Water Reading Always .25 Ammonia.

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leannajayde

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So I've had this tank running almost two months. Its a 20 gallon long.
When I first got it I knew nothing of the cycling process and put in 7 guppies, three young cory cats and one young lace cat(trying to rehome).
Luckly I haven't lost any fish but I struggled for a very long time with high EVERYTHING that no amount of wc was touching.
Finally I dosed two bottles of TSS+ , left the tank alone for almost nine days and when I finally tested it was .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite and off the charts nitrate.
I've been doing 50 percent wc basically daily for almost two weeks to contest the nitrate and just now I finally got a reading of 20 nitrate, yay!! However since dosing the TSS+ my ammonia readings are a consistent .25. It doesn't go up or down before or after wc. My source does NOT have any ammonia though it does have 5 nitrate.
I use api master test kit, I have national geographic sand substrate and every other wc I've been doing deep down "gravel" vacs.
Any idea why this is happening? And at .25 could it still cause damage?
Thanks for any help!
A little ps, several times I've accidently left my ammonia tube out without emptying it over night by accident, it always changes to yellow by the next day. Idk if that it normal or if it helps anything, and yes im testing correctly and check after 5 minutes.
 

Jenoli42

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leannajayde said:
So I've had this tank running almost two months. Its a 20 gallon long.
When I first got it I knew nothing of the cycling process and put in 7 guppies, three young cory cats and one young lace cat(trying to rehome).
Luckly I haven't lost any fish but I struggled for a very long time with high EVERYTHING that no amount of wc was touching.
Finally I dosed two bottles of TSS+ , left the tank alone for almost nine days and when I finally tested it was .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite and off the charts nitrate.
I've been doing 50 percent wc basically daily for almost two weeks to contest the nitrate and just now I finally got a reading of 20 nitrate, yay!! However since dosing the TSS+ my ammonia readings are a consistent .25. It doesn't go up or down before or after wc. My source does NOT have any ammonia though it does have 5 nitrate.
I use api master test kit, I have national geographic sand substrate and every other wc I've been doing deep down "gravel" vacs.
Any idea why this is happening? And at .25 could it still cause damage?
Thanks for any help!
A little ps, several times I've accidently left my ammonia tube out without emptying it over night by accident, it always changes to yellow by the next day. Idk if that it normal or if it helps anything, and yes im testing correctly and check after 5 minutes.
right, so you already answered my first question ("is there ammonia in your tap water source"). you're correct in reading it at 5 minutes - after that, .25 can look like 0ppm in a couple hours.

.25 can harm some fish, but not if you dose the tank with the correct dose of Prime or another ammonia detoxifier.

thoughts:
1. dead fish stuck somewhere (filter, tubing, substrate, decoration, plants)
2. overfeeding
3. excess food stuck in filter (tubing, filter itself)

you can test the overfeeding theory by simply fasting your tank for 24-48 hours and testing ammonia each day. if it goes to zero, you have your answer.

you can test the other 2 theories by checking out your filter tubes & filter itself. if you find a blockage of old food or a dead critter, there's your answer.

I hope that's been helpful?

EDIT: the reason i suggest the excess food stuck in the filter theory is that happened to us! we were overfeeding the tank because we had so few fish but were planning on stocking and suddenly i noticed .25 ammonia and the filter stopped working properly. panic! we took off the tubing and rinsed and this GIANT solid mushy blockage of fish food finally got pushed out of the tubes into the sink. it was gross, but we learned to put a sponge or mesh bag over the intake after that
 
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leannajayde

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Jenoli42 said:
right, so you already answered my first question ("is there ammonia in your tap water source"). you're correct in reading it at 5 minutes - after that, .25 can look like 0ppm in a couple hours.

.25 can harm some fish, but not if you dose the tank with the correct dose of Prime or another ammonia detoxifier.

thoughts:
1. dead fish stuck somewhere (filter, tubing, substrate, decoration, plants)
2. overfeeding
3. excess food stuck in filter (tubing, filter itself)

you can test the overfeeding theory by simply fasting your tank for 24-48 hours and testing ammonia each day. if it goes to zero, you have your answer.

you can test the other 2 theories by checking out your filter tubes & filter itself. if you find a blockage of old food or a dead critter, there's your answer.

I hope that's been helpful?

