High Ammonia/nitrates In 10 Gal Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Scott Telofski, May 25, 2018.

  1. Scott Telofski

    Scott TelofskiNew MemberMember

    Getting back into aquaria after many years. Never had test equipment as a kid, so new to me.

    Have a 10 gallon tank in which I simply can't get the nitrates down. Small and large water changes with filtered water, suctioning bottom, filter changes, Ammo-lock (last resort) and still can win.

    Lost a Zebra today, and looking at moving the fist (two cats, one Neon, one Zebra) to a 40 gallon tank with good water quality. Then start over with 10 gallon.

    Trying to bring temp up a bit in 10 gallon tank before transfer (3 degree difference).

    Is there another alternative I haven't considered for the 10 gallon tank? Or is starting over best after transfer. Any other water parameters I should worry about before transfer?

    Yes, the fish are compatible.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Mick Frost

    Mick FrostValued MemberMember

  3. danhutchins

    danhutchinsWell Known MemberMember

    Nitrates are toxic at high levels this is why we do water changes, to keep it at a safe level for the fish. If it's to high it can kill fish if exposed for a period of time.

  4. OP
    Scott Telofski

    Scott TelofskiNew MemberMember

    In the area of 80 or more. Hard to tell on my test kit, but it says "unsafe."

    Nitrites were actually lower than they have been.

    That's what I am afraid of. Nitrates in the area of 80 or more. Hard to tell on my test kit, but it says "unsafe." Nitrites were actually lower than they have been. But losing a long lasting fish that is usually very hardy is concerning.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2018
  5. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    How many fish are in there? What type of filter do you have? May I suggest Seachem Prime, it's a dechlorinator that also detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. By the sound of it, your tank is unable to properly cycle. I say this because of your lethal nitrate level, with the presence of ammonia and nitrite. A properly cycled tank will read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrates <40.
  6. Mick Frost

    Mick FrostValued MemberMember

    Nitrite of 0.5ppm is more toxic than Nitrate of 80ppm. Just sayin.
    If your Nitrite vial isn't baby blue, you're not cycled and your fish are having breathing problems. If Nitrite is even 0.25 it's like standing in the exhaust cloud of a diesel pickup.
    You mentioned you changed filters, did you leave some biological media behind?
  7. danhutchins

    danhutchinsWell Known MemberMember

    If you are using test strips to check the water I would recommend API master kit the strips are not reliable and almost always give false readings. Not saying things are fine just want you to get proper readings. I used the strips with my first tank and was getting readings on everything after being set up for 4 months with fish then I got the master kit and the strips were way off.
  8. Hunter1

    Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    do you have any filter media in the 40 you can put in the filter of the 10?

    If the 40 has a filter cartridge, cut 1/3 off and put it in front of the filter in the 10. And replace the 40s filter and put the remaining filter material in front of the new cartridge.

    Then you shouldn’t have to move fish.

    Or raise the temperature which will further stress the zebras.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2018
  9. DuaneV

    DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    First: You need to know the parameters of the water youre putting in. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates?

    If there are none and your tank has ammonia and nitrates, its in the middle of cycling.

    When you say you changed your filter, you took away your cycle and started over.

    Nitrates CAN be bad, and if theyre up around 80ish then a 50% water change will bring them down to 40. Problem is, if your tank is in the middle of cycling, youre going to have ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Once its cycled things will slow down and you wont have to do as many water changes, unless.......

    Youre over stocked. Its a 10 gallon you said, you dont have listed what your stock is. How many of what type of fish do you have? If youre overstocked youll always have ammonia and nitrates.
  10. OP
    Scott Telofski

    Scott TelofskiNew MemberMember

    Thanks. Will do that.

    I like that idea. Will give it a try.

    Just two catfish, one zebra, and one neon. Lost two mollies and a zebra in the last month.

    Water I'm adding now is filtered and then has API Stress Coat added. Also used Ammo Lock recently.

    This seemed so much easier when I was a kid...

    I did (there is a blue filter holder that is supposed to retain some of the bacteria). But maybe it doesn't do well enough?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2018
  11. DuaneV

    DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    What do you mean the water is filtered? Do you actually know the parameters?

    Youre definitely overstocked in the 10 as Mollies have too big a bioload for a small tank. They are poop machines. Also Zebra Danios (if thats what you mean when you say Zebra and not Zebra Pleco, Zebra Loach, etc.) and Neons should be in a bigger tank too as theyre very active and really need to be in a school. What kind of catfish as there are some that stay under an inch, some that get 6 feet long.

    It was probably easier when you were a kid because you had no idea about the nitrogen cycle, water parameters, etc., and making sure your fish were in perfect water conditions & schools. Im guessing the stock (odd, small numbers) and losing/not having the tank cycled is the cause of death and high nitrates.
  12. OP
    Scott Telofski

    Scott TelofskiNew MemberMember

    These are one inch cats.

    I'm really thinking of taking the four (zebra, neon, and cats) and throwing them into the 40.

    And sorry, it is a Zebra Danio. I recall them being one of the easiest fish to keep. Getting back into it, wife told me I could start with a 10, and if I prove I can keep fish, we go higher. Ever since I got the 40, the 10 has been a disaster. Weird of course, because it was fine before hand. I'm clearly doing something wrong.
  13. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    You simply have too high of a bio-load in the 10, that’s pretty much it.
  14. jpm995Well Known MemberMember

    If you do a 100% water change and have any nitrates its in your tap water.
  15. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    If theres 80ppm of nitrates in your tap, there’s something wrong.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice