How to get rid of ammonia

Turnkeyagenda24

So my fish are all starting to die, so i checked my ammonia(yesterday) it was at .50 ppm so i did a 30% water change and replaced the water with new water(i used prime to dechlorinate) then i checked again this morning and it is still at .25-.50 ppm is there a way to get rid of it i have already lost 2 plecos and 3 roseline sharks and i dont want to loose the rest.
 

carsonsgjs

I’d just keep carrying out large water changes using prime to dechlorinate - around 50% at a time rather than 30%. Assuming your tap water has no ammonia in it, you will halve the amount of ammonia in your tank with each water change. Are you still cycling this tank or is this just an ammonia spike on an established tank?
 

Turnkeyagenda24

i've had the tank with fish for about 4-5 weeks
 

jpm995

Check for ammonia in your tap water, its fairly common to have up to .50ppm. It sounds like your tank may be cycling. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? All tanks go through this.
 

Turnkeyagenda24

yes i am. but i did i fish in cycle a while ago and it stayed at 0 after it peaked for a while and now it is peaked again
 

jtjgg

do water changes every 2 days, and use a double dose of Prime. its how we do fish in cycling.
 

jpm995

After a tank is cycled you should not have ammonia. It's possible the bacteria died off and the tank is recycling. Is it possible you cleaned the filter and wiped out the bacteria?
 

Turnkeyagenda24

i have to replace my penguines filter cartridges every week because they are full of dirt or something. (i have blue gravel)
 

carsonsgjs

i have to replace my penguines filter cartridges every week because they are full of dirt or something. (i have blue gravel)
Don’t replace them - just clean them out in some old tank water if they get clogged. Throwing them away will harm your cycle.
 

jpm995

Remember almost all the beneficial bacteria thats responsible for cycling the tank resides in the filter media. You could be interrupting that process by discarding the media. You may have other media [noodles, sponges] but its possible most of the bacteria resides in the cartridges.
 

Turnkeyagenda24

hello, sorry ive been busy, i have started to rinse out my filter cartrages and used amguard my ammonia is almost a zero :)
 

Bwood22

hello, sorry ive been busy, i have started to rinse out my filter cartrages and used amguard my ammonia is almost a zero :)
Oh no.....Im walking the dog right now i can't get into this at the moment....im sure someone will be with you shortly.

Edit:

Ok...Im back.

When you say rinsing the filter cartridges you are doing it in tank water right?
I had to read up on Amguard because ive never used it but im a bit confused as to why you need Amguard instead of Prime. It looks like the both detoxify ammonia for 48 hours so if anyone knows and wants to jump in and clarify I would appreciate it.

The best advice I can give is ALWAYS let your water tests dictate how much water you change. If anyone ever tells you to just change 20% or 30% without any basis behind that decision be weary. How do you know that 30% is enough?

Any time you are dealing with ammonia and nitrite it is perfectly fine to give your fish as much fresh water as you can....if that means 75% then so be it. Especially if it's rising back up overnight.
If you test your water before you change it, you know what you are starting with.
Then test again after you changed it to see if you changed enough water.
You need to keep ammonia and nitrite diluted as much as possible while you have fish in the tank down around .25ppm is best if not less.

The fact is that as long as those toxins are being produced in the tank, the bacteria will grow accordingly. So if you keep the ammonia and nitrite diluted down, the bacteria is still going to grow and you will start to notice that you don't have to change the water as often because its taking longer for the toxins to rise to dangerous levels.

Soon you won't see the levels rising at all and they will stay at zero because the bacteria has grown sufficiently enough to handle the bioload of your tank.
 

jpm995

Oh no.....Im walking the dog right now i can't get into this at the moment....im sure someone will be with you shortly.

Edit:

Ok...Im back.

When you say rinsing the filter cartridges you are doing it in tank water right?
I had to read up on Amguard because ive never used it but im a bit confused as to why you need Amguard instead of Prime. It looks like the both detoxify ammonia for 48 hours so if anyone knows and wants to jump in and clarify I would appreciate it.

The best advice I can give is ALWAYS let your water tests dictate how much water you change. If anyone ever tells you to just change 20% or 30% without any basis behind that decision be weary. How do you know that 30% is enough?

Any time you are dealing with ammonia and nitrite it is perfectly fine to give your fish as much fresh water as you can....if that means 75% then so be it. Especially if it's rising back up overnight.
If you test your water before you change it, you know what you are starting with.
Then test again after you changed it to see if you changed enough water.
You need to keep ammonia and nitrite diluted as much as possible while you have fish in the tank down around .25ppm is best if not less.

