Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 02-14-2005, 03:05 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Extreme Ammonia/Cycling problem!

I started six weeks ago.
I have a 55 gallon tank.
I have a couple live plants and a couple fake plants.
I have several caves made of Quartz and Slate(sanitized well).
I have a Eheim 2215, an air wand, and heater.
I have 1 2 1/2" Green Terror that I got for free.
I have 3 small Jack Dempseys that I paid $4.00.
I have 6 Tiger Barbs.
I started by adding declorinated tap water.
After 24 hours I tested the water and it read:
PH 7.2 - Ammonia 0 - Nitrite - 0 Nitrate 0

Week one, same.

Week two, 1/4 water exchange and gravel vac (Cichlids seem to be nasty as far as waste) my readings were:
PH 7.0 - Ammonia .50 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0

Week three, my ammonia was off the scale of 8+ I continued with the same weekly 1/4 water exchange thinking this was my Ammonia spike.

Week four, same readings as the week before and same 1/4 water exchange.

Week five, same readings so I freak out and do a 1/2 water exchange and still keep a 8+ Ammonia level.

Week six, all this week I have done 1/4 water changes daily with slight reduction in Ammonia an hour after testing. Also my Nirite and Nitrate are now at zero.

Overall, I cant believe my fish are still alive.
I'm sure my tests are accurate.
I'm sure my filter is working properly.

If you have any insight into this problem and how I can deal with it would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks
__________________

__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 08:59 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Fishyfanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 11,964
You tank is cycling and experiencing a heavy bioload. Cichlid's are notoriously messy fish and will increase the ammonia spike. Idealily you should do daily water changes during the cycling phase, for the sake of your fish. A couple questions:

Are you sucking out water only on your weekly water changes or are you also vacuming the gravel? If you are vacuming the gravel, stop. Only do this once a month during the cycling process. This is the reason why cichlid's should not be used to cycle. They also shouldn't be used because it's not good for their well-being to be cycled. Fishless is the best way to cycle. If you want to reduce the amount of fish waste, wave the vac above the sand/gravel to lift up the waste, but do not distrube the gravel/sand because if you do, you are going to jepordize the bacteria colonies.

Have you changed or rinsed your filter cartridges at each water change? Again, if you are, stop. At this point in time, during the cycling process, do not change or clean your cartridges. If at any point they get REALLY grimy, you can lightly wave them in used tank water. But don't do it too much because you will lose the beneficial bacteria.

Be careful not to over-feed your fish. This will also cause a spike of ammonia.

If you have a friend with an established tank (sometimes the lfs will even let you use theirs), get some "grime" off of their filtration catridges and put it on yours, this will help boost the cycling process. You can also use a couple handfulls of gravel from an established tank, put it into a media bag and put it in your tank.

I agree that a Ammonia spike of that high is very high, dangerous for the life of fish. In the future, during the cycling stage, either go fishless or use Guppies or something of the sort. Most people would recommend going fishless beacuse of the poor water conditions that fish have to go through during the cycling phase. I've personally never done fishless because when we first stared in the aquaria hobby I had never heard of fishless cycles. Once I got my first tank cycled I kept using old water and gravel/filter cartridges from old tanks in the new ones.

Also, take a water sample to the lfs and have them test it, just to have a second opinion.
__________________

__________________
Vote for Aquarium Advice

29 Gallon Lake Malawi Fry
55 Gallon Community
150 Gallon Lake Malawi Cichlid
Fishyfanatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 10:17 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 398
There is always biospira too. If your lfs has it, buy some and put it in the tank. Instant bacteria colony.
__________________
10 Gal Planted, 3 wpg, Eco-Complete and Tahitian Moon Sand

29 Gal Planted, 1.2 wpg, Estes Gravel
gfink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 12:22 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Houston,TX
Posts: 40
Just a quick question...... Are you planning to go with a bigger tank in the near future? From what I have heard / read that tank is way too small for 3 Jack dempseys , and prob. too small for just one jack dempsey when he starts to really grow.
Just seems like too many fish that have a tendency to be quite large in a 55 gal.
__________________
Tank specs:

