I Give Up! Ammonia Issue

Trice

Member
My 29 gallon tank is two weeks old & I've been battling ammonia since day 1. I have done 4 water changes using BOTTLED WATER, which I tested before putting in the tank. The ammonia of the bottled water was 0. Yesterday I did a 75-80% water change using bottled water & the ammonia is still at 8 !!!!! Where is this ammonia coming from? Also yesterday I restarted the tank using Seachem Prime & Seachem Stability. I have two very small blood parrots & a very small cat fish in there. I’ve also tried using Ammo Lock & Ammo Chips plus water changes. I’m at my wit’s end!!! Yesterday I also cleaned out the filter & put in a new cartridge & cleaned the ornaments & plants. How can it have an ammonia of 8 with new bottled water in it? I’m losing my mind!!!
 

bizaliz3

Member
Did you cycle the tank prior to adding fish? If so...what was your process?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
No, I didn’t. I used to have a 55-gallon tank & never cycled it & never had any issues so I didn’t know!
 

coralbandit

Member
Why bottled water ??
Can you use your tap??
You need to keep changing water till it goes down ..
Skip feeding every other day until you can get control over the water .
 

bizaliz3

Member
Trice said:
No, I didn’t. I used to have a 55-gallon tank & never cycled it & never had any issues so I didn’t know!
That explains your ammonia.

You will continue to have ammonia issues until your tank is cycled which can takes weeks or more. Theres nothing you can to do avoid that. You can add bottled bacteria to try and speed it up....

You also started from scratch when you cleaned the filter. So the 2 weeks you were building up beneficial bacteria have been cancelled out.

Have you researched the nitrogen cycle??

Side note...Do you have plans to upgrade? Blood parrots need a much larger tank than 29g.

Welcome to fishlore by the way!! Lol
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
My tap water has ammonia in it!

bizaliz3 said:
That explains your ammonia.

You will continue to have ammonia issues until your tank is cycled which can takes weeks or more. Theres nothing you can to do avoid that. You can add bottled bacteria to try and speed it up....

You also started from scratch when you cleaned the filter. So the 2 weeks you were building up beneficial bacteria have been cancelled out.

Have you researched the nitrogen cycle??

Side note...Do you have plans to upgrade? Blood parrots need a much larger tank than 29g.

Welcome to fishlore by the way!! Lol
I was afraid of that with the filter but cannot find the source of all this ammonia so I’m losing my grip & trying everything to get rid of it!

So what do I do? Just keep adding Ammo Lock?
 

bizaliz3

Member
Trice said:
My tap water has ammonia in it!
So does mine. A cycled tank can handle that.

Hopefully your fish can survive the cycling process. I would do small daily water changes with seachem prime until the cycle is complete. And add bottled bacteria

Trice said:
I was afraid of that with the filter but cannot find the source of all this ammonia so I’m losing my grip & trying everything to get rid of it!
The ammonia is being produced by your fish. When your tank is cycled you will have Beneficial bacteria that will eat the ammonia produced.

I highly recommend you do some reading about the nitrogen cycle.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
bizaliz3 said:
That explains your ammonia.

You will continue to have ammonia issues until your tank is cycled which can takes weeks or more. Theres nothing you can to do avoid that. You can add bottled bacteria to try and speed it up....

You also started from scratch when you cleaned the filter. So the 2 weeks you were building up beneficial bacteria have been cancelled out.

Have you researched the nitrogen cycle??

Side note...Do you have plans to upgrade? Blood parrots need a much larger tank than 29g.

Welcome to fishlore by the way!! Lol
What kind of bottled bacteria? Do I just keep adding Ammo Lock to protect the fish?
 

bizaliz3

Member
Trice said:
The

The ammonia is 8, as stated above & I am using Prime
8???
Holy cow. That's scary....

How much is in the tap?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
bizaliz3 said:
8???
Holy cow. That's scary....

