I Give Up! Ammonia Issue - Page 4

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
Trice said:
All are brand new ornaments. Just meant that I used to have one of the exact same ones in the past that didn’t cause any ammonia problems so I’m sure it’s not the other ornament.
Thanks for clarifying.

So is the Haunted House still in a bucket? Just wondering if the reading will go up more if it's left there a few days...
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #122
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
SeanyBaggs123 said:
Couple other thoughts....

Did you buy the Marine or Freshwater version of ATM Colony?
I've read that it doesn't work as well in water with high alkalinity. Have you tested your KH?
Have you reached out to Acrylic Tank Manufacturing directly?
My tank is glass. Yes, it’s the freshwater Colony. My KH is about 40. GH is 30.

Yes
Algonquin said:
Thanks for clarifying.

So is the Haunted House still in a bucket? Just wondering if the reading will go up more if it's left there a few days...
Yes, it’s still in the bucket bc I’m curious to check it again in a few hours.

No
Trice said:
My tank is glass. Yes, it’s the freshwater Colony. My KH is about 40. GH is 30.
No, have not reached out to ATM
 

SeanyBaggs123

Well Known
Member
Messages
885
Reaction score
760
Location
Cleveland, OH
Experience
Just started
Trice said:
My tank is glass. Yes, it’s the freshwater Colony. My KH is about 40. GH is 30.

Yes

Yes, it’s still in the bucket bc I’m curious to check it again in a few hours.

No

No, have not reached out to ATM
Exert from the Q & A with ATM:

5)What are the keys to the success or failure with Colony?
With Colony, it is vital to follow the water parameters given on the bottle first and to shake the bottle well. The secrets are very simple. Keep pH stable, make sure you have a KH of 90 or above. Great aeration is essential. An air stone in the bio-filtration area is like steroids for the aerobic bacteria in Colony.

Still in the "you don't have an ammonia problem" camp.
If I were in your shoes I would contact ATM.
 

SeanyBaggs123

Well Known
Member
Messages
885
Reaction score
760
Location
Cleveland, OH
Experience
Just started
Algonquin said:
Curious as to why a tank would need a a KH of 90 or above for BB to do their thing?
So am I....

The Manufacturer themselves have eluded to odd test results with water conditioners..
Need stable ph... OP didn't have stable ph
Need kh over 90.... OP doesn't...

The fish is fine...

We're all chasing an ammonia source that may not exist, and could possibly be explained by the manufacturer of the bacteria. Just my opinion
 

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
How much 'Colony' was put in the tank, and how many times? (I could go back thru the thread and try to find it... but you know.. 7 pages) lol
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #127
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
Algonquin said:
How much 'Colony' was put in the tank, and how many times? (I could go back thru the thread and try to find it... but you know.. 7 pages) lol
I full bottle was for 25 gallons, just once
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
SeanyBaggs123 said:
We're all chasing an ammonia source that may not exist, and could possibly be explained by the manufacturer of the bacteria. Just my opinion
It could very well be that some strange readings can come from using colony but this unexplained high ammonia reading came before Colony was added.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #129
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
SeanyBaggs123 said:
Exert from the Q & A with ATM:

5)What are the keys to the success or failure with Colony?
With Colony, it is vital to follow the water parameters given on the bottle first and to shake the bottle well. The secrets are very simple. Keep pH stable, make sure you have a KH of 90 or above. Great aeration is essential. An air stone in the bio-filtration area is like steroids for the aerobic bacteria in Colony.

Still in the "you don't have an ammonia problem" camp.
If I were in your shoes I would contact ATM.
Wow! Nothing like that on the bottle. My tank isn’t cycled & I read somewhere on here that Colony adds the beneficial bacteria needed so I grabbed some.

mattgirl said:
It could very well be that some strange readings can come from using colony but this unexplained high ammonia reading came before Colony was added.
Exactly. This high ammonia reading has been going on for weeks! I just added Colony the other day. Every WC it’s been the same thing...test water after adding it to tank & get a reading of 8 while the tap water I added is 0.

SeanyBaggs123 said:
So am I....

The Manufacturer themselves have eluded to odd test results with water conditioners..
Need stable ph... OP didn't have stable ph
Need kh over 90.... OP doesn't...

The fish is fine...

We're all chasing an ammonia source that may not exist, and could possibly be explained by the manufacturer of the bacteria. Just my opinion
The problem tho is that I’ve had high ammonia readings for weeks! I do a WC, test the tap water first...0 ammonia, add it to the tank, & the ammonia shoots up to 8. This has been going on long before Colony was introduced.
 

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
Then I'm thinking we're back to the evil Haunted House. If it's causing a 1.0 ammonia reading after being in a bucket of nothing but clean (dechlorinated?) tap water for 12 hours (how long was it?), then somethings up with it.
 

