How Much Effort Is It To Get Rid Of Ammonia?

Amberr567
  • #1
Okay so I'm suffering from the new tank syndrome. I thought my tank was finally cycled, so I bought three angels. Unfortunately, I had an ammonia Spike and it won't go away! I don't want to lose the angels just because of this.

I have done two 15% water changes in 3 days (5 gallons from a 37, it's about 15). I used API Quick Start to help and also used prime yesterday for the first time just so they are safer. I also used aquarium salt because I read that can keep fish healthy.

I'm just not sure what else I can do. The ammonia is at 0.5 ppm and the water is cloudy. I have ammonia remover if it goes on too long, but I read that it's bad to use that when your tank isn't cycled.

Any suggestions on what else I can do to keep my beautiful angels alive? (Also my other fish of course, but they're pretty hardy so I'm not super concerned about them). Is it normal for ammonia to stay present for 4 days?

I'm going to do anither water change tonight and use more prime (I heard that it's good to use it as water conditioner in situations like this).
 
Ms rose
  • #2
Check ammonia from your water source
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Check ammonia from your water source
Just finished developing: 0 ppm.
 
Ms rose
  • #4
Hmmm.....
The only thing I can tell you is do small water changes every other, to every day and add the prime, just get your fish threw whatever is going on. Others will soon chime in and possibly have more advice to give.

Also salt isn't always a good idea. What does your fish stock look like, also make sure when using safe start not to use until 24 hours after using prime, if you use them together the prime will kill the safe start
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Also salt isn't always a good idea. What does your fish stock look like, also make sure when using safe start not to use until 24 hours after using prime, if you use them together the prime will kill the safe start
I have 3 skirt tetras, 2 Rams, 2 cherry barbs, and three angels.
Well, I used safe start by itself and then two days later used prime. So opposite order but still.
 
Ms rose
  • #6
That's fine with the prime being used at least 24 hours later. As for the stocking, I believe it's not over stocked but could be wrong, not quite familiar with some of the fish, hmm,
I would say just keep testing and water changing and go from there
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
That's fine with the prime being used at least 24 hours later. As for the stocking, I believe it's not over stocked but could be wrong, not quite familiar with some of the fish, hmm,
I would say just keep testing and water changing and go from there
Thank you for your help!
 
xloe
  • #8
This is obviously not an immediate solution, but if you don't have live plants, it might help to get some. I think they really helped my first tank have a pretty low-key cycle (meaning no dramatic spikes).
 
Mom2some
  • #9
Test for ammonia & nitrites.
If Ammonia # + Nitrite # > or = 1.0, do a 50% water change, dose with Prime & retest in 24 hours.
If Ammonia # + Nitrite # < 1.0 dose with Prime for the full volume of the tank & recheck in 24 hours.

My instinct is there are stocking concerns, especially as the angels grow, but that is not my strength. Will call TexasDomer for that one.
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Test for ammonia & nitrites.
If Ammonia # + Nitrite # > or = 1.0, do a 50% water change, dose with Prime & retest in 24 hours.
If Ammonia # + Nitrite # < 1.0 dose with Prime for the full volume of the tank & recheck in 24 hours.

My instinct is there are stocking concerns, especially as the angels grow, but that is not my strength. Will call TexasDomer for that one.

I did do some research on the stocking issue and I understand that the angels are a concern in a 37. The woman at the aquarium store insisted I got 3 because 1 would be lonely and 2 would fight so 3 was the way to go. (I honestly wasn't going to get angels because I've seen a full sized one but they're just so pretty I decided to ask about them). Rest assured, they are juvenile (like 2" long and 3" tall) and I confirmed with the woman that I would be able to sell them back (if) they got too big (I'm hoping I'll have a bigger tank by then but idk when they reach full size). I don't think juvenile angels would be considered overstocking, but I could be wrong (Meaning I don't think that is what is causing the ammonia problem).


My ammonia is 0.5 ppm and my nitrites are 0 ppm. My nitrates are measuring around 4-5 ppm. PH is 7.2. These results are from last night, I haven't been home all day. So I will try doing another 15% water change and do enough prime for the whole tank.

I'll let you know the results.

This is obviously not an immediate solution, but if you don't have live plants, it might help to get some. I think they really helped my first tank have a pretty low-key cycle (meaning no dramatic spikes).
I've been considering plants! I'll look at them next time I go to the aquarium store.

Also just to inform you all...
I have a seachem ammonia alert thing in my tank that has been measuring <0.2ppm this whole time. Because I am paranoid, I'm going to buy test strips so I have a different form of testing.

I'm obviously convinced that the ammonia alert thing is not working, but I'm going to try a strip tonight.
 
tfreema
  • #11
Liquid ammonia test kit is much more accurate than strips. I would do as large a water change as possible, >50% using prime as your water conditioner. Test daily and follow Mom2some's recommendations above. You can use Stability with Prime to build up your beneficial bacteria.

You do have some stocking concerns that can be addressed once you have gotten over this hump. Mom2some tagged TexasDomer already so you will be in capable hands for that advice. I see temperament, temperature, and eventual overstocking issues. Just let us know if/when you want to go there.
 
Redshark1
  • #12
Its normal for the ammonia to go up a bit when increasing the bioload and yours isn't very high. I think it should go down.

You can look it up on a chart to see how toxic 0.5 total ammonia is at your temp and pH. I've posted the chart given out on Fishlore by CindiL below.


