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Old 11-19-2020, 08:32 PM   #1
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Urgent help with high Ammonia levels

We are having a serious problem controlling the ammonia in our tank. We have 2 five inch goldfish in a 37 gallon aquarium. We use a Fluval C3 five stage filtration external filter for up to 50 gallons. We had been using the Carbon/Ammonia controlling bag media but we have the pure ammonia controlling bags coming.

We perform a 20% water change ( about 8 Gallons) as needed which we almost have to do every couple days due to ammonia. When we do we use tap water filtered through a PUR filter and add Tetra Aquasafe. We also add Tetra Easy Balance and Tetra Safe start when we do.

I feed them a quarter teaspoon of Tetra Flakes twice a day. I also give them a small cube of frozen brine shrimp (once defrosted) once a week and a small bit of seaweed once a week.

Our nitrites are at 0 and nitrates are 5ppm controlled but our ammonia is always .25 and .5ppm. The ph is 7.4. We bought some Seachem Stability and Prime tonight to try and see if it helps.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as we are worried and donít know what to do.

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Old 11-20-2020, 03:24 AM   #2
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Try testing some bottled water for ammonia. You know that the bottled water will be 0ppm ammonia. How does the bottled water compare with your tank water? Its a common issue for 0ppm to look like a 0.25ppm reading.

Are the fish showing any signs of stress?
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Old 11-20-2020, 06:58 AM   #3
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Agree with Aiken Drum. 0.25 is essentially 0. Keep using your de-chlorinator with each water change. Your filter should have efficient media to zero out any ammonia in hours.
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:08 PM   #4
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Agree with Aiken Drum. 0.25 is essentially 0. Keep using your de-chlorinator with each water change. Your filter should have efficient media to zero out any ammonia in hours.

Here's the gist of the situation. We have had cats over the years and 3 passed. All of them were sick and had various illnesses. Cancer, diabetes, thyroid, allergies, etc. I became an expert on cat biology and treatments fast. After all of them were gone we got a pair of siblings who also have health issues.
However fish never seemed that difficult due to my early life experiences. My wife was a biology major so she handles the tank chemicals and maintenance. I handle the feeding and playing, as much as they will.
When I was in 4th grade I won 2 fish at a school carnival. They were really tiny and being a child I had no idea how to really care for them. But I got a large bowl, longer than tall and changed the water twice a week and fed them once a day. Senior year of high school (Yes, 8 years later) one passes. The second passes the day after I believe from a broken heart.
We had discussed getting fish for some time and always put it off. But I missed having them and this past February pre-covid New York has a winter version of the New York State Fair. They had the ping pong game to win fish and I just felt the impulse and it felt 'right.' I remembered the ones I had and knew an aquarium would be best but didn't know about growth as the others never seemed to.
I started with a 5, then a 10, and then a 20. The only spot in the house to put a tank could fit an aquarium stand that could hold up to a 37. Please don't get me started on how hard it is to find a 37 gallon tank. HECK, PURE HECK to not offend anyone. My wife has been very supportive and is the one who handles the changes, etc. I researched the tanks, food, stand, equipment, etc. But she is getting very frustrated by the ammonia and I never thought we would get here. I never knew there was so much to fish care and I have much respect for you and anyone who has taken the time and effort to learn.
Just wanted to give you a heads up of where we are coming from. It's been a very bumpy ride and we are trying to do our best with what we have. We spent a bit and know we won't be able to get a larger tank till next year and since one is a common and one is a comet it sounds like we will need one.
I put us in a pickle indeed.



There are no obvious signs of stress that I can see. They are eating, pooping swimming and interacting like normal. The only thing I read online that could indicate an issue is on the comet that if the fin has a bloody red spot inside the lower rear fin that it could be an issue of ammonia poisoning. But he exhibits NO other signs and the common is fine. He did before and it went away but now it is back.


We have distilled water in the house and we ran an ammonia test. The colors are close but there is definitely more yellow in the distilled.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:59 PM   #5
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That's quite the synopsis of how you arrived to the point you're at today. Could you post a picture of the tank?
Are you dead set on keeping goldfish in the tank? If not, I'd recommend 1000's of better inhabitant options, imo.
Gold fish produce a lot of waste. A 50% weekly PWC along with reducing how much you feed will help with the water quality. How long has the tank been up and running?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Figureguy View Post
Here's the gist of the situation. We have had cats over the years and 3 passed. All of them were sick and had various illnesses. Cancer, diabetes, thyroid, allergies, etc. I became an expert on cat biology and treatments fast. After all of them were gone we got a pair of siblings who also have health issues.
However fish never seemed that difficult due to my early life experiences. My wife was a biology major so she handles the tank chemicals and maintenance. I handle the feeding and playing, as much as they will.
When I was in 4th grade I won 2 fish at a school carnival. They were really tiny and being a child I had no idea how to really care for them. But I got a large bowl, longer than tall and changed the water twice a week and fed them once a day. Senior year of high school (Yes, 8 years later) one passes. The second passes the day after I believe from a broken heart.
We had discussed getting fish for some time and always put it off. But I missed having them and this past February pre-covid New York has a winter version of the New York State Fair. They had the ping pong game to win fish and I just felt the impulse and it felt 'right.' I remembered the ones I had and knew an aquarium would be best but didn't know about growth as the others never seemed to.
I started with a 5, then a 10, and then a 20. The only spot in the house to put a tank could fit an aquarium stand that could hold up to a 37. Please don't get me started on how hard it is to find a 37 gallon tank. HECK, PURE HECK to not offend anyone. My wife has been very supportive and is the one who handles the changes, etc. I researched the tanks, food, stand, equipment, etc. But she is getting very frustrated by the ammonia and I never thought we would get here. I never knew there was so much to fish care and I have much respect for you and anyone who has taken the time and effort to learn.
Just wanted to give you a heads up of where we are coming from. It's been a very bumpy ride and we are trying to do our best with what we have. We spent a bit and know we won't be able to get a larger tank till next year and since one is a common and one is a comet it sounds like we will need one.
I put us in a pickle indeed.



