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Old 08-14-2006, 07:06 PM   #1
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how long does it take to get 0 ammonia

I have posted a few times int the last week..I was gone for 2 months i came home overly cleaned my aquarium and killed my favorite Angel in the tank which I am really upset with myself about it.....

Anywho...I have been doing 20-30% WC everyday for over a week my tanks cloudiness has cleared to the point where I can see all my fish and plants now but my Ammonia levels are still WAY to high..I have been using Stress coat and Prime...especially the Prime..I used Stability for the 7 days suggested. My fish are not stressing BUT I have a planted aquarium and my Nitrites&Nitrates are at 0 and that is NO good for my plants at all.My tank has been setup for over 2 years now...I am in a rut of not knowing what to do next.Any suggestions PLEASE....
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Old 08-15-2006, 03:22 AM   #2
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First off some good news, Your plants won't be affected, They can use ammonia as a source of nitrogen.

The only thing you can do is keep water changing to keep you ammonia at a low rate. Unfortunately keeping the ammonia low enough to save the rest of you fish will also slow you cycle down. Persevere and everything will work out.

Oh yeah, don't overdose prime when you water change, it will bind the ammonia and may slow down the cycle (This is thoery only!)

Am sorry to hear about your angel. Best of luck and stick with it!
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Old 08-15-2006, 08:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkullJug
First off some good news, Your plants won't be affected, They can use ammonia as a source of nitrogen.

The only thing you can do is keep water changing to keep you ammonia at a low rate. Unfortunately keeping the ammonia low enough to save the rest of you fish will also slow you cycle down. Persevere and everything will work out.

Oh yeah, don't overdose prime when you water change, it will bind the ammonia and may slow down the cycle (This is thoery only!)

Am sorry to hear about your angel. Best of luck and stick with it!
A couple of comments. Your plants will most definately enjoy the ammonia (its easier for them to use than nitrAte), but so will the algae that is most likely going to get a foothold in the tank. That's actually not a bad thing since the algae will help to eliminate ammonia from the tank, keeping your fish safer.

I would try to get MORE fast growing plants and put them in the tank. Since your frequently water changing it should not affect your dosing regimen much (I'd just dose more potassium).

As for the ammonia comment, any detectable level of ammonia is more food than the current bacteria load can handle so NO you will not be slowing down the cycle if you water change to below 1ppm ammonia. As long as you don't bottom out for an extended period of time (impossible if you have fish creating waste) you should have no fear of slowing/stopping the cycle.

Dose the Prime as recommended (capful for 50gallons), but there is no fear of overdosing Prime. When you say still too high, how high are we talking? 0.5ppm, or over 2ppm? If your over 1ppm definately dose more Prime than recommended (double dose would be fine). It has no affect on the bacteria's ability to consume the ammonia, HOWEVER, it will still show up as positive on the AP ammonia test since its still present, just not in a toxic form.

The big concern I have for you is your nitrItes will start to climb and this part of the cycle generally takes longer than the ammonia to nitrIte. You need to seriously try to get some seed material from an established tank.

In the meantime, cut feedings to every other day to reduce the waste being produced in the tank.

Goodluck.

EDIT: Are you POSITIVE there are no rotting fish in the tank? They can greatly increase the ammonia in the tank even in a well established tank like yours. I'm sure you have checked this, but its a thought (maybe your biological filter wasn't destroyed during the cleaning, it might just not be able to deal with all the ammonia that a rotting fish will produce).

I just had a recent fish death (or 2 still don't know about the other one), and my ammonia levels were about 0.25-0.5ppm when I got home. I am moderately planted with a well established filter and still was detecting ammonia. I found the fish (well part of it) and removed it, did a water change and the level went undetected by the next day.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:58 AM   #4
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No rotting fish...because my ammonia has sky rocketed I do head counts 2-3 times a day...My ammonia is over 2ppm...I have been using more Prime than it says just because it convert dangerous ammonia into non-toxic to fish.....I am just doing my water changes and using my prime....I did clean my filter yesterday...It was pretty nasty but i washed it out with the discarded aquarium water so the chlorines wouldn't kill what bacteria that is blooming....
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:20 AM   #5
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Well that ammonia level is definately dangerous so I'm glad you are using a higher amount of Prime. I forget so please reread what the bottle says about its ability to remove toxins. I think it was something like 0.5ppm ammonia per 50gallons per capful, so if you are using 3X as much Prime you still should be close to the safe level.

And while I feel cleaning out your filter might have been a bad move, it might also have been a good thing. Your sacrificing your cycle somewhat for less ammonia buildup which is a noble thing to do.

I have noticed in my tanks that when the nitrAte levels seem to stay above where I would have liked them (not recently with so many plants but previously), I cleaned the bottom filter pad of my AC HOB filter. It had so much gunk that was clearly rotting and causing extra ammonia to be produced. Watch out though for a spike when you first hook the filter back on as there will be a new water flow pattern through the filter.

I'd also recommend for your sanity and ease of lowering the ammonia level to do larger water changes. A 20% water change is only lowering the ammonia level by 20% so if you are at 2ppm you are only lowering that level to 1.6ppm (still too high). I would recommend a minimum of a 50% change at one time.

If you are limited by the size of your bucket, do what I do. I have a 20gallon tank and a 5gallon bucket I use for water changes. If I really need to do a big water change I will disconnect the heater and filter, take 5 gallons out, dump the water, take another 5 gallons out, dump the water, and then add in 2 buckets worth of water back to back. This would lower your ammonia level from 2ppm to 1ppm in a single shot. Do that one more time and your at 0.5ppm.

I know with plants its difficult to do large PWC's because you are afraid that you might damage the stems/etc. As long as you carefully add and remove the water, however, there should be no permenant damage, and frankly for the plants sake you need to get rid of this ammonia as algae WILL begin to take over regardless of how good your nutrient levels are (since there clearly is a large excess of ammonia present).

justin
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:05 AM   #6
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I know...I could not do a water change yesterday...Had to work to late but today I plan on doing a very large WC....All my fish are doing ok but I am still freakin' about how high my ammonia level is.....It's over 2ppm...more like 4ppm...So iam going to have to do a 50% WC probably for the next few days...And I have wondering why my back hurts....lol

I have only been feeding every 2 days so that way I don't have so much waste.....I am just stressed and freakin'...This has become a difficult challenge along with my patience....But I know I have to be ya know....
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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Keep it up!
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:37 PM   #8
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Ok 7ENIGMA,
I did a 50% WC and you were right...My ammonia level is now at 1ppm now...I am not stressing as hard..Thanks for all of your support I really do appreciate it...All the plants I was really worried I am not now...Nothing was disturbed.

Now that my ammonia is at 1ppm (I know to keep checking levels) but should I do another 50% WC or should I just go back to 20%?
Jolene
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:14 PM   #9
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I would do another 50% PWC just to be safe.
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Old 08-17-2006, 11:30 PM   #10
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Cool,Thanks..I'll be slaving away forever I think...LOL
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:38 PM   #11
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It will take awhile, don't worry, enjoy the journey.
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Old 08-20-2006, 04:57 PM   #12
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My cycle with fish took exactly one month. It took approx. 2.5 weeks for the ammonia to spike, then another week for the nitrite, finally reading zero at one month.
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