How much is in the tap?
I used BOTTLED AT ZERO & did a 75-80% water change. Tested immediately & it was an 8!!!!
 

bizaliz3

Member
Trice said:
I used BOTTLED AT ZERO & did a 75-80% water change. Tested immediately & it was an 8!!!!
Theres something wrong with that.

That means you had like 32ppm ammonia before the change....I can't imagine that being possible

I still would like to know the ammonia in your tap please so I can advise you further.
 

hanra85

Member
Agreed, if there were 8 to 32 ppm of ammonia your initial post would have read "I HAD two very small blood parrots & a very small cat fish in there." Could you test your tap water directly, and it feels like an embarrassing thing to ask but are you sure you didn't accidentally test for pH at 8 instead of ammonia. There's a couple things you can do, if you have a friend or your local pet store is willing to donate some media or seeded gravel to kickstart the nitrification process or return the fish until your system is stable. 8ppm is a critically high amount of ammonia, you'd lose the fish regardless if that is an accurate reading and you don't get it sorted out quickly.
 
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jdhef

Moderator
Member
Welcome to FishLore! I hope you find the site helpful. Answering the questions asked will go a long way in getting you problem sorted out
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
I tried posting last weekend but I couldn’t get a clear answer so trying again. My 29 gal tank is 3 weeks old. It has one blood parrot in it. I cannot get the ammonia under control. Last weekend I did a 75-80% water change & used bottled water bc my tap water has ammonia in it. I tested the bottled water first & the ammonia was 0. I then did the water change & as soon as I put the fresh water in there I ran an ammonia test & it was 8!!!!!! How is this possible? I used Seachem Stability & Seachem Prime. I’ve had to add Ammo Lock. I have an ammonia meter stuck to the glass & it is on ALERT. Today, yellow foam bubbles have gone to the surface of the water. I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve done 3-4 water changes using bottled water & the ammonia is still thru the roof! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE HELP ME!
 

86 ssinit

Member
How big is the parrot? What type and kind of filter are you using?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
I’m CERTAIN it’s the ammonia test. Believe me when I tell u I am losing my mind. My tap water is now reading 0. A couple weeks ago it was .50 & I reported it to the apartment manager who called the water company so they must have fixed it! Either way, the ammonia in the tank is still thru the roof after doing 3-4 water changes. Idk **** to do at this point. I’m beside myself. I’ve had fish tanks before & have NEVER seen anything like this in my life!
hanra85 said:
Agreed, if there were 8 to 32 ppm of ammonia your initial post would have read "I HAD two very small blood parrots & a very small cat fish in there." Could you test your tap water directly, and it feels like an embarrassing thing to ask but are you sure you didn't accidentally test for pH at 8 instead of ammonia. There's a couple things you can do, if you have a friend or your local pet store is willing to donate some media or seeded gravel to kickstart the nitrification process or return the fish until your system is stable. 8ppm is a critically high amount of ammonia, you'd lose the fish regardless if that is an accurate reading and you don't get it sorted out quickly.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
The parrot is very small...maybe 1.5”. I am using Aqua Tech 20-40 filter. It came with this red grated insert along with a carbon cartridge. I’ve always used this kind of filter tho this red piece is new to me.

The rest is as follows: GH 0, KH 40, pH 6.5, nitrates & nitrites 0. Ammonia 8.0
 

ForceTen

Member
Its Friday night folks.
 

Galaxsy556

Member
Trice said:
I’m CERTAIN it’s the ammonia test. Believe me when I tell u I am losing my mind. My tap water is now reading 0. A couple weeks ago it was .50 & I reported it to the apartment manager who called the water company so they must have fixed it! Either way, the ammonia in the tank is still thru the roof after doing 3-4 water changes. Idk to do at this point. I’m beside myself. I’ve had fish tanks before & have NEVER seen anything like this in my life!
Quick question, what's the exp date on the bottle for your test kit? And what brand of test kit are ya using?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
It is API test kit, exp 06/2024
Galaxsy556 said:
Quick question, what's the exp date on the bottle for your test kit? And what brand of test kit are ya using?
s
 

Skavatar

Member
pH 6.5 which means most of it is the less toxic ammonium.
 

