High Ammonia, No Nitrates Or Nitrates.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by AshyBoy05, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. AshyBoy05New MemberMember

    I've recently about 2 weeks ago set up my 5 gallon marina fish tank that I got around 4 years ago. When I got my fish tank filled with water with the heater and filter running I let it run for a few days. When I got my fish i made a terrible mistake. I added topfin tap water dechlorinator (even though im on a well) and bacteria supplement the night i got my fish. I waited 4 hours after I added the declorinator and supplement and then added my fish. Yesterday I got myself a API freshwater master test kit. I tested my water and I had around 4ppm ammonia, 7.6-8 ph and 0ppm nitrites and nitrates. Ive read a lot of people who had this problem and I did a 50% water change and do 20% water changes daily. I've recently got into this hobby and want to know a lot more so i can someday own a bigger tank. Any Suggestions?
  2. KinsKicks

    KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember


    Firstly, there isn't anything wrong with using a dechlorinator even if your on well water; it helps remove/detoxify any possibly heavy metals. As for the bacteria, they do not set up right away...they take at least 2 weeks to properly colonize and fully function; so you've got some New Tank Syndrome on your hands.

    For now, purchase a bottle of Seachem Prime to help detoxify the ammonia for 24 hours, and you are going to have to do large daily water changes until your cycle finally gets going

    What kind of fish did you get and how many?

    (And welcome to the site btw :))
  3. William_Wallace

    William_WallaceNew MemberMember

    Make sure you shake the nitrate solution (bottle).

    -10 drops of #1
    - invert vial to distribute through water
    -shake #2 bottle for 15 seconds
    -10 drops of #2
    -shake the out of the vial

    I didn't follow this process and was getting false readings.... A cycled tank should have SOME level of nitrate

  4. KinsKicks

    KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember

    His tank isn't properly cycled. He just dropped a bottle of bacterial starter in some new water and added fish. Nitrates won't show up for awhile yet.
  5. William_Wallace

    William_WallaceNew MemberMember

    Oops...I totally misread and jumped the gun. WHEN your tank is cycled refer back to my instructions...until then...ignore me:)
  6. OP

    AshyBoy05New MemberMember

    Thank you! I got 2 neon tetras and 2 female fancy guppies and 2 ghost shrimp. Unfortunately 1 guppies died probably due to the tank wasn't cycled. What should I do with the fish? Can I leave them in there when I cycle it?

    Here is a picture of my aquarium if it helps

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2017
  7. William_Wallace

    William_WallaceNew MemberMember

    I'd recommend reading up on fish-in cycling of tanks. It's certainly doable, just takes time and diligence. It sounds like you are willing to do water changes often so if you read up and follow a plan you might be ok. Good luck!
  8. KinsKicks

    KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember

    Your tank is a bit too small for neon tetras (they do best in schools). You'll want to rehome them when you can. For now, they help along with your cycle as I think a petstore may not take them back.

    You'll have to do a fish-in cycle, which means at least 50% water changes daily to keep the ammonia down, and using Prime for detoxification. Remember to keep the temperature and ph of the water your adding the same as the tank to prevent shock.

    A fish-in cycle is a bit more work, but doable :)

    Oh! And don't forgot to test every day, or at least every other day to monitor your levels.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2017
  9. OP

    AshyBoy05New MemberMember

    How long would you say this would take?
  10. OP

    AshyBoy05New MemberMember

    Thanks so much! I didn't get prime but I did probably 5 daily water changes and waited a few days and the cycle was starting to happen! My ammonia went down to 0 but my nitrites were very high! 2 days later all the nitrites were gone and I'm left with around 2.5ppm nitrates which isn't harmful until it gets to around 20 of higher. I just wanted to "tank" you so much :)

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