View Full Version : Ammonia levels through the roof

01-05-2009, 05:18 AM
I have a 29 gal fresh water tank, I started in Oct 08. I'm running an under gravel filter with a aqua 50 power head, off market 60 wet/dry filter, an skelter250 power filter, what happens is I seem to get a complete cycle and added a few basic fish (mollies) everything going good than my PH suddenly falls off below 7.0, than my ammonia levels go high 4.0ppm and I got sudden death. I changed the water completely started the tank up and again all good readings added fish. All my levels were good did a 10% water change and my PH fell off. 8 PPM ammonia and the tank has been maintaing this level now for 2 weeks no fish. I have readings on nirite of .50 PPM, and nitrate of 5.0 PPM. Question am I in a cycling period or do I need to do something

01-05-2009, 05:29 AM
Welcome to the AC!
I would start with a 50% water change,never a complete water change.
You want your readings to be 0ammonia,0 nitrites,up to 20ppm nitrates!
ph should remain steady and it will be fine.Its bad when it fluxuates.

01-05-2009, 06:37 AM
What exactly is your pH, I experienced a similar problem when cycling my tank and was told that a pH crash may cause the cycle to become dormant. Mine was stuck for weeks on the same numbers also. Adding some baking soda to bring up pH got it started back up again.

01-05-2009, 12:03 PM
I'd to a water change to get the Ammonia back down to 5ppm. The cycle can stall if the Ammonia is too high...

01-05-2009, 10:58 PM
When the PH falls off I was getting readings around 6.7, I was first trying to change with chemical PH up but was getting no results just few hours of 7.2 PH level. I went to the LFS and they told me to use baking soda which gave me better results and my PH would hang around 7.2 for several days than start falling off. I've been adding baking soda every few days to maintain the higher PH reading. However my ammonia has been steady climbing my reading were so dark green I thing it went off the chart 8.0 PPM. So today I did a 50% water change and cleaned the gravel. Retested 2 hr later and my ammonia reading was down around 4-5 PPM My Nitrite level was just about 0 a small trace element, Nitrate is now 20ppm. also I turned up my heater to raise the tank temp to 86 degrees I'm trying that to see if the warmer temp helps with cycling

01-05-2009, 11:07 PM
Your tank has got to be cycled by now its been 3 months.
What are using to filter?
Have you ever rinsed out your filter?
Did you use old tank water or tap to rinse?

01-05-2009, 11:20 PM
Something is causing the tank to recycle...Since you have no fish now, it's a perfect opportunity to let it finish. Maintain Ammonia at 5ppm. When Nitrites appear, keep the Ammonia at 3ppm. When NitrAtes appear, you're ready to do a water change and add fish. Ph fluctuates with a cycling tank...A ph of 6.7 shouldn't be a problem for most fish, unless you want African Cichlids, or other fish that require high ph. Most fish will adjust to the 6.7 ph, but they won't survive the flucuations that the baking soda will cause...

01-06-2009, 01:10 AM
I have clean both the power filter and the wet/dry filter several times, replaced filter pads, and hand rinsed the bio-balls. all in cold tap water (city) treated the tank as a new start-up adding salt and water conditioner.

01-06-2009, 02:10 AM
Ah...that's why the cycle is starting over. By removing the filter media and replacing them, you have removed all the beneficial bacteria. Rinsing any media in tap water exposes the bacteria to chlorine, and kills it. You are starting a new cycle...

Lady Hobbs
01-06-2009, 02:13 AM
Your tank was not cycled or you wouldn't be having ammonia or nitrites readings. You stated your tank appeared to be cycled so you added some fish. A tank can only be cycled if it has a source of ammonia:
A) pure ammonia added daily (fishless cycle)
B) or the ammonia you get from using live fish

If you are trying to cycle now using live fish, I would suggest getting the Tetra SafeStart and add to your tank to help keep those toxins from becoming to high and killing your stock.

01-06-2009, 02:15 AM
Next time you rinse the filter ,do it while you are doing a water change.Just rinse it in the old tank water.
Never in tap water!
Let the filter cycle now and than add fish as soon as it is done.

01-08-2009, 10:52 PM
My Ammonia levels were still climbing over 8.0 PPM so I did another 50 % water change and my ammonia level decreased to around 5-6 PPM. Today I checked and my ammonia level was climbing again so I did a 2 gallon water charge and brought it down again around 5 PPM. I Need Help

Lady Hobbs
01-08-2009, 11:48 PM
Your ammonia should not be climbing like that unless you are adding ammonia or have a dead fish in there somewhere. Ammonia increasing like this is near impossible.

01-09-2009, 12:01 AM
Your ammonia should not be climbing like that unless you are adding ammonia or have a dead fish in there somewhere. Ammonia increasing like this is near impossible.
I agree!
Have you checked your tap water yet?

01-09-2009, 12:10 AM
Could the under gravel filter be a problem? I've heard they can be a real mess underneath....

01-09-2009, 12:16 AM
Could the under gravel filter be a problem? I've heard they can be a real mess underneath....
Nice one!That could very well be it!
I forgot about that.If this is an on going problem and you have tried everything out than I suggest you remove it!They do tend to trap a lot of debris.
A lot of people have that same problem but that was a while ago.
What do you have powering the UGF?
Do you have a secondary filter running?