Total Ammonia Toxicity.jpg

Also, I'd advise you to restrict feeding while you have this issue. According to various studies fish need very little and yours probably only need a couple of flakes each per day at most. See the last paragraph in this study for example.

Cloudiness is usually due to bacteria growing in the water column due to excess nutrients in the water. It usually clears up when things have stabilised.

I don't use salt and I keep my Angelfish singly and they thrive and would recommend this to others.

Hope that helps!
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Its normal for the ammonia to go up a bit when increasing the bioload and yours isn't very high. I think it should go down.

You can look it up on a chart to see how toxic 0.5 total ammonia is at your temp and pH. I've posted the chart given out on Fishlore by CindiL below.

View attachment 432659

Also, I'd advise you to restrict feeding while you have this issue. According to various studies fish need very little and yours probably only need a couple of flakes each per day at most. See the last paragraph in this study for example.
Cloudiness is usually due to bacteria growing in the water column due to excess nutrients in the water. It usually clears up when things have stabilised.

I don't use salt and I keep my Angelfish singly and they thrive and would recommend this to others.

Hope that helps!
Wow! I didn't realize this. Thanks for the information. It makes me a little more at ease because my number on that chart is 1.8. thanks
 
Mom2some
  • #14
I totally disagree about 1 angel being lonely, they are not schooling fish. But that is neither here nor there.
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I totally disagree about 1 angel being lonely, they are not schooling fish. But that is neither here nor there.
I planned to get two. Apparently two is a bad idea, but she steered me into three. Which, honestly, idk how she talked me into it. She said that if I wanted more angels it would be hard to add more in later, I guess that's what got me.
 
Redshark1
  • #16
Good to see you are open to learning and not in the "Ammonia must be zero" trap which closes the mind to learning more. We should continue learning forever and learning certainly retains our fascination, development and ultimately enjoyment of this hobby.

Angelfish are definitely in my top three aquarium fish. Maybe my number one - I haven't thought about it much. I have kept eight of them in total over forty years.

When I have kept two Angelfish they have paired off after a period of growth and become aggressive and territorial. At this stage they have wanted all the other fish away from the spawning site and sometimes out of the tank. Also, after spawning it was better to separate the pair to prevent damage to either one as they sometimes fight and need their space.

I would suspect three would not be the solution to this and would lead to a pair being formed and the other one being picked on.

Whilst a single angel is a dominant individual in a normal community tank I have not found them murderous. I have found them characterful and interactive with me. Very upfront and a near perfect centrepiece fish.

I've found that even two angels of the same sex can pair up and become territorial.

In your case I would at some suitable point choose my favourite angel and take the others back .
 
TexasGuppy
  • #17
There are a lot of reports of Prime causing false ammonia readings of .25 as well. If you are seeing a .25 I would wait 48 hours without prime and test again.
 
Ms rose
  • #18
There are a lot of reports of Prime causing false ammonia readings of .25 as well. If you are seeing a .25 I would wait 48 hours without prime and test again.


Hmm maybe this is why I can't get a 0 reading to my tanks..... I use safe instead of prime, I have read they are the same thing just one is even more concentrated. Is this true? And if so this could be my issue as well
 
TexasDomer
  • #19
If you'd be up for rehoming some fish, we can suggest an appropriate stock. 3 is arguably the worst number of angels you can have - two beat up on one. You have issues with a few of the other fish too, though.

By the way - whenever you have water quality issues in your tank, you can and often should do larger water changes. Small changes like 15% really won't do much for the tank. 50-75% changes can do much more good for bad water quality.
 
Hunter1
  • #20
I agree. The least water change I ever do is 25%, usually 33%-50%. 25% only in lightly stocked tanks with low nitrates. Seems a waste to get prepared for a water change for anything less.

I would take TexasDomer up on her offer.
 
Amberr567
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
So I just wanted to update you all (and for future post lurkers), I did about. 70% water change about 3 weeks ago and it really didn't help. It took the ammonia down a little bit but it was never 100% gone. So honestly, due to the effort it took to do that, I decided to go a different route.

The plan was to go and get aquarium water from the store I go to. I planned to do that today.
However, I tested my water last night and it miraculously has no ammonia! It cycled through, and now I have nitrites and nitrates.

This is what I think I was doing wrong - I have a really crappy filter that came in my aquarium kit. (After buying this kit, I'll never buy and aquarium starter kit again because I had to replace the hood too. Do not buy top Fin starter kits), it basically starts overflowing within 2 weeks of using a cartridge. For some reason, this filter catridge has lasted 3 weeks so far without any over flowing.
I actually researched and saw that this is basically the area where your beneficial bacteria resides - so every time I changed the cartridge, I was basically losing any progress made.

So yeah, basically I think it cycled on its own. I kept using prime but really that was the only action I did this whole time. No fish deaths, which is the most important thing
 
TexasDomer
  • #22
You're not quite cycled yet if you still have nitrites, but it sounds like you're getting close!
 
Cardeater
  • #23
Watch this video on hot rodding your filter:

Glad I found that as it's now saving me money on catridges and my filters have more area to house BB.
 
Hunter1
  • #24
What TDoner said.

Progress but not to the finish line yet.

Water changes are magic even though your experience is different.

Ammonia/nitrites during cycling, nitrates after cycling, disease prevention after cycling, new minerals for plants, IMO water changes are the most important part of a healthy tank.

You do water changes to keep nitrates under 20ppm, you have automatically done 4-5 positive things for your tank.
 

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