There are no obvious signs of stress that I can see. They are eating, pooping swimming and interacting like normal. The only thing I read online that could indicate an issue is on the comet that if the fin has a bloody red spot inside the lower rear fin that it could be an issue of ammonia poisoning. But he exhibits NO other signs and the common is fine. He did before and it went away but now it is back.


We have distilled water in the house and we ran an ammonia test. The colors are close but there is definitely more yellow in the distilled.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:11 PM   #6
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I can post a picture of the tank. We are dead set on keeping the fish as they are ours now. The tank has been up and running for just over 5 weeks.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:08 PM   #7
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I can post a picture of the tank. We are dead set on keeping the fish as they are ours now. The tank has been up and running for just over 5 weeks.
Maybe the picture is fooling my eyes. It looks like a 20gal tall with an aqueon hob filter. What are the dimensions of the tank?
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:02 AM   #8
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Maybe the picture is fooling my eyes. It looks like a 20gal tall with an aqueon hob filter. What are the dimensions of the tank?

No it is a 37 gallon with a c3 Fluval Power. The dimensions are just about 30 and 1/2 inches long, 12 and 1/2 inches wide and 23 inches high. We purchased it from Country Max as most other makers I looked at and contacted online either made 36 or 40. The only other 37 gallon I found was PetSmart's Topfin which has crappy ratings.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:44 PM   #9
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Ok, sounds good. The tank is still new and isn't cycled fully. I'm thinking it will read nitrites right now. Have you tested the water again recently?
As those fish grow, the filtration should probably be beefed up with either a 2nd hob or a canister filter.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:38 PM   #10
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We are actually testing the tank twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. No nitrates OR nitrites just the ammonia. I had thought of one bigger filter vs. hobs but canisters are a little out of my price range now. Someone reached out to me and said they use a Tidal 110 HOB and that would be great for my tank with goldfish, and would not be overkill like one would think.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:44 PM   #11
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We are actually testing the tank twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. No nitrates OR nitrites just the ammonia. I had thought of one bigger filter vs. hobs but canisters are a little out of my price range now. Someone reached out to me and said they use a Tidal 110 HOB and that would be great for my tank with goldfish, and would not be overkill like one would think.
+1 on the Tidal filters. They are good. Just fill the bottom half of the basket with 10ppi foam and the rest with 20ppi foam and you are set. Otherwise stuff it full of simple plastic pot scrubbers. A quick rinse under water every 6 months or so is all you need.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:32 PM   #12
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Going to look into getting the Tidal 110. But I have a question for whoever can answer. If we are cycling this tank and change the filter won't the new filter's media be too clean? I was wondering if before using the new filter if I should soak it's media in tank water for a day or so.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:15 PM   #13
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Going to look into getting the Tidal 110. But I have a question for whoever can answer. If we are cycling this tank and change the filter won't the new filter's media be too clean? I was wondering if before using the new filter if I should soak it's media in tank water for a day or so.
What you can do is squeeze the old filter right in the water so that bacteria will propagate to your new filter. Then put that in the new filter too. Pretty much instant cycle.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:45 PM   #14
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Just an update. We have been doing a partial change every evening and adding prime every other day. Have been putting stability in every day. We also changed the media in the C3 Fluval from the Carbon/Ammonia mixed to the Ammonia only removing media.

Tonight we have levels of .5 ammonia. Any helpful thoughts as more of the comet's tail's veins are turning red and we had been close to .25 for a couple days. Concerned a bit tonight.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:22 AM   #15
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We are actually testing the tank twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. No nitrates OR nitrites just the ammonia. I had thought of one bigger filter vs. hobs but canisters are a little out of my price range now. Someone reached out to me and said they use a Tidal 110 HOB and that would be great for my tank with goldfish, and would not be overkill like one would think.
With nitrates at 0, looks like your tank is not cycled. Continue with whatever you are doing to cycle your filter/tank with a fish in cycle since you have fish.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:27 PM   #16
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We are going to stay the course and maybe go with the Tidal filter next week. If we do I am going to take the C-nodes out of the Fluval since they are already exposed to our tank water and add them to the Tidal Media. Then I figure rinsing the new sponge with the Tidal in tank water also. Trying to stay the course and remain patient.
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