Seachem Alert Vs Api Ammonia Test

Brannor
  • #1
HI all.

I'm new to keeping fish, and went with buying a whole bunch of aquarium items and then started my cycle with fish.

I've had the tank 3 weeks, had the tetras since day 3 and guppies and bristlenose about 2 weeks.
Tank is a AquaOne 980 (215L tank, but real volume is closer to 180L). Fish Count is currently 8 Neon Tetras, 13 Guppies and 3 Bristlenose (from 2 inches down to 1 inch) (we did lose 2 tetras and 3 guppies in quick succession when I added too many guppies - one tetra was removed, the other died, while the 3 guppies looked to be the weakest 3 and all died... I know... I'm a terrible father and had to front my 2 young daughters... ).

We have live plants too, some of which the fish are eating, others which didn't fare so well. And because of that I put in osmocote tabs to help them get going. And herein lies my conundrum.

Every API test since that day has shown at least 1ppm on the API Ammonia test. Even a 50% water only got it to drop from quite high (4ppm) to 1ppm. Nothing I do can get that API test to go below green.


vrwgcxO.jpg

Now I know I'm still getting my cycle going (the low Nitrite and Nitrate readings show that), but I don't think this is related to the cycle.

However, I have placed a Seachem Alert inside inside the tank, and it now shows barely higher than safe.


EmOenwh.jpg

I got the Seachem Alert because I was told that it tests Free Ammonia, and not the combined Ammonia and Ammonium that API tests.

One of the main ingredients of Osmocote is Ammonium Nitrate.

Will the API test ever go down to 0? The (awesome) Petstore I want to get our fish from tests the water every time and with a 1ppm there is no way they'll give us more fish - and they use the API master test kit like I do.

Both photos were taken this morning at the same time, and the water extracted for the API was from the bottom of the tank in case there was something 'fishy' going on.

-G
 
bitseriously
  • #2
If nothing else, it’s interesting to see how the two tests dovetail nicely. The Nutrafin brand of ammonia test kit includes a chart (also found online) that converts total ammonia as measured to free ammonia, based on pH. If you consult that chart working backwards from 0.05 ppm free ammonia (per your Alert badge) with 7.4 pH (from your other badge), you get something in the area of 3 ppm total ammonia. Which is pretty close to what your liquid test is giving you. Science, ftw!
That said, I have no idea how to answer your original question about ammonia from your fert tabs. Sorry!
 
SegiDream
  • #3
It will get to zero eventually when the tank is fully cycled. Both ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish, nitrate they can handle better but still needs to be less than 40ppm. If you're using a water conditioner like Prime it only protects ammonia+nitrite combined up to 1ppm. So I would do a water change. It's hard to tell exactly what levels the ammonia and nitrite are at but you need to do water changes frequently to get them under 1ppm combined. The positive news is that you are showing nitrates! So the process is getting there, it just needs more time to build up enough bacteria to keep up with the fish.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
...So I would do a water change....
a PWC of 25%? I don't want to nuke my bacteria that has now started to show up.

-G
 
SegiDream
  • #5
Well thereabouts. If you have 4ppm ammonia and you do 50% wc your ammonia should be around 2ppm. If it were me I would do pwc once a day until ammonia and nitrite together are less than 1ppm. If this were a fishless cycle I would say ok let ammonia get up to 3-4ppm but with fish...have to keep the well being of the fish in mind. Also test your tap water if you haven't already.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Also test your tap water if you haven't already.
Have tested the tap water. Had no ammonia. I do let the tap water stand in buckets for a few days before adding some Stabiliser and then adding it to the tank. I'll go for a 50% change later this afternoon and report back.

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #7
a PWC of 25%? I don't want to nuke my bacteria that has now started to show up.

-G

your bacteria live in your filter media & maybe 1% in your substrate - not your water.

be sure to temperate match when you add new water & condition to remove chlorine.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
...be sure to temperate match when you add new water & condition to remove chlorine.
Check and check. The water is stored in buckets in an enclosed alfresco area, so by this afternoon the water will have absorbed ambient heat from the sun heating the room (not direct sunlight) so a decent temp, but will keep an eye on it. I've got specific written instructions from my LFS to add Seachem Stabiliser and API Stress Syme (or was that Coat... have both, instructions said to only use the one... will read again before proceeding this afternoon).
 
Jenoli42
  • #9
It sounds like you're really onto it, mate I find the interplay between API and Seachem alerts fascinating...science! You've got nitrites and nitrates. have you had a nitrite spike yet? sorry if you said above. if you're not using TSS you may well see one, and about that point is when ammonia starts to drop. then nitrites drop, then you see nitrates galore and soon after you're cycled. at least, that's my experience. every tank is different.

