Seachem Zeolite Not Working?

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by Kristin Gray, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Kristin GrayValued MemberMember

    Long story short, I have battled an ammonia problem for two months now. I have a 55 gallon tank which is severely understocked currently (3 small angelfish, 1 medium sized angelfish, 1 dwarf gourami, 4 painted platies and 1 juilli corydora). I feed an extremely small amount once a day.

    I check my water weekly (more often if I know I have an issue going on) current parameters are pH 8.0, Ammonia .025-.050 PPM, Nitrite 0ppm and Nitrate 5.0ppm. I also do daily water changes, using Prime, of 5-10 gallons depending on the ammonia reading (I was warned against large water changes all at once)

    After talking with my LFS, and letting them also check my water just to make sure my test kit wasn't wrong, they said that often an ammonia reading pairs with a higher pH level. They suggested that I use Seachem Zeolite in my filters to remove ammonia.

    My filters are HOB filters. I have two of them on my tank. I first replaced the carbon in just one of the filters with Zeolite, and when the ammonia level didn't drop at all within a day, I replaced the carbon in the second filter. It has been a week since I first added the Zeolite, and the ammonia is still there. I followed the directions on the Zeolite bottle. Has anyone else experienced this, and do you have any suggestions to fix it?
  2. SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    First, I know my way around aquariums pretty well, and have worked with them for decades. I test my water daily for Ammonia and Nitrite and about every three days for Nitrate. Even if I don't THINK I have a problem. An ammonia spike can do damage in hours ... and if you don't catch until your weekly water test ... well, severe damage is done.

    Zeolite, imo, is a very bad idea. What you need, are properly "grown" bacteria colonies and you won't need zeolite. Zeolite masks a problem - and in the end only inhibits the establishment of those bacteria colonies.


    Dose with PRIME every 24 hours at the nomal dose to "lock up" any ammonia is produced but never let the ammonia level climb above 1 ppm without a water change.

    AND THEN ...

    You have two options (at least) depending on how quick you want to resolve this (but PRIME dosed daily will keep .25 to .5 ... even up to 1ppm non-toxic to the fish (it's just not something I'd consider to be a permanent solution) ...

    Option 1: Dose the tank with beneficial bacteria ... Stability, Dr. Tims ... etc. As long as the ammonia doesn't climb above 1 ppm - don't do a water change, the ammonia (even "locked up") will feed the beneficial bacteria and help them colonize. Take the zeolite completely out.

    Option 2:   . That should cure your issue immediately - but I would still do everything else above until the problem is gone. Also - this company says they work hard to keep parasites out of their sponges - and I have never had a problem with them. Still, NEVER TRUST ANYONE ... it comes from another tank ... so do a prophylactic treatment for parasites just in case. Order the quickest shipping - so that you receive the max amount of bacteria alive.

    After the problem is gone - you can take the sponge out in about a month or two (or leave it in).

    Question yourself ... "do I have an adequate amount of biofiltration in my filter?" ... "do I have QUALITY media?" QUALITY media is stuff like POND MATRIX, MATRIX, BIOHOME ... these are crucial - ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A SMALL FILTER with not a lot of room for bio-media.

    You may need a larger filter - with higher quality bio-media to get rid of these problems permanently - but I would still recommend you test every day. I do, immediately when I come in from work ... with a glass of brandy. It's a routine.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  3. Kristin GrayValued MemberMember

    @Swampgorilla , thank you for such a detailed response! I don’t like the zeolite idea either, but I have been desperate to find SOMETHING that would help. It’s driving me insane and I know it’s not good for my fish.

    So, if you had to choose one of the two options, which would you choose? I had wondered if my frequent water changes were inhibiting the beneficial bacteria growth. I know literally nothing about the sponge filters but would be more than happy to learn if it will solve this problem. I just want my fish to be happy and healthy.

    I am looking to upgrade my filters in the future. When I was researching how much filtration I needed, I believe I read somewhere that the water needed to cycle completely 5 times in an hour (I’d have to research that again to make sure I’m remembering correctly) and bought filters that would be more than enough to do that. Does that sound correct?
  4. SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    With fish in the tank ... I wouldn't fool around ... I'd opt for the biologically active sponge since that has all the bacteria you need to complete the nitrogen cycle as soon as you put it in your tank. Like I said ... the fear of parasites should be considered so the tank should be treated.

    Dose it carefully ... the cory may be sensitive if you overdose but mine don't mind it at the regular dose.

    Also - you need more than one cory.
  5. Kristin GrayValued MemberMember

    I know, they’re schooling fish—I had 12, and all but this one have died. Partially from ammonia I think and partially from a faulty decoration. It was supposed to be aquarium safe, long story short it wasn’t and was poisoning my fish.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice