need advice on levels, pLz help!

capekate

Member
good morning all! ;D
I have been testing my water with the API master tester since the 25th when I bought it. at that point my readings were.
Ammonia: 2.0
nitrAte:0
nitrIte:0
Ph: 6.4
Did a 20% water change as scheduled. On the 28th I bought API ammo Loc and used that in my water change. The new readings are:
Ammonia: 4.0
nitrAte: 5.0
nitrIte: .25
PH: 6.0
Did a immediate 60% water change, did not add the ammo loc, as I'm wondering if this somehow caused the raise in the ammo reading? My PH has always been steady at 6.4 and I know that because of the low PH my ammonia has converted to ammonium which isn't as toxic. My lowered PH could be the result of adding live plants? After the 60% water change yesterday, I tested the ammonia level this am and got a reading of: close to 2.0. I really thought with that much of a water change the ammonia level would have gone down considerabily but this is not the case. Why is my tank still showing such a spike in ammonia? I have been doing water changes continually.. adding prime to the new water and some cycle as well. The fish are all doing fine with no signs of stress. The tank has been cycling for 37 days now. any suggestions on what I can do or buy to lower the ammonia level? Thanks for any help I can get!
~ kate
 

bbfeckawitts

Member
capekate said:
good morning all!  ;D
I have been testing my water with the API master tester since the 25th when I bought it. at that point my readings were.
Ammonia: 2.0
nitrAte:0
nitrIte:0
Ph: 6.4
Did a 20% water change as scheduled. On the 28th I bought API ammo Loc and used that in my water change. The new readings are:
Ammonia: 4.0
nitrAte: 5.0
nitrIte: .25
PH: 6.0
Did a immediate 60% water change, did not add the ammo loc, as I'm wondering if this somehow caused the raise in the ammo reading? My PH has always been steady at 6.4 and I know that because of the low PH my ammonia has converted to ammonium which isn't as toxic. My lowered PH could be the result of adding live plants? After the 60% water change yesterday, I tested the ammonia level this am and got a reading of: close to 2.0. I really thought with that much of a water change the ammonia level would have gone down considerabily but this is not the case. Why is my tank still showing such a spike in ammonia? I have been doing water changes continually.. adding prime to the new water and some cycle as well. The fish are all doing fine with no signs of stress. The tank has been cycling for 37 days now. any suggestions on what I can do or buy to lower the ammonia level? Thanks for any help I can get!
~ kate
You are definitely doing the right thing. I think of water changes this way: You had 4.0 ammonia, a 50% water change would half it, so that brings it down to 2.0, you did 60%, do that would bring it to a little below 2.0. I do not think that live plants can bring your pH down. Because your ammonia is at 2 still, another 50% water change is in order. Perhaps twice a day if needed. I would aI'm to keep it under 1.0. I have not heard good things about AmmoLock. I have heard good about Amquel Plus (make sure its plus), it will make it so that your ammonia is NOT toxic. It will still show up on your readings. It makes it so that the bacteria can still use it, but it cannot hurt your fish. You will not have to do water changes except for NitrItes until the cycle is over with that product. Good luck. Brianna
 
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capekate

Member
HI Brianna,
thank you for the good advice! I will pick up some of the amquel plus asap. and use that. I was wondering if by using the ammo loc like I did, did I cause the ammonia from being converted to ammonium? I will do another 50% water change today. I am striving for that low ammonia reading and dread to see any dark green in the tube. A sigh of relief will be when it is yellow.. or at least for now I would settle on the lime green ( .25 or .50)
Thanks for the help!
 
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capekate

Member
Thanks for the link, I checked it out. I buy all my products including the fish at petsmart. I really like the service I get there and the folks are great.
I recently bought the master test kit there an they charged me 29.99 plus tx. I found it in their online store for 20.99. big difference. I emailed them inquiring about the difference in price for the same item. I hope I get a positive response from them. I'm wondering if this particular item is also cheaper online, since I drive 45 miles round trip to get to the store.
Thanks for the help, I will definitly get it and will probubly just drive down there today or tomorrow.
~ kate
 

Luniyn

Member
You don't need to get the Amquel+ as you already have Prime and it does the same thing. One or the other is fine but you don't need both. Also don't use the Ammolock either since the Prime already does everything that Ammolock is doing and more. You can stop using Prime and switch to Ammolock if you like, but it isn't needed especially since Prime deals with the nitrite and nitrate as well.

