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Old 12-11-2017, 10:23 PM   #1
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Help! My aquarium has super high ammonia, and super low ph. What should I do?

I keep a betta fish in a 3 gallon tank. Over the summer, my fish got fin rot, so I checked the chemical levels. Well, even though I did weekly 30% water changes, my ammonia was somewhere above 8.0, and ph below 6.0. I went super hard with the water changes, almost 50% daily, hoping it would get rid of the ammonia. It didn't, but seemed to work okay for the fin rot. My levels wouldn't budge, so I figured that my aquarium (for whatever reason) had to go through the nitrogen cycle again, which makes no sense, considering I have a working filter, a regular water-changing schedule, and a betta, who never really overloaded the cycle up until mid August. I read online that ammonia with a low ph level is essentially non-toxic to fish, and I was (and still am) using ammo lock to protect my fish, I was pretty sure he was okay, with the exception of the fin rot.

I would have stopped doing so many water changes, to give the bacteria some time to build up, but on the few occasions that I've missed a day, my fish would slow right down, barely swim around, and his colouring would be a bit off. The fin rot has come and gone for the past few months, and his fins would regrow just in time for another wave to trim it down again. I use about a third of a teaspoon of aquarium salt daily (I take out about 1.5 gallons of water per day), as well as melafix, as I think it helps with the fin rot.

Things have been pretty much the same for months now, and just recently, I tested the levels again, and the ammonia was down to about 1.5 - the lowest it's been in seemingly forever. I was really happy, until I realised that the next part of the nitrogen cycle should be a spike in nitrite. I haven't read anything about a low ph detoxifying nitrite, and there's no "nitrite-lock" that will protect my fish from it, so I'm really nervous. I've been considering temporarily moving my fish down to the basement (my dad has a ten gallon tank with only one betta - a few weeks ago the other fish died from an unknown disease, but his chemical levels are essentially perfect, and I would probably be able to get a makeshift divider, so the fish don't kill each other. I feel pretty much stuck.

Anyway, if anybody has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Maybe I'm wrong, and there's some other reason for the crazy high ammonia levels, or maybe I'm going about this the wrong way, and if I am, any clarification would be great. I'm just looking for some answers, and for my fish to be safe.

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:44 PM   #2
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I'm really not sure why the ammonia level would be staying that high unless there is ammonia in your tap water. You could test that. What are you using to test the water? If you are using a good water conditioner the ammonia/nitrite should be neutralized for 48hrs I believe. So if you are changing water every other day it should not be harmful to the fish.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:47 PM   #3
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are you doing a liquid test or test strips ?
is the test kit out of date ?
have you checked your water source ?
is there something rotting or decaying in the tank ?
do you over feed?
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