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Old 02-21-2014, 12:40 PM   #1
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Unhappy High ammonia - newbie

Hi there, I'm hoping for a bit of advice please.

I have a 64 litre tank which (on the advice of an independant aquatic retailer) we started cycling with 5 Platy (please don't shoot me down as this is what I was advised!!)... we are now 4 weeks in and they seem to be doing fine.. here's what I had been doing.

-Feeding every other day
-Water testing with API Master Kit
-Adding bacteria boosting stuff including Stress Zyme weekly
-Was doing 20% water changes until advised not to do so by another Aquatic retailer

Have just been into most recent retailer and they tested water again and said all levels okay except for high ammonia and tried to sell me Aquavital Bacto Sprint. Has anyone ever heard of it? They also told me that it is not a good idea to use filter waste from an already cycled tank which is what I had been advised to do so by a number of other people!!

Really not sure now what is best to do to get ammonia down. Any advice appreciated, many thanks.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:12 PM   #2
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Definitely continue with pwcs... They wont affect your cycle. Test your tap water for ammonia too. Can u give sone more info on your tank and equipment
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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Don't you find it kind of fishy that they told you to stop doing water changes and waited until you came to get your water tested to try to sell you an unnecessary product?

Keep in mind that fish stores are trying to make money and many of them adopt bad business practices to do that. My advice to you is to stop going to the store that told you not to change your water as it is 100% bogus advice.

Any time you have an ammonia reading above .25ppm you need to do a 50% water change. Any amount of ammonia in the water at all will be more than enough to feed the growing bacteria in the tank. The same goes for nitrite. Also, I would highly suggest getting your own test kit.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:32 PM   #4
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You have been badly advised on cycling your tank with those 5 platys they will have gone through hell and i am surprised they are all alive. As for the high ammonia levels i would cut right down on the feed, every other day as you are doing but the tiniest pinch, the high ammonia is a much bigger killer than starvation ! And i would suggest keeping up the water changes, daily if necessary. I dont like bottled bacteria most of them actually increase ammonia before they start to work and that could be fatal. Also check the ammonia levels daily yourself so you know exactly whats going on in the tank, you should start to see improvements and when your ammonia hits 0 and stabilises you can start feeding your fish twice a day and think of adding some tank mates, good luck and let us know how you get on
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:07 PM   #5
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It's good to not do waterchanges when you do FISHLESS cycle. Fishin cycle require water changes, or fishs can die from ammonia poisoning.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:25 PM   #6
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Thank you very much everyone for your advice. I am that I didn't just continue with what I was doing (pwcs) which was keeping my young tank at a relatively low ammonia level. I didn't do a water change for 2 weeks after they told me how much of a bad idea it was

I did my own test water test today (ammonia at 1ppm) with API Master Test Kit after your advice and then did a water change this evening.

Tank is 64 litre, integrated/internal filter. OOPS!) I would be grateful if someone could actually advise me if I ought to change the filter for it at some point after it has cycled.

I am being very strict with feeding and will ignore the crap in-store advice I was given and keep up with the PWCS now. Thank you. I am staggered that my Platy are still alive after what you have all said, even more so that they produced one fry!

My plan, once I get this sussed is to have a bigger tank one day Thank you all ever so much for your advice, hopefully I can keep these little guys alive
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:12 PM   #7
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You only need to change the filter when it is literally deteriorating. A monthly rinsing in old tank water is more than sufficient to keep your filter well maintained.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:04 AM   #8
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Thats great advice from mebbid, i only change mine when its falling to pieces in my hand, as suggested just squeeze the crap out in your tank water, and don't despair too much 4 weeks with a fish in cycle is still very early days and that is why you still have new tank syndrome, keep up those water changes and YOU WILL get there, also you could, if not already , add some live plants as ammonia nitrates and nitrite are a natural food source for plants so will help to keep those levels down, but if you do nothing else keep up the water changes, that is by far the most important thing to do
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:46 PM   #9
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Hi, you have received good.advice.and bad advice in your short time as a fishkeepr. Well done for persevering.

I would just say that you are now being advised after being told by one shop that everything is fine apart from high ammonia. Do you know what the actual reading is/was?

In your first paragraph, you say your fish appear to be doing fine 4 weeks into the cycle, so is there a problem here? 4 weeks is enough for both ammonia and nitrite levels to have peaked to the worst they could get under the loading of fish present, so my advice would be to start feeding the fish properly, little and often, and resume your water change regime.

Personally, I would rinse a filter sponge in a small tank once every one to two weeks to remove dirt that clogs pores and reduces surface area for bacteria. Adding bottled bacteria doesn't increase ammonia (why would it?) And adding some after rinsing your sponges will help replenish any lost during rinsing.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:14 PM   #10
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Increasing the oxygen level of the water well help your bacteria breakdown the ammonia. There are plenty ways to do this including air stones or surface disturbance.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pip walters View Post
Hi, you have received good.advice.and bad advice in your short time as a fishkeepr. Well done for persevering.

I would just say that you are now being advised after being told by one shop that everything is fine apart from high ammonia. Do you know what the actual reading is/was?

In your first paragraph, you say your fish appear to be doing fine 4 weeks into the cycle, so is there a problem here? 4 weeks is enough for both ammonia and nitrite levels to have peaked to the worst they could get under the loading of fish present, so my advice would be to start feeding the fish properly, little and often, and resume your water change regime.

Personally, I would rinse a filter sponge in a small tank once every one to two weeks to remove dirt that clogs pores and reduces surface area for bacteria. Adding bottled bacteria doesn't increase ammonia (why would it?) And adding some after rinsing your sponges will help replenish any lost during rinsing.
Most bottled bacteria DO increase ammonia levels before digesting them and can cause a dangerous spike, the ones that contain heterotrophic bacteria only should be avoided at all costs, would never ever recommend using them to get ammonia down while tank is occupied, potential death sentence and total waste of money
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul65 View Post
Most bottled bacteria DO increase ammonia levels before digesting them and can cause a dangerous spike, the ones that contain heterotrophic bacteria only should be avoided at all costs, would never ever recommend using them to get ammonia down while tank is occupied, potential death sentence and total waste of money
Well I can only go off my own experience and have never experienced an increase in ammonia when using bottled bacteria. At work, I use jbl denitrol that contains both nitrifying bacteria and heterotrophic bacteria.

Theoretically, heterotrophic bacteria should only cause high ammonia if there are large amounts of organic material andl zero oxygen.

To say most bottled bacteria definitely cause ammonia spikes really needs some back up stats IMO.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:36 AM   #13
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I am really grateful for the advice all of you have given, I'm a bit of a fish out of water here (sorry terrible pun).

I have been doing pwcs since receiving your advice so hopefully fish will be okay and I won't go back to the retailer for their advice, as you say, they have everything to gain for giving duff advice if it means a sale for them. Yes I am an amateur but I'm not stupid when it comes to keeping animals etc (keep/show/breed dogs and chickens for 25 years) so although I've fallen for their tripe this time, I've learned my lesson thanks to you guys
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:13 AM   #14
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No problem. You're on the right track. We have all been in your shoes and have made all of the same mistakes, at least I have.

If you are thinking if upgrading or adding a tank in the future I recommend adding an air-driven sponge filter to your existing tank for a while. When you do add or go bigger you may transfer that sponge filter to the new tank and won't need to wait for the tank to cycle. I keep an extra sponge filter in all my tanks just in case I make an impulse buy at my LFS and need to setup another tank asap.
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