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Old 10-16-2020, 06:14 PM   #1
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Unhappy Ammonia in tap water and what do I do with the baby?

I'm two weeks into a seeded cycle of a 55 gallon and added 3 Molly fish a couple of days ago. My nitrites have quickly gone down to zero and nitrates are at 10ppm but my ammonia keeps coming in at 0.25-0.50 (it's so hard to tell with the colours). I just tested my regular water and it's the exact same as the tank water... so obviously there is ammonia in the water to begin with. I tested my other tank (20 gallon) and the ammonia is 0.

I'm just so worried I put the fish in too soon and now I'm going to kill them. Especially because after 24 hours after getting them one of them popped out a baby who is now swimming around a breeder net (I assume there were more before I saw the little guy).

Should I move the baby in the breeder net to my other tank? Should I move all the fish to the other tank until it has fully cycled? Ah! Please help me, I feel like I keep messing up.

(p.s. I also found tiny snails which obviously hitchhiked on my plants... I expected an eco system but I feel like at this rate I might find a mermaid in there tomorrow)
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:24 PM   #2
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Not really a problem unless you have high pH. What is the pH of your water?
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:57 PM   #3
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I just tested... I have a hard time reading the colours so it’s between 7.8-8.2
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:01 PM   #4
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I just tested... I have a hard time reading the colours so it’s between 7.8-8.2
How pH affects Ammonia
While no ammonia in your tank is desirable it should be noted on what levels ammonia is considered an issue. The ammonia per se is not toxic at low levels but it is not desirable for any aquarium to have detectable levels of ammonia in the tank because it indicates poor filtration in the tank, which is not good for the fish. Ammonia is a slow process for being dangerous to your fish. It is very important to know the pH of your water to determine how fast to proceed with its removal. The ammonia in the water, if left unchecked, can lead to ammonia stress and ammonia poisoning.

Please see here:
Ammonia Stress and Ammonia Poisoning - The First Tank Guide - What Are the Signs of Ammonia Stress?

The common aquarium “ammonia” test measures the total ammonia, both ionized and un-ionized (Total Ammonia Nitrogen or TAN).
The chronic toxicity, where the ammonia kills slowly by a variety of mechanisms, is as follows:
  • 20 to 100 ppm of ammonia TAN at a pH of 6.0
  • 2 to 10 ppm of ammonia TAN at a pH of 7.0
  • 0.2 to 1 ppm of ammonia TAN at a pH of 8.0
Any pH between the above numbers you will have to make a linear interpolation. As you can see there is a 10 times increase or decrease in toxicity between pH levels.

A pH of 6.5 will reduce the growth of beneficial bacteria by 90%. A pH of 6.0 will virtually stop beneficial bacteria from oxidizing ammonia to nitrate; hence ammonia may be on the rise.

Ammonia causes internal damage to the brain, organs, and central nervous system. The fish begins to hemorrhage internally and externally and eventually dies.

As you can see it’s a balancing act with pH and how fast your filter(s) can oxidize ammonia. It’s very important that your filter has good effective media that water can flow through all your media and not around your media. Looking at the above if your pH is closer to 8.0, ammonia is more chronic over time and should be handled very quickly. If your pH is at 7.0, low levels of ammonia are not as chronic.
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:13 PM   #5
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Oh wow! Thank you for this! I’m new to the hobby (as you can tell) and trying to do things right.

So from this info, I feel I need to do 3 things:

1) Improve filtration
2) lower ph (via chemicals?)

And

3) move the baby/all the fish until this is settled

Please clarify if I’m on the right track with those three things.

