What am I doing wrong? Can't lower ammonia

cousinav
  • #1
My tank is now about 5-6 weeks old. It's a 10 gallon tank with only 2 little neon tetras in it. I put Biospira in the tank about a week and a half ago. The nitrites are at zero, the nitrates are between 5 and 10, but the ammonia is back up to 1 ppm from about .5. I changed the carbon 3 days ago. What am I doing wrong? Why would the ammonia still be so high? I was away for 2 and a half days and left some of that gel pack weekend food in there which I don't think they even touched. Could the food have spiked the ammonia? I just don't know what to try anymore. Shouldn't the bacteria be doing it's thing by now?
 
Shawnie
  • #2
HI cousinav...the carbon, after so many weeks, just releases the ammonia it removes back into the tank....carbon gets old and does this...most don't use carbon unless they are removing meds....fish feeders aren't that great either I just feed my guys before I leave and a couple days of not eating, doesn't hurt them...I'm not sure if the feeder did it or the carbon or none of the above, but do a 50% water change and try to keep the faith with bio spira..it says not to test for 7-10 days so everything can adjust...you are just in a minI cycle or at the end of your cycle, because you don't have nitrites and you do have nitrates...goodluck!
 
sirdarksol
  • #3
Yes, it should have. The food could have spiked the ammonia, but the bacteria should have taken care of that, as well.
Have you used anything like ammo-lock or Amquel? These chemicals sometimes mess with ammonia readings.
Sorry, unsure beyond this.
 
cousinav
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
The only thing I used was Prime. I changed the carbon b/c I thought it would help with the ammonia. It was brand new carbon 3 days ago. I guess I'll do a 50% water change with the Prime, remove the carbon and cross my fingers.
 
Shawnie
  • #5
I know its so frustrating...but your fish will appreciate it...your tank isn't that big so it should remedy quickly...50% changes daily, treated with prime of course, and in no time it should all balance out...I didnt know about any of the nitrogen cycle before this site, and I have a 75 gallon with fish that I had to take care of...it took me 9 weeks to cycle it ....phew I don't miss that a bit! what test kit are you using?
 
cousinav
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I have the API Master Kit. Should I start vacuuming the gravel again? It sure needs it but I was avoiding doing so after adding the biospira.
 
Shawnie
  • #7
id just do a lite surface vacuum....great on the apI test kit....just try not to get too frustrated...
 
Alaska
  • #8
High ammonia

First off, do a water change... maybe 25%, with gravel vaccing. Test your tap water for ammonia to make sure it isn't causing a problem.
Now wait a while. If the ammonia still hasn't gone down, your test kit may be faulty. Buy a new one.
If you continue to have a problem, do a more thorough cleaning. Scrub the filters, gravel etc (no soap!). You could also try adding some hardy plants like java fern and such. Plants use ammonia and nitri/ates as a fertilizer (google silent cycle). As long as you don't buy fancy ones they shouldn't need extra lighting.
Good luck!
 
Shawnie
  • #9
NOOOOOOOOOOOO you never wanna clean the filters..gravel..etc while cycleing...or even if u arent...you will cause a minI cycle...never clean anything fully just rinse it in old tank water when you do water changes...
 
Alaska
  • #10
NOOOOOOOOOOOO you never wanna clean the filters..gravel..etc while cycleing...or even if u arent...you will cause a minI cycle...never clean anything fully just rinse it in old tank water when you do water changes...

Accumulated mulm in filters and in the gravel can cause ammonia spikes. I assure you that there's nothing wrong with scrubbing the parts down in dechlorinated tap water with an algae sponge that has never been used for non-aquarium purposes.
 
Shawnie
  • #11
all the GOOD bacteria is mainly in your filter and filter media...scrubbing that at any degree of pressure or with anything other than rinseing it in used tank water, will either totally mess up your cycle, or start a minI cycle all over...it will kill the beneficial bacteria ...I agree a lite vacuum of the surface for extra poo, or food is ok...but not a total cleaning
 
angelfish220
  • #12
Normally you could get away with it but now it can disrupt the bacteria cousinav is desperatly trying to grow.

did you vacuum latly before the ammonia spike? I would just let is set unless it gets really bad, then just suck some gunk off the top nothing more. Dont do anything that can disrupt bacteria and keep doing big water changes.
 
