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Old 09-06-2016, 10:08 PM   #1
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Help with Re-cycling Tank

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My husband and I have a 40 gal Marineland tank. We have a large air stone, a bubbling drawbridge as well as a plain air hose just to create some bubbles at the surface. All in all, should be more than enough oxygen for the fish.
Our levels had been PERFECT for the last 3 weeks. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 0 nitrates. Our pH fluxuates between 6.4 and 7.2. Most of the time, it is right around 6.8.

Our temperature is regulated, and is sent at 73. Oh, and we are running 2 marineland penguin 200 filters with biowheels (so i dont think filtration, or bioload is our issue) We use 2 filters in each so we have pleanty of room for our bacteria to colonize and we only cleaned 1 out of the 4 this weekend.

We have one black moor, one goldfish, one pleco, one small white goldfish (idk my husband bought him) and 2 tiny koi looking things. (They are maybe 2 inches at max)

These fish have ALL been in the tank since day 1, the tank was fully cycled and our levels stable. This past weekend, during a run of the mill water change and gravel vac, we finished up, added our cap full of prime and went off to finish cleaning the human habitat. When we went back to check on the tank 3-4 hours later, it was cloudy. We assumed at that point it was just because of the gravel vac and water change, so we left it alone.

We woke up the next morning, and the water looked like milk. Our ammonia level creeped from 0 to 1.0ppm, our nitrites were .50 ppm, nitrates were still 0.

We added some ammolock, and some aquarium salt which i had hoped would bring them back down to 0. That did not work. I thought (originally) that maybe this was some kind of bio bloom and it would clear up in 3 days. We are going on a week later, and my levels are still jumping all over the place.

Our pH has been hovering around 6.4. Our nitirtes are between .25 and .50 ppm, and the nitrates are 5ppm. Our ammonia is off the charts (reading over 8). We have been adding the ammolock. We have the Seachem AmmoAlert in our tank, which clearly shows the level is currently "safe" at less than .25ppm. With that all being said, we have read that there are false positives on API Master Test Kit results when you use Prime products. I was curious, so I tested a tap water sample with Prime, and even just straight Prime and neither peaked on the ammonia on the API master test kit.

So, at this point I am totally lost, very confused, and my daily trips to the fish store are getting me nowhere.

My fish all seem to be doing great, except my black moor. The moor seems to be swimming up to the surface more often because I think she is hungry. She is an "affectionate" fish and gives little kisses and rubs on you when you are cleaning the thank so I think she surfaces every time I walk into the room because she thinks theres food involved.. I have only been feeding them every other day, thinking that maybe I was feeding them too much?

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Old 09-06-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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That went south rather quickly.
How long has the tank been running? The zero nitrate is concerning and not typical of a cycled tank. I'm thinking that perhaps it's a combination of the filters have not reached maturity and the water changes were not keeping up with the waste buildup. Were you testing parameters everyday? Still, pretty odd to see the ammonia go from zero to 8+ just like that. I would have thought that it would gradually build up in the days prior to the onset of cloudiness.
I would, at this point, just keep up with the water changes until the cloudiness subsides and parameters are where they should be.

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Old 09-06-2016, 11:44 PM   #3
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The tank has been running for several months. We fan fish less at first. Added 2 fish at a time over the next month and a half. Added the last fish over a month ago. We test our water using strips every other day (since we have tons of them) and on the "other days" we test using the API master kit.

We had the tank fully cycled before introducing the fish. At least we thought we had. We had 0 ammonia. 0 nitrites and 10 to 20ppm nitrates. Our pH was still about 6.8.

We had similar levels while adding all the fish although we did see one or two spikes where the nitrates would jump from 20 down to 5 or so when we did the large water changes (50%) combined with the gravel vac.

I read that we should be doing water changes of 50% daily while the ammonia is that high. But I question how high the level actually is. We have the AmmoAlert in the tank and it still says it's less than .25ppm of Free Ammonia.

I have AmmoLock and was thinking about ammonia reducing tabs but I'm just not sure if they are needed. I don't see how with a 50% water change the ammonia could be over 8ppm before and after. Something just doesn't seem right there... Common sense would be if you take out half the water and replace it with fresh ammonia free water, it should be cut in half. Right? Or am I missing something?
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:25 AM   #4
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this article may help you with understanding what you are experiencing there is a section on cloudy water & why.
My complete knowledge and experience fighting algae for 15 years. Part 1 of 2

also try to not overdo the gravel vac for it contains a good part of your bacteria,if you over clean it that can result in a re-cycling due to you remove a large portion of your bacteria as well.
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