Appreciate this so incredibly much!
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:29 PM   #6
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Pretty much. I've never had to reduce pH at all. I've actually had to increase it to maintain it at around 7-7.4. Better filtration is the key...
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:05 PM   #7
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Okay, thank you. I will go get another filter first thing in the morning.
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:09 PM   #8
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Okay, thank you. I will go get another filter first thing in the morning.
Well hang on a bit. Your filter may be just fine. It's your filter media that may be an issue. What filter do you have and what media is in it?
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:46 AM   #9
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Well hang on a bit. Your filter may be just fine. It's your filter media that may be an issue. What filter do you have and what media is in it?
This is the 55 gallon kit I have. I’m using the filter and media it came with.
https://myaquarium.net/aqueon-led-55...-aquarium-kit/

It claims this about the filter: “ The QuietFlow 55/75 power filter simply hangs on the back of the tank, supplied with two filters and is ideal for this 55 Gallon tank as it suites aquariums up to 90 Gallons thus over filtering and improving visibility.” I figured it was a bit of an exaggeration but thought it would still at least be enough.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:32 AM   #10
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This is the 55 gallon kit I have. I’m using the filter and media it came with.
https://myaquarium.net/aqueon-led-55...-aquarium-kit/

It claims this about the filter: “ The QuietFlow 55/75 power filter simply hangs on the back of the tank, supplied with two filters and is ideal for this 55 Gallon tank as it suites aquariums up to 90 Gallons thus over filtering and improving visibility.” I figured it was a bit of an exaggeration but thought it would still at least be enough.
OK, there's a problem. First is that filter uses cartridges which are not good. Need to have good permeable media in that filter. Also it is just adequate for your 55 gallon (at 400gph). A 55 should have around 440-550 gph flow. This is 8-10 times which is needed since the flow of all filters is reduced to about 50% once you add all your tubing, media, head height and whatever. This will give you the needed 4 times turnover rate with is what needed for good water quality. You can use that filter but the cartridges should go. I would suggest removing the cartridges and filling that filter with just 10/20 ppi foam or just cram as many plastic pot scrubbies in there that will fit.

http://aquariumscience.org/index.php/7-filter-media/

On my 75 gallon I use a Sunsun 370 gph canister filled with 10/20 ppi foam on the bottom, next two tray are all pot scrubbies. Also have a Tidal 75 (350 gph, but turned down) filled with 10/20 ppi foam only. Good thing about his setup is cleaning is only done every 6+ months since the media does not clog. And you really don't want to clean your filters thoroughly or often anyway.




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Old 10-17-2020, 05:45 PM   #11
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On my 75 gallon I use a Sunsun 370 gph canister filled with 10/20 ppi foam on the bottom, next two tray are all pot scrubbies. Also have a Tidal 75 (350 gph, but turned down) filled with 10/20 ppi foam only. Good thing about his setup is cleaning is only done every 6+ months since the media does not clog. And you really don't want to clean your filters thoroughly or often anyway.
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Ok, wow! This is so helpful thank you. I will try to stop asking questions soon.

I will definitely be getting a canister filter and the appropriate filter media for the 55 gallon. Would you suggest I look for one of the two you mentioned or is there something else I should get for this specific set up?

In terms of my 20 gallon tank (It's the same "kit" as my 55 gallon one but with a smaller filter). Will I need to get a canister filter for this one too? Would I be able to put the large filter with better filter media into my 20 gallon tank and then just get rid of the small filter? Or maybe the small filter would be okay on like a 10 gallon tank to raise the fry and any other that show up?
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:54 PM   #12
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You have lots of options. If you really want to add a canister to your 55, fine. I have a 10 gallon also and just run a Tidal 55 on that one. I don't think you need a canister for anything under 40 gallons but some folks do. Check Amazon for Sunsun or Polar Aurora for a good price. My Sunsun is going on 11 years now. Others may drop in here with their recommendations too.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:45 PM   #13
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You have lots of options. If you really want to add a canister to your 55, fine. I have a 10 gallon also and just run a Tidal 55 on that one. I don't think you need a canister for anything under 40 gallons but some folks do. Check Amazon for Sunsun or Polar Aurora for a good price. My Sunsun is going on 11 years now. Others may drop in here with their recommendations too.
Okay... doing some basic browsing of canister filters and I definitely need to do some more research before I understand them and can confidently purchase one. Since I need to get this tank dealt with ASAP I'll go get the suggested filter media tomorrow and get both my hang on back filters set up that way.

Thanks so much for all the help. I really appreciated it.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:52 PM   #14
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Great, good luck.
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Old Yesterday, 04:36 PM   #15
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A little update and just looking for some reassurance.

Ultimately, I was not able to find pot scrubbies anywhere nor the foam suggested, so I ordered the foam online and in the meantime I got a Seapora sponge Filter (large) installed last Sunday morning. I was able to replace the filter cartridges with foam mid-week and I cut out as much as the old filter cartridge media as I could to keep in front of the sponge.

My ammonia levels don't seem to be going down yet. They are still between 0.50-1.00. Is this just still early days or do I need to do something else? A fish store told me my stocking levels might be too low but that seemed counterintuitive to me. (I have 3 mollies, plus a baby who showed up and about 6 tiny baby-snails who rode in on some plants.... 55 gallons).
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Old Yesterday, 04:56 PM   #16
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A little update and just looking for some reassurance.

Ultimately, I was not able to find pot scrubbies anywhere nor the foam suggested, so I ordered the foam online and in the meantime I got a Seapora sponge Filter (large) installed last Sunday morning. I was able to replace the filter cartridges with foam mid-week and I cut out as much as the old filter cartridge media as I could to keep in front of the sponge.

My ammonia levels don't seem to be going down yet. They are still between 0.50-1.00. Is this just still early days or do I need to do something else? A fish store told me my stocking levels might be too low but that seemed counterintuitive to me. (I have 3 mollies, plus a baby who showed up and about 6 tiny baby-snails who rode in on some plants.... 55 gallons).
Really? Did you try Amazon?

https://www.amazon.com/Assorted-Colo...e-b06387f8bcf1

Best place for foam is Poret Foam from Swiss Tropicals.
http://www.swisstropicals.com/filtra...ret-foam-shop/
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Old Yesterday, 05:11 PM   #17
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Really? Did you try Amazon?

https://www.amazon.com/Assorted-Colo...e-b06387f8bcf1

Best place for foam is Poret Foam from Swiss Tropicals.
Poretģ Foam Shop - SWISSTROPICALS
I was not able to find the foam at the 3 pet shops I visited and I was not able to find pot scrubbies at the 2 grocery stores I visited last weekend. As a result, I got the sponge filter that I could use asap and I ordered the foam from online with the fastest shipping I could get.

Thank you for the links. I'm in Canada, so I have to use the Canadian Amazon.

Am I on the right track here?
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Old Yesterday, 05:46 PM   #18
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Ammonia in tap water and what do I do with the baby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BluBlu View Post
I was not able to find the foam at the 3 pet shops I visited and I was not able to find pot scrubbies at the 2 grocery stores I visited last weekend. As a result, I got the sponge filter that I could use asap and I ordered the foam from online with the fastest shipping I could get.



Thank you for the links. I'm in Canada, so I have to use the Canadian Amazon.



Am I on the right track here?

It doesnít really matter. The microorganisms responsible for the nitrogen cycle grow on pretty much all surfaces in the tank provided you have good oxygenation. So sponges, scrubbies or whatever are not the be all and end all.

You know what the best test kit is that any aquarist has at their disposal? Their eyes. Aquariums were brought in to the home originally to study and observe the fishes natural behaviour, therefore one should learn and observe their fishes natural behaviour. That way you will know very quickly when something is off.

So the question is. Are the fish showing signs of distress? Are they agitated, clamped, reserved, isolated, breathing rapidly, hanging by the surface, struggling with buoyancy, refusing to eat, off colour, lethargic?

If the answer is no then thats that. Continue to observe. Create places for them where they can break from the lighting and flow. Keep the water well oxygenated. Resist the urge to overfeed.

There is a notion that we are water keepers, not fish keepers. This is nonsense. We are fish keepers. Know the fish. Learn the fish. Keep the fish. Enjoy them. This hobby isnít about stress and if your fish arenít stressed then get on with it. Itís not that complicated

If only you really knew how ridiculously garbage those test kits actually were....your eyes donít lie to you and they didnít cost you anything which is a bonus.

Good luck.
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM   #19
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Thank you and good points. The fish seem to be loving life, so I’ll keep going.
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