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Old 05-22-2006, 09:15 PM   #1
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Ammonia

I've had a 29 gallon tank for about 3 weeks. Ammonia was at 0, so I added more fish and now have 4 danios, 1 betta and 3 corys. In the last several days, ammonia has been at between 1.0 and 2.0 ppm. I've done 25% water changes 3 days in a row and have vacuumed up all the crud at the bottom of the tank, but it seems to make no difference.

Help!

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Old 05-22-2006, 09:28 PM   #2
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Re: Ammonia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackadder
I've had a 29 gallon tank for about 3 weeks. Ammonia was at 0, so I added more fish and now have 4 danios, 1 betta and 3 corys. In the last several days, ammonia has been at between 1.0 and 2.0 ppm. I've done 25% water changes 3 days in a row and have vacuumed up all the crud at the bottom of the tank, but it seems to make no difference.

Help!
I do not think you want to vac out ALL the crud. correct me if i'm wrong guys and gals, but you NEED some crud to cycle the tank.
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:32 PM   #3
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Ok...your are at the start of the nitrogen cycle.
First Ammonia appears then nitrites and finally nitrates.Each is a form of the previous that has been converted by naturally occuring bacteria in the water that will attach itself to your substrate and filter media.
When the cycle is finished (this will take about 6 weeks with fish) you will test for 0 ammonia,0 nitrites and some nitrates.

This is challenging with fish...I know for a fact because I started my 29 g the very same way.What it means for you is lots of testing and water changes.Keep the ammonia below .5 ppm by changing the water out.When the nitrites start testing positive keep them at or under .5 as well.This will mean sometimes changing the water by 50% waiting an hour and doing it again...at least I had to a few times.

The problem is the ammonia is bad for the fish and so are the nitrites.Nitrates are ok if kept in the 20ppm range imo.

Get the liquid master test kit that tests for all that stuff if you don't have it already and don't add anymore fish until your tank has cycled (testing for nothing but nitrates).
Do not change your filter media and if it were my tank I'd stop with the gravel vacs completely.
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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agree

I concur. I just went through this a few months ago. It's stressful at first. It is my first tank and I wasn't sure what I was getting into. I agree with the water changes. I didn't have to do it more than a couple times a week, but I also lost a few fish at the outset. I didn't really get under control for a couple of months.

Patience is the key here. I really wanted to start putting all sorts of fish in there, but it just isn't a good idea until the chemistry has settled. I am just now (about 5 months into it) getting everything truly stable. Then again, I'm playing with plants and CO2 and just making it hard on myself.


Worry not and listen to the folks around here with more than just a couple little yellow fish by their names. They know what they're talking about.
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:53 PM   #5
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ya, you're just starting the cycle...If you were to do it with fish, i would go with some swordtails platties or mollies.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:46 PM   #6
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You will need to change the water a lot, but in order to speed up the cycle as mentioned don't change the filter media or do deep gravel vacs if doing them at all. Other options are if you know someone with an established tank you can see if you can borrow some filter media to seed your filter.

You say your tank was running for 3 weeks, did you have an ammonia source in it at all for those 3 weeks? If you didn't have an ammonia source in it you weren't cycling at all. Ammonia has to be present to start the cycle.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re the gravel vacs - I agree with not doing them UNLESS you're overfeeding and lots of food is falling to the bottom. It will only decay and cause greater ammonia spikes (which will lead to nitrite spikes). Feed sparingly while cycling - wait for the fish to finish the food you put in before you give them any more. Make sure it all gets eaten.
And add fish SLOWLY - the ammonia and nitrites cause physical stress to the fish and will weaken them.
Best of luck with the new tank ! Once you're past the cycle you'll have a blast ! I know I lost my patience during the cycle (I was doing a fishless) and finally gave in and added Bio-Spira. Start up is VERY frustrating - but hang in there and you'll love it ! Again, best of luck.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:03 AM   #8
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Well, one can cycle with fish without high levels of ammonia or nitrite, but it takes a very low bioload, sparse feeding, and lots of patience! Now that the ammonia is elevated, your only options are to keep the ammonia and later the nitrite low with water changes. It is always a good idea to check your tap water with a quality liquid reagent ammonia test, if it is positive, you have chloramines in your water supply. Test strips are notorious for wierd results. For my wordy essay on using fish to cycle an aquarium, you can check out:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomstank/to...s/page0017.htm
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