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Old 03-20-2006, 02:22 AM   #1
JM
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Ammonia problem

Well i treated my 75g FO tank with Pointex copper about two and a half weeks ago to treat ick. Within a day of the last treatment i noticed that my fish seemed very stressed. I tested the ammonia and it was though the roof. My LFS said that the copper itslef wouldnt have damaged my filter bacteria, but it could have hurt them indirectly, by low oxygen levels or other indirect issues. I did a couple water changes like normal, but the tank isnt recovering. I even went as far as to add a packet of BioSpira to try to boost my nitrifying bacteria. The levels seem to be much lower now than they were, but there is still some there. I am getting really frustrated. Any ideas. The tank has been up for almost a year and i have had no problems like this up to this point. The filter is a home made 20g wet dry with bioballs.
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:04 AM   #2
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Use a poly filter in the wetdry, pack fresh carbon, and increase aeration. You can also add a little bit of Stress Coat, NovAqua, Amquel Plus, or Prime water conditioners. What are the levels of ammonia? What about nitrite and nitrate? Please post numbers...and most important in this situation...what is the pH???

Anything will take up oxygen in the tank and without proper aeration, the bio dies causing an ammonia spike themselves. I've always felt that all medications, whether stated or not, disrupts bio in one way or another. Ammonia is also produced by the gills of fish. It's a by product of breathing. If the fish are under stress and rapidly breathing, more ammonia is being produced and less oxygen in the water and it can create a nightmare of a mess. It's like a bad domino affect. Keep doing what you are doing, but get the poly filter pads. This will help absorb any copper left in the water. Do be careful using BioSpira. If you over dose for the conditions of the tank, you can actually create a persistant or bigger ammonia spike. NitroMax Marine is better suited for the situation.

Please describe in more detail why "the tank isn't recovering". How are the fish behaving? Are they eating? Do they appear disoriented? Lethargic? Is breathing normal, rapid or shallow? Any loss of color? Have you recently introduced a new fish (within the past three months)?

Keep up on water changes. You may want to add Stability to the tank. This will help protect the fish against the stresses of radical water changes.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:54 PM   #3
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The PH is fine at about 8.2. The Ammonia is at about .2ppm at last test. And nitrites are showing just traces now. Water temp is 77.

Fish are behaving fine and have been behaving fine since the initial spike about 2 weeks ago. They are eating fine and i cannot see anything out of the ordinary in terms of their behavior. One of the three fish in the tank is new within the last 3 months.

I have already used a poly pad to remove the copper and i have been running black diamond carbon for the last week and a half. I am thinking about putting another poly pad in however because i have heard that they remove ammonia also.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:18 PM   #4
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Poly pads remove a lot of different chemical/toxic substances. Though the substrate will always have traces of copper and will never really safely support inverts, so keep it fish only. That's the bad thing about copper and other chemically based meds. The substrate becomes contaminated indefinitely. The surrounding water may not test for traces of copper, but the substrate will always have it once exposed to it. This is another reason why a QT is worth it's investment and it doesn't have to be costly or elaborate. Just a bare tank with heating essencials, a simple little filter and a hide out for the fish. No rocks, no sand, nothing porous to trap parasites and bacteria that can make the next fish to go in there sick.

The bio is recovering. Just takes a little time and patience. It's 're' cycling.

Just to note...when ammonia goes up, it is natural for pH to go down. If and when this happens, remove the ammonia before buffering pH. A lowering of pH during an ammonia spike transforms the ammonia toxin to a non toxic form called ammonium. As pH levels rise when ammonia is present, it releases the more toxic form of ammonia, so it can poison the fish if buffered up prior to removing the ammonia. Good tid bit of info. to know In real bad situations, you can deliberately lower the pH value (down to 7.8) if it doesn't do so naturally as a means to help protect the fish from ammonia poisoning. Once ammonia levels are zero, the pH can be slowly buffered back to normal values.

So if it's the ammonia spike you're referring to as not recovering, it actually is. As mentioned before..it just takes time.
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:30 PM   #5
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Do you not have any inverts in your tank. LR or sand also. You should never treat your main tank. Do you have any of the above in your tank.
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Old 03-22-2006, 05:49 PM   #6
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no i dont have inverts or lr for the simple fact that i have a lot of money invested in the fish in my tank and i need to be able to treat the tank with medication when ever i need to. I am not gonna rip down my whole tank everytime i need to catch a sick fish. Its not fun tryin to get a fish out of a tank when u have a 100 pounds of live rock in it. And if the fish get sick i need to treat them because they cost too much money to let them die.