EDIT: the reason i suggest the excess food stuck in the filter theory is that happened to us! we were overfeeding the tank because we had so few fish but were planning on stocking and suddenly i noticed .25 ammonia and the filter stopped working properly. panic! we took off the tubing and rinsed and this GIANT solid mushy blockage of fish food finally got pushed out of the tubes into the sink. it was gross, but we learned to put a sponge or mesh bag over the intake after that
My filter did stop working the other day! I panicked and instantly started taking it apart and cleaning every thing but I didn't notice any food coming out, but then again I wasn't looking for it. My filter started working again right after though. I have alot of plants that I bought in rough shape(all they had was rough shape), they're doing A lot better now but had and still have A lot of bits coming off them that often clogs the filter and sticks to the intake, could that be something?
No dead fish, but maybe dead fry? My guppies had a huge batch not to long ago, got some out but some just disappeared?
All I have is filter floss and a bio wheel(a sponge filter as well), i cleaned both of those very recently and saw no dead babies so they'd be in the sand or under decor.
I feel like if all my fish survived off the charts ammonia and nitrite for weeks they'll be fine with .25 ammonia, but I do want to introduce some shrimp soon and it worries me.
Also, with this constent ammoina reading, will I be able to count my tank as cycled? Or no?
 

Jenoli42

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leannajayde said:
My filter did stop working the other day! I panicked and instantly started taking it apart and cleaning every thing but I didn't notice any food coming out, but then again I wasn't looking for it. My filter started working again right after though. I have alot of plants that I bought in rough shape(all they had was rough shape), they're doing A lot better now but had and still have A lot of bits coming off them that often clogs the filter and sticks to the intake, could that be something?
No dead fish, but maybe dead fry? My guppies had a huge batch not to long ago, got some out but some just disappeared?
All I have is filter floss and a bio wheel(a sponge filter as well), i cleaned both of those very recently and saw no dead babies so they'd be in the sand or under decor.
I feel like if all my fish survived off the charts ammonia and nitrite for weeks they'll be fine with .25 ammonia, but I do want to introduce some shrimp soon and it worries me.
Also, with this constent ammoina reading, will I be able to count my tank as cycled? Or no?
so we were mystified why the filter just stopped working... we checked the canister - fine. we look at the tubing for the intake an outflow and couldn't see anything, but decided just in case that we would unhook the tubes and rinse...VOILA! gunk! heaps and heaps of gunk! we couldn't see it because it was hiding in the bends of the clear filter & just looked like we were seeing the tank through the tube. long story short: check the tubing.

most people on this forum say if there is any ammonia, then it's not cycled or you have a problem. personally, i reckon i see a bit of ammonia about once a month. i think that dead 0ppm is really yellow and hard to mistake. but i have a basis for comparison because we have 1 established tank that is always that beautiful yellow colour and we can hold the tubes next to each other for the other tanks if we're not sure.

i think dead fry could be the culprit if your filter tubes are clean. dead fish are certainly a source of ammonia. on the upside, it feeds your BB colony and grows it. on the downside, it's dead fish and can get stinky & if there are too many, then your ammonia can spike to levels that will harm your fish.

imo, use prime for now and see if a day of fasting does anything...or try to find the dead fry. if you're not seeing nitrites, and your nitrates are there, then you're basically cycled. remember that adding any ammonia source - excess food, live fish, dead fish etc - can cause small spikes. so just add fish slowly if you're going to add fish. like 3-4 at a time, and don't massively increase the amount of food you give them. that's the key ime.
 

MoonsCow

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I’m not sure how often you are deep cleaning the sand but it could be hurting your cycle?(said every other time but wasn’t sure if you went off weekly or the almost every day water changes)
I’m currently using the same sand and most of my debris stays on top so just sucking up what’s on the surface(weekly in my case) is usually fine with perhaps one deeper clean a month.
 

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I agree with jenoli. Fast the fish /tank for a couple of days. It will not hurt your fish!! Then test.

Every weekend (80% of the time) I leave Friday evening and return Sunday night, my fish don’t eat for over 48 hours. I haven’t lost a fish in 4 months EXCEPT the 2 pregnant females I moved right before they gave birth, won’t do that again.

Good luck.
 

johnbetta

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um how old are your test kits thats my first question my second is are u on mains water or rain water and my third question is how do u clean your filter do u clean them with tape water or water from the tank i never clean my filters useing tap water i use water from my tank cheers john
 

Travis Bradbury

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0.25 can still cause damage.

From yesterday and today I've lost 3 fancy guppies, and 3 platies due to 0.25 ammonia readings.
Basically a fish got caught to my pre filter and died there. No idea how long he was there because he was hiding within the prefilter
Yesterday I woke up and seem 2 platies dead, then 2 guppies, another platy, and my last guppy died afew hours ago. There were all the oldest fish in the tank, so i assume low immune system, and i think 0.25 ammonia had them stressed, then they got really sick. All my younger fish weren't affected at all.

My advice is full tank dose prime daily to de-toxify the ammonia.. so thats under half a cap of prime daily(1 cap full does 50 gallon).
If your still seeing trace of ammonia its either in your tap(which you've ruled out), its beeing leeched somehow(dead fish, way too much extra food) OR the cycle just isn't done(which i think).
End of cycle life is typically very little ammonia, no nitrites and obviously nitrates, so though it might be 2 months, you might just be near the end of the cycle.

