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Old 04-26-2004, 08:37 PM   #1
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oh great... AMMONIA SPIKE-- NOT a freshly cycled tank!!!

hey guys,
i made a post regarding my fish disappearing and cannibalism! i got some water tested the other day and my ammonia is VERY HIGH. my rams are doing okay (surprisingly) and i haven't lost anymore fish... but what do i do?

do you think that the ammonia was caused by the rotting fish? or the fish died becuase of the ammonia?? the guy at the store recommended cycle and i reluctantly bought it even though i know you guys say it's crap and doesn't work... i just don't want to lose anymore fish. i feel so rotten. i am not over feeding them, so i really have NO idea what the cause should be . in the meantime, i have put a little salt in the tank? i don't know if this will alleviate any stress but i doubt it. just not sure what to do!

oh also, i just did a water change like 4 days ago over the weekend! what is going on!!! nitrates are fine, ph is 6.5! could probably raise that too but i do'nt really want to add many chemicals to throw the whole tank off kilter. ****!
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:44 PM   #2
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sounds like a spke from a dead fish... Did you find him?
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:08 PM   #3
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n o!!! i took out all the plants in my tank (plastic) and combed through most of the gravel and i didn't find anything =[
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-27-2004, 02:53 AM   #4
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I would say just keep doing water changes every day or two until you find the dead fish or your ammonia stays down. Do you have something to test for ammonia at your house?
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Tank description:
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sand substrate with some pebbles
Tetratec DW24-2

2 adult (1M 1F) Mollies
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100s of pest snails
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Old 04-27-2004, 03:06 AM   #5
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i don't right now., BUT ... i was watching the guy do my water test and i saw that NO3 was all he added to test for nitrates... do i only need NH3 to test for ammonia? if so, i can get some from school and do my own tests!!!
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-27-2004, 03:10 AM   #6
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I buy the 5-in-1 test strips that they have at WalMart....a big kill on the wallet. Try asking a Chemistry professor about what you need to test for it
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Tank description:
10 gal planted FW

Aquaclear150
sand substrate with some pebbles
Tetratec DW24-2

2 adult (1M 1F) Mollies
1 "teenage" male Molly (Silver Lyretails)
100s of pest snails
soon to add: 1 Clown or Dojo Loach
interested in: 3 Threadin Rainbow Fish (1M 2F)
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:04 AM   #7
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This could be a lot of things. Yes, decaying fish can be the cause. Could also be something killed off the nitrifying bacteria in your filter, or you don't have enough bio filtration. I think we need a bit of info on this mg
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:47 AM   #8
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You could use something to kickstart the bacteria, StressZyme or something similar would work (right??)
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Tank description:
10 gal planted FW

Aquaclear150
sand substrate with some pebbles
Tetratec DW24-2

2 adult (1M 1F) Mollies
1 "teenage" male Molly (Silver Lyretails)
100s of pest snails
soon to add: 1 Clown or Dojo Loach
interested in: 3 Threadin Rainbow Fish (1M 2F)
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Old 04-27-2004, 08:37 PM   #9
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well i got cycle, which i thought people have had bad results with...

brian ( not sure you will read this again ) , what other info can i supply? it is sooo weird. when i went to the store the guy asked me if anything was wrong with my filter and i dont think there is ? i don't know what could have killed the bacteria and the filter is working fine. i ahen't changed the cartridge lately.. could something be in the sponge that made it go bad? i don't know how anything coul dhave gotten 'infected' though...
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-27-2004, 08:54 PM   #10
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aridiar--StressZyme will not help cycle the tank.

mgkaelen, pull up the biological filter and physically look to see if there are bacterial colonies growing. They will look brownish and slimy *YUCK*--that's my fiance's job. If they are there, cycle probably won't help ~or~ you lost only the bacteria that take care of ammonia, but the ones that take care of nitrites are fine-could happen. Or you lost the ammonia ones (you say your ammonia is high, what about nitrites?). Hmmm, I just noticed something, you say your nitrates are fine? Nitrates are basically plant fertilizer. How are your nitrites?? Nitrite poisoning can be helped by the addition of salt.

You need to have test kits at home--emergencies often happen when the LFS is closed. I just picked up a Hagen mini kit with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, hardness and low and high pH tests for $18 CAD--it was on sale . The tests you really need are nitrite and ammonia. That should cost about $20 tops in the US. In the future to save some cash, try www.bigalsonline.com or Fosters and Smith. The test strips are not as reliable as the liquid test kits.
Are you currently doing water changes? That is probably the best and safest way to rid the tank of nitrites and ammonia.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:04 PM   #11
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hey menagerie...
now that you metnion it, i do'nt know if the dude even checked for nitrites. because he just used three tubes; pH, nitrates, and and ammonia... weird!! yes though, the nitrates are fine, the pH is around 6.5, and ammonia is bad...

do you know what it is in your test kids? i'm sure i can get chemistry supplies from school soi don't know which ones to grab. i saw that the guy doing the nitrate test just added some NO3 (nitrtate) so i wonder if some NH3 (ammonia) will test for ammonia in the tank. if so it will be super inexpensive for me ! i could even send you some for your troubles!

however, i just looked in my filter and i don't know if i have a bio filter like you were saying.. i just have a whisper filter which consists of a sponge and a cartridge. i lifted the cartridge up and there is muck all over it but the outside of it isn't slimy... i wonder if there is slime on the inside which i can't see, or on the sponge...
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:12 PM   #12
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Filters are made up of three parts: biological, mechanical and chemical. The sponge is the mechanical part--it should prevent big pieces of crud from getting in the filter. The cartridge provides an area for bacteria to grow (biological part) and probably has carbon (chemical part), which after a while, also accumulates bacteria. The "muck" is probably bacteria. My fiance describes it as slimy...or maybe I just think it's slimy...he's still up at the lab, so I cant' ask him.
The only problem I can see with using supplies from school is the test kits have color indicators--how will you interpret your results?

Nitrates being fine is sort of useless. You need to know the ppm for nitrites! My guess is they are high.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:13 PM   #13
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Ditch the whisper, worst filter in circulation.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:18 PM   #14
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so i hear, but i don't have the scrilla to replace it at the moment!!!!

menagerie; if the nitrites are high, i DID put some aq salt in the other night, so hopefully that will help them in subsiding. i will get them tested asap. i forgot about indicators, but i can get those from school too. i have various ones and would just need to research which ones to add into the chemicals; is ammonia count measured by ppm too? i could look into it... i use indicators every week in lab!
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:20 PM   #15
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I looked at my tests for ammonia and nitrite--these were made by Aquarium Pharamceuticals. The ammonia one does 75 tests, the nitrite one does 180 tests $22 CAD total--worth the money ).
There are no ingredients listed; it says, "Ammonia test solution" which tells me there is more than just one compound in there. As a graduate student, I understand the need to pinch pennies, but your best bet is to buy the necessary tests and find out what those nitrites are. In addition, after you do a water change, you will be able to tell how much of the toxins are being removed from the water.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:22 PM   #16
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Both are measured in ppm. I don't think the filter is the BIG problem right now--you need to get your water parameters back to normal. Then hit yard sales for a new filter
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Old 04-28-2004, 06:48 AM   #17
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A word about filters and media MG. The nitrifying bacteria in our filters are sensitive to changes. Merely rinsing the media, or adding chlorinated water from the tap can throw the balance out of whack. For this reason I like to use 2 filters in every tank.
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