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Old 02-06-2017, 09:25 PM   #1
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City water 2.0+ ppm.... HELP!

New to the hobby. Had my 60 gallon up for almost a month now. Started with Seachem Stability for fish in cycling with 6 small livebearers. (4 mollies and 2 platys). Added 4 more platys for more bioload on the tank, following LFS advice. Water testing every day. 25-50% PWC every time ammonia goes above .25. Never saw a NitrIte spike or any significant NitrAtes to speak of.

Suddenly, BAM! Ammonia goes up to between .5 and 1. LFS hooked me up with Seachem Prime and told me to continue with PWCs. Tested local tap water and found 1 ppm Ammonia. Continued routine for about a week, plus added a morning water sample to the mix so that I'm testing twice per day. The past 3 days, NitrAte has come up to 5.0. I'm figuring that I probably just missed the NitrIte spike because the NitrAte is there. 1) How probable is that to have happened?

Today it hit me to check tap water again...... You guessed it, 2.0+ ppm. Now what? PWCs will lead to MORE ammonia, instead of less. I know that eventually the BB will catch up to consume the excess ammonia from the tap PLUS my bioload, but what do Ido between now and then if I can't change my water to keep my little swimming buddies safe and healthy?

I didn't expect the level of attachment I'd feel to pets that I can't hold or pet but I really like these guys and I really don't want them to be in pain. I REALLY don't want them to die. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:47 PM   #2
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Find somewhere to get some filtered bottled water.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:49 PM   #3
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The cycle goes ammonia > nitrIte > nitrAte, so if you have nitrIte now you're about to start seeing nitrAte! Prime will 'detoxify' ammonia in the meantime until your biofilter catches up, you could also try ammonia reducing filter media.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:09 PM   #4
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Typo, meant NitrAte is there, not nitrIte.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:32 AM   #5
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Wow. Makes me glad I have well water.
Since you have a fairly large tank, and the price of purchased water can add up after a time, you may want to look into getting your own filter.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:30 AM   #6
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Mollies are a poor cycling fish. They're too sensitive to changes in the water chemistry. Platys are a much better choice as are any of the other livebearing fish. Below is the best way I've found to cycle a tank with fish, so they aren't harmed or lost in the process:

You just set up the tank and add some floating plants like Hornwort, Water sprite, Anacharis and let the tank with the plants run for a couple of days to settle the water. Add 3 to 4 hardy fish for every 10 gallons of tank water. Hardy fish species include Platys, Swordtails, Guppies, Danios, White cloud minnows and Rasboras. Feed a little every day or two. The dissolving fish waste (ammonia) combines with oxygen from the outside air and begins to grow the bacteria colony. Test the water daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have a positive test, remove a quarter (25 percent) of the tank water and replace that with tap water treated with an additive to remove chlorine and chloramine. Don’t remove more water, it starves the bacteria and slows the process. When several daily tests show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is cycled. Once cycled, in a month or so, you change out half or more of the tank water weekly to maintain a healthy water chemistry.

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Old 02-07-2017, 01:12 PM   #7
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You can purchase various additives to control the ammonia . They will detoxify the ammonia . However ammonia may still show up on your tests. Just be aware of that. Eventually, like you said your beneficial bacteria will catch up. You will have to find a new water source or a product to bind the ammonia in your local water supply for future use. Check online, maybe dr. Foster & Smith, I know they have a lot of products for aquarium use, and they're prices are reasonable. Good luck.
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