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Old 08-24-2010, 11:15 AM   #1
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Ammonia Levels FAR too high

Hi.

I have an ammonia problem that is driving me crazy. I have a fluval edge, with 3 guppies and 4 platys (my LFS said that these would all be fine in the tank, despite my concerns that it would be overstocked. I figured that as they love fish, they wouldn't sell me something that would ultimately harm the fish). Anyway, my ammonia levels have recently been off the scale (dark green on the API master kit). The fish don't seem to mind this for some reason, and are very active, and have no loss of appetite. Obviously I know this isn't ideal, so I do large changes to bring the ammonia levels down (I have 0 nitrite and nitrate, only ammonia). I feed the fish every other day, so I'm not overfeeding them. No matter what I do, the levels refuse to budge. I have even added a live plant in an attempt to get the level down. Nothing. If I do big changes every day, do I need to add stess coat / zyme to it every day also? Is bottled water preferable as my tap water is just about fit for human consumption and catastrophic for fish? Also, whenever I do a change, the fish all huddle under the hood at the top.... a few days later and they are all swimming about looking like they don't have a care in the world....
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

There's a great article in my signature about the nitrogen cycle, this will explain what's happening in your tank.

You're doing the right thing, water changes to keep the ammonia level down in a safe range for fish. Keep this up as best you can.

Yes, you do need to add a dechlorinator every time you add new water to the tank. While these things add stuff beneficial for the fish, the main thing they accomplish is nutrilizing the chlorine/chloramines that are in your tap water (which is fine to use, btw, no need for bottled water). If the chlorine/chloramines don't get nutralized, this can kill the bacteria that are trying to spread to consume the ammonia, so it's important to use a good dechlorinator. Stresszyme is fine, however I personally prefer Prime.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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Thanks for your response

I tend to remove the pebbles I have in there (5 in total) so I can really clean the gravel, but like I say, nothing seems to work. Is it healthy for the fish if I carry out 3 or 4 50%+ changes a week, or would I need to do more? I generally fill my water bucket, add the dechlorinaters and leave it in the front room to warm up for a day and let the rest of the chlorine evaporate. Is that right to do, or am I wasting my time with it?! Also, I use ammo lock at the moment to make it a bit more bearable for the fish... should I stop adding it, or continue while doing the big changes?
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:32 AM   #4
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Sorry, forgot to ask if it is worth using RO water, or is tap water with prime etc the way forward? I tried RO before, but I wasn't sure if I needed to add minerals etc, as no-one at the store mentioned it (even after I told them I'd never used it before...)
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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Yep, keep up the water changes. Daily 50% or more, if ammonia is that high. Also, prime would be the best dechlorinator, as it will detoxify ammonia to some extent. Good luck, and hope your fish make it

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:35 AM   #6
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Thanks adeebm. They seem to not mind, but i do!! I hate the fact that the water isn't perfect, and know it is only a matter of time... I lost one guppy a few weeks back, and I also had a little congo frog that I actually loved more than my fiancee I think! Unfortunally he is no longer (That was the time I noticed the levels were off the scale.)
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:38 AM   #7
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i agree with daily 50%+ water changes. any level of ammonia above .25ppm will start to burn your fishes gills so keep it below .25ppm as best you can. i would just use tap water with Prime, and instead of letting it sit, you can just try to temp match it as it comes out of the faucet, which will allow you to do the PWC immediately. also, STOP vacuuming!!! you are sucking out all of the bacteria that is building up in your substrate that you want. wait until your cycle is finished, then start vacuuming. just skim the top of the substrate to suck up anything that may be on top of it, but don't go into the gravel anymore for now. also, no cleaning or changing the filter material during the cycle. good luck
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:40 AM   #8
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Thanks. Sorry, when I said vacuuming, I meant just over the top of the stones. I only co deep into it if I see food or waste through the glass the stones are up against.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:40 AM   #9
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Oops, didn't see your new posts. Yes, daily changes are fine for them, the ammonia is far worse. If your adding dechlorinator, no need to let chlorine evaporate. As long as it's the same temp, just add it. The ammo-lock will help too, but keep up the WCs. Tap water is fine, ddont use RO, because you will have to remineralise it and there's no point unless your tap water is really bad. Cleaning the gravel thouroughly isn't really the problem, it's the water that contains the ammonia.