SeanyBaggs123

Well Known
Member
Messages
885
Reaction score
760
Location
Cleveland, OH
Experience
Just started
Trice said:
Wow! Nothing like that on the bottle. My tank isn’t cycled & I read somewhere on here that Colony adds the beneficial bacteria needed so I grabbed some.


Exactly. This high ammonia reading has been going on for weeks! I just added Colony the other day. Every WC it’s been the same thing...test water after adding it to tank & get a reading of 8 while the tap water I added is 0.


The problem tho is that I’ve had high ammonia readings for weeks! I do a WC, test the tap water first...0 ammonia, add it to the tank, & the ammonia shoots up to 8. This has been going on long before Colony was introduced.
Gotchya.... I didn't read well enough then. I knew you were dealing with ammonia issues, but I didn't realize they were that high before and after the addition of the bacteria. In that case I agree with the rest, and am at a loss for which factor is contributing to your test results.

It is worth noting though that your seachem ammonia badge was on alert, but is not now. I think your original ammonia problem was toxic and legitimate, and your current ammonia problem is likely less toxic ammonium. This would support mattgirl's theory that the ammo-lock converted the ammonia into a form that can't be processed by the bacteria you've established. It would also support others' claims that if the ammonia was high enough to start (8ppm is the highest your test goes) that your 80 percent water change wouldn't bring it down to a level measurable by your test kit.

I noticed you rinsed the gravel in a strainer, did you already walk us through the rest of your tank setup?
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Algonquin said:
Then I'm thinking we're back to the evil Haunted House. If it's causing a 1.0 ammonia reading after being in a bucket of nothing but clean (dechlorinated?) tap water for 12 hours (how long was it?), then somethings up with it.
I am thinking along these same lines. That haunted house may be filled with ammonia/ammonium laden ectoplasum

If the number keeps going up in the bucket with it in there I think we may have found the cause of the high ammonia readings.
 

jdhef

Moderator
Moderator
Member
Messages
14,390
Reaction score
3,488
Location
South Jersey
Experience
More than 10 years
Momgoose56 said:
Do you perchance live near any polluting industries? A steel mill? Textile Mill? Significant amounts of microscopic pollutants in air can be absorbed into water...
Hey, easy on the New Jersey stereotypes!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #134
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
Now testing the gravel. I’ve just scooped a bunch out, put it in the bucket & the initial reading is .50. Will retest tomorrow after it sits for awhile.

Just reran the ammonia test on the tank itself for the **** of it. It’s still at 8

I’ve always used Aqua Tech filters in the past, but they’ve added a new piece...this red thing that goes in front of the filter cartridge. Could this thing be holding ammonia?
 

Attachments

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Trice said:
I’ve always used Aqua Tech filters in the past, but they’ve added a new piece...this red thing that goes in front of the filter cartridge. Could this thing be holding ammonia?
I don't think so. It is supposed to grow and hold bacteria. I used to run aqua tech HOB filters. My oldest one finally stopped working. I bought a new one just like the old one but the new one had that plastic thing in it. I personally don't trust something like that to grow and hold bacteria.

Sadly the new Aqua Tech lasted about a month. Company sent me a new one. It lasted less than a month. I gave up on them and just bought another Cascade 300 to match the one I already had on the tank. That was about a year ago and both new and old are still going strong.
 

johnbirg

Well Known
Member
Messages
500
Reaction score
465
Location
Adelaide South Australia
Experience
More than 10 years
Hi, Just to clarify about some plastics.
All amines and amides read as ammonia on our test kits. So leaching of these chemicals from plastic will cause high ammonia readings. I am not aware of any way to treat the plastics to stop the leaching. Sorry, but try taking out the decos, do a water change as has been suggested and then re-test.
Hope this helps! Oh, the high reading doesn't necessarily mean high ammonia in the water.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #137
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
Ok so the gravel has been sitting overnight in a bucket of tap water. The ammonia is only 0.25...clearly not the source of my reading of 8 in the tank. The haunted house was at 1. Idk what to test next. I’ve pretty much covered everything. Going out now but I guess later I will do yet another WC & see what happens. Ugh!
 

Attachments

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
Interesting... did you rinse the gravel off in tap water before putting it in the bucket? Or did it go in the bucket with some tank water as well?
At this point, I would probably try removing all the decorations, replace them with something simple for your fish to hide in (like a couple of unglazed terracotta pots - safe, super cheap and readily available). Do a bunch of back to back large water changes over the next day or so, and retest.
The fact that the water in the bucket with the haunted house decoration has seemed to stop at 1.0 ammonia says to me that whatever it's leaching is slowing down over time... if that theory is correct, your tank should stabilize once the decor is gone, and water has been fully changed over.
If you are still getting test results of 8 after a few days of big water changes (and no questionable decor), then I'm stymied!!!!
 