PS
TCTFish my trites are down to o and my ammonia is just a touch above 0 so within the next day or two they should be completely gone. All the fish are fine thanx for the responces.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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JM...you can make live rock out of the much less expensive rock typically sold for FW fish such as lava rock and lace rock. Both are porous and inert...the lace rock has some really neat shapes and curves, maybe tunnels, nooks and crannies for bio to establish on and makes an attractive 'land'scape. You'd take small pieces of live rock from the store and plant them between the other rocks so the natural growth of the live rock spreads over onto the other rocks. Certainly would save you hundreds of dollars in live rock.

In my 20+ years in the pet industry and seeing the differences between FO tanks and tanks with LR and there is no comparison. The fish live longer, are healthier and less likely to come down with stress related diseases, which often kill marine animals in captivity. You'd be protecting your investment with a natural environment set up. The growth on the live rock serves its purpose with filtration, but also with the health of the fish. You can treat a reef system, though not with chemical medications, but there are alternative treatments out there for natural systems. External parasites are typically controlled by having skunk cleaner shrimp and a QT for new fish. Nitrates are controlled by a DSB, skimming and refugiums...and of course not over feeding...and alos by having a bunch of little critters to forage the bottom and filter feeders like feather dusters to eat minute particles of food that escape the fish. Peppermint shrimp from the Caribbean are used to control aptasia populations (the little pesky glass anemones that easily take over the tank).

It's something to consider.
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Old 03-22-2006, 10:26 PM   #8
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I do have lace rock in the tank now. My last post must have sounded like the tank was empty. I have rocked the tank with lace rock just as i would if i had live rock. The money is not an issue for me with buying live rock it was the fact that u cannot treat with copper if u have live rock. Also a tank with live rock usually contains high nitrates and a high level of bad bacteria and viruses. With proper supplimentation and varied food sources there is no reason y angel fish cannot live full and healthy lives without live rock. I have researched this for a while now and my LFS is one of the best you will find and even they have told me time and time again that live rock and inverts are a bad idea in a fish only tank with the kind of livestock that i am and will be housing.

I'm not willing to take a chance that a "natural" method will heal a 300$ angelfish.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
a tank with live rock usually contains high nitrates and a high level of bad bacteria and viruses.
This is quite false, however uncured live rock may have some pretty nasty stuff on it, but you buy it cured to avoid that mess. Tanks with live rock are less likely to have a build up of nitrates because there is natural growth that eat waste including nitrates. Nitrates are dependent on how well you keep to the tank from excessive food, over population, and keep proper bio filtration, and basic upkeep.

Putting new fish in a QT for two weeks greatly reduces bad bacteria and viruses from entering the main tank. This is so with or without live rock.

Quote:
With proper supplimentation and varied food sources there is no reason y angel fish cannot live full and healthy lives without live rock.
Angels do not live very long in tanks without live rock. These animals can live 20 years, maybe more, but they'll never reach that potential longevity in captivity without having free access to the natural growth on live rock. There are remnants of corals and several types of algae as well as pods among live rock that they require for longevity and there's only so much one can suppliment with. Angels are coral eaters and need that protein. Sponge fortified foods only help so much. The variety of coral protein available to them in a tank they can freely graze on live rock will give them that variety.

Copper is becoming ineffective. In fact, most of the parasites responsible for serious diseases have become copper resistant. These are tough buggers. Personally, I FW dip most marine fish, especially angels for external parasites and just use a simple antibiotic for the wounds left behind by the parasites. As of getting to a fish when it needs to be put into a QT, there are fish traps that are effective to your enthusiasm in catching the fish...LOL. They can be fun. Anyway...

A natural tank will help heal a $300 angel and with less stress involved to both you and the fish. It also prevents stress related diseases common in marine fish in captivity. Any of our fish in a FO tank that needs a bit of extra care go into a reef as part of it's treatment and it works most of the time. Right now I have a tang being treated in a reef. No meds. Just a natural environment. He is healing. He started to come down with inline recession, which is a nutritional imbalance problem common in tangs. I recently had a juvenile blue face angel with a slight bacterial and he went in the tank and healed. No meds. in the tank. Just a couple of FW dips, a squirt of wound control or bio bandage and a reef tank. I've lost more fish treating with chemical based meds than I ever have using natural methods.

Bottom line, it's your choice and all I'm providing are testimonies and info. of successful treatments without the use of chemical based meds into a tank. Wound control and Bio bandage is the most many get for chemical treatments and it goes directly on the fish instead of in the tank water. Just thoughts to ponder on.
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Old 03-23-2006, 07:29 AM   #10
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I have to agree that you have got some false assumptions there ,JM. your assertion that a tank with LR has bad bacteria and virus and high nitrates is totally wrong. I think that some research would aid in some of your assertions.
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