Why wont my fish tank ammonia and nitrates go down?

FishOverseer909

So I've been trying to start up my 7.5 gallon that I let cycle for around 3 months and then put 5 cherry shrimp and 3 pygmy corydoras into and to my dismay the ammonia and nitrates just wont go down despite there now only being 2 cherry shrimp and 2 pygmy corydoras. P.S nitrates: 10ppm nitrites:0ppm ammonia: .50ppm
 

BigManAquatics

Nitrates usually won't go down except for plants and water changes. Source water may ne at around 10 nitrates anyway, which is a very small amount and should be far from dangerous for anything. The ammonia is more concerning. What are you testing with?
 

FishOverseer909

I'm testing with a api test kit
Also I forgot to mention my the abundant amount of floater plants that I have.(duckweed, salvinnia, and water lettuce)
 

StarGirl

What did you do to cycle it those 3 months? Were you adding ammonia, or were there fish in there?
 

Noroomforshoe

you want aome nitrates, it means your tank is cycled. 0 nitrates in a cycled tank is rare, and not needed. The ammonia seems high, is it possible that you have gotten a false reading? what happens if you test the tap water?
 

FishOverseer909

What did you do to cycle it those 3 months? Were you adding ammonia, or were there fish in there?
In order to cycle it I stuck one of my filter cartridges from my 4 year old 26 gallon and just left it there
 

Amatyi1

If you're ammonia levels are not reading zero, after the presents of nitrates (meaning your tank is cycled) it could mean your tank is overstocked or you're feeding them too much. Everything in a tank eventually turns to ammonia. When your plant loses leaves and they rot that turns to ammonia. The food you feed to your fish that doesn't get eaten rots and turns to ammonia. When you feed your fish and they pee that's ammonia. I recommend researching each fish species you have and how much to feed them and removing any uneaten food or plant debris by gravel vac. Also, your nitrates will only go down by doing partial water changes. The main thing you need to worry about is ammonia and nitrate though they are very dangerous to fish. Nitrates are safer in small numbers and when they get too high then you do a partial water change and lower them.
 

FishOverseer909

Well I did try to place a few anubias petite in only for them to melt and a few of my water lettuce leaves are deteriorating since theyre under water so perhaps that's it
 

StarGirl

In order to cycle it I stuck one of my filter cartridges from my 4 year old 26 gallon and just left it there
So the bacteria more than likely died with no source of ammonia to feed it. Basically you are doing a fish in cycle at this point. Keep an eye on your ammonia levels and change water accordingly. The shrimp may or may not make it through a cycle.
 

FishOverseer909

So the bacteria more than likely died with no source of ammonia to feed it. Basically you are doing a fish in cycle at this point. Keep an eye on your ammonia levels and change water accordingly. The shrimp may or may not make it through a cycle.
Well after a month I did place a nerite snail in there to keep the ammonia up I gave him away after I bought my pygmys
 

Amatyi1

Well I did try to place a few anubias petite in only for them to melt and a few of my water lettuce leaves are deteriorating since theyre under water so perhaps that's it
Absolutely. Everything that rots in a tank will turn to ammonia. Just do a good cleaning and a partial water change and you'll notice a difference. Never leave food that doesn't get eaten within a few minutes and feed less next time and remove any dead leaves when you see them.
 

StarGirl

Well after a month I did place a nerite snail in there to keep the ammonia up I gave him away after I bought my pygmys
I am not sure exactly how long the bacteria will live but a month may have been too long also. Plus 1 snail is not going to supply enough ammonia to make up for adding 3 cories and some shrimp. Know what I mean? It still would have to catch up and maybe mini cycle.

You definitely had the right idea going... just the wrong timing. :)
 

Amatyi1

So the bacteria more than likely died with no source of ammonia to feed it. Basically you are doing a fish in cycle at this point. Keep an eye on your ammonia levels and change water accordingly. The shrimp may or may not make it through a cycle.
If his tank is showing the presence of nitrates then his bacteria didn't die, he's just getting higher ammonia levels from food and plants rotting. That's how you know your aquarium is cycled when your test shows the presence of nitrates. That means that bacteria has converted your ammonia into nitrites and another bacteria has converted the nitrites into nitrates.
 