The fact is that as long as those toxins are being produced in the tank, the bacteria will grow accordingly. So if you keep the ammonia and nitrite diluted down, the bacteria is still going to grow and you will start to notice that you don't have to change the water as often because its taking longer for the toxins to rise to dangerous levels.

Soon you won't see the levels rising at all and they will stay at zero because the bacteria has grown sufficiently enough to handle the bioload of your tank.
If his filters are an adequate size for his setup he shouldn't be seeing ammo spikes. Agree the XX% rule is a general guideline and not very scientific. It does work for most people but could be off due to fish load, feeding schedule/amount and other factors unknown to me. His water change schedule should be based on nitrate buildup and mineral replacement. Obviously erring on the side of too much water change is fine. Going with the 20% or whatever is fine but check for nitrates every few months and adjust accordingly.
 

Bwood22

If his filters are an adequate size for his setup he shouldn't be seeing ammo spikes. Agree the XX% rule is a general guideline and not very scientific. It does work for most people but could be off due to fish load, feeding schedule/amount and other factors unknown to me. His water change schedule should be based on nitrate buildup and mineral replacement. Obviously erring on the side of too much water change is fine. Going with the 20% or whatever is fine but check for nitrates every few months and adjust accordingly.
Fish-in cycle water changes are very different from regular (weekly) maintenance water changes.

If you are dealing with ammonia and nitrite in a stocked tank you have to change more water more often and monitor those toxin levels very closely.
It's imperative to know the following.
1. How much ammonia/nitrite is in the water before I change it.
2. Therefore....how much water do i need to change?
3. How long is it taking for the ammonia/nitrite levels to rise back up again?

Those are the factors that should determine how much water to change and how often to change it.
Every tank is different but as long as the goal is to keep the ammonia/nitrite levels at 0.5ppm or less then being in tune with those three items will save your fish and tell you what to do and when to do it.....and then, when you need to repeat and do it again.

On the other hand...regular maintenance water changes are to keep your water mineralized and your nitrate diluted. This is a very different task as it's usually performed at least once per week on an established tank. Once you get attuned to the nitrate accumulation and you develop a maintenance schedule then I agree with you....just check your nitrate every once in a while to make sure you are still on target.
 

Houdini5150

As was mentioned, do a larger water change, use prime, and only rinse out filter cartridges, dont toss them out as they house the beneficial bacteria.
 

86 ssinit

Just curious what size tank do you have?
 

mattgirl

Just curious what size tank do you have?
Very good question. :)
yes i am. but i did i fish in cycle a while ago and it stayed at 0 after it peaked for a while and now it is peaked again
i've had the tank with fish for about 4-5 weeks

This tank has only been cycling for 4 or 5 weeks so it wasn't cycled and then started over. It sounds like it was over stocked to begin with if all the fish that died in it were all added at the same time.

I am assuming there are still some fish still in there. What size is this tank? How many and what kind of fish are still in there?

The only way to get rid of ammonia while a tank is cycling is by removing it with water changes. The amount of ammonia determines how often and how much water needs to be changed. Get and keep the ammonia down close to zero. Once you are seeing both ammonia and nitrites keep both as low as possible with water changes. These changes may need to be done daily. Let the numbers be your guide. We want to get and keep the total amount of ammonia plus nitrites well below one.

Please post the numbers for size of tank, temp, pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. These numbers will help us help you.

Eventually enough ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria will grow to keep both at zero but until that happens you have to keep the numbers down to safer levels with water changes.
 

Bwood22

Very good question. :)



This tank has only been cycling for 4 or 5 weeks so it wasn't cycled and then started over. It sounds like it was over stocked to begin with if all the fish that died in it were all added at the same time.

I am assuming there are still some fish still in there. What size is this tank? How many and what kind of fish are still in there?

The only way to get rid of ammonia while a tank is cycling is by removing it with water changes. The amount of ammonia determines how often and how much water needs to be changed. Get and keep the ammonia down close to zero. Once you are seeing both ammonia and nitrites keep both as low as possible with water changes. These changes may need to be done daily. Let the numbers be your guide. We want to get and keep the total amount of ammonia plus nitrites well below one.

Please post the numbers for temp, pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. These numbers will help us help you.

Eventually enough ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria will grow to keep both at zero but until that happens you have to keep the numbers down to safer levels with water changes.
Lol it sounds like we are echoing each other.
I guess that's better than conflicting information.

One observation though; he had fish dying at .5ppm so sub 1ppm might still be a bit high.
Not sure what's going on there but it could be due to PH making the ammonia a bit stronger.

I ageee....the test results would be helpful.

And it just occurred to me that were still posting on this thread and haven't heard from to OP in 4 days.
 

mattgirl

Lol it sounds like we are echoing each other.
I guess that's better than conflicting information.