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
Trice said:
Ok so the gravel has been sitting overnight in a bucket of tap water. The ammonia is only 0.25...clearly not the source of my reading of 8 in the tank. The haunted house was at 1.
I think she said it was still at 1.0 - it's not super clear, but I'm reading that as she tested it this morning when she tested the gravel bucket?
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Algonquin said:
I think she said it was still at 1.0 - it's not super clear, but I'm reading that as she tested it this morning when she tested the gravel bucket?
I thought that is what it meant but since she said the gravel is at .25 and the haunted house was at one I didn't know if that meant it is still in the bucket and she ran the test again and was still seeing just one. We will just have to wait for clarification.
 

Johnnybelfastboy

Active Member
Member
Messages
71
Reaction score
49
Experience
More than 10 years
Trice said:
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!!!
Your tank is more than likely still cycling if its only 2 weeks old hence ur high ammonia this will eventually convert to nitrites then nitrates.... the nitrogen cycle..
But seeing as u have fish in there u will have to do some water changes the next few days and add some kind of ammonia detoxifier to bring ut ammonis down as this is a highly toxic reading for your fish.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #143
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
Is the haunted house still sitting in the bucket? If it is have you tested the water to see if it has gone up more since yesterday?
No I couldn’t leave it in there bc I wanted to test the gravel...which is clearly not the problem. It was only 0.25 after sitting overnight in clean water.
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Trice said:
No I couldn’t leave it in there bc I wanted to test the gravel...which is clearly not the problem. It was only 0.25 after sitting overnight in clean water.
Now that we know it isn't the gravel I am thinking since the HH raised the ammonia up to 1 in 24 hours you may want to put it back in the bucket and see how high the ammonia goes over a period of several days.

Edited to add: You may want to run an air stone or just a piece of airline tubing hooked to an air pump in the container holding the haunted house. You want to try to replicate the tank conditions as close as you can. This is the only way you can know for sure that it is causing this problem.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #145
OP
Trice

Trice

New Member
Member
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Location
NJ
Experience
More than 10 years
So after 2 nights of the gravel sitting in fresh water, the ammonia has gone up to between 1 & 2. What do u guys think about the gravel? Safe to clean & return to the tank?
 

Attachments

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
Umm... I don't know. It seems strange to me that 'inert' gravel is causing your ammonia to rise at all, sitting in a bucket of clean water. The ammonia reading should be 0.
I also find it interesting (and not in a good way), that it appears that both the gravel and the HH decoration are causing your ammonia levels to rise. They are from totally different manufacturers (I will assume) and are made of different substances.
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,586
Reaction score
13,474
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Trice said:
So after 2 nights of the gravel sitting in fresh water, the ammonia has gone up to between 1 & 2. What do u guys think about the gravel? Safe to clean & return to the tank?
All of this is the strangest thing I have ever seen. It appears both the haunted house and the gravel is leaching ammonia. Something just isn't right here. I just can't imagine what it is.

If the gravel is leaching ammonia then no, I wouldn't put it back in the tank. It may eventually stop what it is doing but it is anyone's guess as to how long that will take.

I am just assuming that you have already put the haunted house back in the tank and since it too raised the ammonia level your ammonia level in the tank will just keep going up.

Something just isn't adding up here but I don't know what it is..
 

SeanyBaggs123

Well Known
Member
Messages
885
Reaction score
760
Location
Cleveland, OH
Experience
Just started
Personally I still think it is plausible that:

  • You're test kit is faulty (expiration dates are great, but if the reagents were stored, transported, or left sitting in extreme conditions) they could still be affected.
  • the chemicals you have used (I counted 4 or 5 so far) are throwing your results out of whack
  • You're ammonium was so high that an 80% water change didn't bring it below 8ppm
Couple of questions:
  • You said your tap water had a decent amount of ammonia in it. So, whilst testing the ornament and gravel in buckets, What water were you using? Tank Water? Tap Water? Did you rinse them before filling and testing? If so, with what?
  • How's the fish seem?
 

Algonquin

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,777
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Ontario, Canada
Experience
3 years
SeanyBaggs123 said:
You said your tap water had a decent amount of ammonia in it. So, whilst testing the ornament and gravel in buckets, What water were you using? Tank Water? Tap Water? Did you rinse them before filling and testing? If so, with what?
I believe the OP said she had a 0.5 ammonia reading with her tap water, and that's why she filled the tank with bottled water. The bottled water, once in the tank, consistently read at 8ppm. Also, the issue with the tap water was since fixed, and her tap is now testing at 0 ammonia (OP please confirm that's accurate?)

