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Old 12-10-2011, 07:28 PM   #1
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Unhappy Ammonia levels won't go down

Hi guys

I am getting desperate here and was hoping if anyone can help as even my local fish store won't give me any valuable advice, at least one that made a difference.

I started my aquarium in September. It is a tropical aquarium of 60 litres currently just having 3 corydoras, gravel and a few live plants, some rocks and one plastic plant. When I first installed the tank I let it with no fish cycling for about 1 month. Then I took water to the fish shop and got it tested. The result as the guy said was perfect and was allowed to add my first fish. I only put a pair of dwarf gouramis. As I am only a beginner I did ask for hardy fish, as I realised the hard way gouramis are not.about 2 weeks later I added the 3 corydoras. My gouramis got sick within a month. The female got White spots and the male got an ulcer. I tried melafix and the White spot treatment and nothing. My female died first the male although got the ulcer was very lively.

The pet shop gave me medicine for internal bacteria. So I tried that.I tested the water before I put the medicine in and all was perfect then added the medicine. I was Away for 2 days on a trip and my sis was taking care of the fish. I came back to find my gourami extremely ill looking, complete change within 2 days. Tested water and all reading was on the top. My gourami died the next day. Since then started doing pwc every day. Nitrite turned quickly to zero and nitrate back to 0-20 but ammonia cannot get it down ten days now. My corys initially were getting to surface frequently for air then the last 5 days seemed again relaxed and lively as usual. Although ammonia is still high. Today I saw bubbles on the surface and fishes started behaving nervously again. I did the usual pwc but ammonia still high. I had to use the ammo lock, although I read iti is to be avoided but thought it was an emergency. Also used ammo lock twice when I first detected the high ammonia. I tested the tap water and has 0 ammomia. Honestly don't know what else tp do. I read that medicine could possibly have killed my good bacteria and tank is cycling again. But after 10 days shouldn't have seen a difference in ammonia levels. One more thing pet shop gave me a bottle to boost bacteria. Don't think made any difference.

Really counting on some solid advice.

Many thanks
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome.

Sounds like your tank wasn't cycled when the fish went in, so the main thing now is water changes and testing your water.
How big are the water changes you are doing? Do you have your own test kit and how much are you feeding?
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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I am testing on a daily basis since the spike. The nitrite was high the first 2 days then got down to zero. The nitrate went down to zero for days then today I tested and are 40. Ammonia is always really high. I didmt feed the fish for the first 2 days then only added 2-3 pellets per day. Water changes of 30% daily.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
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What test kit and dechlorinator are you using and what are latest parameters?
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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Using the api test kit that has testing for ammonia nitrite nitrate and ph. Then the stress coat to dechlorinate and also adding once a week the tetra easy balance. Last reading today 0 nitrates, 7.4 ph, 40 nitrates and ammonia off the roof. I already did a water change and didn't help. I tested water after i dechlorinated and before I put it in and ammonia was zero. Can I make a second water change on the same day and within hours?
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
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Hi, nothing wrong with your test kit or dechlorinator. Yes you can do another water change, sometimes its only frequent water changes that make the difference. Did you manage to get the dead fish out of the water fairly quickly, because leaving them can cause spikes. Your right about the bottled bacteria, best way is to get some filter medium from somewhere.
There are some good articles on here for both fish in and fishless cycles, have a look at some of them, they might help.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot for advice. What kind of additional medium would you recommend? I obviously have the sponge in the filter which i only wash in tank water once a month.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:06 PM   #8
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Hi and welcome! Sorry about your fish. When you say you let the tank cycle for a month, did you add an ammonia source or just let the tank run? If you just let the tank run it wasn't properly cycled so now you're cycling with fish and they're likely dying due to ammonia poisoning.

You're going to need to do larger more frequent water changes to get those levels down. How high is ammonia exactly? you want to keep doing water changes until it gets down to <.25 on the test kit. So you can start with a 60 or 70% water change, wait a half hour then test. If ammonia is still over .25, do another water change of at least 50%, wait, then retest,, and keep doing this until ammonia is close to 0. Then each day test twice per day and any time those levels rise do water change(s) to get them down. There's a link in my signature: new tank with fish. It'll guide you through.

I'd also recommend to stop adding things like ammo lock and the bacteria product. Also your fish don't likely need meds either. Frequent water changes with clean dechlorinated water will help your fish through the cycle. Just don't add any more fish until the cycle completes.

When we say seeded media, any filter media (pads, sponges, ceramic rings etc) that have been in a filter for a long time that's already cycled and running on a tank with fish will help seed your filter with the bacteria you need to cycle. You can cycle without it, but if you can get some it'll speed up the process. Just make sure the tank you get it from is healthy or else you risk introducing diseases into your tank. Good luck!
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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Thank you library girl. Basically when I set up the tank the fish shop supplied ,me with water and gravel from one of their tanks to speed up the process taken that bacteria already existed in there. I will keep doing changes. I am just praying my fishes will make it. Will bottle water help at all? Instead of using tap.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukbliss View Post
Thank you library girl. Basically when I set up the tank the fish shop supplied ,me with water and gravel from one of their tanks to speed up the process taken that bacteria already existed in there. I will keep doing changes. I am just praying my fishes will make it. Will bottle water help at all? Instead of using tap.
That would have been a good start with the gravel from the fish store but without an ammonia source to feed the bacteria it all likely died within that month, sorry to say. Unless your tap water is extremely high in ammonia or nitrite or nitrate then I'd say no, keep using your tap water. Your fish should start doing better if you increase the water changes as mentioned above. Fish-in cycles are doable but can be a lot of work; if you're committed to it, your fish should pull through fine. Let us know if we can help further.
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