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Old 08-07-2012, 08:56 PM   #1
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Still stumped

Okay so I'm another one of those idiots who bought an aquarium and didn't know about cycling and all the other stuff that I now know I should have done, so let's just get past that part for now please.
So here's the deal, I have a 30g aquarium with 15 fish, all under 2 inches and most 1 or less(danios, MM platys, 1 angel, 1 loach, neons and a couple guppies). It's been about a month and even with all of the quick starts and start zymes and all the other stuff for bacterial growth, I can not get any to grow. I've done more water changes than I can remember, always adding the conditioners and neutralizers and my ammonia is always above 1ppm when I check it every afternoon. I've checked my cities water online and I know we have a bunch of ammonium in it but I've already tried upping the conditioner dose. I know I'm really just supposed to wait for the bacteria but I can't imagine letting all my guys go belly up.
My PH is steady around 7.6
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0
Ammonia usually around 1-2ppm and I do water changes nearly every day to save my fish.

I can't seem to find any tips that I haven't already tried so of anyone else has ideas or any advice at all I would be incredibly grateful.

Thanks guys, hope you can help.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Try using ro/di water instead. Or even distilled would be better than your city water if you know there is already high levels of ammonia in it.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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A cycle takes around a month. It's going to take alot of water changes to keep the ammonia under .5 but for the fishes it's a must. What is the parameters of your city water?
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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How long has the tank been set up? Cycling can take 1-3 months. Are you replacing the filter media or rinsing it in tap water? The ammonia products aren't needed; just dechlorinator. Prime is best if you can get it. What are you using now? Be sure it says it detoxifies chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

Do an ammonia, nitrite, nitrate test on your tap water to see what the levels read. What test kit are you using? Liquid is best; strips aren't very accurate.

Your tank is pretty heavily stocked for an uncycled tank. The more fish the more waste they'll put out and the faster ammonia will rise until enough bacteria grows.

If you know someone with a healthy tank, ask for some media from their filter; this will contain the bacteria you need and help introduce it into your tank which can help the tank cycle faster. If you don't know anyone with a tank, you can order an active sponge filter from Angels Plus; they put filters in their angelfish tanks and sell them to help seed tanks with bacteria. They've helped many on here with their cycles. Just make sure the one you order says "active" next to it otherwise you're just ordering a plain filter.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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I don't remember where I saw the ammonia levels for the city but chloramines 2.2ppm, chlorite .4ppm and ph average is 7.8.

But if I'm buying distiller water are we talking about buying 30 gallons of it and 10 gallon water changes every couple of days with it too? I can't afford to spend 50 bucks on water every couple of days.

Also I'm using microbelift nite-out 2 for bacterial supplementation and some tetra ammonia fizz tabs and I couldn't find out if it would give a false positive on my API test kit.

And I also know that I need a small amount of ammonia to feed the bacteria so even if I could get it down to a .5 for more than 12 hours I'd be happier than I am now
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimmanski View Post
I don't remember where I saw the ammonia levels for the city but chloramines 2.2ppm, chlorite .4ppm and ph average is 7.8.

But if I'm buying distiller water are we talking about buying 30 gallons of it and 10 gallon water changes every couple of days with it too? I can't afford to spend 50 bucks on water every couple of days.

Also I'm using microbelift nite-out 2 for bacterial supplementation and some tetra ammonia fizz tabs and I couldn't find out if it would give a false positive on my API test kit.

And I also know that I need a small amount of ammonia to feed the bacteria so even if I could get it down to a .5 for more than 12 hours I'd be happier than I am now
Dont' bother with distilled or RO water; it's stripped of chlorine, etc yes but it's also stripped of nutrients as well so you would need to add those back in with something like RO RIte or Seachem Replenish. It can get costly and bothersome so unless your water is deadly don't worry about it.

So if you put your tap water in the API tube and add the ammonia test it comes out to 2 ppms of ammonia?
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:51 PM   #7
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I would stop with the additives and just get some good old prime. I find it works well. Test and do water changes as necessary to keep the ammo down to manageable levels. When it goes up, change more water. I'm not sure what my city levels are but if it's all you have to work with, make it work.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:52 PM   #8
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No I've had the same filter in it since set up and I've used nite-out2, API quick start, jungle start zyme, and one other I can't remember at the moment. And yea I know it's over stocked for an uncycled tank but like I said, I had no idea, and I can't return them. I would stop adding chems and just wait but the ammonia rockets, the highest before I caught it was like 6ppm or more so I did a 50% change.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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I'd do the API ammonia test on your tap water and see what level the tube reads; if you're just adding back ammonia then there's no sense doing water changes unless the tank's levels get higher than what your tap level would be. A good conditioner like Prime can help detoxify the ammonia in between water changes so it'll be safe for the fish; you'll have to read the bottle though as I forget how much ppms of ammonia each dose treats, so you may need to add more than the standard dose.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:55 PM   #10
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I'm checking my taps ammonia now.

Would it be advisable to use zeolite chips, just enough to keep the ammonia down to like .5 until the bacteria can catch up?
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:03 PM   #11
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So my water straight out of the tap has 2ppm ammonia in it, generally when I do my water changes I add those ammonia fizz tabs to my bucket of water after Ive added the API or Aqueon conditioner
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:45 PM   #12
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Update*

Okay so its been a little bit since I started this thread so I figured I'd give an update and ask for more advice. The good news is I now definitely have some bacterial growth happening, I know this because tests show Nitrites at .25ppm and steadily rising Nitrates. (I change 25% of my water religiously every week)
so here's the bad news, Ammonia is STILL AT 4.0PPM! I know Im fully stocked, and my angelfish and loach are growing a little faster than I expected (i'll upgrade to a 50g as soon as Im confident I can get it cycled) but I definitely dont over feed and Ive now gone through most of a bottle of Prime and 1.5 bottles of Stability and just can not get my ammonia levels down at all. I started back up a 3 gallon tank for the fry my sword is about to have and Ive already got the biofilter completed for it within a couple days so I know Im doing what should work but it just wont work for my 30 gallon. Please Help
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:26 PM   #13
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I would recomend doing 50% WC or doing them more frecuently
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
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Wow, 2ppm from the tap is quite high. I would use prime dose the necessary amount to neutralize that amount of ammonia. Once your tank is cycled it should be able to convert that ammonia into nitrates before primes binding effect wears off.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #15
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It's just crazy that this has taken 6 weeks to cycle and I've used sooo many of these bottles of bacteria. I use plenty of prime when I change water and use it after the 24hrs when ammonia is high. What's the point of doing more water changes when I'm only adding more ammonia from the tap?? Why is there only small signs of the bacteria starting and why is it taking so long when there is plenty of food for the bacteria to grow?
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:06 PM   #16
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Cycling can take over 3 months and those bottled bacteria stuff are usually useless. Due to your high stocking and high natural ammonia the length of cycling doesn't surprise me. Sadly the best you can do is daily water changes, stop using bottled bacteria and wait.
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