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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Default First tank -- need help getting ammonia down


    0 Not allowed!
    Hi all -

    I'm brand new to this, so thanks for your patience with my newbie questions.

    I have a 20 gallon tank that I started cycling (no fish) January 4. I used Seachem Stability, per its instructions, for 7 days. I added 3 dwarf gouramis on January 11 (one week later).

    I have been doing 25% water changes weekly. I use tap water and add Prime conditioner each time. I keep the temperature around 78-80 degrees.

    The fish were doing great, but then I left for vacation in late January and I think the petsitter over-fed them, because I came back to a tank with cotton fungus, and two of the three fish died. I treated the tank with an anti-fungal, and one fish survived. So now I'm down to one male dwarf gourami. I am eager to add more fish, but I can't do that until my ammonia comes down.

    On February 7, my ammonia reading was between 1-2 ppm. I started doing twice-weekly 25% water changes for two weeks. After two weeks, the ammonia had only come down to between 0.5-1 ppm. I went back to once weekly water changes.

    On the suggestion of my local fish store, I added API Ammo Chips in a media bag to my filter. (It's a hang over the tank filter.)

    After two weeks of using the Ammo Chips, my ammonia is still almost 0.5 ppm. Virtually no change.

    I just checked the rest of my levels as well. Nitrate = 0. Nitrite = 0.25 ppm. pH is off the charts. My test kit only goes as high as 8.8, and I'm definitely at least that high. (I don't know why I didn't think to test that before.)

    So, basically, I have some kind of mutant gourami who can tolerate the worst water conditions. Poor guy. I'm certain I'm not overfeeding him. I watch him carefully as he eats and only feed as much as he can finish in a couple of minutes.

    Any suggestions for how to fix my tank so I can get my little guy some buddies? I looked on some forums that seemed to indicate I should do more water changes. Then my friend who is an avid aquarist said I should do fewer water changes. I don't know whom to believe. Help!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Hi and welcome. Hay you read this thread.
    http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
    it will help you understand how to cycle your tank with fish. We could use more info on tank like. What type of substrate, decor and such. Also have you tested your tap water for pH . To do put some water in a clean container and let it sit for 24 hrs. Then test it for pH and ammonia.
    Fishes go "pook pook"
    my spell check went on vaction.
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  3. #3

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    You did not cycle your tank before adding fish. This is why you are getting ammonia build up.

    +1 to the recommendation of reading the fishing with fish thread here (the link posted above)

    That will provide you with the info you need to deal with this situation
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  4. #4

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    That link was helpful, thanks. It says, though, to do no cleaning of the gravel.... What exactly does that mean? Should I continue to vacuum out the waste with my water changes?

    As for the rest of the stuff in my tank, I have a hearty base of gravel, several fake plants, two fake coral things, and a couple of other ornaments. I also have a bubbler, which I don't use all the time.

    I have set aside some tap water for testing tomorrow.

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Sorry about the apisto... - Slaphppy7   

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Do a big 50% water change now...then at least a30% water change daily until the ammonia levels drop. Then go to 10-15% every other day for a week. Then go to 25% weekly. Don't clean all the gravel every time and...just a third ... let the good bacteria build. Also don't over clean your filter media...swish it in the dirty tank water to remove debris.
    Fingers crossed it comes down x

  6. #6

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    4 Not allowed!
    When cycling with fish, you should base the amount of the waterchange on your test results changing enough water to bring the levels back down to 0.25ppm or less. There are very few rules of thumb for exact water change amounts that can be accuratley applied to all situations.

    For example, if your ammonia or nitrite is at 0.5ppm, you will need to complete a 50% water change to lower the levels back down to 0.25ppm. If the ammonia or nitrite was at 1ppm, then you will need to complete a 75% water change to lower it back down to 0.25ppm.

    In extreme situations (which this situation is close to), more than one waterchanged could be needed. If the ammonia and/or nitrite levels were to reach 2ppm, then two 75% water changes completed within about 20 minutes of each other would be required. However, once you are checking your ammonia and nitrite levels daily and staying on top of any required daily waterchanges, you should not find yourself in this situation.

    Once cycled, you should based your routine water change amount on the nitrate levels before the waterchange to bring the level back down to 20ppm or less.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  7. #7

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Even if your tap water shows a low reading for ammonia, the beneficial bacteria you are growing in your filter will eventually "eat" that ammonia too along with what your fish produce.

    Don't bother purchasing special things for your filter - water changes are what is needed to maintain good water parameters. That and cleaning your filter properly (to keep nitrates low).

  8. #8

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    1 Not allowed!
    Also, any ammonia in your tap water will be rendered harmless by the Prime

    My tap water measures 1 ppm of ammonia, and I never have issues after I'm cycled

    And Imma24 is exactly correct....water changes are your friend, done properly they never hurt, but they always help
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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  9. #9

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    2 Not allowed!
    Cliff gave you the advice you need to follow. Water changes, water changes, water changes - the only way to keep the ammonia and nitrites under control while cycling with fish.
    75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Whiptail Cats, Wild Caught BNP
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  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you all. I will be diligent about the water changes. Any guess about how long this process will take?

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