TSS increasing ammonia...?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by AspiringAquarist, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    Last night at about 9:30 p.m. I added a whole 100 mL bottle of Tetra SafeStart. I did not add any water conditioners or chemicals 24 hours before that dosage.

    Before I added TSS, I did a test, for my records. The readings were:
    ammonia- 1.0 ppm
    nitrite- 0 ppm
    nitrate- N/A (forgot to test)

    Today, at about 5:15 pm, my readings were:
    ammonia- 1.5-2.0 ppm
    nitrite- 0.5 ppm
    nitrate- 10 ppm

    What's up with the ammonia levels? :confused:
    Since nitrite is present in the water, I suppose that there is probably some ammonia-to-nitrite bacteria in the water, but isn't the ammonia level also supposed to be going down?
    It's been only about 19 hours since TSS, so it might be too early to tell if TSS is working or not, but I'm getting worried about the ammonia increase.
    Perhaps it is because I'm not performing 50% Prime water changes due to the TSS?

    P.S.: There's fish in the water (that's why I have TSS in there), and it's been set up for about a month now...

    Thanks :)
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  2. ZiaValued MemberMember

    I'm new to TSS, but it was my understanding you were supposed to start with 0 ppm ammonia when using it, that it's not 100% gentle on this fish, and that you're not supposed to test. That fact that you're already converting to Nitrite and Nitrate is a very good sign.

    I'd be worried about the ammonia, too, though. :/

    Sorry I'm not more of a help.
  3. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    Hmm, I suppose so. I'll wait and see if anyone else has some input on this...

    Nevertheless, thanks for bumping my thread, LOL :)
  4. thorpbrianValued MemberMember

    I've used TSS 3 times now successfully. The first time with ammonia present in the tank when I added it.

    My advice is to monitor the fish visually for the next week and not do any tests. The TSS will do it's work if you let it.
  5. ZiaValued MemberMember

    I did feel a little sorry for you, with no one responding. And I'm about to abandon my fishless cycle and use TSS myself, so I'm curious, as I'll probably have the same question next week!
  6. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    Thanks, thorpbrian.
    A couple days ago they were showing ammonia poisoning by having the ends of their fins turn black (there was 4 ppm ammonia!), but now I don't see any of the symptoms of ammonia poisoning.

    Also, will changing the filter media affect the amount of beneficial bacteria and the effectiveness of TSS?
  7. ZiaValued MemberMember

    Was there 4 ppm of ammonia with the TSS?
  8. kcarmartinezValued MemberMember

    I would not change the media. Let the bacteria grow on it and leave it alone unless it gets too clogged and slows down the water flow. In a new tank that will take a while.
    From what I heard the TSS will mess with your readings and it is best not to even look at it for 7-10 days. Otherwise it will drive you crazy. :eek:
  9. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    I've successfully cycled 2 tanks with TSS. At this time you should not be doing any tests or you're going to freak out and might do something that would cause the TSS to fail. When cycling with TSS you are not supposed to do any testing for 7 days because the numbers will be all over the place and will not necessarily be accurate. On day 7 then you test, if you are not cycled (0, 0, 5+) then you still don't want to do anything. Wait 3 more days then test again on day 10. By then you should be cycled, if not the TSS did not work and you will have to do the daily water changes with Prime or Amquel+. You most definitely do not want to touch the media when cycling with TSS or when cycling with any method for that matter. Fiddling with the media will most definitely disrupt your cycle and with a sped up cycle like TSS does it will cause the TSS to fail. In fact you should never 100% change the media or you'll kill even a healthy cycle. The only part of filter media that needs regular changing is carbon, the rest is rinse and reuse until it is literally falling apart. If you have cartridges for your filter then you can cut a slit at the top of the cartridge to remove the carbon and add more in, but you'll want to keep the padding part for as long as you possibly can. Either way you'll want to wait until your tank has been properly cycled for at least several weeks before doing anything with your filter since it will take that long for your colony to get strong enough to handle it without a mini cycle. Do yourself a favor and put away the test kit otherwise you're going to be tearing your hair out for the next week.
  10. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    The above link may help you if you haven't already seen it. Once you've added the TSS your readings are going to be all over the place. As stated above, there is no need to test for at least 7 to 10 days after adding it.

    Please don't do any water changes or filter media changes. Let the TSS do what it needs to do without interruption.

    Best of luck,
  11. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    I changed the carbon from a carbon cartridge, the Tetra Bio-Bag stuff. I have 3 filters running in the tank: an AquaClear 50, a Whisper filter, and a Hydro-sponge filter (that I purchased to specifically house bacteria). I replaced the carbon from the Whisper one.
    They have these bags that you add packets of activated carbon in, and I ONLY changed the carbon but not the bag because I thought the bacteria grows on the bag, not the chemical stuff inside of it.

    I'm supposing the bacteria will colonize on the gravel and on all three filters, but if I kill off some of the bacteria from one of them (the Whisper), will it really make a difference?

    And there was 1.0 ppm of ammonia in the tank when I added TSS. I managed to get the 4 ppm down to 1 ppm.

    And I'm still sorta pulling my hair out because I'm freaking out over one error that I'm afraid will waste the expensive TSS…
  12. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I see in your aquarium info that you're using Prime?
    It's not compatable with TSS, check out the link that Ken gave above.
    Good luck!!
  13. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    Lucy: I'm not using Prime right now. I read the Q & A, and I have not used any detoxifying product or any chemical in the tank for the last 48 hours.

    Perhaps someone would like to answer my question two posts above and relieve my worry? :)
  14. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    That's exactly what I did (read the bolded part of your quote); except that I didn't need to cut a slit at the top since my filter bags are open on the top and you clip them closed. I'm sorry if I made the wording a little vague :-[

    If I did that, then should I be worried?

    Thanks :)
  15. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    Considering you have three filters running it's hard to say whether it will have any affect on your cycle. Bacteria will grow on any surface, including the carbon, but generally speaking the bulk will colonize on the padding. At this point you're in a wait and see mode. Keep an eye on your fish and just leave the tank be until the 7 days (or if necessary 10 days) is up before you do anything else with it. The only thing you want to be doing now is monitoring your fish visually.
  16. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    Okay, my fingers are crossed that it works!

    Also, a lot of the times the fish uproot the plants I have. They get absorbed on the filter intake tube, but it doesn't go in because it's too large. When that happens I need to replant them in the gravel...will slightly disturbing the gravel (due to replanting) affect the TSS? Should I stop doing that?
  17. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    If the plants are getting stuck to the intake tube you will have to move them. The last thing you need is for a piece of the plant or whatever getting sucked in and jamming the propeller. Perhaps you can get some weights and tie them to the plants so that they won't drift to the filter when your fish uproot them?
  18. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    I was going to use a cloth thread and wrap one side of it on a rock and one side on the stem of the plant, but I'm afraid that the fish will try to eat the thread and choke.

    Ideas? :;dk
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  19. flyin-loweWell Known MemberMember

    Tie the plant down with a piece of thread or a fishing line. Then stop messing with the tank for 1 week:;a1. I know it sounds hard but leave it be. I too have cycled a tank with TSS it worked perfect if you let it do it's job.
    Good luck.
  20. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    You can always cover your filter intake tube by using a sponge to slide over it. I use Aqua Clear sponges, (they come in different sizes) slice and X in the top of the sponge and just slide it onto the tube. This will prevent your plants and fish from being stuck to it. Too, more surface area = more housing for your good bacteria. You can rinse this sponge in siphoned tank water just like you should do your filter media once your tank has cycled and been established for a while. (never rinse in tap water).
    Best wishes!