Ph Dropped To Under 6.0/ammonia Is Over 8ppm

Anthony Cheston
  • #1
That's the test from today. For the past 3 days I have been doing a25% water change with prime conditioner, I know that will give a false reading on the ammonia, but it was high before, and the pH woul go back up to around normal then drop back the next day. I never had this problem. Any ideas on what to do, I have had 4 fish die already.
 

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Wobbegong
  • #2
Is the tank cycled, how long have you had it. What fish do you have in it?
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Yes it cycled, I've had this tank for about 6 months, but everything, water included, was transferred from my 55 gallon I had for about 10 years. There are 4 goldfish, 1 vailed angle, 2 groumies, and a place.
 
Wobbegong
  • #4
How big are the goldfish, what type of pleco, You seem to have a stocking issue.
 
TexasGuppy
  • #5
What's your KH?
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
They are about an inch, oh and 4 of the glow fish tetras. It's just a common pleco

I don't have a test for kh

Took the plastic plants out tonight, but that's what it's looking like now.
 

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TexasGuppy
  • #7
You need to do a massive water change to get ammonia down. Looks like you lost your cycle.
I think you need to get KH up to raise and stabilize pH.
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I was going to run some Zeolite for a few days and keep up the water changes and hope it levels ito

How much is massive, I think I can get get some spong from an established tank and start it over if need be
 
Wraithen
  • #9
The only safe way to do this is remove the fish with the fish water into a bucket, drain all of your water out of the tank, replace the water, and put the fish back in, making sure to temperature match the water.

Your fish are dying from ph swing and your ammonia is being converted to ammonium at that ph. You're in a very dangerous predicament right now. I'll explain what happened.

Your tap water contains very little kh. You don't have any kh buffer. Kh and ph are directly linked. Your cycle is using up all your kh and your ph is dropping rapidly as a result. At a 6.0, your bacteria can't survive so they are all dead. Your next action is very important. Do exactly what I said above, but before adding the fish, add aragonite and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the tank. The baking soda is pure kh basically, and the aragonite will leach tiny amounts over a long time to help keep you stabilized. This will help keep your ph up, but it will also increase the toxicity of the ammonia. In your case I would use safe start plus, fluval cycle, or another helpful bb to assist your fish in cycle. If your ph drops below 6.8 with all that, you may need to do more frequent water changes, or purchase a commercial buffer. Seachem makes one that is supposedly good, but I would only use it if the aragonite can't keep you stable. A rising ph indicates the aragonite is doing its job. Make sure its placed in a high flow area, preferably in your filter.
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Ok, thank you for your help, I'm going to do that and I will let you know how it turns out
 
Wraithen
  • #11
I'm hoping for the best, but as I said earlier, you're in a dangerous spot. Good luck!
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Is this a common thing to happen, I've never had it happen before, at first I thought it was just going through a minicycle but the nitrates and nitrites never changed. Also I tested the tap water it's pH is about 7.2 and ammonia is between 2 and 4 ppm, with the ammonia that high should I use one of the ammonia locking chemicals as well as conditioner, safe start, and baking soda
 
Wraithen
  • #13
You can't use an ammo lock with safe start or cycle. Your tap has 2 to 4 ppm ammonia?! Where are you from?
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
South Florida, and they say that's within the standards.

I can only find the aragonite as a substrate, don't really want to have to add a layer of sand, as far as I know lime Stone should have the same out come, what are your thoughts about putting a few small chunks in
 
Wraithen
  • #15
South Florida, and they say that's within the standards.

I can only find the aragonite as a substrate, don't really want to have to add a layer of sand, as far as I know lime Stone should have the same out come, what are your thoughts about putting a few small chunks in
The aragonite is only a substrate if you put it on the bottom of the tank, and you only want to do that if you have a sw tank. Just put some in a filter bag and put it in a high flow area.

I have no idea about chunks of limestone.
 
bitseriously
  • #16
I'm sorry you've lost fish, and run into this problem. I think Wraithen is giving you good advice, and seems to be pretty calm about the whole thing, which is a plus. I'd be running around like the proverbial headless chicken, so kudos wraith.
I think the key points are a) your cycle is blown completely, and b) be careful how you raise pH. As pH goes up, a proportion of the total ammonia you're measuring, which is really high, will convert to toxic free or un-ionized ammonia. With those high levels, you'll be stepping from the proverbial frying pan (low pH) to the fire (toxic ammonia). In other words, ironically, the low pH, which is the cause of this problem (after hardness issues), is in a way protecting your fish by preventing the occurrence of the toxic form of ammonia.
So as you raise your pH, you have to neutralize that ammonia.
I'll leave the mechanics of fixing the current problem to wraithen (or others), but I wanted to chime in on what happens after you get this tank restored/stabilized. If I'm understanding all this correctly (big IF), before this all happened (ie during the 6 months you ran the 55gal), assuming you were using your tap water for water changes, you were adding significant amounts of ammonia into your tank with each change, right? What kind of water change schedule were you employing (how much, how often)? If I've done the math correctly, if you changed 10 gals of 55 (just shy of 20%), with incoming water at 4ppm, that would put the ammonia concentration in the tank immediately after the wc at 0.73ppm. Were you doing anything to neutralize or bind that ammonia? I think a healthy bb colony would convert it within 24hrs (?), but it would be easier on your fish if they were protected in the meantime. I'm asking this because it speaks to how you should manage your setup in the future, to deal with high ammo in tap water. It might be as simple as always dosing prime (or other conditioner) with water changes for the volume of the tank, as opposed to just the incoming water ("not that debate again!" ).
 
Anthony Cheston
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Ok pH is holding at 7.4, ammonia is at .25ppm, no other fish have died. Thanks for everyone's help,
 

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