As for the ammonia/ammonium thing, as . You either have ammonia or you don't, and if you are detoxifying it using Prime then it doesn't matter. Yes it will still show up in tests but it is a bound up chemical that will only feed the good bacteria and won't hurt your fish. Yes keep up the water changes to lessen the amount in the tank, however, it's not really going to go away as quickly as you would like. Especially since the fish will keep producing it. Also any time you feed them produces it unless you clean out every last uneaten bite. And if you have live plants, then decaying plant matter will produce it as well. So there are a lot of reasons why it would rise at this point of the cycle. What's important is that... it's ok. You will get these spikes, and as long as you do water changes to help get it down quicker plus are detoxifying it then you are doing exactly what you need to. Just keep up the water changes and add the required amount of Prime to each new batch of water and you will be fine. Keep up the good work!
 
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capekate

Member
HI luniyn~
thank you for the advice. I just changed another 50% with hubbys help! whew.. those buckets are heavy! I also added the last of my prime to the water. I'm wondering if the amequel plus is a better product than the prime that I have been using? Reason is that my LPS ordered the amequell for me today and they will have it tomorrow afternoon. Kept that water at the same temp* and all is well, the fish are doing fine. ;D
thanks for the encouragement! ;D
 

Luniyn

Member
As far as I can tell they are about the same as far as what they can do. I like the Prime for a couple of reasons though, one it's a few bucks cheaper then the Amquel+ and also the Kordon people (the ones that make Amquel+) like to make you spend more on their products by taking some of the good things that they could easily put into Amquel+ and they put it into their product NovAqua+ (things like heavy metal treatment, slime coat enhancement, vitamins, etc.) They of course sell the combo of Amquel+/NovAqua+ in a combo pack at a small discout then buying both separately. However, from what I've read from both product pages is that Prime already does what both Amquel+ and NovAqua+ do (except for the vitamins that NovAqua+ provides, but I dont' know how well fish absorb vitamins from the water anyway). So that's why I went with the Prime and didn't lose any fish during my cycle with fish. Also I like a lot of the Seachem products (they make Prime) so even though Prime is a bit harder to find compaired to Amquel+ I still went with Prime. That being said, however, Amquel+ is a very good product and you won't go wrong by using it if your pet store has already ordered some for you.
 
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capekate

Member
thanks... I like that slime coat enhancement too. hmmm wonder if amquell has it in its product? Sounds like Prime is the way to go here tho. thanks.. will talk with the LPS and see if I can forget that order and go with the prime. Not sure if I saw it at that store or not. I guess if I did, I would have picked it up.So another trip to petsmart for me asap!
~ kate
 

Luniyn

Member
The Petsmart's where I live is where I buy it locally, though I try to wait until I am placing a large order online and just buy a large bottle. But Petsmart should have it. Yes the Kordon products do have the slimecoat enhancement, but only in it's NovAqua+ product hence ... sneaky, sneaky
 
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capekate

Member
Luniyn said:
The Petsmart's where I live is where I buy it locally, though I try to wait until I am placing a large order online and just buy a large bottle. But Petsmart should have it. Yes the Kordon products do have the slimecoat enhancement, but only in it's NovAqua+ product hence ... sneaky, sneaky
sneaky sneaky is right! thanks for the tip... I will stay with the prime!
 

gilly2402

Member
hI capekate just a quick one try looking at my thread "levels for new tank its got everything on it about when I was cycling my tank its got a couple of pages and every test I did so it may help.... good luck gilly2402
 
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capekate

Member
gilly2402 said:
hI capekate just a quick one try looking at my thread "levels for new tank its got everything on it about when I was cycling my tank its got a couple of pages and every test I did so it may help.... good luck gilly2402
Thanks for the help gilly! I will check your post out. ;D
 
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capekate

Member
Did another 50% water change yesterday as posted and this am tested the water. Here are the update readings.
29g tank:
Ammonia: 1.0
NitrAte: 5.0
NitrIte: 0
PH: 6.0
Fish are all fine and swimming around, water is nice and crystal clear. ;D So guess will now keep up the water changes, but thinking of going to about a 25% change next time around. Or should I keep up the 50% change?
Going to go and check out the betta's 10 gallon tank and see how the readings are there. going to have to do a vacumn in there as well as water change.
have a great morning all!
 

justhelping

Member
I myself live a long distance from a LFS, being a 45 min. drive just one way. I recently ordered the API Master Test Kit on line from Big Al's for $15.99 plus $7.45 for shipping. I put the link below for the page you would need to order this kit.
 
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capekate

Member
Well I just spent time in the art room with the betta.  ;D I don't spend as much time with him there, I just haven't been doing any painting lately. So I'm glad for the time that I just sit and watch and interact with him. O still haven't named him yet. I just can't think of a good name, and will have to watch him for awhile and see his personality in play. He now comes to my finger against the glass and follows it. And when I put some betta food in the tank he comes right up to my hand. during the day I leave the canopy and light off. I have two open windows in there facing south and west, so plenty of sunlight when its there. He has a much more openess feeling to the tank with the natural light coming down on top of the water. Ive even forgotten to turn the light on in there at dusk til around 9pm a few times and felt bad about it. But thought he is in a much better natural schedule this way. When we have a full moon he can bask in the moonlight lol...
I have signed up for Youtube and will take some videos of him for all you betta lovers~  ;D
10g betta tank
ammonia: 1.0
nitrIte: 0<--->0.25 ( inbetween at around 50%)
nitrAte: closer to 0 than 5.0
PH:6.0
temp* 80
going to do some vacumning in his tank now and 'clean up his room" for company! lol..  8)
 
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capekate

Member
justhelping said:
I myself live a long distance from a LFS, being a 45 min. drive just one way. I recently ordered the API  Master Test Kit on line from Big Al's for $15.99 plus $7.45 for shipping. I put the link below for the page you would need to order this kit.
Wow that is a great price. Tho I'm confused at some of the packaging for the API master kit. The ones that are priced in the lower range have a different cover. It is a greenish background with fish on the right side of the label. On the ones that are more expensive, Ive found are the ones with the label that shows the fish on the left side and smaller and slightly different lettering and background color. I wonder why this is? Are the cheaper ones outdated? Maybe I'm too suspicious, but when you get it I would just check the expiration date, if anything, outta curiousity. Would you let me know what it says?
 
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capekate

Member
Well I came home from bingo last nite and found one of the male red wag platy floating at the top of the tank dead. Had him for almost a month. Wasnt the one that I brought back into the 29 gallon from the betta tank. Now Yang one of the dalmation mollies is laying around on the bottom feeling lathargic. The other molly Yin is very actively swimming all over the place and comes down and tries to get Yang to swim. I'm afraid I'm going to loose Yang now. And Yin is going to be very sad to loose its buddy. I think that Yang is a male, and Yin is female, as Yin is very round and a lot larger than Yang.
Anyway.. guess the water conditions have taken their toll on another platy. I lost three so far, spaced apart by at least a week or so. they were the smallest of the group. :'(
The tetras are doing fine tho. Can the water be too warm at 80*?
 

Luniyn

Member
The platys might be more comfortable at 78oF, but 80 shouldn't be killing them. Higher temps mean higher levels of toxic ammonia, but again 2oF doesn't change it enough to be that much more of a strain. If you are using a heater to get it that hot then yes turn it down a couple degrees, however, if your house is just that hot normally this time of year, there isn't much you can do but spend money on chillers. And for 2 degrees it's just not worth the effort, the fish will adjust. I think the bigger problem is just the water quality during the cycle. Best you can do it keep up the water changes and hope for the best. Good Luck!
 
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capekate

Member
Thanks Luniyn
The heater is the source of temp* as its still only about 50* outside. I guess I can turn it back down to a 78* degree. And yes, I will continue with the water change til the tank as cycled. Guess that's all I can do at this point. The molly seems to be breathing heavily and just laying around the bottom of the tank.. The other platys however are cowering in a corner. For some reason they are frightened by the dwarf gouramI who is the 'big' fish in the tank now. And I think that its picking on the playts lately.
 

Luniyn

Member
If your fish are breathing heavy then I would check your nitrate levels. If they are high that can actually change their blood to a brown color. This also inhibits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, and that is why the have trouble breathing. If your nitrate levels are ok, then do you have any air stones in the tank? Also what kind of filter do you have? If it's a hang on back type then do you have the water level right near the outflow? If you do then try taking out a little bit of water so some splashing occurs. This splashing will help aerate the tank even without air stones. As for the Gourami, yes some can be bullies, but how well do you have your tank planted (fake or real)? If you have a good cover for the other fish to "hide" in that will make they feel safer and come out of the corner. It will also break up the line of sight of a bully fish and keep them from having a change to get irritated by any fish. Out of sight... out of mind.
 

justhelping

Member
Capekate- I have been trying to make sense of this thread. On your first post it looks as if your tank wasn't even cycled yet. I didn't see what size tank it was either. You were complaining about buckets of water. I recommend you get a python for water changes. When you use ammo loc & then test for ammonia, it will give a reading of ammonia, so no use testing for that while you are using ammo loc.

Normally when someone does a water change, say once a week removing about 1/4 of the water, they should vacuum just 1/4 of the gravel. Next week, they will vacuum another, different portion of 1/4 of the gravel, etc.. The point being you do not want to remove too much bacteria at one time, as that bacteria is what you need to eat that ammonia. Also when you clean your filter just swish it in your bucket of dirty water, as you want to keep bacteria in that filter media also.

Since fish don't like drastic changes in their water, personally if it was me, I would only change 1/3 of that water every third day, till the ammonia reading came down to 0. But that's just my own personal opinion.

As far as the API Master Test Kit goes, I do not understand what you are saying. I only saw ONE on there at the ONE price. There were other kits, but they weren't complete. I only saw the one Master Test Kit by the company API for freshwater. I could not find an expiration date on mine, but it looked like it was made in 2006.

Now that you mention it, my packaging looked completely different than the one on that site. Also the one on that site shows it having 6 bottles for testing. Mine came with 7 bottles. I suppose things & packaging change with time, & it was just too inconvenient & costly to change their picture. Mine uses 2 different bottles to test for nitrate. 1bottle to test for nitrite. 2 different bottles for testing ammonia. And 2 different bottles for testing PH, 1 for normal PH & the other for testing your PH if it is high.

I hope this post makes sense to you, & I wish you the best of luck with your tank. And remember that once your tank is cycled with 0 ammonia & 0 nitrites showing, then the best thing you can do for that tank is keep up regular water changes & partial gravel vacs every week or two weeks. Feel free if you have any more questions.
 

Luniyn

Member
justhelping said:
When you use ammo loc & then test for ammonia, it will give a reading of ammonia, so no use testing for that while you are using ammo loc.
This isn't true for the API test kit which uses the salicylate based testing process, this is only true for Nessler based kits. If you see ammonia with the API kit then you have ammonia. The amount is the only thing questionable as the bound up ammonia tends to take a little bit longer to get rid of then unbound ammonia, but when you test your tank you will eventually get a 0 reading of ammonia even if you continue to use Ammo-Loc or Prime, or whatever.
 