(Also, G'day! I just noticed you're across the ditch from me! Kia ora from Taranaki.)
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Before water change at around 17H30:


s7UZA1x.jpg

After water change (includes Amguard) at 21H40 or so:


VwXR0nF.jpg
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I think my Nitrites just spiked (cycle half way?). I've done a water change, but it looks like Nitrites and Nitrates are still high?

Before 50% water change:

BAHkWGl.jpg


After:


dTrtf9J.jpg
 
Jenoli42
  • #12
well you're on your way...

did you test your tap for nitrite & nitrate? I know you did for ammonia...
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Up until this week my tank had shown 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates. So was pretty sure our tap water was clean.

But just did a test to confirm.


Pe64pnO.jpg
 
Jenoli42
  • #14
sweet just making sure.

time. that's what your bacteria need now.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
time. that's what your bacteria need now.
Yeah, from my test tonight the Nitrates are a little down, but Nitrites still a bit high.
I reckon it's at the peak of the Nitrite stage of the cycle.

What is bizarre is the 4 fry that have been born in the last 2 days, from where we don't know... and I'm hoping that they survive.

-G
 
TexasGuppy
  • #16
You can do a 75% WC if your tank layout works to not stress the fish too much. Will help drop those numbers into safer levels.
 
Jenoli42
  • #17
Yeah, from my test tonight the Nitrates are a little down, but Nitrites still a bit high.
I reckon it's at the peak of the Nitrite stage of the cycle.

What is bizarre is the 4 fry that have been born in the last 2 days, from where we don't know... and I'm hoping that they survive.

-G

nitrites can get stuck but we'll deal with that if it doesn't naturally finish up as expected.

I'm amazed you have fry & they're alive with the nitrite levels...uh.. congrats? lol
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #18

JCbPTxz.jpg

All 4 fry still alive. 50% Water change again?
 
Jenoli42
  • #19
View attachment 424815

All 4 fry still alive. 50% Water change again?

what... is that some "we're all gonna die, quick, have some babies!" instinct ?!

I reckon your nitrites are above 1 & your ammonia above .5. that means prime can't detoxify all that. so yeah... wc time.

I'm empathetic... when our 165L had a cycle crash over NY, I did 65% changes...EVERY... SINGLE... DAY ... FOR 8 DAYS STRAIGHT.

and we still lost 10 fish.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
We did think that the females are doing just that after the big water changes...

An hour or so after the latest change. Nitrites just don't want to drop.


lLBLSad.jpg
 
Jenoli42
  • #21
remind me how long since nitrites appeared & if you're using bottled bacteria? also temperature?

the fact that you have ammonia tells me your colony is still growing. the ways to speed it up when it's a fish in cycle are increasing temp if your fish will be ok & adding bottled bacteria like stability... triple the recommended dose.

if the nitrites are still stuck once your ammonia is at zero & steady some ppl do giant wc. but I wouldn't with fish & you're but quite at that stage yet
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Yes, I started using Stability and Stress Coat after the Ammonia spiked. Nitrites, according to my photo log first appeared on the 28th or 29th of March - was a low reading.

I added them both (standard doses) after the water change last night. Everything still alive, including the 3 captive and 1 free-roaming fry.

Hoping the Nitrite spike finishes by Thursday... quite nerve wracking.

Oh, and Seachem Alert is showing almost no Ammonia and the pH looks to be low. Will do a manual pH test now.

-G


YsaKEJz.jpg


v81bpD3.jpg
 
Jenoli42
  • #23
hmmm... pH 6.7? or is it greener on the photo?

it's SO nerve wracking. but worth it. trust me mate.

hang in there... you're on track
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #24

EEtUnF3.jpg
This morning's readings. Nitrites not going anywhere. Will start a daily 25% this arvo until it goes down. 50% everyday seems like a lot to do every day?

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #25
if your fish are ok, I think many people do that much daily. .. but here's the video that made me do bigger changes. up to you mate. if fish are ok, then you're sweet

 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Yeah, 75% is extreme, but I believe that can be somewhat achieved by two successive 50% changes? So 50%, then once things settle (temp, etc.) do a second 50% change?
A bit nervous of doing two in a row, but if it helps.

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #27
Yeah, 75% is extreme, but I believe that can be somewhat achieved by two successive 50% changes? So 50%, then once things settle (temp, etc.) do a second 50% change?
A bit nervous of doing two in a row, but if it helps.

