Can't get ammonia down
New tank owner and I made a LOT of mistakes. i had another post "911" but haven't seen any new responses so I thought I'd try a new post.
My new tank is cycling (with fish) but I can not get ammonia levels down. I have changed 60-65% of water each day (with prime). I tested our water to see if it was high in ammonia or something but it is not. Is there anything else I can do?
I do not believe I am overfeeding either. I give them VERY little 2x a day and they eat it all.
All my other levels are okay.
5 gallon tank (around 2.5 weeks old)
2 male junior fancy guppies (I had a cory but he did die a few days ago)
filter, heater, air stone.
The ammonia just got this high right after the cory died. It was at .25 or lower the rest of the time Cory was found on Sunday and that is when levels spiked. I test daily. I also tried a ammonia tablet yesterday but the numbers are still 1.00 today.
Personally I would just continue doing the daily partial water changes until the ammonia gets under control. This has worked for me in the past. Do you know how long the cory stayed dead in the tank before you found it?
I don't use chemicals to deal with issues like this, so if I were in this situation I would just continue with the water changes (maybe a little less than 50% daily however...) until the filter has a chance to grow its bacteria.
Other aquarists here will be more aware of how to advise you on the use of chemicals.
I would try changing the water more than once a day, especially if ammonia is that high.
If this were my tank, I'd change the water, test in about an hour, change again a few hours later, test again in an hour...repeat until the reading is down to .25 (all in a day) - in a tank that size, that'll take you about, umm, 10min each time? My quarantine tank is that size and I love changing the water because it takes no time at all compared to my 46 gal.
You need to be aware that the smaller the tank, the faster toxins build up in it so you have to keep on top of this while the tank is cycling - a dead fish means decay and ammonia so you need to provide clean water to remove what you dont' want in there.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
+1 to doing larger water changes. Not like it's really hard on a 5G anyways.
Da name's Paul. Not Dave. ROFL
Learn to give and take. That's how things should always work.
Never thought about "bumping" the post. I don't belong to forums so i'm new to this type of thing as well as to having an aquarium.
To answer your questions the cory was alive when I went to bed and I found him in the morning so maybe 12hrs MAX but probably less. I immediately did a 70% water change.
I didn't think about changing the water several times a day but I will try that. It doesn't take much time at all. It has dropped a little bit but I will start changing the water more often to get it lower.
I am testing with API freshwater master kit. I test everything but the high PH based on what some others on here have told me!
Hoping I can get this down!
What are you using for a filter? If your ammonia is high and you do not do a large enough water change, your ammonia will still be high. You must do those water changes and do not be afraid to do almost the whole tank if it's necessary to keep those fish alive. You can take it right down to 75-80% water change but you must replace it with the same temp you removed. It would be best to do a 50% and perhaps an hour later another 50%.
Make sure you use your de-chlorinator after EVERY water change and enough to treat the whole tank even if you are only changing half the tank. Do NOT clean the filter media.
Something seems wrong to me because I can not see how 2 guppies can spike your water like that. What kind of a tester are you using, paper strips or liquid? Also......your fish do not need to be fed twice a day especially when trying to cycle a tank. If they are fed just a "pinch" of food every other day for now, they are just fine. Rotting food in the bottom of the tank also causes ammonia to rise.
Do not add ammonia reducers. Let the water changes do that. I am curious why you are not showing any nitrites level yet. According to your other post, you have had these ammonia levels since Nov 4th. You should have been having nitrites by now and should have been having them after about 5-7 days.
I will close your other post so you do not have two posts going at once on the same subject. Almost everything that has been written here is also in the Cycling with Fish thread.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 11-17-2012 at 12:33 PM.
I just read through your other thread to see if something was missing here and I'm more confused than ever.
On 11-4, you reported you had ammonia of .25 but nitrates of 160. Since you first have nitrites and then nitrates, it sounds as your tank was just about cycled at that time or you would not have had those nitrates.
On 11-6, it was suggested you stop using that ammonia reducer.
On 11-7, you reported 0 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates.
So how did we go from a tank that was almost cycled on the 7th to a tank on the 15th that has ammonia readings of 1.0 again, huge water changes and ammonia reducers again?
There's only a couple ways a tank can lose it's cycle and that would be:
1.....forgetting the de-chlorinator
2.....cleaning out the filter media removing the bacteria...or...
3.....the gravel is loaded with uneaten food, producing a ton of ammonia that the filters can not keep up with. (That would also be a reason the nitrates spiked all the way to 160)
4......or the addition of new fish
5......or a pH that crashed that does not apply to you
I generally will always tell someone to never clean their gravel during a cycle but in your case, I am going to say just the opposite. If you did not add more fish, always added water conditioner and did not clean out your filter media.....then this is the only other thing that can be causing your ammonia to rise like it is. There is just no way that two little fish can cause levels of 1.0 ammonia almost overnight.
Always add the water conditioner to the tank BEFORE adding the new water or to the bucket so it goes in the tank at the same time as the new water.
I'm not trying to give you a hard time here but trying to get to the solution.
How much are you feeding? Are you just dumping in massive amounts of food?