Galaxsy556

Member
Trice said:
It is API test kit, exp 06/2024

s
Mhmm ok have you tried shaking the bottle really hard? I know the nitrate bottle often show inaccurate tests if the they sit for a while and are not shaken well.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Yes, I shake them well
 

PascalKrypt

Member
What did you use to cycle the tank? Any decorations/driftwood/plants etc in there? What kind of substrate do you have? If your ammonia is that high just after a water change, chances are there is something in your tank continuously leeching ammonia into your water.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Skavatar said:
pH 6.5 which means most of it is the less toxic ammonium.
I’m sure from using Ammo Lock. Without it the ammonia was 8!

PascalKrypt said:
What did you use to cycle the tank? Any decorations/driftwood/plants etc in there? What kind of substrate do you have? If your ammonia is that high just after a water change, chances are there is something in your tank continuously leeching ammonia into your water.
There’s a couple plastic? decorations in there & fake plants. The bottom is blue stones for aquariums. I’ve since taken everything out but one decoration she likes to hide in. No driftwood. Exactly tho...what on earth can be holding that much ammonia?

The stones are still in the tank & I vacuumed them every time I did a water change
PascalKrypt said:
What did you use to cycle the tank? Any decorations/driftwood/plants etc in there? What kind of substrate do you have? If your ammonia is that high just after a water change, chances are there is something in your tank continuously leeching ammonia into your water.
atom


I used Seachem Stability & Seachem Prime to cycle the tank

PascalKrypt said:
What did you use to cycle the tank? Any decorations/driftwood/plants etc in there? What kind of substrate do you have? If your ammonia is that high just after a water change, chances are there is something in your tank continuously leeching ammonia into your water.
Could it be the stones????
 

hanra85

Member
You likely have high level of chloramines in your tap water or something then... Usually happens this time of year. Chloramines break down to chlorine and ammonia, which Prime should neutralize both so maybe you didn't use enough or you did but it'll still count towards the total ammonia even though it's been neutralized.
I know ammo lock acts that way, it'll lock the ammonia but it'll still show up the same in water tests as if you haven't, that's my theory at least.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
hanra85 said:
You likely have high level of chloramines in your tap water or something then... Usually happens this time of year. Chloramines break down to chlorine and ammonia, which Prime should neutralize both so maybe you didn't use enough or you did but it'll still count towards the total ammonia even though it's been neutralized.
I know ammo lock acts that way, it'll lock the ammonia but it'll still show up the same in water tests as if you haven't, that's my theory at least.
This is y I purchased & used bottled water for the last 3 water changes, yet the ammonia was an 8 right after doing the water change. I did a 75-80% water change.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
Hmmm, strange. I'm not familiar with that substrate though. As it is pretty much the only thing in there, certainly the only thing of a volume to get your levels up so high that quickly, and your water source has no ammonia (I'm assuming it is just regular bottled water? No other additives that could lead to a chemical reaction that releases ammonia?) it would be my prime suspect.
The only time I've ever measured ammonia levels higher than yours was when I put fertiliser (as in, soil fertiliser, not for aquariums) in one of my plants-only tanks. Even that stabilised after a week or two.
 

StarGirl

Member
I totally understand your frustration....Lets try something different. What decorations, substrate, plants do you have? Idk I'm trying.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Wow! I am so lost. I have never seen such a mess. This is not my first tank. I did of course rinse the stones thru a strainer before putting them in the tank to get any dust & stuff off. This Pure Water Pebbles brand has a ton of colors & reviews & no one has reported it causing high ammonia. What do I do? Take them out? Is there something safe I can clean them with to get the ammonia out of them?
 

hanra85

Member
Take a sample to your lfs, have them test it with their kit and check the results against your own. Another thing I might be curious to do is use the bottled water to fill your test vial and add your test solutions, shake it up, should read zero, then add a few drops of the ammolock or whatever conditioners or additives you were using to that test to see if it alters your result.
 

mattgirl

Member
I have read time after time where folks are getting an ammonia reading that no matter what they do it still registers 8. The common denominator is the addition of ammo-lock.