-G

that makes sense... but remember that other people have success with 25-35% daily. I don't want to steer you wrong just because bigger changes worked for me I'm learning that every tank can be different ...
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #28

PKuwONg.jpg

After 60% water change. :|
 
Jenoli42
  • #29
lol. wow. your nitrite fixing bacteria are growing slowly. that tells you what your nitrites were before!!! let's say you were at 5 before, you'd still be at 2 after 60%...

but the fact that your nitrates are still around 10 says you've got some nitrite fixing bacteria doing their job.

lemme find the link to a model that is meant to show a normal cycle... brb...

Found it!

this lovely member did a computer simulation... the link is in her first post

Nitrogen Cycle Model Simulation

Here's the direct link to the simulation: Aquarium nitrogen cycle/Tank cycle | Insight Maker

what it shows is that nitrobacter (the ones that fix nitrite into nitrate) are slower to arrive and take longer to double in size. once they reach a critical number, because they grow exponentially, all of a sudden your nitrates skyrocket and your nitrites just drop.

i'll say one more thing and then stop bombarding you with helpfullness. keep in mind I was doing fishless for the example below (which worked twice in a row for 2 different quarantine tanks).

when my nitrites spiked, I let them stay spiked without changing water at all. I just watched my ammonia. for about a week, it would go up when I added fish food and slowly drop again over 1-2days. then it would drop within a day.

that took about a week. I did nothing with my water until my ammonia stayed at 0pmm no matter how much fish food I added for 4-5 days straight (again, I was doing fishless, so I had this luxury). then I did one big 70%-80% water change. boom. nitrites down to .25.

I added stability every day for a week (I think I was dosing at 4 x's the dose on the bottle - an entire capful for a 20L tank daily), and could watch the bacteria grow. i'd have .25 in the morning, dose stability, and have 0ppm 8 hours later. within 3-4 days, nitrites were undetectable.

then I had to do a massive wc because of my nitrates of course. but then I could add fish. (to be honest, I added fish once the nitrites got down to .25 and they are still fine and happy today in their home tank.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Fyi... 3 more fry...7 in total and #2 is doing awesome roaming free while the other 6 are in the breeding net.

Seems the big water changes induce labour.

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #31
Fyi... 3 more fry...7 in total and #2 is doing awesome roaming free while the other 6 are in the breeding net.

Seems the big water changes induce labour.

-G

Just checking in mate. I've been quite busy lately and always assume everyone else on here is, too. However, I wanted to make sure it's not #2 or #4 in the list of what might be going on below:

1. you've decided to stop testing so often and just wait a while for your nitrites to come down
2. you've decided the stress and frustration isn't worth it, sold the tank and convinced your daughters they really wanted a pet reptile instead
3. your nitrites have come down, everything is fine now and you're busy figuring out what fish you want to add now
4. you've gone insane and done water changes every hour because you're determined to make the nitrites come down one way or another, science be da*ned

 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
lol no... It's 5. I'm testing day and night (driving my eldest daughter mad - actually made my wife do the tests last night so that someone else in the family knows ) and doing daily 50% changes. Nitrites have not budged. Ammonia is coming down nicely and now only a slight hint of green.

No new fry - but I think that's down to the temperature of the water I added - if it's a bit cooler then Fry! If it's warm, then no Fry.

I did find RHS in the tank yesterday... and this morning plucked a gooey blob of RHS eggs off the driftwood - right in the open... the cheek of it. No idea where they came from because there was no sign of them until this week and we've not added any plants since the original. Anyway... the adults make good squished food for the fish.

Nothing has died. Had mild panic from the wife yesterday as she said that one of the guppy females had been swimming in the same spot the whole day (queue minI freak out). But after seeing photos, it was evident that she's a surfer chick guppy because she was swimming several inches below the surface, face first into the strongest current from the pump outlet. As soon as I arrived home, she (the guppy) came to say hI for a bit, then went back to 'surfing', until dinner time.

We're currently investigating if a 60L tank will fit on the kitchen island counter behind the sink...it'd fit, but the weight of tank+water+substrata, etc... Would be fishless cycled... for sure...

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #33
lol no... It's 5. I'm testing day and night (driving my eldest daughter mad - actually made my wife do the tests last night so that someone else in the family knows ) and doing daily 50% changes. Nitrites have not budged. Ammonia is coming down nicely and now only a slight hint of green.