I do think it's possible that there's a faulty test kit, but it looks to me that it's more likely something weird with the ornament and gravel. They're both causing the ammonia level of clean water to rise overnight... so that would, in theory, eliminate the 'additives' to the tank causing a weird ammonia reading (those additives were not in the buckets). Any chance the gravel and ornament were both somehow exposed to some kind of chemical, something spilled on them, before they went in the tank? I know that sounds iffy, but none of this is making much sense. :banghead: I know I'm frustrated over this, and it's not even my tank. I can't imagine how OP must be feeling!
SeanyBaggs123 said:
How's the fish seem?
Would also like to know how the fish are doing.
 

SeanyBaggs123

Well Known
Member
Messages
885
Reaction score
760
Location
Cleveland, OH
Experience
Just started
Algonquin said:
I believe the OP said she had a 0.5 ammonia reading with her tap water, and that's why she filled the tank with bottled water. The bottled water, once in the tank, consistently read at 8ppm. Also, the issue with the tap water was since fixed, and her tap is now testing at 0 ammonia (OP please confirm that's accurate?)

I do think it's possible that there's a faulty test kit, but it looks to me that it's more likely something weird with the ornament and gravel. They're both causing the ammonia level of clean water to rise overnight... so that would, in theory, eliminate the 'additives' to the tank causing a weird ammonia reading (those additives were not in the buckets). Any chance the gravel and ornament were both somehow exposed to some kind of chemical, something spilled on them, before they went in the tank? I know that sounds iffy, but none of this is making much sense. :banghead: I know I'm frustrated over this, and it's not even my tank. I can't imagine how OP must be feeling!

Would also like to know how the fish are doing.
Operating under the assumption that it was clean water in the buckets... I agree.

That's why I'm asking about the water that made it into the buckets, and what (if anything) was done to the ornaments.
If the ornaments went straight from the tank to the bucket water isn't it plausible that the test result could be from whatever is in the tank? Sounds iffy as well, but the objects are being transferred to 5 gallons of water at most from 29 gallons... if they weren't rinsed/cleaned... whatever... I could easily buy into the idea that they carried the "ammonia" from the tank to the bucket.
 

Ben3721

Well Known
Member
Messages
811
Reaction score
8
Location
usa maryland
Experience
5 to 10 years
The ammonia isn't 8. You stepped over 7ph. Which is a extremely critical detail. Because harmless ammonium converts into deadly ammonia at that point. And your fish didnt react. So the ammonia isn't that high.

At 1ppm ammonia fish will have somewhat red gills, at 2ppm they will be very red and the fish may start flashing. At 3 or 4ppm their slime coat is gone and ammonia burns will blacken their scales and they will then die from either poisoning or infection. Over 5ppm beneficial bacteria will start to die... That is all based on having a ph over 7. You don't have any of these issues. Dont attempt to mess with your ph however, that will cause more harm than good.

These tests we all use are sensitive tests. They react to things on purpose to get a result, you have used many many many products that could alter a test. You have many products lingering in your tank that were labeled to effect ammonia. One is known to lock ammonia to 8ppm in many threads like yours.


You can't keep using a 5 gallon bucket for water changes on a 29 gallon tank, your killing yourself lifting that much water every day. You should find a easy way to do 50% water changes daily. Buy a small water pump, stick to just water changes with prime to the buckets water only. Your filter needs to have a proper bio stage. The plastic ones with holes in them are a sale gimmick, ceramic bio media is the way to go. Also gravel has good biological bacteria in it that handles 30% roughly of the ammonia once established. Until then the fish waste sits in it and brews ammonia, vacuum gravel a bit to help that. Lastly beneficial bacteria in a bottle/bag is most likely dead on arrival, there's a chance it isn't but you probably aren't getting real bacteria. Go to your local small fish store, no big box store, ask for some bio media from one of their tanks to kickstart yours, and pack it around the ceramic bio media after a large water change then keep up with those water changes daily. You should succeed after 5 to 7 weeks. No more artificial products to throw off your tank. Feed lightly. Also to read a tube test you go into a well lite room, hold the tube up to a white section of of test sheet with a quarter inch gap and then read it. If you hold it right to the paper or look downwards at the test tube it will appear much darker than it really is and will only scare you.

Also gh and kh test expire very fast. Well beyond their marked dates and will make your tests drift higher the older they get. Api's ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests still work when expired, however their nitrate #2 bottle becomes crystallized if it's not beaten against a table for a solid minute every month.

You will succeed, you may have bumps in the road getting there but just remember we all started somewhere. I started the hobby the hard way with a goldfish at the fair 9 years ago. Rip.
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
122
Guests online
2,303
Total visitors
2,425

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom