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Old 11-17-2020, 04:59 PM   #1
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Constant Ammonia Problems

Hi All,
I am new to the forum and this is my first post.
I have had a tank for 6 months now, and trying to figure out how to cycle the tank.
I have a HOB filter, and this is it:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I currently put ceramic beads in it and a sponge. And also has the carbon filter. I currently have 1 fish, a blue gourami.


I measure the ammonia, and it constantly reads between 1-2ppm.
When I do a water change it will come down when reading it.
But if I don't do a water change, it will read between 1-2ppm.


I've waiting a few months now, and not sure why the bacteria are not growing.
pH is 7, temp is 79. Is there something I am missing?

It looks like something is growing on the beads but not sure if its bacteria.

Really do not know what to do. Thanks!

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Old 11-18-2020, 12:29 PM   #2
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I know others will jump in here. Few questions, How big is the tank? That filter came with a pad, how long ago did you put in the sponge (good) and ceramic beads? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia as this should be done to get a baseline. Yes the brown gunk you see on your beads is good bacteria! Don't wash it off.
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Old 11-18-2020, 01:26 PM   #3
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I know others will jump in here. Few questions, How big is the tank? That filter came with a pad, how long ago did you put in the sponge (good) and ceramic beads? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia as this should be done to get a baseline. Yes the brown gunk you see on your beads is good bacteria! Don't wash it off.
Sure!
Size = 29 gallon
Put the sponge 3 weeks ago, beads like 2 months.
Yes water test positive for ammonia but I thought it was chloramine. I put declorinator into the water before I put it into the tank. I believe it tests 0.25 with the api test. I have another test I can use
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:31 AM   #4
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Are you testing the Nitrites and Nitrates too?

If those are reading '0', i don't know why it's taking so long to cycle.

If the Nitrites are showing, the process is mid-cycle as that's what the Ammonia turns into.
If Nitrates are showing, the Ammonia and Nitrites should be '0', and that's when the cycle is complete.
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:06 PM   #5
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Issue

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Are you testing the Nitrites and Nitrates too?

If those are reading '0', i don't know why it's taking so long to cycle.

If the Nitrites are showing, the process is mid-cycle as that's what the Ammonia turns into.
If Nitrates are showing, the Ammonia and Nitrites should be '0', and that's when the cycle is complete.
Ah I just tested them and they both are reading 0. Nitrates are reading 0, ammonia reads 2. I dunno, what am I doing wrong for it not to cycle?
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:11 PM   #6
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ah ok, the problem is the tank ph is 6. thats why. what can i do to increase it?
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:47 PM   #7
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Crushed coral in a media bag in your filter.
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:50 PM   #8
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can i get that in an aquarium store?
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:51 PM   #9
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i just put some baking soda..what causes the low ph. i tested the water and its 7.2 so a little hard. not sure why its so low
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Old 11-20-2020, 05:22 PM   #10
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So yesterday I was able to add baking soda to the water to raise the pH. I got it to around 7 last night, and tested it this morning and its at 7.2. Should be safe now. So now I have temps at 78, pH = 7.2, ammonia = 1.5, nitrates and nitrites = 0. I can wait a few days and see if anything improves. Are these good numbers to start cycling the tank?
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Old 11-20-2020, 05:27 PM   #11
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If your ammonia is 1.5ppm then you need to do a pretty big water change. You want to keep your combined ammonia and nitrite below 0.5ppm.

Raising the pH will make the ammonia more toxic, so its more important to control ammonia at higher pH levels than low.

The pH is good for growing beneficial bacteria.
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Old 11-20-2020, 05:49 PM   #12
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If your ammonia is 1.5ppm then you need to do a pretty big water change. You want to keep your combined ammonia and nitrite below 0.5ppm.

Raising the pH will make the ammonia more toxic, so its more important to control ammonia at higher pH levels than low.

The pH is good for growing beneficial bacteria.
sounds good at this point im just trying to cycle the tank. i think if the ammonia is that high hopefully it starts to decrease and the nitrite starts to go down.
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Old 11-20-2020, 05:54 PM   #13
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Not good for your fish though. Keep your ammonia and nitrite low while doing a fish in cycle. Might lengthen your cycle but your priority should be the health of the fish while you do it.

Try and keep your combined ammonia and nitrite below 0.5ppm with water changes. That might mean daily changes for a period until your cycle starts to establish.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:29 PM   #14
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its been almost a week. have had a ammonia level of 1.5-2. ph = 7.2, temp = 79. Still have not seen any traces of nitrite so i dont think the tank is cycling yet. Anything else I should look at?
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Old 11-24-2020, 02:25 PM   #15
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Are you doing water changes? You have fish in there and your ammonia is way too high.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:48 PM   #16
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hello! sorry was busy with thanksgiving.
Yes I am doing a 20% water change everytime I see high ammonia. My fish is ok right now.
I am finally seeing some nitrites. Currently it looks like ph = 7.6, ammonia = 2ppm, and nitrites = 0.25!
I should continue seeing the nitrites to go up?
Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Gamerx13 View Post
hello! sorry was busy with thanksgiving.
Yes I am doing a 20% water change everytime I see high ammonia. My fish is ok right now.
I am finally seeing some nitrites. Currently it looks like ph = 7.6, ammonia = 2ppm, and nitrites = 0.25!
I should continue seeing the nitrites to go up?
Thanks!


Now that you have nitrites next you should see nitrates and your nitrite and ammonia should drop. I think I saw in here you are using prime which is good cause it will detoxify the ammonia and nitrite so your fish doesn’t get sick. Just keep up with that and the water changes as previously said by another even with the prime I would aim to keep ammonia lower like at .50 or less.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:44 PM   #18
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Aquarium Cycling

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Originally Posted by starfish615 View Post
Now that you have nitrites next you should see nitrates and your nitrite and ammonia should drop. I think I saw in here you are using prime which is good cause it will detoxify the ammonia and nitrite so your fish doesn’t get sick. Just keep up with that and the water changes as previously said by another even with the prime I would aim to keep ammonia lower like at .50 or less.
Thanks!
Im starting to see nitrates too. Today I saw a little, 5ppm.
But the ammonia did not really drop yet. Still waiting for that.
Is that normal.

I attached it too. Is this normal?
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:13 PM   #19
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Thanks!
Im starting to see nitrates too. Today I saw a little, 5ppm.
But the ammonia did not really drop yet. Still waiting for that.
Is that normal.

I attached it too. Is this normal?


Looks good to me. I would just keep up with small water changes every other day or so (obviously keep testing to see what this is doing) and keep using prime when you do. I suspect you are almost there, bacteria is happening now so just gotta let it do it’s thing and everything should even out soon.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:50 AM   #20
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There are many reasons why ammonia levels could be high but sounds like your filter has not cycled. At this point you need to forget about carbon in the filter, You need to have some sort of filter media that will eventually hold lots of beneficial bacteria like sponge and if you can replace the ceramic stuff and carbon with sponge material, even better and do NOT clean it. Eventually, after a couple of months or more, give the media a quick rinse and re-use it. And very important, dont overfeed. Water changes will help the fish as you lower the ammonia a bit. Use Prime only for water changes, adding more of it doesn't help you any at this point. These are just old timer true and tried simple things you can do to cycle a tank. Oh and most important when cycling a tank...patience.
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