Edit: Don't introduce shrimp until your reading show normal cycled tank parameters.. so no ammonia, no nitrites and some nitrates. You'll just waste your money as shrimp arent all that hardy and like well established tank
 

JLeeM

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It's actually really hard to get that super bright lemon yellow for 0 ppm on the ammonia test. Like it almost never happens. Most people have to learn the difference between what their 0 and .25 looks like.

Now, with that being said, last time I was cycling a tank I had this same problem. After a while, I just dumped in another bottle of TSS. With a few days, that .25 was gone.
 

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What is your ph? Do you have a way to test for free ammonia vs all ammonia? Some lfs can do this for you. If it isnt free ammonia, you dont need to worry about it. I would ignore it if you still have it another month and nothing changes. Took my tank almost 6 months and a medication that killed off parts of my cycle for me to get that 0 ppm color.
 
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leannajayde

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Wraithen said:
What is your ph? Do you have a way to test for free ammonia vs all ammonia? Some lfs can do this for you. If it isnt free ammonia, you dont need to worry about it. I would ignore it if you still have it another month and nothing changes. Took my tank almost 6 months and a medication that killed off parts of my cycle for me to get that 0 ppm color.
There you are! I couldn't find my old post and with my nitrate finally lowering and my ammonia not changing, plus wanting to introduce shrimp at some point I've been getting more and more worried about my ammonia.
It hasn't been spot on .25 color in awhile, but its Definitly not all yellow enough to be 0. Ill see if my lfs will check for that and ill test my PH when I get home from work.

johnbetta said:
um how old are your test kits thats my first question my second is are u on mains water or rain water and my third question is how do u clean your filter do u clean them with tape water or water from the tank i never clean my filters useing tap water i use water from my tank cheers john
I bought my test kit less than two months ago. And I ALWAYS clean anything from the tank in old tap water during wc.
 

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Sorry, didnt even look at the poster lol. If memory serves you had a clear 0ppm from the tap correct?
 

johnbetta

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u should use api amonnia lock to help with your ammonia reading i had to do that but it was to late for my fish thats your best bet and cool your test kits should still be in date
 
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leannajayde

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Wraithen said:
Sorry, didnt even look at the poster lol. If memory serves you had a clear 0ppm from the tap correct?
Lol! Correct. The only thing coming from my tap is 5 nitrate.
The only thing I haven't cleaned since dosing the TSS is my sponge filter, which I'm a little traumatized from the last time I tried to clean it, it leeched awful dirty waste into my tank when I put it back in, so I've been putting off doing it again but maybe I should?.
Guppies had more babies last night, ugghh, im currently trying to find homes for my adult females because this isn't helping my water issues.
 

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I constantly get in between 0.1 and 0.25 ratings.

But there is no possible way that I have ammonia in my tank.

Sometimes test kits will give false readings. Just something I have to live with.
 

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leannajayde said:
Lol! Correct. The only thing coming from my tap is 5 nitrate.
The only thing I haven't cleaned since dosing the TSS is my sponge filter, which I'm a little traumatized from the last time I tried to clean it, it leeched awful dirty waste into my tank when I put it back in, so I've been putting off doing it again but maybe I should?.
Guppies had more babies last night, ugghh, im currently trying to find homes for my adult females because this isn't helping my water issues.
Keep on rolling but I suspect it's a false positive.
 

TexasGuppy

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Prime also causes false readings. There are tons of posts about it. Daily WC with prime and you'll never get a clean reading.
I would do a half dose, wait 48 hrs and check again.
 

Jenoli42

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CanadianJoeh said:
I constantly get in between 0.1 and 0.25 ratings.

But there is no possible way that I have ammonia in my tank.

Sometimes test kits will give false readings. Just something I have to live with.
I totally believe him. he's a perfectionist with his tanks.

i tend to think things like whether or not you have exactly 5ml in the test tube or the drops being exactly the same amount or shaking it for 5 full seconds all impact on ammonia readings.

having said that, we have one tank that has been stable with that bright yellow 0ppm colour for months now. so it's possible. lolz
 

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Jenoli42 said:
I totally believe him. he's a perfectionist with his tanks.

i tend to think things like whether or not you have exactly 5ml in the test tube or the drops being exactly the same amount or shaking it for 5 full seconds all impact on ammonia readings.

having said that, we have one tank that has been stable with that bright yellow 0ppm colour for months now. so it's possible. lolz
Agreed!

I’ve quit testing for ammonia in all of my tanks because of bright yellow repeatedly. Just test for nitrates.

But might test all6 tomorrow just for kicks. Gotta use it before it expires.
 

Kyleena696

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I noticed you said you have plants that have bits and pieces falling off. Is it possible you have an ammonia reading from decaying plant matter that isn't being removed?
 
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