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Old 01-08-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
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Elevated ammonia

I've been struggling with elevated ammonia in my 46 bow front. Last week had elevated nitrates but realized needed more water changes than I was doing. I use the API master test kit for freshwater. Filter is rena filstar xp2. Ammonia is reading 1 ppm. Even after a 50% wc. I decided to test my tap, that reads .5 ppm! What can I do about this ammonia? I hate to do water changes and just put ammonia back in the tank ( even if its half of what is already in). I've seen API ammo lock.... Will this help or is there another product that will help? I hate to add more chemical to my tank but I don't want a bad tank! Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
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Use Seachem Prime to condition your tap water. It will take care of the chlorine, chloramine and detoxify the ammonia in your tap water. The ammonia will still be available for nitrifying bacteria to convert to nitrate and establish your biological filter. What are you currently using to condition your tap water?

How long has your tank been set up? it sounds like you either never had the biological filter established, or it crashed. Are you rinsing your filter media in tap water?

What is your tank stocked with?

Oh, and stay away from the ammo lock.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:02 PM   #3
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I'm kicking my self for not getting the seachem prime at my last visit! I looked right at it. I clean my filters in water from water changes. Tank has been set up since end of September. Current stock:
2 yellow tail rainbow fish
2 black kuhli loaches
3 angel fish
2 Mollys and 1 baby molly
2 dwarf gourami
2 otos
1 mystery snail
1 guppy
I will be picking up the prime today. I currently use the API stress coat for water changes.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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How long has this been going on? Is this a recent problem or has it persisted since september? If it has persisted since the beginning then your biological filter was never established, but it sounds to me that this is a recent problem and that most likely you had a mini-cycle. With that bioload, I think if you had a complete breakdown of your biological filter your ammonia would be much higher. Keep monitoring your water and do a 50% wc when you get to .5ppm ammonia.

Get some prime. In addition to everything above is detoxifies nitrite and nitrate. Be sure to test for nitrites too. They will spike after your ammonia begins to be processed. Once every 24 hours you can add 5ml/10 gallons of water of prime to detoxify nitrite when your nitrite levels surge. Be sure to keep the temp below 84F if you do this and increase aeration as that much prime will have a negative effect of O2 levels.

Your tank will be back to normal in no time.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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It's been going on about a week or so. About 2 weeks ago my tank was cloudy and nitrates were at 40 ppm. Ammonia and nitrites were 0. I've been testing every other day and doing water changes. Also reduced feeding even more. I'm getting prime tonight. Should I do a water change and use prime for that? Or start with using on whole tank? Also should I change water when nitrates spike or just use the prime? Sorry for so many questions, I just want to do this right
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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If I was in your situation, I would do a 50% wc when my ammonia levels surpassed 1ppm. I would add a standard dose of prime to the new water before I add it to the tank. Once the tank was filled, Wait 20 minuites, test ammonia again and do another 50% change if the ammonia level was over 1ppm.

If I had ammonia levels below 1ppm, I would then dose the tank at a standard dose (1ml/10g) of prime into the entire tank to detoxify the ammonia. I would add Seachem Stability or MicroBacter7 by Brightwell Aquatics or Nite-Out II by Microbe-Lift, according to the directions on the bottle to help speed up the cycle process. Usually Nite-Out and Stability can be found at pecto or petsmart. MicroBacter7 is typically found at Aquarium shops.

After 24 hours I would change water if I needed to bring ammonia down below 1ppm, treat new water, then dose the entire tank with prime to detoxify ammonia.

The reason I would treat the new water first is to make sure I'm not introducing chlorine and killing my bacteria. I would treat the whole tank wtih prime once I had an ammonia level of .5-1ppm with prime to detoxify the ammonia. The detoxified ammonia would still be available to the bacteria.

The reason I'm saying 1ppm vs .5ppm I stated yesterday, is that if you are using enough Prime directly into the tank you are going to be able to detoxify that amount for the day. The elevated levels of ammonia in addition to the Stability or MicroBacter7 will help you establish your bacterial colonies very quickly. If you don't add a bacteria booster it will still work, just take longer.

When ammonia begins to get under control you will see a spike in Nitrites for a few days. When you see this spike dose 5x the normal prime dose (5ml/10gal) for the whole aquarium, once per day. Keep the water temp below 85 degrees, when dosing this amount of prime. This amount will safely detoxify nitrite, but still allow the nitrite to be oxidized by bacteria and turn into nitrate.