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capekate

Member
Luniyn said:
If your fish are breathing heavy then I would check your nitrate levels. If they are high that can actually change their blood to a brown color. This also inhibits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, and that is why the have trouble breathing. If your nitrate levels are ok, then do you have any air stones in the tank? Also what kind of filter do you have? If it's a hang on back type then do you have the water level right near the outflow? If you do then try taking out a little bit of water so some splashing occurs. This splashing will help aerate the tank even without air stones. As for the Gourami, yes some can be bullies, but how well do you have your tank planted (fake or real)? If you have a good cover for the other fish to "hide" in that will make they feel safer and come out of the corner. It will also break up the line of sight of a bully fish and keep them from having a change to get irritated by any fish. Out of sight... out of mind.
hello Luniyn
It is only the one fish, the molly that is breathing heavy. It is now hiding out inside the steer skull decoration. Did a water test and these are the readings. Havent changed much.
ammonnia: almost at a 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
PH: still at 6.0
I have a heavy planted 29 gallon tank. With both live and fake plants.. There are lots of hiding places there. I use a aqua clear 50 filter that hangs over the side. And I have a air wand that is going as well. Did a 60% water change on 4/29; did a 50% water change on 4/30; a 50% on 5/1. Nothing today so far. I also noticed that one of my silk plants is showing brown, like a copper color all over the leaves. What can that be caused by? Is this affecting my fish somehow?
thanks for your help!
 

Luniyn

Member
If the brown wipes off of the plant easily, then it is most likely diatoms which are a good sign because it means your tank is cycling. They will go away on their own as your tank gets further along. Also with the water changes, you could probably get away with 25% changes so you aren't changing so much of the water each time. It will create less up's and downs of the contents of your tank and make for more gradual changes over time. Considering your pH is only 6.0, if you keep your temp at 80oF, even at that total ammonia reading of 2 you only have 0.001ppm of toxic ammonia which won't effect your fish at all. So as long as your pH is constant (be sure to keep checking that) it's not as critical to do 50% water changes to keep the levels low.

As for the fish, your nitrates are low, you have good aeration, so it seems like there is something else wrong. I'm guessing he's stopped eating? Does he come out of hiding at all or does he need to be coaxed out? When he is out, do you notice anything different about him. Do his fins look normal, do you see any scratches or spots or discoloration of any kind? There has to be something wrong because it doesn't seem that your tank water is in all that bad a condition at the moment even though it is cycling. Does he look bloated or extra round in the belly or for that matter does his belly look sunken?
 
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capekate

Member
Luniyn said:
If the brown wipes off of the plant easily, then it is most likely diatoms which are a good sign because it means your tank is cycling. They will go away on their own as your tank gets further along. Also with the water changes, you could probably get away with 25% changes so you aren't changing so much of the water each time. It will create less up's and downs of the contents of your tank and make for more gradual changes over time. Considering your pH is only 6.0, if you keep your temp at 80oF, even at that total ammonia reading of 2 you only have 0.001ppm of toxic ammonia which won't effect your fish at all. So as long as your pH is constant (be sure to keep checking that) it's not as critical to do 50% water changes to keep the levels low.

As for the fish, your nitrates are low, you have good aeration, so it seems like there is something else wrong. I'm guessing he's stopped eating? Does he come out of hiding at all or does he need to be coaxed out? When he is out, do you notice anything different about him. Do his fins look normal, do you see any scratches or spots or discoloration of any kind? There has to be something wrong because it doesn't seem that your tank water is in all that bad a condition at the moment even though it is cycling. Does he look bloated or extra round in the belly or for that matter does his belly look sunken?
HI Luniyn~
well after watching the molly, it seems to be in good condition as far as not having any scratches...no discolor.... OOO OOOO... wrote that before I did another check. It went into the skull decoration sometime this am and I observed it there to have a labored breathing. But sad to say.. Yin did not make it. I looked it over,, there is no bloat.. no eye bulgeing... no sunken belly.. no cuts.. slime.. ich... cotton... eyes seemed good. body in good condition, fins fine. So all I can say at this point is that I have no idea why it died. After turning up the aeration all the fish seem to be more perky. Maybe they needed more oxygen in the tank? who knows...
I googled the diatoms after browsing the forum on water conditions and read up on them. So I'm not worried about that now.. whew!!
I really was worried about the high ammonia level and is why I did such drastic water changes. The water I put back in, after being treated with prime was the exact same temp so I made sure not to fluctuate the water temps. I will back off on the amount of vacumning I do with each water change, as I hated to see the mess on the bottom and the uneaten food getting moldy. Ive since cut down on how much they get fed at one time.
My neighbor just gave me a great end table with drawer and it looked a how lot better than the table I had the 10 gallon betta tank on, so I ended up doing about a 80% water change in that one so that I could move it. Now I will slow down on the water changes to at least every three days. So I guess the tank should be cycled soon, its been about 6.5 weeks now.
thanks so much for the help! ~ kate ;D
 
  • Thread Starter

capekate

Member
justhelping said:
Capekate- I have been trying to make sense of this thread. On your first post it looks as if your tank wasn't even cycled yet. I didn't see what size tank it was either. You were complaining about buckets of water. I recommend you get a python for water changes. When you use ammo loc & then test for ammonia, it will give a reading of ammonia, so no use testing for that while you are using ammo loc.