Alaska
  • #13
all the GOOD bacteria is mainly in your filter and filter media...scrubbing that at any degree of pressure or with anything other than rinseing it in used tank water, will either totally mess up your cycle, or start a minI cycle all over...it will kill the beneficial bacteria ...I agree a lite vacuum of the surface for extra poo, or food is ok...but not a total cleaning
Which is why you don't replace all the filter media at the same time. We're talking about a very lightly stocked tank- 10 gallon with only 2 neon tetras (by the way, if you want to see better schooling behavior about 6 or more is the recommended amount of small tetras like P. innesi)- a good cleaning isn't going to hurt it much and it could help significantly.
Cousinav- has the tank always contained just the two fish, or have you had a loss recently?
 
angelfish220
  • #14
I think that he got the fish, and then learned about the nitrogen cycle, and is waiting for his tank to cycle before he gets any more.
 
cousinav
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I lost quite a few fish. Those are the only two that survived the cycling and I didn't want to add any more until it was finished.

I haven't vacuumed the gravel in over two weeks. When I add water, a lot of schmutz starts floating around. I try to scoop it up with the net. Maybe that's enough for now until the cycle finishes.

My kids are eager to get more fish but they will just have to wait. I hate disappointing the little ones (fish and humans).
 
Shawnie
  • #16
I lost a lot also from not knowing...but good that you know now and are waiting.........you are doing everything right and I'm sure it will happen fast with just 10 gallons
 
Alaska
  • #17
I think that he got the fish, and then learned about the nitrogen cycle, and is waiting for his tank to cycle before he gets any more.

Ah yes, well I would certainly agree that you should hold off until everything is fixed! It just popped into my head, and I figured I'd mention it.
I assume that when the fish died, you removed them immediately? I've had cases where people are complaining about mysterious ammonia spikes, and I said, 'hey, poke around under the rocks and plants' and voilà, they found a little fish body that was rotting. Anything's possible.
 
sirdarksol
  • #18
NOOOOOOOOOOOO you never wanna clean the filters..gravel..etc while cycleing...or even if u arent...you will cause a minI cycle...never clean anything fully just rinse it in old tank water when you do water changes...

Agreed on the filters, disagreed on the gravel.
Vacuuming the gravel does minimal harm to the cycle, but greatly helps lower the nitrogen released into the tank.
 
Shawnie
  • #19
Agreed on the filters, disagreed on the gravel.
Vacuuming the gravel does minimal harm to the cycle, but greatly helps lower the nitrogen released into the tank.

agrees LOL I meant the deep thourough cleaning alaska was talking about
 
susitna-flower
  • #20
The only thing I used was Prime. I changed the carbon b/c I thought it would help with the ammonia. It was brand new carbon 3 days ago. I guess I'll do a 50% water change with the Prime, remove the carbon and cross my fingers.

If you will read this link you will see what has happened to your tank. As Sir said with the bio-spira even if you did have uneaten food and an ammonia spike the bacteria should have taken care of it....this link describes in good detail what is going on.



So you must do the water changes, or add prime...now that the bacteria to convert ammonia is disrupted it is rather like you never used the bio-spira.....sorry this has happened.
 
Shawnie
  • #21
but it was a week n a half after that he used prime with a water change..that's not enough time for the bio spira to work? hmmm I'm confused now LOL which don't take much
 
cousinav
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
I had gone a full week after adding the Biospira without adding/changing water or using Prime. I added water (enough to fill what had evaporated and replace a little that was lost when the tank had to be moved -- Water was drained and the same water was returned to the tank but some was lost) and Prime on Friday, a full 8 days after adding the Biospira.