10 White Cloud Minnow
10 Black Neon Tetra
2 Anubias
75 Gal.
Flourite and small river rock substrate w/ driftwood.
80 Watts standard flouescent lighting
Magnum 350
Eheim ProII 2026
critter905 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 01:12 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
I have actually done a couple gravel vacs in this time period.
One was quite thorough. I quess I messed up there.
I have also rinsed the sponge pads in my filter with aquarium water last week because I had white floating bacteria all over the place, even inside of the tubing. That bacteria is now gone.

The opinion of the lfs is to let the water sit there unchanged for three weeks and see what happens. The other person was so confused by the fact that I have an Eheim 2215 and Ammonia that she had no advice at all.

I guess I will continue with the water changes until I'm down below Ammonia readings of 1.0
I should continue to doing surface extraction of fish poop, right?



Yes I plan on starting another larger tank. I will keep my Green Terror in the 55 gallon tank and put the JD's in the larger tank. Even then I will still be getting rid of one of the JD's. Right now I have 2 males and one Female.
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 01:45 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Fishyfanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 11,964
You should continue to do daily water changes until you show no traces of ammonia or nitrites. The employee that told you to do nothing is in serious need of education on the cycling process. No matter what type of filtration system that you use, you will always have ammonia in the cycling period.

Good luck!
__________________
Vote for Aquarium Advice

29 Gallon Lake Malawi Fry
55 Gallon Community
150 Gallon Lake Malawi Cichlid
Fishyfanatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2005, 11:29 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
My Ammonia is now around 3.0
Nitrite .50
Nitrate 5.0
PH 7.2

Today the lady at the lfs told my girlfriend that she thought that my problem had nothing to do with the fact that I had Cichlids. She also said it was bad for me to do water changes every day and that i should start doing them every other day. She said I'm destroying all of my good bacteria. She also kept stressing that I use Ammo lock, which I have no intentions of using.
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 03:04 AM   #8
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 141
definately daily water changes, 3.0 ppm of ammonia is pretty hard on fish. I did a cycle on my 10 gallon with fish and kept the ammonia between 1-1.25 ppm and it cycled in about 5 weeks, with no ammonia after day 24.
__________________
10 gallon FW-2 zebra danios, 3 cory cats, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 baby rubbernose pleco
2.5 gallon FW-empty for now
Frank_the_Tank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 03:19 AM   #9
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Thank you fellow metal head.
After my Ammonia gets down, how often should I do the water changes?
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 09:47 AM   #10
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Fishyfanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 11,964
After you ammonia and Nitrites reach 0, it would be wise to do weekly water changes, only vacuming the gravel once a month but still getting up all the fish waste weekly. You are right in not using the ammo lock. It will only cause disruption in your cycle.
__________________
Vote for Aquarium Advice

29 Gallon Lake Malawi Fry
55 Gallon Community
150 Gallon Lake Malawi Cichlid
Fishyfanatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2005, 12:00 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
Menagerie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 13,230
[center:3f508dc3e9] Welcome to AA, esaone!! [/center:3f508dc3e9]
Quote:
Today the lady at the lfs told my girlfriend that she thought that my problem had nothing to do with the fact that I had Cichlids.
The ammonia is coming from the fish--any fish!

Keep up with the PWC daily. Do not vacuum the gravel or touch the filter. The only time I clean the filters on my numerous tanks is when the flow decreases. Then I rinse out the media and reuse it.
Quote:
She also said it was bad for me to do water changes every day and that i should start doing them every other day. She said I'm destroying all of my good bacteria.
Although some bacteria grows in the water, it colonizes on the substrate and filter media. PWC are fine, will save your fish, but will prolong the cycle.