Do your water changes and stop adding ammo-lock. It actually locks up the ammonia so it is no longer available for the bacteria. Prime will detox low amounts of ammonia but doesn't lock it up. The bacteria can still use it for food.

You say you have ammonia in your tap water. How high is it?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
mattgirl said:
You say you have ammonia in your tap water. How high is it?
A few weeks ago it was .5 but I contacted the apt manager & she contacted the water co & tonight it’s at 0 so they must have fixed it

mattgirl said:
I have read time after time where folks are getting an ammonia reading that no matter what they do it still registers 8. The common denominator is the addition of ammo-lock.

Do your water changes and stop adding ammo-lock. It actually locks up the ammonia so it is no longer available for the bacteria. Prime will detox low amounts of ammonia but doesn't lock it up. The bacteria can still use it for food.
Even using the Prime I was getting an ammonia level of 8 which will kill my fish.
 

mattgirl

Member
Trice said:
Even using the Prime I was getting an ammonia level of 8 which will kill my fish.
Yes it will. This just caught my attention because your reading is 8. That seems to be the magic number when ammo-lock has been used.

Were you using both ammo-lock and prime at the same time? Now that your tap water no longer has ammonia in it you may want to change out at least 75% of the water. That .5 shouldn't have been a problem as long as you were using prime to detox that small amount. Bottled water is alright in some cases but for most folks it is better to use their tap water if at all possible.

What is the PH of your tap water? A low Ph will slow down the cycling process so if the PH of your tap water is higher than the 6.5 you were seeing in this tank the water change will get it up there where it needs to be.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
mattgirl said:
Yes it will. This just caught my attention because your reading is 8. That seems to be the magic number when ammo-lock has been used.

Were you using both ammo-lock and prime at the same time? Now that your tap water no longer has ammonia in it you may want to change out at least 75% of the water. That .5 shouldn't have been a problem as long as you were using prime to detox that small amount. Bottled water is alright in some cases but for most folks it is better to use their tap water if at all possible.

What is the PH of your tap water? A low Ph will slow down the cycling process so if the PH of your tap water is higher than the 6.5 you were seeing in this tank the water change will get it up there where it needs to be.
The pH of the tap water is 7.2 but is lower in my tank

Trice said:
The pH of the tap water is 7.2 but is lower in my tank
I tried just using the Prime, but the ammonia was so high I panicked & added the Ammo Lock the next day. I did a 75% water change & immediately tested the ammonia & it was between 6-8! How is that possible when I used bottled water of ammonia 0? Where did all that ammonia come from to be so high upon just changing the water?
 

Zka17

Member
I never used Ammo-lock, but my understanding is that it is for emergency situations, until you can do a water change - so, I would not use it regularly...

Keep up with the water changes, with the tap water, and use Prime 1ml/10 gallon for every 1ppm ammonia. It will bound/detoxify ammonia - which will show up during testing, but won't harm the fish - for 2 days, then do water change...

Start using some bacteria additives to establish the beneficial colony...
 

mattgirl

Member
Trice said:
The pH of the tap water is 7.2 but is lower in my tank
Do your water changes with your tap water and it should bring your PH to the same level.

Trice said:
I tried just using the Prime, but the ammonia was so high I panicked & added the Ammo Lock the next day. I did a 75% water change & immediately tested the ammonia & it was between 6-8! How is that possible when I used bottled water of ammonia 0? Where did all that ammonia come from to be so high upon just changing the water?
Lots of times when we panic we start doing things to fix a problem. We all do it but it is best to try to figure out where the problem is coming from and do our best to fix it. I know that is what you are doing now.

If this were my tank I would do a 50% water change every day until the ammonia drops down to less than one. I know you did a big water change and the ammonia didn't go down. I have to think some of the ammo-lock was still in there thus the continuing high ammonia reading.