I would be willing to buy more biospira if I thought it would help.
 
susitna-flower
  • #23
All I am saying is for a seasoned, old tank Prime is great....OR if you have issues with heavey metals in your water, but if you are using it in a new tank because of ammonia issues....don't if you have used bio-spira.....

If you need to add water, or change water in a new tank with bio-spira in it use a different conditioner, one recommended by the manufacturer of bio-spira.....something proven not to disrupt the cycle....

The bio-spira just seeds your tank, it is a very delicate balance for the first couple of months, keeping all the bacteria healthy and growing...
 
Evelyn1919
  • #24
sustsina-flower is right. I once heard that you should not use prime with bio spira because it might mess up the cycle. prime makes the ammonia non-toxic for fish but the bacteria in bio spira can't use it therefor it will die and not do much to cycle your tank.
you should really try to get some other water conditioner if you want to use bio spira again. otherwise just keep doing water changes.
I used bio spira to cycle my tank and it worked great but then when adding more fish the entire cycle got screwed up and since i've been just doing daily water changes.
bio spira is very good I just stoped buying it because at my LFS they only had little packages and it was costing me almost twice as much which by the way I had gotten 3 times enough for 90gals. for your little tank it should be worth it just make sure to buy another water conditioner.
also if you use bio spira again you should wait a few days and do 50% water changes to get rid of the prime in the water so that when adding bio spira most of the prime will be gone and the beneficial bacteria will be able to feed on the right form of ammonia.


good luck with your tank!!!
 
Evelyn1919
  • #25
just one question. would anybody know if it's bad to be using prime when the tank is cycling without bio spira?
i'm still cycling my tank after 3 months (with fish in it) and I started using prime. after doing 40% water changes (every day) in my tank the ammonia still doesn't go down so is prime maybe disrupting my cycle?
any information would be appreciated.
 
susitna-flower
  • #26
just one question. would anybody know if it's bad to be using prime when the tank is cycling without bio spira?
i'm still cycling my tank after 3 months (with fish in it) and I started using prime. after doing 40% water changes (every day) in my tank the ammonia still doesn't go down so is prime maybe disrupting my cycle?
any information would be appreciated.

If you have ammonia, prime will de-toxify it for the fish, up to a point, but it will still read on your tests....I worry also about your question myself. There are times when you really have to use it, and as I said, I would worry less on a WELL established tank.
 
susitna-flower
  • #27
First off, do a water change... maybe 25%, with gravel vaccing. Test your tap water for ammonia to make sure it isn't causing a problem.
Now wait a while. If the ammonia still hasn't gone down, your test kit may be faulty. Buy a new one.
If you continue to have a problem, do a more thorough cleaning. Scrub the filters, gravel etc (no soap!). You could also try adding some hardy plants like java fern and such. Plants use ammonia and nitri/ates as a fertilizer (google silent cycle). As long as you don't buy fancy ones they shouldn't need extra lighting.
Good luck!

HI, ALASKA! WELCOME TO FISHLORE!

Be sure to stop by the welcome page and tell us something about yourself.....Juneau!....I like your design....

The nitrogen cycle is probably the #1 problem we help with here on fishlore. Our general recommendations, especially for a new tank would be to NOT scrub anything....we want to grow that good bacteria on all surfaces. Rinsing filter media in discarded tank water is safe, no chlorine, not to hot OR cold....

I do agree plants will help, but in this particular case there are other problems going on, and short of seeding the tank with bacteria from an established tank, using bio-spira, or turbo-700, it is just a matter of feeding the tank, (fish), water changes, and waiting it out.....
 
cousinav
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
I did a 50% water change (with Prime, oops) yesterday and again today (without Prime). Ammonia down to .25 but nitrates still less than 10 (but more than 5). Nitrites zero. Should I skip the water change tomorrow and see how it goes or continue until the ammonia gets to zero? If I hadn't used the Biospira I would just continue with the water changes, but I'm not sure what to do now.
 
Shawnie
  • #29
daily changes until you get zero...your bacteria isn't in the water so you are ok changing it ...its getting there!!
 

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