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Old 07-29-2008, 10:30 PM   #1
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What causes mini ammonia spikes?

My 55 gallon has been running two months. Did everything wrong from day one, with fish. Have lived through the 11 day run of totally toxic tank. Worked with the local fish store guy to get the whole darn thing under control. Have kept a spread sheet. Lost many fish, but had survivors.

Everything has been calmed down until recently. Twice recently I've had ammonia spikes, with the nitrites remaining at zero and the nitrates at between 10 -20. The ammonia jumped to 4 on the 15th and was back down two days later. It jumped to 2 the 28th. I do 10 gallon water changes weekly and treat the water with Amaquel+.

What am I missing or not doing correctly to cause the jumps? Or this simply a still-not-cycled issue??

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:58 PM   #2
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Any fish dissapear recently...possibly die and not be found. Way too much food added? water during a PWC have really high ammonia? Add any fish before those days? Dose with enough Amquel? There's three possibilities:
a) part of your bacteria colony had a die off due to something like chlorine
b) something like excess fish food or a dead fish added a sudden dose of ammonia
c) your tank hasn't actually cycled yet (or you added fish and caused a mini cycle)

Did you ever have the nitrite spike?
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:59 AM   #3
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Morning,

I had horrible nitrite spikes when the tank was first set up and I was trying to make it with the survivors. The nitrites haven't spiked during these two recent episodes.

We have accounted for any fish that died. In checking my chart, I *did* put in two new angle fish the day before. That was on the 14th regarding the spike was on the 15th. I've been buying RO water from the store to do the water changes. Ammonia is present right out of our tap (as tested by API kits). Since I know I did so much wrong from the start - I haven't trusted our water. Always treat the RO water.

I certainly may be over feeding, but your questions did confirm my strongest concern that the tank may not be fully cycled yet. Drat!

Thank you saffikeagan. I think I'll wait until Christmas to consider adding another fish - or consider the joys of goldfish!.
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:12 AM   #4
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Have you checked your source water for ammonia?
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:39 AM   #5
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Adding additional fish most certainly can cause a mini cycle. The mini cycle is because you've increased the bioload more than the beneficial bacteria can handle. It takes a few days for the bacteria to multiply to handle the additional ammonia output. This is why you need to keep a close eye on your water parameters when adding new fish, especially when they are larger fish or larger numbers.
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:46 AM   #6
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I've not used Amquel before, so I'm not sure what the bottle states, but I know on my bottle of Prime (also a dechlorinator) it states that the dose that is standard for removing chlorine will also neutralize .6ppm of ammonia. I've got 2ppm of ammonia out of my tap so I make sure I use 3 times the dose for the chlorine to take care of most of the ammonia. As the bottle states that one can use as much as 5 times the dose in an emergency Nitrite situation, tripling the dose to take care of the ammonia should not be harmful. See if the Amquel gives you exact amounts, crunch some numbers, then use tap water.

Just a warning though, most products don't actually remove the ammonia, they just convert it to a non-toxic form but your test kit will still say you've got ammonia after you've dosed with the ammonia. You just have to take it on faith that you dosed enough and pour it in.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:19 AM   #7
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As always, you guys are always great. I studied feeding of fish a little more last night. I really think I was over feeding by a long shot and helped my problem along. I ran out of Amquel and I bought Prime on my way home from work yesterday. I did another smallish water change last night focusing on grubbing out some sections of the the gravel. I did use our own tap water to refill & used 3 times the dose. The ammonia is at 1.0 this morning, but the two fish I was concerned about are acting better. I put another two caps of Prime in after the test....just because it seemed like a good idea and couldn't possibly hurt???

The tank population is three smaller Angels, two mollies and one platy? (bottom feeder) in a 55 gallon. I think I'll sit on hold for another month or two with these guys until I'm VERY sure I have the rhythm of the feeding, water changes etc. down correctly.

Another day in fish land! Thanks so much,
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