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Old 08-26-2003, 11:15 AM   #1
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Recycled tank

I am having a hard time getting stability in my 50 again. I thought that most of the bateria were on the biowheels on the Emperor 280's, so since my carbon filters were clogged, I changed all 4 of them at once (2 per 280) but did not touch the biowheels. A day or two later, I noticed that the Seachem Ammonia Alert card had turned to "Danger" Another ammonia test verified that the level was a 5.0 ppm. I did a major water change to reduce the level of ammonia. The ammonia has been up over 3.0-5.0 ppm every day for the last two weeks and it's getting to be painful doing major changes like this on a 50. I did 2 80% water changes yesterday afternoon, dechlorinated (of course), and waited about an hour before adding 1 oz. of BioSpira in an effort to kick the tank in the a@@ and get it cycled AGAIN. This morning, ammonia is back up to 3.0 ppm. No nitrites, and nitrates are at 10 ppm. I plan on getting one more ounce of Bio-Spira on my way home today to add to the tank. This tank is FULLY stocked and has been for many months. I can't figure out what is going wrong all of a sudden. Fortunately no fish have died yet. Any suggestions?

Oh yeah, pH is slightly acidic, and the temp is approx 80F. Didn't check hardness as I don't think it makes a difference here.
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Old 08-26-2003, 11:54 AM   #2
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Re: Recycled tank

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Originally Posted by wabyrd
I am having a hard time getting stability in my 50 again........... I changed all 4 of them at once (2 per 280) but did not touch the biowheels. A day or two later, I noticed that the Seachem Ammonia Alert card had turned to "Danger" Another ammonia test verified that the level was a 5.0 ppm. I can't figure out what is going wrong all of a sudden. Fortunately no fish have died yet. Any suggestions?
You said the tank is fully stocked. What level of stocking are we talking about? If its a bit overstocked or have particularly messy fish such as plecos then I'm not surprised. If you have a particularly heavy bio load then you need more of the beneficial bacteria than normally required right? The little bacteria grew and colonated anywhere they could to keep up with the heavy bio load..... In addition to the bio wheels, they took a liking to your cartridges. I bet those cartridges were packed full of the little buggers. Each cartridge contains lots of surface area. You basically removed a substantial portion of your bio filter by changing all 4 at once! Then the abrupt high ammonia shocked the remaining bacteria inhibiting their growth somewhat. I don't think removing all 4 would be a good idea regardless of the bio load though.

Bio Spira seems like the way to go along with continued water changes until your bio filter can get back up to speed.

Good luck
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Old 08-26-2003, 12:27 PM   #3
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This happened to me when I decided to change out my substrate and did too much at once. BIO-Spira helped but it took a day or two to do it. It is alarming that changing out the filter pads would do it, though, because there ought to be enough colonization going on elsewhere in the tank to handle it. If you are slightly overstocked, or have minimal tank decoration this might contribute. I think biowheels are great but I am not convinced they will save the day. I have some tanks with them and some without, and don't see a difference, with or without.
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Old 08-26-2003, 10:35 PM   #4
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Well, I added the second ounce of BioSpira early this afternoon. Six hours later, there is not a decrease in the ammonia. I've added some AmQuel to lower the toxicity of the ammonia. The label says that the nitrifying bacteria will consume the safer compound of the ammonia. Looks like I'm losing one of my red velvet platys. Kinda sucks to see her go. The tanks is fairly heavily planted, so I would have thought that the tank would have been ok with the plants consuming part of the ammoinia. I'll do a check in the morning and make the decision to add more BioSpira or not. It's getting expensive since it's $10.00 a pop here for one ounce...
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Old 08-27-2003, 09:04 AM   #5
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Also, how long were your BioWheels out of comission while you changed the filter carbon? That might have contributed, as everyone here seems to think that the nitrifying bacteria on the wheel can die very quickly when the wheels dry up...

I'm going to be placing my biowheels in water every time I do a major change with my filter from now on. Got a scare during the blackout--lost some fish.

Just an possible explanation.
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Old 08-27-2003, 09:41 AM   #6
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I don't think the Bio Spira is going to help if you're using Amquel. It says on the package that the use of ammonia removers will kill the bacteria.

Good luck getting things back on track. Sounds like you're doing all you can to help it recover.
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Old 08-27-2003, 11:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
how long were your BioWheels out of comission while you changed the filter carbon?
No time at all. You can leave the pumps running while you change the filters.

Quote:
I don't think the Bio Spira is going to help if you're using Amquel.
Actually, it did work. The AmQuel doesn't remove the ammonia, it converts it to a less toxic form. As of this morning, the ammonia is now down to .5 ppm from 5 ppm yesterday! I did no water changes and just added two ounces of BioSpira and some AmQuel. My particular test still detects the ammonia even after Amquel is added (as so many do) and this indicates to me two things.

1. BioSpira does work as advertised. Perhaps not overnight, but very quickly. I have a ton of fish and my ammonia would go from .25 ppm after a 90% wc to over 5 ppm in less than 24 hours. Here, after only 36 hours after the first dose of BioSpira, the tank is back down to .25 ppm. That's GREAT. This is a VERY heavily stocked 50 gallon tank. To work like that is incredible!

2. AmQuel doesn't harm the BioSpira. The bacteria are still able to consume the "AmQueled" form of ammonia as stated on the AmQuel bottle.


Although I know I'm not out of the woods yet, I still feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. No fish have been lost yet during this ordeal. I have one that's still tetering, but to lose one during this process is pretty amazing!
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Old 08-27-2003, 12:26 PM   #8
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Bio Spira sure seems to be impressing this community. I got my shipment coming today I hope. Can't wait to give it a go and see this product perform first hand. Its nice to have a product like this perform as advertised where so many similar products have failed. I'm glad to here your tank has improved so dramatically.
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Old 08-27-2003, 05:29 PM   #9
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Still hovering at .5 ppm and the one fish in question is still hanging on. I don't think I'm going to add another ounce of BioSpira at this time.
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Old 08-27-2003, 10:13 PM   #10
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Six hours later and the ammonia is back to zero. WHEW! Even the little red velvet in question is looking a little better...not much, but a little. She at least got a bit or two of food.
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