Moving Forward From A Severe Ammonia Spike

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by mattdrink73, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. mattdrink73New MemberMember

    Hi guys,
    About a week and a half ago I lost 6 of my 7 ember tetras to suspected ammonia poisoning. It was a bit of a weird one as my tank (9.1 gal) was supposedly cycled but adding 3 more embers tipped it over the edge before I realised what was going on. I have since bought prime and test strips and the remaining fish seems to have made a full recovery.
    My question is how much of my beneficial bacteria would've been lost during? Will the cycle start again from the start? And when can I start to reintroduce more fish? My ammonia is reading 0, but I can't test my nitrites or nitrates without going to the fish shop and I don't want to drive all that way if there's no chance of me even buying anything. I did go into a lot of detail on another thread about it, and though it was probably down to a rookie error, it wasn't a case of just adding loads of fish and hoping for the best!
    Any help would be appreciated
     
  2. Caitlin86

    Caitlin86Well Known MemberMember

    First thing I would do is go 2 ur lfs and purchase the API freshwater master test kit so u can test ur parameters at all times and arent guessing. The strips r very inaccurate.
     
  3. Tyler Fishman

    Tyler FishmanValued MemberMember

    I think I'd let your tank cycle for a month at least. Some bacteria was probably lost. I would not buy test strips. I have tap water that reads 7.8 and my test strips Read 6.5, if you truly want the best results aim for a liquid test kit.
     




  4. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    I very much agree with Caitlin86. Test strips aren't worth anything and are definitely not reliable. You can order the API test kit online on Amazon or Ebay. It's a little expensive but worth it.
    Without knowing your nitrites and nitrates I can't help you and I don't think many in here stand a chance of guessing at how your cycle is doing. Sorry.
     




  5. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    You need to get the water tested so you can tell if the nitrifying bacteria has caught up as well. (I can't remember if it was even a problem. I'd have to go back and re-read the thread) If your ammonia has been reading 0 and the other parameters check out, get three fish while you are there. You have the Prime at home so it should be okay. (start saving for API liquid test kits so you don't have to wait to act if you think something is going on. The online route is far cheaper for those) Your bacteria will have to catch up to whatever extra load you put in there whenever you put it in there. Three embers at a time won't overload it.
     
  6. Mom2some

    Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    I would recommend waiting at least a week or two (maybe more) between additions in such a small tank. As you have sadly learned, the small tank parameters can get out of whack super quickly. If you waited a month for more fish would you have the resources to buy a test kit? How much do the fish cost? I would wait and put the money you are planning to put towards fish towards a test kit so you can be more certain of the parameters of your tank before you add more fish.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    m

    mattdrink73New MemberMember

    Cheers guys, I will eventually get a master test kit, but my LFS do tests for free, so in the short term I'm finding it more cost effective to get it tested there for now. I put a timeline of events on the older thread that I'll copy onto here:



    Mar 16-Bought tank and set up with New filter, heater, fake plants etc. Added   and  .
    Mar 20- Added more safestart in the morning. Bought 4 embers and a real plant after explaining situation to LFS who suggested they would be fine
    Apr 3 - Went to LFS to test water, not quite cycled so left empty handed
    Apr 10 - Went back to LFS, Water tested and was advised to get a few more fish as tank had cycled. Bought 3 more embers, a  , a moss ball and some Java Fern. Noticed water at 20c but fish were acting fine, did some research into heater and realised it wasn't right for tank size so ordered new one
    Apr 11 - Installed new heater, temp stayed at about 20c as thermostat inaccurate, fish looking happy so left it at around 20c
    Apr 12 - AM: Fish still acting as normal. Around 3pm they started to gather at the bottom and started moving less. Did some research and diagnosed this as water being too cold so cranked the heater up to 24c. At 9pm 2 of the fish seemed to be having issues with Swim bladder and the rest still gathered at the bottom. Did more research and decided to leave it for a while to see if it was just from eating too much or down to sleeping etc. By 2am one of the fish was on its last legs and barely breathing and the others didn't look good.
    Apr 13 - Woke up to 3 casualties and other fish not looking great, did immediate 50% water change. Fish were still in similar shape that night
    Apr 14 (today) - Woke up to 2 more casualties and 1 fish missing. Did another 50% change. The one fish left is still staying at the bottom and not moving an awful lot.



    Since then I've done 4 50% water changes and dosing with prime and feeding very sparingly.

    It's been a week since the last fish was lost and the remaining fish seems to have made a full recovery. I guess I'm asking if there's even any point going to the LFS and doing a test or if there's no chance that the BB will have started to recover yet. Would these circumstances lead to the tank completely recycling or just a temporary dip in the bacteria?
     
  8. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Do you know what your LFS uses for testing the water?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    m

    mattdrink73New MemberMember

    It appears to be an API master kit or something similar
     
  10. Caitlin86

    Caitlin86Well Known MemberMember

    I personally think owning a liquid test kit is one if the most important things. You hafta ask urself if something happens at 9pm at night r gonna be able to go 2 the lfs and get ur water tested? Not only is it convenient having a liquid test kit but it is a life saver 4 ur fish. Poor water quality leads to so many other things that can be prevented. Considering the volume of water in ur tank is so small u really need 2 make sure water quality is pristine.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    m

    mattdrink73New MemberMember

    Update:
    Went to the local fish shop to test water, my ammonia was at 0.25ppm, nitrites were quite high but not dangerous (more evidence for the deaths being ammonia related) and nitrates were okay. Suggested cutting back to about 3 20% water changes weekly to give the bacteria some time to bounce back. Also suggested not adding any more fish yet. Does that sound about right? Sorry I didn't get exact readings I was looking over his shoulder! He did say that my water PH and Hardness is one of the best he'd seen (I live in an area with very hard water) and that it was under 400 (units?)
    Seems like good advice to me from what I've read on here but thought I'd double check

    Update:
    Went to the local fish shop to test water, my ammonia was at 0.25ppm, nitrites were quite high but not dangerous (more evidence for the deaths being ammonia related) and nitrates were okay. Suggested cutting back to about 3 20% water changes weekly to give the bacteria some time to bounce back. Also suggested not adding any more fish yet. Does that sound about right? Sorry I didn't get exact readings I was looking over his shoulder! He did say that my water PH and Hardness is one of the best he'd seen (I live in an area with very hard water) and that it was under 400 (units?)
    Seems like good advice to me from what I've read on here but thought I'd double check
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2017
  12. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Sound like you did the right thing coming home empty handed. Hard to be patient I know, but you don't want to go through that again.
     




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