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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cheers adeeb. I'll try and find some Prime tomorrow (not sure if I've seen any where I am in the UK... most of the LFS near me are mainly API sellers.

I spoke to one guy who runs a fish shop who told me he had spoken to the water board about the state of our water, as it was REALLY bad, but as it's fit for human consumption, they don't care. He was the one who told me about the bottled water. I did wonder, as I thought that would affect the PH quite considerably....
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:45 AM   #11
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no need for ammo-lock if you are using Prime. i wouldn't even bother with any extra chemicals if you are keeping upon your daily water changes. just clean water with Prime everyday should do the trick. how long have you had your tank running with the fish? keep in mind that it can take up to 6 weeks from start to finish for a cycle to complete, so you will have to be preforming daily water changes for quite a while. this is why fishless cycling is preferred (i understand you did not know before, but we live and we learn ) so next time go fishless for a lot less work, and no harming of your fishies.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:47 AM   #12
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I had the tank a month before I added 5 neons (not hardy enough as I later found out a month later when tey died). I got the levels right, then added 4 platties a few weeks later, then the guppies 3 months after that. Altogether I have had the tank for 7 months now
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:19 AM   #13
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Check the operation of your filter, everything is working and water is going through?
Other than that keep up the water changes, at this point I would say 50% twice daily, as you're having to do the work of the filter.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:24 AM   #14
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Mi Mark

Thanks for the reply.

I cleaned out the filter etc a month back, and all seems to be working fine. I changed the carbon too, which didn't make any real difference, other than the water looked clearer. I've been advised that I shouldn't really have to change the biomax and foam parts of the filter unless they are basically falling apart. Can someone please verify this for me? Obviously Fluval recommend it be changed every 3 months. But they would wouldn't they!
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:29 AM   #15
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No need to change it unless it's falling apart, or you need to remove meds.

You can do like 3 water changes a day if you need to.
Have you tested your tap water for ammonia?
How big is the tank?
Are you shaking the testing bottles REALLY good before adding the drops?
I am asking this because you have had the tank for 7 months, and are not getting ANY nitrite or nitrate, which is pretty weird LOL.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddie08 View Post
Mi Mark

Thanks for the reply.

I cleaned out the filter etc a month back, and all seems to be working fine. I changed the carbon too, which didn't make any real difference, other than the water looked clearer. I've been advised that I shouldn't really have to change the biomax and foam parts of the filter unless they are basically falling apart. Can someone please verify this for me? Obviously Fluval recommend it be changed every 3 months. But they would wouldn't they!
Oh, did you completely replace all the foam parts? If so that could be your problem, as all the bacteria you'd managed to build up to that point, you've just thrown it away, so it's as if you've started again with a new filter!

Yes, you shouldn't do anything with the foam part of a filter as long as it's still intact and water is flowing through it. Occasionally you should take some tank water and give the foam a bit of a squeeze in it to get rid of the junk that's built up, then put it back.

If it is falling apart then change, at the most half of it then leave for a few weeks and change the other half (by means of cutting it in half!). I've noticed quite a few filters come with two foam inserts for exactly this reason.

The carbon, that's a bit different and does require changing roughly monthly to remain effective.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:31 AM   #17
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Hi Mark

Haven't changed anything other than the carbon as yet, sowill leave the rest well alone. All I have done, is changed the carbon, the a month later took the pump tubing apart to clean the algae from it and ensure all was working properly.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:33 AM   #18
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You don't need carbon necessarily if you aren't removing meds.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:34 AM   #19
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Hi Mark

Haven't changed anything other than the carbon as yet, sowill leave the rest well alone. All I have done, is changed the carbon, the a month later took the pump tubing apart to clean the algae from it and ensure all was working properly.
Sounds good then! The only other advise is to make sure that the foam parts are not left to dry out when you are maintaining the filter. Even just floating the foam in a jug of tank water while you are cleaning the filter will stop it from drying out and thus killing the bacteria.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:36 AM   #20
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Removed and new thread posted.
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