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Old 07-19-2015, 10:45 AM   #1
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Exclamation 55g ammonia problems

Hey everyone,

For the last few weeks I've been battling severe ammonia in my freshwater 55g and I'm at a loss on how to fix it. I checked my levels yesterday and my ammonia was deep in the dark greens and pH was low. I didn't try to add chemicals to fix pH - I've been told raising the pH will only intensify the toxicity of the ammonia. I've been doing partial/half water changes every 3 days and have added Ammo-Carb to one of my filters.



Filters:
I'm currently running two Penguin filters, a 400 and 350. The 350 is full of filter pads and ammo-carb, while the 400 has carbon.

Current stock:
1 angelfish
2 bala sharks (Currently trying to rehome these guys - my 3rd one died from hitting himself into the tank wall too hard. Don't want it to happen again).
1 Dojo Loach
1 Khuli Loach (Probably going to move this guy into a smaller tank with a few others of his kind at some point).
1 Peacock Eel

Feeding:
I normally feed them 2 frozen bloodworm cubes, standard that you can get from the frozen case at petsmart/petco. Sometimes I substitute or add a brine shrimp cube if I have them.

Tank:
The tank is a 55g with a mix of gravel and Flora Max substrate. It's sitting on a reinforced dresser that I'm replacing soon with a better support system. I originally had a 10g and when I upgraded to the 55g I just put all the 10g water and filled it up the rest of the way with dechlorinated water. I'm thinking I might have a cycling issue for I didn't wait to add fish and get things started...

Plants:
I have a lot of live plants I've been growing out, clipping, and replanting the clipping.

Red Ludwigia
Java Fern
Moneywart
Bamboo
And a few other smaller ones I forgot the names of.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:00 AM   #2
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First of all, get rid of the carbon. Have you cycled your tank? How much/what biomedical do you have?

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Old 07-19-2015, 11:01 AM   #3
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There's your problem you didn't let the tank cycle and now it is trying to, hence the ammonia levels.

Can we get some exact numbers on the water?

pH:
Ammonia(NH3):
Nitrite(NO2):
Nitrate(NO3):

I'd be doing daily water changes and don't let your ammonia exceed 1ppm

Are you using a liquid test kit?

After you get the tank cycled you can worry about stock.


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Old 07-19-2015, 11:26 AM   #4
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The tank isn't fully cycled I don't think: I set it up last summer and added water, fish, and 10g water at the same time. One of my parents told me freshwater cycling isn't as important as it is in saltwater, and therefor doesn't need to be running for more than 24h, let alone 6 weeks like I've been reading. I'm getting the idea that they were wrong and I pretty much doomed my tank.

I've been using liquid api master test kit, here are my levels:

pH: 6.0
Ammonia: 2-4 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 30 ppm


In terms of chemicals I've been using on my tank I have ammo-lock (I know it just neutralizes ammonia and doesn't remove it, but I was thinking the biofilter would've by now taken a lot of it away by now. My sluggish fish disprove this I think), tap water conditioner, and api stress zyme.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:47 AM   #5
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Me thinks your tank never finished cycling. Your reading is correct it can take up to 6 weeks to fully cycle a tank. The "24 Hour Cycle" is a lie often told by chain stores.

I would test daily and continue to do water changes anytime ammonia or nitrite exceed 1ppm.

Your tank will be cycled when you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some nitrates. This signifies that your tank can successful convert waste now.

Your pH is a bit low but is not any concern to the fish.

Do you perform weekly water changes?


Caleb
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:58 AM   #6
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I normally do around a 5-10g water change every weekend, although recently I've been doing 15-20g every 3 days. Is there anything I can do now to keep the ammonia down alongside water changes while it cycles? Saekalive said something about taking away the carbon - is that a problem in my tank? Should I completely move to biomedia and sponges?
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mae140 View Post
I normally do around a 5-10g water change every weekend, although recently I've been doing 15-20g every 3 days. Is there anything I can do now to keep the ammonia down alongside water changes while it cycles? Saekalive said something about taking away the carbon - is that a problem in my tank? Should I completely move to biomedia and sponges?

Carbon is just an added extra, it serves no purpose than removing medications. It's by no means necessary.

During a cycle you will need to keep up with these water changes for the safety of the fish. After it cycles, you can go back to weekly water changes as long as Nitrates stay under 20ppm.


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Old 07-19-2015, 12:11 PM   #8
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Should I continue adding the ammo-lock and replacing the ammo-carb?
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mae140 View Post
Should I continue adding the ammo-lock and replacing the ammo-carb?

That's your choice. I don't like adding extra chemicals and additives to my tanks.


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Old 07-19-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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Alright, thanks for the help.
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:17 PM   #11
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If you have fish in there, just toss like 3-4 capfulls of prime a day in there and you should be fine,. i went through 2 weeks of 8.0pmm ammonia in my 27g when i replaced the substrate and i didnt have a single fish die, not even a neon when i tripple dosed prime
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:31 PM   #12
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The water you moved over serves little purpose.
What happened to the filter from the 10g?
It would house the majority of your BB.
Stop feeding for the next 2 days and feed half as much as you do after IMO.
Note that the prime or other "ammonia detoxifier" will still register on your test kit so keep track of what you add and don't just keep adding more!
Changing water is the only responsible thing to do when cycling with "fish in" IMO.
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