Once your ammonia and nitrite levels are 0ppm you will have very high nitrate levels. Do 50% water changes until you get to a range of roughly 20ppm +/- 10ppm.

Hope that helps. I'll monitor this thread today in case you have any questions.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
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I did a 50% wc last night and used the prime with the new water. Tested this afternoon and I'm between .5 and 1 ppm. The color is darker than .5 but not quite 1. I'm going to dose the tank and hopefully get somewhere.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #8
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the prime will detoxify that amount a ammonia. Just monitor it and your filter will start working soon. If you get a chance you might want to add some bacteria via one of the methods I listed above.

Keep watching your fish throughout the process. If at any time they look like they are struggling do a 50% waterchange.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:06 PM   #9
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Update

It's been 24 hours since i dosed the tank with the prime. I tested this morning and just now. The ammonia is still elevate at just under 1 ppm. Haven't made it out to get the bacteria ( hopefully tomorrow). Nitrates and nitrites are still at zero. Should I do water change today or dose with prime again?
This is also the best clarity my tank has ever had!
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:36 PM   #10
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What is your ph? Reason I'm asking is if it's too low BB slow down and ammonia begins to show up. If it gets down to 6.0 it stops.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug5399 View Post
Update

It's been 24 hours since i dosed the tank with the prime. I tested this morning and just now. The ammonia is still elevate at just under 1 ppm. Haven't made it out to get the bacteria ( hopefully tomorrow). Nitrates and nitrites are still at zero. Should I do water change today or dose with prime again?
This is also the best clarity my tank has ever had!
As long as your ammonia is under 1ppm, you can use a regular dose of prime to continue to detoxify the ammonia. Just keep monitoring your water and change the water if it rises above 1ppm. Add prime daily, it keeps working for a couple days, but is safe to dose daily.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:15 PM   #12
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It's it 7.6..... Last week it was 6 so I did a little baking soda water....possible cause of issues?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phin View Post

As long as your ammonia is under 1ppm, you can use a regular dose of prime to continue to detoxify the ammonia. Just keep monitoring your water and change the water if it rises above 1ppm. Add prime daily, it keeps working for a couple days, but is safe to dose daily.
Thank you again for all your guidance! Ill update again as this goes on
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
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It's it 7.6..... Last week it was 6 so I did a little baking soda water....possible cause of issues?
It could be causing your BB to begin dying off then they have to rebuild when ph goes up again.

What is your taps ph 24 hours after letting it gas off? This is actually important to know. Reason being is if you have naturally low tap ph all you will need to do is use crushed coral in your filter or in a media bag hung directly under the filter outflow. Once the proper amount of crushed coral is found the BB will remain stable. If however your tap ph is high then you will need to figure out when in your tank is causing it to drop so low.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:52 PM   #15
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I just got a tube of tap.... I will check in 24 hours. I didnt realize there was a change after 24 hours. I'm so glad I found this site, everyone has been so helpful!
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:58 PM   #16
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I just got a tube of tap.... I will check in 24 hours. I didnt realize there was a change after 24 hours. I'm so glad I found this site, everyone has been so helpful!
Be sure to stir it off and on over the next 24 hours to aerate it so you get a true gassed off reading on the ph. So if you have it in a test tube don't put a cap on it. It has to be open to the air.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:15 PM   #17
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Update

Ammonia is still very close to 1 ppm and nitrates went up to 5 ppm. i did a 50% wc and then dosed with prime. I've been watching my fish closely. I've noticed a new behavior...someone is chomping on my plant! Is this normal?
Also one of my black/white angels is turning golden/yellow. Does this happen with maturing or could this be a sign of stress? The seem to be handling these issues pretty well. They come right up to the vac tube and my hand, no one is laying down or looks like they have trouble breathing.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:17 PM   #18
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I don't know about angels, but everything sounds good. Just keep an eye on it an keep using the prime.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:22 PM   #19
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Sometimes the orange/gold coloring comes in later. Also depends on the fishes genetics. Some Koi angels I've noticed tend to do this.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:24 PM   #20
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What did your 24 hour gassed out tap water ph test at? Also depending on what species you keep many nibble on plants. Angels tend to do it when they aren't getting enough greens in their diet. I feed my angels cooked, deshelled, smushed peas about every 3rd day to keep their plant munching down to a minimum.
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