On ya mate! How did you get your wife to do the tests? i've begged my partner or either of my step daughters to learn. the youngest likes to watch the colours change and has done a few tests with me, but got over it when I was doing daily tests over new years when I caused The MinI Cycle Massacre of NY2017. in the end, they agreed to get a pipette to make measuring exactly 5mil take less time and know not to complain when I test unless they want to learn how right then and there.

I reckon you're probably fine to just test once a day at the same time of day -ish. but I get what you're doing. I would test in the morning, have a heart attack at the results, do a 50-75% change and then re-test. to save my relationship with my family, after 3-4 days I started just doing the WC and then testing. just the once.

I can't tell you how awesome it feels when you move to every other day and then once a week! now, we only test our "OG" tank for ammonia/nitrite if we add fish or clean the filter media. otherwise it's just nitrate and pH/kH/gH. #establishedtankbliss

No new fry - but I think that's down to the temperature of the water I added - if it's a bit cooler then Fry! If it's warm, then no Fry.

I try to temperature match within 1*C because our rummy noses are drama queens and go dramatically pale during weekly maintenance. I think i'd go insane if we had fish that bred depending on the temperature of water during wc's. that's some intense responsibility lol

I did find RHS in the tank yesterday... and this morning plucked a gooey blob of RHS eggs off the driftwood - right in the open... the cheek of it. No idea where they came from because there was no sign of them until this week and we've not added any plants since the original. Anyway... the adults make good squished food for the fish.

we had those guys suddenly appear, too. they got to levels that were simply unreasonable until we put our odessa barbs in the tank. 48 hours later, no snails at all. and fat fish.

congrats on the surfer chick fish! it's great when you can relax and enjoy your fish antics between stress and water changes. and yes, your first thought is always "omg is something wrong" ...that doesn't go away....

We're currently investigating if a 60L tank will fit on the kitchen island counter behind the sink...it'd fit, but the weight of tank+water+substrata, etc... Would be fishless cycled... for sure...

oh no, you've got the first symptoms of MTS (multiple tank syndrome)! I suggest getting a 20-40L Quarantine Tank before investing in another tank you want to stock to avoid the stress and worry of "is that a white spot?" when adding fish from your LFS directly to your cycled tanks. can't remember if you have a QT already... what are you thinking about stocking it with?
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
That one would be guppies (likely all male - remove all males from the main tank...) and some Balloon Mollies.

I want to get 2 Dwarf Gouramies for my main tank to deal with small snails as the barbs wouldn't get on well with the guppies.

And no, no QT... I think that is best planned for once my wife has her own fish she needs to worry about - more support for an 'empty' tank.

-G

Worked out an easier way to drain water. Runs out through both sets of sliding doors to a drain outside. A bit slower maybe than using a bucket... but way easier.


RlsBPGf.jpg

Yup...a standard hose connected to an Aqua One gravel cleaner.

Tomorrow I'll pop into Bunnings and get another "indoor" hose that I'll attach to the laundry faucet and run perfect temp water straight in (with conditioner). Will make a 60%+ change easier.

-G
 
Jenoli42
  • #35
Worked out an easier way to drain water. Runs out through both sets of sliding doors to a drain outside. A bit slower maybe than using a bucket... but way easier.

View attachment 426176

Yup...a standard hose connected to an Aqua One gravel cleaner.

Tomorrow I'll pop into Bunnings and get another "indoor" hose that I'll attach to the laundry faucet and run perfect temp water straight in (with conditioner). Will make a 60%+ change easier.

-G

hang on, mate, I thought us kiwis were the ones all about the number 8 wire stuff!

nice work! you're quite a quick study... on ya
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Boo... still staying up there after 50% WC...


AaNwz3n.jpg
 
Jenoli42
  • #37
there will come a day when *poof*... nitrites gone. promise.

your ammonia looks bright yellow. .. that's an improvement! if that's not just the lighting, that means you're closer.
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Um... 6 new fry this morning. Look to be from a golden mum... or two mum's since it's their first... nitrites still the same.

Edit... found a 7th...

-G

Oh dear... make that 9 overnight...
 
Jenoli42
  • #39
Oh dear... make that 9 overnight...
did you have your temperature cooler or have they decided they'll have fun regardless ? lolz
 
Brannor
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Dear my... wife says it's now 10... Seriously... they're on their own... the net gets emptied tonight... swim free little guys (and survive...).

-G
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
Replies
12
Views
923
H2O Concierge
  • Locked
Replies
11
Views
708
KimmyT
  • Question
Replies
26
Views
725
Misschiwa
  • Locked
Replies
9
Views
546
mattgirl
  • Locked
Replies
8
Views
1K
TexasDomer
Top Bottom