New Tank Problems With Ammonia

cuseman

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I went back to a 55 gallon freshwater tank which I set up couple of months ago after doing saltwater for years. After the set up done and a couple of weeks passed, I decided not to do fishless cycle and put in a few platys. I have a new eheim cannister and enough water flow from each side of the tank. A week later added two dalmation mollys and then a couple of lyretail mollys a week or so later - I know, probably too much too fast but discussed with LFS and a guy who seemed quite knowledgeable. I kept waiting for a spike and as I lost a fish every few days, my ammonia went up over 1.0 and then I started more frequent water changes. I went away for 4 days and found 2 more fish dead. I checked all parameters and PH had gone down to about 6.0 at most and ammonia between .5 and 1.0. I now have one lyretail left and got PH back to almost normal but still can't get ammonia down below 0.5. As of last night, PH was 6.8-7.0, ammonia .5, nitrates 0 and nitrites 0. I don't want to add fish until ammonia is 0 and figured I would have ammonia down to 0 after 17 days but no. Any suggestions for this nagging issue or is this normal and ok?
 
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cuseman

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Looking back I should have known better after years of having tanks and done fishless cycle but now seem stuck on 0.5 for ammonia. Should I just keep doing water changes?
 

danhutchins

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cuseman said:
I went back to a 55 gallon freshwater tank which I set up couple of months ago after doing saltwater for years. After the set up done and a couple of weeks passed, I decided not to do fishless cycle and put in a few platys. I have a new eheim cannister and enough water flow from each side of the tank. A week later added two dalmation mollys and then a couple of lyretail mollys a week or so later - I know, probably too much too fast but discussed with LFS and a guy who seemed quite knowledgeable. I kept waiting for a spike and as I lost a fish every few days, my ammonia went up over 1.0 and then I started more frequent water changes. I went away for 4 days and found 2 more fish dead. I checked all parameters and PH had gone down to about 6.0 at most and ammonia between .5 and 1.0. I now have one lyretail left and got PH back to almost normal but still can't get ammonia down below 0.5. As of last night, PH was 6.8-7.0, ammonia .5, nitrates 0 and nitrites 0. I don't want to add fish until ammonia is 0 and figured I would have ammonia down to 0 after 17 days but no. Any suggestions for this nagging issue or is this normal and ok?
The tank is cycling. Fish waste produces ammonia and without bacteria in the filter to rid it it will kill fish. I'm sure you already know this information but people at most lfs are going to tell you anything to sell you what you want. I had an oscar in a 20 gallon when I first started keeping fish because my lfs said it was ok. They also never tell people about the nitrogen cycle. Instead they tell you that if your ph is at 7 or as close to it its fine it add fish after having the tank set up for a week. They just want to make room for new stock. The best thing to do is research before hand so you are not wasting time and money.
 

Momitar

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I would second the idea of live plants. They look great and have so many pluses for freshwater. Additionally, if you can get your hands on some filter muck from someone with a healthy tank you can seed your filter and help things along. Otherwise, keep changing the water and dosing with Prime until your filter cycles.

What’s your substrate? Also, check your tap water for ammonia. I’ve seen some posters talking about their tap water having ammonia in it and them having to age the water before use.
 

DarkOne

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If you're going to do a fish-in cycle, you really should use some bacteria-in-a-bottle product. I've had great success with Tetra Safe Start Plus (TSS+). I also tried API Quickstart and Stability but TSS+ is the only one that worked undeniably for me. Stability is more of a booster than anythign else. With any of these products, you need to shake the snot out of the bottles before using. Once you think you shook it enough, do it for 5 more mins. Really.

Live plants will definitely help.

Stop chasing pH. Ignore it. Don't test for it. When the tank is cycled and established, maybe test it once to get an idea of what your pH is but don't stress over it.
 

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