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Old 05-19-2020, 10:21 AM   #1
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Ammonia issue

Hi guys....I’m a bit of a newbie at fish tanks.

I set up a 100L (~20 gal) tank a few months ago. It had a new Fluval U3 filter put in to from the start. They cycle went fine and saw the expected spikes then decrease, etc. We took a sample of the water to our local aquatics centre and they said all was fine for us to put a couple of black moors in. They’ve been happily swimming away in there for a few weeks or so and we were doing the regular weekly 10% water change and adding bio boost as directed.

Suddenly we saw a spike on the ammonia test strips saying 6ppm! We did a 50% change and started using ammo lock with 10% daily water changes and it’s down to about 2-3 ppm But we can’t get it any lower. I’ve now started doing 20% daily changes with ammo lock.

Any suggests greatly received!
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:59 AM   #2
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When you say the cycle went fine, what do you mean? Did you do a fishless cycle? How did you do it? Apart from ammonia what are your other water parameters? pH? Nitrite? Nitrate?
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:03 PM   #3
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Hey! Yea I did a fish less cycle. We filled the tank and put in the ornaments (were not using live plants) and let it work through the cycle over a few weeks. We saw the spikes in ammonia, etc that were expected before it settled down. The aquatic centre was happy with the water sample we brought in (we’d been in to them for advice on setting up the tank and spoke to the same people so th remembered us).

I’ve been dip stick testing using the API 5 in 1 test strips and all have come back normal (hardness, ph, itrite and nitrate).
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:04 PM   #4
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What do you mean by normal? Can you give the numbers? In particular are you seeing nitrates?
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:05 PM   #5
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Sorry! No we saw a pH of 6.5, no nitrites or nitrates at all. Just the ammonia
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:10 PM   #6
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If there are no nitrates then the tank isnt cycled. A cycled tank is converting ammonia and nitrites into nitrates which you remove through water changes.

You will need to do a fish in cycle now. Essentially test everyday. If you see readable ammonia or nitrite then do a 25% water change. Keep that up until you see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite over a consistant period and nitrates are rising.

I would cut back on feeding also, as that will help to control ammonia.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:19 PM   #7
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Cheers! Cutting back on feeding was the first thing we did ��. We assumed it was cycled as the test strips said to see between 0-40 ppm for nitrates
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:23 PM   #8
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No worries. I think when the test strip is saying 0-40ppm that is the safe range (although i would aim to stay below 20). But, there should be some, otherwise the ammonia and nitrite isnt converting.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:40 PM   #9
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Cheers! Should we continue with the ammo lock? Should we start putting the aquacare bio boost back in with the water changes (plus the water conditioner obviously)?
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:56 PM   #10
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If you are seeing ammonia then the ammo lock will help. Alternative is use prime as a water conditioner as it does the ammo lock thing as well.

The bio boost will help speed up the cycle. Not a brand im familiar with though.

If your ammonia is still in the 2-3 range i would do back to back 50% water changes to really get it down. If that doesn't get them down something else is happening. Maybe there is ammonia in the tap water? Id check that also.

Also. Liquid test kits are better than test strips. They are more accurate and cheaper in the long run. You get 100's of tests from an API master test kit. Its a good investment.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:45 PM   #11
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Cheers! My ammonia test today was between 1-3 so will continue doing 20% daily changes with conditioner and ammo lock. When I finish my water conditioner I may move to Prime (thanks for the suggestion!). I was thinking about moving to a liquid test kit too ��
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:57 PM   #12
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Right...so I’ve got some prime coming In a couple of days and have started bio boosting my tank again (got some stability arriving in a couple of days too as my aquacare bio boost is running out (was only a little bottle!). Thanks for all the help! Hopefully I can get the tank cycled and back to fighting fitness!
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:49 PM   #13
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Ok...so using the master test kit the ammonia looks to be 4. The nitrites are either 0.25 or 0.5.

I’ve been doing 20% daily water changes with water conditioner, ammo lock and bio boost.

Is the presence of nitrites evidence that some of the beneficial bacteria are starting to colonise?
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:34 PM   #14
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Nitrosomonas bacteria consumes ammonia and turns it into nitrites. So the presence of nitrites shows that you are starting to get that particular type of bacteria. Nitrobacter bacteria consumes nitrites and turns it into nitrates, so when you see nitrates its a sign that you have both types of beneficial bacteria.

4ppm of ammonia is very toxic to fish. I would up the water changes to 50% till it is really down to 0.25ppm or lower.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:35 PM   #15
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Thanks that’s what I thought about the bacteria. I’ll start doing larger water changes then.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:50 AM   #16
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So did a 50% water change today with conditioner, ammo lock & bio boost and the ammonia is now 2 down from 4 as well as the nitrites now showing between 0.5-1, up from 0.25-0.5 yesterday.

Should I do another 50% water change this evening or leave it until tomorrow?
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:44 AM   #17
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I would do another 50% a couple of hours after the first. You are seeing nitrites at higher numbers now as well and the ammo lock wont help with that. Prime does claim to detoxify nitrites though.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:50 AM   #18
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I’ll do another 50% change later on this afternoon then and get some prime in order for tomorrow and store the ammo lock and aqua care water conditioner for emergency spares
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:03 PM   #19
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Right...2nd 50% water change done with ammo lock and bio boost (prime arriving tomorrow will hopefully help with the nitrites if needs be).

Tests now showing ammonia at 1ppm, nitrites at 0.25ppm & nitrates at 10-20ppm.

Will check tomorrow to see how it’s all doing and possibly do another 50% change if needed.

Thanks Aiken!
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:42 AM   #20
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This morning I had ammonia at 1ppm but nitrites at 5ppm with nitrates around 40ppm. Just done another 50% change and have got ammonia at 1ppm still with nitrites between 2-5ppm and nitrates 40ppm.

Will do another 50% change this evening if the nitrites are still high.
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