One observation though; he had fish dying at .5ppm so sub 1ppm might still be a bit high.
Not sure what's going on there but it could be due to PH making the ammonia a bit stronger.

I ageee....the test results would be helpful.

And it just occurred to me that were still posting on this thread and haven't heard from to OP in 4 days.

I have to think it is something other than .5 ammonia killing these fish. We can't know why it is happening without more information. I don't mean to step on toes but if the questions I normally ask haven't been asked I do step in and ask them. Hopefully we will get some answers so we can help the remaining fish.

BTW: I recommended getting and keeping the ammonia down close to zero. The well below one was referring to the combination of ammonia plus nitrites but again still recommend as low as possible.

It has been my experience once nitrites spike it is often difficult to keep them below one if a tank is heavily stocked. Once nitrites spike I do recommend daily water changes to keep them from rising too high before they drop to zero. This is the only way I know of to keep them down to safer levels.

Going by a previous post from the OP it seems life gets in the way of the forum. I can only hope the OP will check in on this thread before more fish die.
 

Dunk2

And it just occurred to me that were still posting on this thread and haven't heard from to OP in 4 days.
Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon. I often wonder how things worked out when an OP doesn’t return.
 

Bwood22

I don't mean to step on toes
Not at all....I think its great.
Better to have multiple people giving you consistent & sound guidance than having "Johnny Fish Tank" jump in out of left field and start debating with you in a help thread about why he thinks his senseless advice is correct.
 

Dunk2

Not at all....I think its great.
Better to have multiple people giving you consistent & sound guidance than having "Johnny Fish Tank" jump in out of left field and start debating with you in a help thread about why he thinks his senseless advice is correct.
Unfortunately, that happens sometimes too. And it causes OPs more confusion during a time when they are already confused.
 

86 ssinit

And it just occurred to me that were still posting on this in thread and haven't heard from to OP in 4 days.
Could it be we were directed here by another thread :rolleyes: :rolleyes:.
 

Bwood22

LOL......Noooooooo.
I posted this thread on the same day the OP was last seen. :)
 

JuDom

Here from the tag in the other thread...
While this is an example of a failed fish-in cycle..because he was changing his media as opposed to allowing it to build up BB..it didn’t fail because fish-in cycling doesn’t work, it failed because they didn’t know the proper steps.
Obviously, this is the reason both methods fail. Understanding the nitrogen cycle is key in making either method effective.
For fish less, patience is key.
For fish in, maintenance and attentiveness is key.

I’ve done both methods and have been successful. Now that I have established tanks, I never have to go thru a cycle again and being that it’s thanksgiving...I decided that’s on my list of what I’m most thankful for. :hilarious:
 

Bwood22

Here from the tag in the other thread...
While this is an example of a failed fish-in cycle..because he was changing his media as opposed to allowing it to build up BB..it didn’t fail because fish-in cycling doesn’t work, it failed because they didn’t know the proper steps.
Obviously, this is the reason both methods fail. Understanding the nitrogen cycle is key in making either method effective.
For fish less, patience is key.
For fish in, maintenance and attentiveness is key.

I’ve done both methods and have been successful. Now that I have established tanks, I never have to go thru a cycle again and being that it’s thanksgiving...I decided that’s on my list of what I’m most thankful for. :hilarious:
That, my friend, is the entire point.

Happy Thanksgiving.
 

JuDom

That, my friend, is the entire point.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Ahh, indubitably.
A Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.
 

86 ssinit

Well I’m glad we all agree!!! :D. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
And personally this thread was doomed with 2 plecos and the roseline sharks. Just hope it’s not a 10g.
 

Bwood22

Well I’m glad we all agree!!! :D. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
And personally this thread was doomed with 2 plecos and the roseline sharks. Just hope it’s not a 10g.
We may never know.....o_O
 

Thunder_o_b

Well I’m glad we all agree!!! :D. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
And personally this thread was doomed with 2 plecos and the roseline sharks. Just hope it’s not a 10g.
Profile says a 55 gallon.
 

86 ssinit

Profile says a 55 gallon.
Thanks!! But did you read the list of fish!! :eek:
 

Thunder_o_b

Thanks!! But did you read the list of fish!! :eek:
Yeah, does not bode well....
 

mattgirl

Profile says a 55 gallon.
Too many times I have assumed the tank listed in the profile is the tank we are talking about and then have been told it is a different tank. Taught me not to assume although I do still forget that lesson from time to time :D
 

Coradee

And on that I’m closing this so no more assumptions can be made.
If the Op returns & wants it reopening that can be done.
 

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