StarGirl

If his tank is showing the presence of nitrates then his bacteria didn't die, he's just getting higher ammonia levels from food and plants rotting. That's how you know your aquarium is cycled when your test shows the presence of nitrates. That means that bacteria has converted your ammonia into nitrites and another bacteria has converted the nitrites into nitrates.
You also can have nitrates in your tap water.
 

FishOverseer909

Ok well I usually feed my shrimp/corys an algae flake piece and it usually disappears in a few hours so I sort of doubt it's food but what should I do with the anubias and the few water lettuce leaves that are rotting
 

StarGirl

Ok well I usually feed my shrimp/corys an algae flake piece and it usually disappears in a few hours so I sort of doubt it's food but what should I do with the anubias and the few water lettuce leaves that are rotting
Take them out so they dont decompose any more than they are.
 

FishOverseer909

Take them out so they dont decompose any more than they are.
Well what about the water lettuce leaves the plants are quite healthy it's just the leaves some times rot so should I just trim those off or do I have to remove the whole plant
 

StarGirl

Well what about the water lettuce leaves the plants are quite healthy it's just the leaves some times rot so should I just trim those off or do I have to remove the whole plant
Some leaves won't hurt much if you are keeping up on the testing and water changes. You could try to snip off the dying leaf and see how that works.
 

Amatyi1

You also can have nitrates in your tap water.
Yes but they are usually .005 ppm they help with cycling your water and establishing your bacteria colony but you will never see 10 PPM nitrates in tap water. You get very small readings of nitrates in tap water from soil run off. When you're nitrates are testing 10 PPM that is when your tank is fully cycled or close to fully cycled.
Ok well I usually feed my shrimp/corys an algae flake piece and it usually disappears in a few hours so I sort of doubt it's food but what should I do with the anubias and the few water lettuce leaves that are rotting
I would definitely take out the lettuce that is rotting and any plants that are rotting as well, all of that will turn into ammonia.
Well what about the water lettuce leaves the plants are quite healthy it's just the leaves some times rot so should I just trim those off or do I have to remove the whole plant
Yes you just want to trim the dead parts. Healthy leaf's will help your tank dead leaf's turn into ammonia.
 

StarGirl

Yes but they are usually .005 ppm they help with cycling your water and establishing your bacteria colony but you will never see 10 PPM nitrates in tap water. You get very small readings of nitrates in tap water from soil run off. When you're nitrates are testing 10 PPM that is when your tank is fully cycled or close to fully cycled.
I am very well aware of how a cycle works....And yes we have seen tap water well over 10 ppm. Especially in tap water around farming communities or in other countries. Its not very often but it happens more than you would think. Never is a strong word for the fish keeping world. The Op has not tested his/her tap water yet.
 

jpm995

Having low levels of nitrates is normal. If it goes over .30 do a large water change. The ammo may be a problem. It should be zero. Check your tap water for ammonia, utilities supplying water often have some level of ammonia. I remember some old threads on here where people were reporting .50 ppm of ammo in their tap water.
 

Amatyi1

I am very well aware of how a cycle works....And yes we have seen tap water well over 10 ppm. Especially in tap water around farming communities or in other countries. Its not very often but it happens more than you would think. Never is a strong word for the fish keeping world. The Op has not tested his/her tap water yet.
I stand corrected. The legal limit in the US is 10 PPM with the legal limit in the UK being 50 PPM. I'm glad I test my tap water and there is just a tiny amount. I wouldn't drink my tap water if there was 10 PPM nitrates in it but I would definitely want to know. High levels of nitrates in drinking water causes a lot of health problems and is overall gross. You definitely want to test your tap water for nitrates and if it's 10 PPM buy bottled water to drink.
 

StarGirl

I stand corrected. The legal limit in the US is 10 PPM with the legal limit in the UK being 50 PPM. I'm glad I test my tap water and there is just a tiny amount. I wouldn't drink my tap water if there was 10 PPM nitrates in it but I would definitely want to know. High levels of nitrates in drinking water causes a lot of health problems and is overall gross. You definitely want to test your tap water for nitrates and if it's 10 PPM buy bottled water to drink.
We usually will advise RO water or bottled water for drinking and tanks at that point. :) Or the use of Nitrazorb in a separate tank to remove the Nitrate before adding to the tank.

Search "tap water nitrates" there are tons of threads with this issue.
 

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