multiple tank syndrome ) just hit me and now I'm setting up my second tank. I don't think I caught your post last week but I'm pretty sure that someone asked you about using the liquid test over the strip tests.

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  12. derkuliesValued MemberMember

    I would agree new water is the best and large changes. Are you using test strips as well? Test your water and you shouldn't have ammonia in your tap water!!! That can be bad! Test water with liquid test in water as a base then the tank. And 70% water changes if nessicary

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  13. JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    I'm still curious as to whether the filters are "cycled" yet or not.
  14. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    Hello, I don't know if anyone every got back to you on the proper use of those seachem products, but they are specific. Until then, You need to be doing partial water changes 1-2 times (2 for ammonia that high) per DAY. Get a second opinion from your LFS on the levels.
    Until you see improvement on the ammonia, you might as well vacuum while doing the PWC , can't hurt at all.
    Sounds like you're working on getting feedings under control, now look for dead fish or shrimp too and remove them.
    Good luck
  15. fishfisherValued MemberMember

    The treatment plant uses chloramine which is a combo of chlorine and nitrogen and I just looked up the current water test and it's actually 3.11 ppm. Max is 4.0. But I do agree with the water changes. What ever your tap is it's going to be far less than your tank is but at least you'll know and can use bottled water or something. Now that my tank is cycled it can handle the chloramine with prime of course.

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  16. Jsut01New MemberMember

    My tap water tests with 0 ammonia. I do at least 2 water changes a week. The 50% change this weekend helped a lot, the level were at 8.0, now show around 2.0. Most of the fish seem fine, I did loose 1 last night though I have purchased a new tank and have it cycling now. I am going to move several of the fish from this 55 gallon to it when it cycles. I am hoping this helps bring the levels down even more. I did read somewhere that you can get false positive ammonia readings, how do I know for sure if the levels are testing true? I have tested daily, and taken samples to the LFS, (they get the same that I do)
  17. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    You may want to review the cycling process and also review the steps when using the products you have at your disposal now. Good luck.
  18. derkuliesValued MemberMember

    I would say if they are that high I would do 50% every other day. Cycling is a huge pain I remember the long month and half I had with my 90. Be sure to get sea Chem prime and dose according to chlorimates if you know they are present. Liquid test kits you should be under .25 ppm fish can handle that amount. Still not good but better than that high. And remember after ammonia is nitrites :( best of luck

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  19. jay275475Valued MemberMember

    Try adding tetra fresh start or another beneficial bacteria product. i had success with that a while ago.

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