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Old 03-03-2019, 07:08 AM   #1
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s.o.s

I have a 38-gallon cichlid tank with a Fluval 405 filter so it filters 100gallons. but I did a water change yesterday, during the water changes I used the siphon to suck up as much crap I could. I managed to get most of it. then I tested the water after (i have a master kit as well as a phosphate test) and my ammonia could not be read any higher. so far the fish seem fine but I know the ammonia will kill them. any advice would greatly be appreciated !!

the Ammonia is reading at 8.0 ppm everything else is where it needs to be

please help me!!

list of fish in the tank:
2x OB peacocks
1x Female peacock
1x Blue peacock
1x Red Peacock
1x Taiwan Reef
2x Yellow labs
1x Cobalt blue zebra
1x Moori
1x Lingstoni
1x Rope/Reedfish
1x Valentine synodontis catfish
1x Raphael Catfish

the Fluval 405 filter contains has 4 trays and one on the side. will be counting from bottom up)
bottom tray: 2x aquarium floss and 2x sponge
2nd tray: 2x sponge
3rd tray: 2x carbon bags (changed yesterday)
4th tray (top): 2x Bio cylinders
side tray: 4x long sponges

yesterday I put on an additional filter, it is an Aquaclear 50 with 2x aquarium floss and Lava rocks.

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Old 03-03-2019, 09:58 AM   #2
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If its really that high and you didn't mess up the test then start doing water changes immediately. I'm also pretty sure you're overstocking that tank to. Pretty much all of those fish get to 6" and at least one of them will get to 10".
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:25 AM   #3
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If your Cichlids are eating, swimming and otherwise acting normally, my guess is a false ammonia reading. I agree with Goatnad regarding an over crowded tank. A 38 gal. Tank might work as a very temporary growout tank for juvenile Africans in the number you have.
A 75 - 90 gal. tank will make things much easier for you in relation to sustaining stable water parameters and a more aesthetically pleasing looking African community tank. Good luck.
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Old 03-03-2019, 06:45 PM   #4
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If its really that high and you didn't mess up the test then start doing water changes immediately. I'm also pretty sure you're overstocking that tank to. Pretty much all of those fish get to 6" and at least one of them will get to 10".
They are still juvenile which is why they are there, I researched them before getting them we are soon getting a new tank. Could I have stirred up an ammonia pocket? And I am starting water changes now how much of a water change? I did treat with seachem amguard
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:06 PM   #5
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Yes you stirred and released a lot by doing a heavy deep cleaning. All the fish waste that was decomposing in pockets were released into the water. I would do 50% water changes every 4-6 hours and get it down to a reasonable level. Since you use prime that's good and its probably keeping it detoxified but best to just do water changes and remove it.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
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Yes you stirred and released a lot by doing a heavy deep cleaning. All the fish waste that was decomposing in pockets were released into the water. I would do 50% water changes every 4-6 hours and get it down to a reasonable level. Since you use prime that's good and its probably keeping it detoxified but best to just do water changes and remove it.
I am doing 50% water changes. And I picked up some nutrafin cycle. And some zeolite later media. I was told the zeolite stuff works better to remove ammonia?
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:45 PM   #7
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Better for longer term, but immediately the maximum dose of what you are using will be helpful. Prime is of course good too.

Is there ammonia in your tap water? It would be good to just double check.

Did you rinse any media with untreated tap water - or change any?
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:49 AM   #8
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Better for longer term, but immediately the maximum dose of what you are using will be helpful. Prime is of course good too.

Is there ammonia in your tap water? It would be good to just double check.

Did you rinse any media with untreated tap water - or change any?


We haven’t been using tap water as the pipes in my house make it unfit to use (the water tastes like pennies) so we have been using spring water. (There is a spring nearby our house) I tested it first and there seems to be nothing wrong with it.

My bio cylinders and due to be changed I was going to do that today to see if it would help. And I put a bag of fluval ammonia remover in my aqua clear hob I think it’s zeolite in the bag.

The day I noticed the ammonia spike I changed the carbon
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
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So if you throw away the bio filters you throw away the beneficial bacteria. You can keep them till they fall apart. Rinse in treated water.

Sometimes spring water could have metals so a detoxifier is important.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:48 AM   #10
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I believe you messed with the substrate enough to mess with the bacteria that breaks down your heavy metals ):
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:55 AM   #11
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I believe you messed with the substrate enough to mess with the bacteria that breaks down your heavy metals ):
There were two places in the tank where I believe there were ammonia pockets, there was a small cluster of rocks in the back with a bunch of fish poo under it and a tube with a bunch of food in it. Both have been removed permanently from the tank. And the ammonia is now down to 0.25ppm. I ended up putting a packet of zeolite in a hob filter and kept doing 50% water changes, then used some cycle so hoping to be in the clear now.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:52 PM   #12
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Hey kudos for the persistent, multi directional attack! Keep at it!
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:17 PM   #13
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Seachem prime will give false readings for ammonia.
(When using most available test kits)

It is stated by seachem in their website.

Prime will bind ammonia nitrite and nitrate making the aquarium safe regardless of measured readings while in use.

Pretty sure nitrogenous wastes are not heavy metals.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:03 AM   #14
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Heavy metals can be in well /spring water, ideally not, but it could happen. Originating from the ground minerals or from human carelessness.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:07 AM   #15
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Oh yes, the ammonia is I think turned into ammonium and still registers as ammonia because it is but it is made safe when it changes.

The other day I watched a video on using the ammonia alert hanging monitor and if you are very careful and follow directions, it will only read the free ammonia not the bound /changed ammonium.
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