Do you know anyone with an established tank?
__________________

Menagerie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005, 12:54 AM   #12
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Yes I do know someone with an established tank.
I went to their house and got two gallons of water and they had waaaaayyyyyy high Ammonia and Nitrate, not to mention a PH of 6.0
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005, 09:13 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Last night two hours after my water change my Ammonia was at
.50 Tonight my Ammonia is ZERO!, Nitrite 2.0 and Nitrate 10
This is good right!?!
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005, 11:42 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Fishyfanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 11,964
Yes, you are on your way to a cycled tank. When you're nitrites and ammonia are both at zero, you're set!
__________________
Vote for Aquarium Advice

29 Gallon Lake Malawi Fry
55 Gallon Community
150 Gallon Lake Malawi Cichlid
Fishyfanatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2005, 12:48 AM   #15
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Water changes.
I know when I'm cycled I to do them every week, but now that my Ammonia is gone, how concerned with Nitrite do I need to be?
When should I do my next PWC?
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2005, 02:08 AM   #16
AA Team Emeritus
 
An t-iasg's Avatar


 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Criders Corners, PA
Posts: 9,889
Congrats on getting your ammonia down! I just started a tank (beginning of January) and it was a good 5 weeks before it cycled all the way.

To answer your question, you should still do partial water changes every day if the tests show any nitrite readings. Nitrites can be just as bad as high ammonia, plus your fish may be a little stressed from the high ammonia levels they had to go through. So keep plugging away at those water changes! If it's any consolation, my nitrite spike phase did not last as long as my ammonia spike phase.
__________________







An t-iasg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2005, 02:19 AM   #17
AA Team Emeritus
 
An t-iasg's Avatar


 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Criders Corners, PA
Posts: 9,889
About your other post of getting water from an established tank:
The water isn't really what you want. Plus, as you found out, the parameters, like pH, could be different. Most of the good bacteria doesn't live in the water column. It lives in the filter media mostly, and also in the gravel and on the surface of any decorations. What you do is squeeze the sponge in the filter into a baggie. It should be brown, grungy water. Pour that water and the grunge into your filter, onto your sponge or foam block. If your friend's aquarium had high ammonia and nitrate, that is not an established tank. If the ammonia was high, they may not have cycled all the way, or maybe they are overfeeding. If the nitrates are high, the tank may be overstocked or the source water for the tank may have some nitrates present. Live plants will take up the excess nitrates. There are some easy, low-light plants available, like java moss and java fern.
__________________







An t-iasg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2005, 04:17 AM   #18
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
Their tank has been set up for over a year, but it has two red bellied piranha's in it.
They keep the tank filled with tons of gold fish, overfeed them, and have done two or so water changes since setting up. The amount of waste in the tank is incredible. The tests I did were off the charts.
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2005, 12:35 AM   #19
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
esaone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 79
IT'S OVER!!!!!!!
Ammonia - ZERO!!!
Nitrite - ZERO!!!
Nitrate - 10

I wish I knew then what I know now. The guide to cycling I read never said a word about controlling high levels during spikes. If it wasn't for the wisdom of the fine people here and the FWC they suggested my fish would all be toast.
Thanks you !
__________________
esaone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2005, 12:58 AM   #20
AA Team Emeritus
 
An t-iasg's Avatar


 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Criders Corners, PA
Posts: 9,889
Yay! Congrats! I'm glad the tank is cycled and your fish are ok!
__________________

__________________







An t-iasg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ammonia, cycling

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cycling- Not sure if I have enough ammonia prissysmom Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 5 10-11-2009 10:47 AM
cycling - Is this ammonia ok? mattmathis Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 8 10-08-2009 01:15 AM
Ammonia to use for cycling resist- Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 4 07-08-2009 11:08 AM
Cycling and Ammonia oliverosuna Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 16 03-11-2006 01:25 AM
cycling and ammonia pm64971 Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 1 10-06-2003 03:42 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.