Slight Ammonia Spike. Help!

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
My 49G tank was fully cycled for couple months now. Am 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20ppm. Last night, I did a 50% water change and a filter maintenance (external canister), rinsed the sponges as well as the bio media (seachem matrix) with the tank water. I did another water test earlier today (Am 0.25-0.5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20ppm) so I did another 50% water change and added Prime + Stability. Should I do another water test right after a water change or should I wait 24 hours to get more accurate reading? Is it normal to have ammonia spike when cleaning a filter? How to prevent this problem happening again in the future?
 

TWiG87

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,354
Reaction score
2,231
Location
NJ
Experience
5 to 10 years
I would wait a little bit to test. Have you tested your source water? It’s possible there is some ammonia present. If you dosed with prime you should be ok. It sounds like the filter maintenance or your source water may have caused your spike which is not uncommon. You are taking the right steps to remedy the situation. Was this the first time you cleaned your filter since setup?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
F

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
TWiG87 said:
I would wait a little bit to test. Have you tested your source water? It’s possible there is some ammonia present. If you dosed with prime you should be ok. It sounds like the filter maintenance or your source water may have caused your spike which is not uncommon. You are taking the right steps to remedy the situation. Was this the first time you cleaned your filter since setup?
There was no ammonia present from my source water and yes it was the forst time I cleaned my filter since setup.
 

ImpairedFish

Active Member
Member
Messages
264
Reaction score
139
Location
Happy Hour
Experience
Just started
You did a water change and cleaned the filter at the same time? My understanding was to never do that because you'd still have bacteria in the water or in the filter. Doing as you did you might've killed off the bacteria? I'd buy a bottle of SafeStart Plus 3.8oz and dump the whole bottle in, leave it for two weeks and should come back to life. Only reason I say this is because I've done this as well, but I do use Prime and MicrobeLift between the two weeks to control the ammonia.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
F

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
ImpairedFish said:
You did a water change and cleaned the filter at the same time? My understanding was to never do that because you'd still have bacteria in the water or in the filter. Doing as you did you might've killed off the bacteria? I'd buy a bottle of SafeStart Plus 3.8oz and dump the whole bottle in, leave it for two weeks and should come back to life. Only reason I say this is because I've done this as well, but I do use Prime and MicrobeLift between the two weeks to control the ammonia.
How do you normally clean your filter then? I thought we are suppose to use the water from the tank?
 

TWiG87

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,354
Reaction score
2,231
Location
NJ
Experience
5 to 10 years
Your tank should be able to recover relatively quickly with the Stability. Maybe dose it for a week and see how things go. I’m the future though I would also advise against water changes and filter maintenance on the same day. You could pull just enough water out to clean the filter or put some tap water in a bucket the day before and treat with prime.
 

ImpairedFish

Active Member
Member
Messages
264
Reaction score
139
Location
Happy Hour
Experience
Just started
fishy69 said:
How do you normally clean your filter then? I thought we are suppose to use the water from the tank?
I clean my canister filter ever 3-4 months, but its rated for 55 gallons on a 36 gallon system. Water stays clear so I leave it be.
 

TWiG87

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,354
Reaction score
2,231
Location
NJ
Experience
5 to 10 years
I also clean my canister every 3 months or so. This time around I’m going to wait until I see a slow down in flow. The last time I popped it open it really wasn’t even worth cleaning
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
OP
F

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
I have a 2nd filter (HOB) but its rated for 30G only. Do you guys have a 2nd filter as redundancy?
 

neverenoughgallons

New Member
Member
Messages
27
Reaction score
2
fishy69 said:
My 49G tank was fully cycled for couple months now. Am 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20ppm. Last night, I did a 50% water change and a filter maintenance (external canister), rinsed the sponges as well as the bio media (seachem matrix) with the tank water. I did another water test earlier today (Am 0.25-0.5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-20ppm) so I did another 50% water change and added Prime + Stability. Should I do another water test right after a water change or should I wait 24 hours to get more accurate reading? Is it normal to have ammonia spike when cleaning a filter? How to prevent this problem happening again in the future?
You probably changed too much water and now your cycle has to restart. Strips could be wrong, add bottle bacteria.
 

feeshi

Active Member
Member
Messages
64
Reaction score
35
Location
UK
Experience
1 year
I've done this aroud 3 times now, I have a PH of 6.4 so my bacteria is quite fragile. I always dose prime now every 24hours for a few days after a filter clean and It returns to normal within 4/5 days. I believe some of the slime/gunk we wash off has bacteria living on it, but ironically we must wash it off as it will eventually smother surface area where bacteria grows.
How stocked is the tank? I feel that with such a low reading your cycle is fine as you would see higher numbers if not, the bacteria you have left will quickly reproduce to replace what you lost. :)
Also I quite like having an extra filter, and I clean them at different times, so i always have some untouched bacteria to reproduce in an emergency.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
OP
F

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
Its getting worse now. Ive been doing 60% water change daily for the past 3 days but the ammonia still 1ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate 10ppm. Im kinda frustrated now as what I did was clean the filter and rinse the sponges. Ive been adding prime and stabilty everyday but the am reading is still high. Should I keep doing the daily water change or keep adding prime and make am non-toxic without changing the water?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
OP
F

fishy69

New Member
Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Sydney, Australia
Experience
Just started
I'm pretty sure I killed most of BB in my canister filter when I cleaned it. I've been doing daily water changes for nearly a week now and so far no fish / shrimps / snails died (fingers crossed). I also bought another filter (HoB) to prevent this issue in the future.
-Day 1
Am 1ppm, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40ppm then I did 60% water change + prime and stability. No feeding
-Day 2
Am 0.5ppm, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40ppm then I did 50% water change + prime and stability and feed a small amount.
-Day 3
Am 2ppm, Nitrate 0.25ppm, Nitrate 20-30ppm then I did 75% water change + prime and stability. no feeding
-Day 4
Am 1ppm, nitrate 0, Nitrate 10ppm then I did 80% water change + prime and stability. no feeding
-Day 5
Am 0.25ppm-0.5ppm, nitrate 0, Nitrate 10-20ppm. I did 20% water change + prime and stability. no feeding
Im on day 6 now, just wondering if I should feed the fish today? How long can the fish survive without food? Also, how come the reading for nitrite is 0 and nitrate 10-20ppm? Does it mean that BB that convert nitrite to nitrate are still exist?

My stocks in 49 gallon are:
13 Lambchop Rasboras, 13 Neon Tetras, 7 CPDs, 9 Corydoras Habrasus, 4 Otos, 15 cherry shrimps and 4 nerite snails.
 

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
12,082
Reaction score
11,844
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
If it were me I would hold off on the water changes for now. Continue adding Prime every 36/48 hours if you are still getting an ammonia reading. I would go ahead and lightly feed the fish daily. Since you aren't seeing any nitrites it is telling me that your cycle was just disrupted and not totally crashed.

If this tank has only been cycled for 2 months I don't think it was well established and that is why cleaning the filter disrupted your cycle. Try to go as long as possible before you attempt to clean your filter again. Give the bacteria time to get well established on every thing in the tank. Once well established, cleaning the filter should not cause this to happen again.
 

New Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
123
Guests online
2,144
Total visitors
2,267

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom