nitrogen cycle

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Nick Della Rocca, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    hi. i have a 20h tank. got it brande new 3 weeks ago. i have 2 live plants 2 moss balls. im doing tge nitrogen cycle with fish. i have 4 danios 2 catfish 2 chinease algea eaters. my ammonia is at about 8 and has been for about 2 weeks. nitrates and nitrites bouncing around 0. i feed themonly a little to avoid over feeding. typically when should i start to see the ammonia start drooping?

  2. Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    Whoa...your ammonia is 8? That's incredibly high. I think a few things are going on. First, that's way too many fish and too much bio-load for a cycle. What sort of catfish do you have in there? And even when the tank is cycled, a 20H is not a very good setup for CAE, and it's even worse for two of them.

    Also, did you add your Prime and then Tetra Safe Start when you started the tank?

  3. hopeful fishWell Known MemberMember

    That is definitely an overstocked tank, especially if the catfish is a pleco. Are you using something like Tetra SafeStart? Typically, ammonia should've started dropping around the 1-2 week part, but because of your stocking, this won't happen.

    I'd recommend doing several large water changes until those levels come down. What test kit are you using? Do you have prime?

  4. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    i dont have prime. i am using api and night out i think is the name of the other. i am curently at work and dont remember the exact name. the catfish are julii corys. from what the lfs said is they only grow to about 3". and the algea eaters she said wont grow any bigger then 4.5". so if im over stocked what should i yake out. i know someone with a community tank that has some space. i can give him them. i bought tge api master tester kit. so im pretty sure im good there
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  5. Anthony10Valued MemberMember

    The algae eaters, and never listen to your lfs, they are just trying to sell stuff! Chinese algae eaters can get a foot long! I would take them out!

  6. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    A reading of 8 for ammonia is almost absurd; to the best of my knowledge only Mr. Clean could tolerate that--pls check again to see if you mean .08, which is still too high.
    Also, please understand that I see that you are new to this site, and also please understand that you would hardly be the first to not get it right when beginning.
    Specific points have been addressed above, I only wish to say welcome, and despite current trouble, it really does get far easier very soon-so keep on keeping on, we are only here to help-Best to You, Rick
  7. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    ok. i will gey rid pf the cae. thats i? the rest is good? and ues. iy was s very dark green. on my kit it says 8.0 got that color
  8. Machine11Well Known MemberMember

    I had readings of 8 ammonia wig an overstocked tank.
    Ammonia over 4 is going to inhibit the nitrogen cycle and you won't see nitrites and nitrates.
    You need to basically 1) rehome the fish or 2) get a bigger tank or 3) get more filtration do a complete knockdown of the tank (take fish out, all the water out and start again) and use a beneficial bacteria enhancer. Step 3 May or may not work

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    With an ammonia reading of 8ppm, I am very surprised that any fish are still alive.

    Which leads me to ask what is your pH level?
    The reason I ask is because at a pH below 7 ammonia starts turning into far less toxic (some say non toxic) ammonium. And when your pH gets down to about 6 pretty much all of the ammonia has turned into ammonium. That could explain why your fish are still alive.

    But sadly, ammonium is a horrible food source for the bacteria that cycles a tank. So with a very low pH the tank may never actually cycle.
  10. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    Suprisingly, My Ph Is holding strong at 7.6. So I have rehomed the algea eaters. Is my tank now sustainable with the ammount I have? 4 Danios and 2 Julli coreys? I am going to the store to buy some prime, And ammonia chips. Tomorrow I am going to do a water change. Should I do a normal 25% or should I do a 50% water change? Please help me get my tank to where it should be.
  11. fishnewbie33Well Known MemberMember

    If your ammonia is that high, I would do a large water change (to lower the ammonia) with conditioned/temp matched water (i.e. Prime), wait 24 hrs and add Tetra SafeStart (TSS). TSS is beneficial bacteria (BB) in a bottle, and it will immediately begin to seed your filter. BB will cycle your tank in about 2 weeks.

    During the 2 weeks, you can monitor water parameters, but don't do any water changes unless the Ammonia is >1.0-1.5ppm, sustained for 24 hrs.
    Notice any change in fish behavior, as that can indicate stress (i.e. high ammonia, nitrites, etc.)
    Make sure to store some treated water for >24 hrs is you need to add water to the tank due to evaporation.

    You will need to wait the 24 hrs between adding conditioner and adding TSS as the conditioner will disrupt the BB within the 1st 24hrs.

    If you use TSS, read this:

    Side notes:
    Only change filter cartridge when it is falling apart (usually > 1yr).
    Clean the cartridge about 1x mo with tank or conditioned water (tap water will kill the BB).
    When changing water, make sure to match temp.
    Test water parameters of source water and tank water to get a baseline (i.e. are there nitrites/nitrates in the source water, if you see nitrates in the source water, you can't tell definitively that the tank is cycled).
    Good Luck! :)
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I recommend that you do not use ammonia chips. Since ammonia is the food for the bacteria that cycles your tank , using a ammonia remover will starve out the bacteria and your tank will never cycle.

    Cories need to be in groups of at least 5, but sadly the minimum recommended tank size for cories is a 20 long.
  13. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    Thank you for the reply. Just one question I was reading through the Q &a for the Tss and it said soemthign about not combinging with other ammonia detoxifiers. So i should not add prime to it when I add the Tss?
  14. poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    That's why you wait 24 hours. By then the prime will have dissipated.

    Just remember to do whatever number of WCs needed to get that ammonia down below 1ppm (i prefer .25-.5ppm), wait 24 hours then add TSS.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  15. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    ok so i went to petco got prime and the tss. i did not put anything in it. i also bought a cheap additional filter to work off my air pump. i dont have time today ti do a water change but tm i will do a 50% change. should i add prime now? or do i not and just wait for tm for me to do my water change and i just put thebottle of tss in?
  16. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Anytime you add water to the tank, you need to add water conditoner. The problem is that a standard dose of Prime can only detox 1ppm of ammonia. I know additional Prime will detox additional nitrites (you can dose 5x the recommended amount when having a nitrite spike) but I do not know if additional Prime will detox additional ammonia. But I would add a 5X dose and hope that it will detox 5ppm. (But that still leaves you with a seriously high 3ppm plus whatever additional ammonia the fish release).

    With an ammonia level as high as yours is, you will need to do several back to back water changes to get the ammonia level down to .5ppm or less. With an ammonia level of 8ppm, a 50% water change will leave you with 4ppm. And additional 50% with 2ppm one more will leave you at 1ppm, then one additional 50%er will get you to .5ppm. So you probably will want to do as large a water change each time as possible. (just leave enough water for the fish to be covered).

    Then wait 24 hours. This is very important since using TSS less than 24 hours after the addition of a water conditioner can cause the TSS to fail. Then just add an entire, well shaken, appropriately sized bottle of SafeStart.
  17. atc84Well Known MemberMember

    You can also check your tap water for ammonia, which is actually pretty common when your water treatment uses chloramine as added to treat the water, which is a component of chlorine and ammonia.
  18. hopeful fishWell Known MemberMember

    Your stocking is definitely better--the cories could have more space, but it is no longer blatantly overstocked, meaning that you will be able to cycle it.

    Use Prime with every water change. To use the TSS, do a large water change (I'd recommend getting your levels below .5PPM) then wait 24 hours. Add the TSS, then test your water every day. If anything but nitrates climbs above 2 PPM, do a water change, wait 24 hours, then add more TSS.

    Once you have your tank cycled you can focus on sorting out stocking. Your tank will cycle better with the current stock, but the stocking isn't perfect yet.
  19. Nick Della RoccaValued MemberMember

    ok so im going to do 50% water chabge everyday untol i am at a safe ammonia lvl. every water change i put some water conditioner into the water going into the tank. when water is in tank add prime. as soon as my ammonia lvls are safe i can then do 1 final water change add my bottle of tss and do regular paramiter checks?
  20. hopeful fishWell Known MemberMember

    Mostly. Do several 50% water changes in 1 day until you are at a safe ammonia level. Every water change add 3 drops of Prime per gallon. As soon as your ammonia is at a safe level wait 24 hours, then dump the entire bottle of TSS into the tank. Make sure to SHAKE the bottle. I usually shake for a whole minute. After that, do daily water parameter checks. If ammonia or nitrite climbs above 2PPM, repeat the process above.

    I hope this clarifies :)

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