Normally when someone does a water change, say once a week removing about 1/4 of the water, they should vacuum just 1/4 of the gravel. Next week, they will vacuum another, different portion of 1/4 of the gravel, etc.. The point being you do not want to remove too much bacteria at one time, as that bacteria is what you need to eat that ammonia. Also when you clean your filter just swish it in your bucket of dirty water, as you want to keep bacteria in that filter media also.

Since fish don't like drastic changes in their water, personally if it was me, I would only change 1/3 of that water every third day, till the ammonia reading came down to 0. But that's just my own personal opinion.

As far as the API Master Test Kit goes, I do not understand what you are saying. I only saw ONE on there at the ONE price. There were other kits, but they weren't complete. I only saw the one Master Test Kit by the company API for freshwater. I could not find an expiration date on mine, but it looked like it was made in 2006.

Now that you mention it, my packaging looked completely different than the one on that site. Also the one on that site shows it having 6 bottles for testing. Mine came with 7 bottles. I suppose things & packaging change with time, & it was just too inconvenient & costly to change their picture. Mine uses 2 different bottles to test for nitrate. 1bottle to test for nitrite. 2 different bottles for testing ammonia. And 2 different bottles for testing PH, 1 for normal PH & the other for testing your PH if it is high.

I hope this post makes sense to you, & I wish you the best of luck with your tank. And remember that once your tank is cycled with 0 ammonia & 0 nitrites showing, then the best thing you can do for that tank is  keep up regular water changes & partial gravel vacs every week or two weeks. Feel free if you have any more questions.
HI There,
maybe its just an earlier packaging is all. I don't know. My API master kit has all the same things that yours has. I plan now on slowing down the water change. It is a 6.5 weeks old new tank set up. And so its still cycling. I may be vacumning way too much as well, thanks for the advice. The buckets I mention are the buckets that I empty the water from the tank into. I use the syphon vacumn hand pump. Which btw has to have a trick to it?? cuz wow.. its hard to get that water pumped up into the tube before it starts flowing. I bought a minI one for the ten gal tank and that doesn't work at all. I must be doing something wrong??
anyway.. thanks for your help! ;D
 

Luniyn

Member
The suction level of most of those hand started one's isn't all that great. I have one that has a squeeze ball on the output end that you pump a few times to get the water flowing. I get the water flowing no problem but the suction is pretty lame. I've watch flakes of food be lifted up off the gravel in the large hard plastic end of the device only to settle back down to the gravel instead of being sucked into the soft plastic tubing and my water flow is as strong as it can be without a pump. Squeezing the ball once the water is running actually makes the water stop and flow in the opposite direction back into the tank while you are pressing on it. So I'm actually looking into the myself just so I can get more out of my rocks.
 
  • Thread Starter

capekate

Member
Luniyn said:
The suction level of most of those hand started one's isn't all that great. I have one that has a squeeze ball on the output end that you pump a few times to get the water flowing. I get the water flowing no problem but the suction is pretty lame. I've watch flakes of food be lifted up off the gravel in the large hard plastic end of the device only to settle back down to the gravel instead of being sucked into the soft plastic tubing and my water flow is as strong as it can be without a pump. Squeezing the ball once the water is running actually makes the water stop and flow in the opposite direction back into the tank while you are pressing on it. So I'm actually looking into the myself just so I can get more out of my rocks.
thanks Luniyn
I will have to check it out as well. I am able to finally get the syphon going with a good flow,, but it causes such a tidal wave it really upsets everything in the tank and I'm sure stresses the fish. I will check out the python and see what it is.
thanks ~ kate
 

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