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Old 09-10-2021, 04:07 PM   #1
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Ammonia spike

So after making the mistake of changing out all my filter media at once I have had just one constant ammonia spike for the duration of the process, I have been doing frequent water changes around 50% a day, a few days where I have done two 50% changes and it just looks like the ammonia levels are going higher to the stage where the test is actually showing blue (past 8.0ppm) Iíve just installed some plants into the tank to try and get them to assist with bringing the ammonia down have yet to see a difference, I am using api water conditioner when doing water changes also, but they say that can produce even more ammonia but just make in non toxic, so would it be better to not do the water changes to stop adding ammonia to the tank, or would water changes still be more beneficial to reducing those levels??? Also use Ammo-Lock to make non toxic also

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Old 09-10-2021, 04:33 PM   #2
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Ive never heard that water conditioner introduces ammonia. Could you post a link or something that suggests this? Ive briefly looked and can't find anything that suggests this. Seachem prime makes a claim to detoxify ammonia, but that isnt a claim API makes about its Tap Water Conditioner, so i would presume that this product is doing nothing either way to affect ammonia in your tank.

The only sure fire way to remove ammonia without your cycle is water changes. If the ones you are doing isnt enough to keep parameters safe you should be doing more. To go from 8ppm to safe ammonia would take 4 back to back 50% water changes. While there are products that claim to detoxify ammonia in the short term i wouldnt rely on them. These products are a back up, not a solution.

What size tank and how many fish do you have for 50% daily water changes not being enough?

Have you tested your tap water to ensure you arent adding in ammonia (chloramine) with each water change?
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Old 09-10-2021, 06:48 PM   #3
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Ammonia

I’ve read up on a few sites that adding water conditioner to breakdown the chlorine will break down the compounds within it causing ammonia to come off the bond as well and make it break off on its own, it makes it non toxic for the fish for 24 hours, they suggest waiting 1-2 days for the water to process it so it doesn’t show a massive ammonia spike, the tank is about 200L with 13 tetras, 1 rainbow shark, 2 catfish and 3 others that I can’t think of since I didn’t choose them, they’re all small fish in the tank, we’ll round it off at 20 fish, and can’t back to back water changes like that also cause issues with the nitrogen cycle? P.S some water conditioners also destroy the ammonia with it from what I’ve read, I’m not sure when it says it breaks the bond it means it’s adding more ammonia or that ammonia just remains, tap water ammonia is on 0ppm though so idk
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:32 PM   #4
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Your water will be treated with either chlorine or chloramine. Chloramine consists of chlorine and ammonia chemically bonded. If your water is treated with this rather than chlorine the water conditioner will break the bond between the chlorine and ammonia. The water conditioner will then treat the chlorine side of things and if you are cycled, the nitrogen cycle will cycle out the ammonia very quickly. Some water conditioners will also detoxify the resultant ammonia if you arent cycled. API Tap Water Conditioner isnt one that does this. Seachem Prime will detoxify some ammonia for a day or so.

If your water is treated with chlorine, as is normally the case, there is no ammonia present in your water treatment and therefore nothing for your water conditioner to release into your tank. Your tap water tests negative for ammonia so you are treated with chlorine. The water test will also detect ammonia bound into chloramine.

The bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle doesn't live in the water column, it lives on surfaces like the filter media you removed. Water changes wont affect your cycle. Back to back water changes might be stressful for your fish, but not as stressful as living in toxic water. Maybe leave an hour between water changes, but you need to get that ammonia down a lot. Your target should be to get ammonia + nitrite combined no higher than 0.5ppm through water changes and keep them there through whatever further water changes are needed. If that means back to back to back water changes then its better than living in waste. It will likely be several weeks before your cycle re-establishes.

You can help out re-establishing your cycle by putting some filter media from an established tank into your filter. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? A second option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One and Only or Seachem Stability. These bottled products are hit and miss whether they work or not, but might help.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quick start

I have been using API Quick Start to try and increase the production of the nitrogen cycle, unfortunately I don’t have anyone I can get used media from, could I possibly do water changes every hour all day, or that’s way too many times in a singular day, like you said it couldn’t be as bad as being in such a high ppm of ammonia, the tank has been free or been showing very little signs of nitrite and nitrate, it’s just been the massive spike of Ammonia
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Old 09-11-2021, 02:21 AM   #6
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You need ammonia + nitrite combined to be no higher thsn 0.5ppm. Currently your ammonia is 8ppm, nitrite 0ppm. Combined is 8ppm. That takes 4 water changes. #1 - 8 to 4. #2 - 4 to 2. #3 - 2 to 1. #4 - 1 to 0.5.

You need some waste in there. The bacteria need a food source to grow. 0.5ppm combined is a level that is relatively safe for fish while leaving enough as a food source so your bacteria can grow.

I would also recommend cutting back on feeding. Either feed every 2 days as much as they eat in 3 minutes. Or if daily as much as they eat in 1 minute.

I would also say 8ppm ammonia is dangerously high. Expect to see long term health issues with your fish. Ammonia poisoning can take a couple of weeks to manifest as issues.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:01 AM   #7
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Ammonia

I have done 4 water changes today which has brought it down to around 1.0ppm thankfully haha 😅 Iíll do a few more later to get it down to around Zero, Iím just still confused to why the 3rd water change showed a massive difference, where when I done two a day no difference really showed, I did end up changing the substrate a couple of days ago to some finer gravel, donít know if that could of also assisted a little
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:11 AM   #8
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Water tests arent all that accurate. Its a home test kit not laboratory testing. Many things can throw out a test, even just looking at it in different light will change the appearance of the result. Testing is a useful guide to decision making, but odd results are pretty common.

You dont want to bring ammonia to 0 with water changes. As i said, you need some waste to feed your bacteria so it will grow and establish your cycle. 0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite is a relatively safe level and leaves enough waste to establish your cycle. When it establishes your ammonia and nitrite should stay at 0 and you will then only need to do water changes to control nitrate. Typically keep this below 40ppm. Once you have got your ammonia down further, keep testing daily. If parameters creep up above that 0.5ppm combined target, water change to bring it down.

Changing substrate wont have helped. Beneficial bacteria lives on surfaces. The 2 most important areas of your aquarium for bacteria will be filter media and substrate, so changing substrate will have further crashed your cycle.
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:49 PM   #9
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I have a question for you. Going back to your first post, why did you change your filter media?
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
I have a question for you. Going back to your first post, why did you change your filter media?
I am curious of the same thing. I am going to be setting up a new canister filter soon, but I am going to use the media from my old filter.
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