I would normally recommend a much bigger water change for the first one but we don't want to shock your fish by changing out more than 50% of the water since the PH is higher in your source water.

The only thing I would add to the water is Prime to help detox the ammonia but you could go ahead and add the Stability. It may help. I have personally never used a bottled bacteria so normally don't add that to my recommendations.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Ok ty!
mattgirl said:
Do your water changes with your tap water and it should bring your PH to the same level.


Lots of times when we panic we start doing things to fix a problem. We all do it but it is best to try to figure out where the problem is coming from and do our best to fix it. I know that is what you are doing now.

If this were my tank I would do a 50% water change every day until the ammonia drops down to less than one. I know you did a big water change and the ammonia didn't go down. I have to think some of the ammo-lock was still in there thus the continuing high ammonia reading.

I would normally recommend a much bigger water change for the first one but we don't want to shock your fish by changing out more than 50% of the water since the PH is higher in your source water.

The only thing I would add to the water is Prime to help detox the ammonia but you could go ahead and add the Stability. It may help. I have personally never used a bottled bacteria so normally don't add that to my recommendations.
ty
 

mattgirl

Member
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Ok ty. How much of a water change should I do at this point?
Zka17 said:
I never used Ammo-lock, but my understanding is that it is for emergency situations, until you can do a water change - so, I would not use it regularly...

Keep up with the water changes, with the tap water, and use Prime 1ml/10 gallon for every 1ppm ammonia. It will bound/detoxify ammonia - which will show up during testing, but won't harm the fish - for 2 days, then do water change...

Start using some bacteria additives to establish the beneficial colony...
k t
 

86 ssinit

Member
How’s the parrot look? Is it distressed? Yes ammonia that high would have killed it by now. I believe ammo lock turns ammonia into harmless ammonium. But a ammonia test will still read it as ammonia. I would remove the ammolock and do a 70% water change. Let it sit and do another ammonia test. If still that high remove the gravel.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
Yes, she looks stressed & it’s so upsetting. I have been thru the ringer w this tank for 3 weeks now & I’m mentally exhausted. Is there something I can clean the gravel with if that’s what’s holding this ammonia? My last water change was 75% & the ammonia reading was an 8. So maybe it is the gravel holding the ammonia. Can I somehow clean it so I can return it to the tank?
86 ssinit said:
How’s the parrot look? Is it distressed? Yes ammonia that high would have killed it by now. I believe ammo lock turns ammonia into harmless ammonium. But a ammonia test will still read it as ammonia. I would remove the ammolock and do a 70% water change. Let it sit and do another ammonia test. If still that high remove the gravel.
rs

Is there something I can safely clean the gravel with if this is the source of the high ammonia so I can clean it & return it to the tank?
 

mattgirl

Member
Trice said:
Is there something I can safely clean the gravel with if this is the source of the high ammonia so I can clean it & return it to the tank?
If it is the gravel leaching ammonia water changes will get it down. There is nothing you can clean the gravel with that will stop it leaching ammonia. I can't imagine the gravel causing this though. I can't say that I have ever heard of normal aquarium gravel leaching ammonia but I guess there is a first time for everything.
 

86 ssinit

Member
If it’s causing the ammonia no it won’t be able to go back in the tank. First thing first remove the ammolock and do a water change. Wait a few hrs test again. If its down it was the ammo lock if still high it’s the gravel. Or something on the tank. Could it have been resealed? Did you buy it new?
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member
86 ssinit said:
If it’s causing the ammonia no it won’t be able to go back in the tank. First thing first remove the ammolock and do a water change. Wait a few hrs test again. If its down it was the ammo lock if still high it’s the gravel. Or something on the tank. Could it have been resealed? Did you buy it new?
Yes, I bought it new from Amazon
 

Skavatar

Member
I doubt its the gravel.

do a few large water changes.
 

Kathryn Crook

Member
Have you also tested your nitrite and nitrate levels? I am curious what those readings are.
 
  • Thread Starter

Trice

Member

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