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Old 04-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #1
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Yet another cycling question....

Hi all,

I'm new here and new to fish keeping, but have been doing a lot of reading on the subject. We decided to cycle our 60 gallon freshwater tank using some starter fish, and over the past month have gradually added more fish.

About a week ago, I removed and QTed a fish who developed ich upon coming home from the pet store. I then treated my main tank in fear that the others would get it and, following the directions of the medication, I removed the carbon filter for the time I was treating it.

Now the carbon is back in place and all the fish are well, but the ammonia has skyrocketed (was steady around 1.0 before, and now is about 4.0). Also the 4.0 reading came AFTER a 30% water change, so it must have been even worse before that.

I assume that it will go down again as the new carbon goes to work, but my question is: how do I know when the cycling period is over and the levels are just too high for a cycled tank? If my fish seem healthy and happy, should I worry about the spike(s)?

Thanks for any input you may have.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, even 1.0 ppm ammonia is extremely high and toxic to fish. Anything over .25 is. And carbon wont' take ammonia out of the water. For now, what I'd do is daily 50% water changes to keep your ammonia at acceptable levels.

When your tank is fully cycled, you will see ZERO ammona, zero nitrites, and a reading of nitrates, which should be under 40.

Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:16 PM   #3
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in order to bring your tank down from 4ppm ammonia, you're going to have to do a HUGE water change. take out as much water as you can. you want it to be .25ppm or lower. anything higher than that will start to burn the fishes gills and cause permanent damage. certain fish are known to survive cycles with high toxicity levels, but it does not mean they are healthy. it can maim them and shorten their life span.

the only way to safely remove ammonia from your tank is a PWC. and you will need to do a lot of them if you wish to keep your fish healthy.

you will know when your tank is cycled when ammonia and nitrite read 0ppm and there is a readable amount of nitrates.

yes, even if your fish SEEM happy and healthy, you should definitely worry about the spikes. ammonia will burn their gills and nitrite will poison their blood. it's dangerous

just keep up with the water changes to keep ammonia<.25ppm, nitrite<.5ppm, and nitrate<40ppm.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:18 AM   #4
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Yeah, this is a very bad situation. I agree with the other posters that a massive pwc, followed by daily 50% pwc's is necessary immediately. Here's a link that can help you cycle with fish. Good luck!
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ow-116287.html
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco23
Yeah, this is a very bad situation. I agree with the other posters that a massive pwc, followed by daily 50% pwc's is necessary immediately. Here's a link that can help you cycle with fish. Good luck!
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ow-116287.html
Welcome to AA btw, everybody here is really helpful and can get you and the fish through this. You made a good decision and came to the right place for help.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:38 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the input!

I didn't realize that this spike was such a big deal while cycling... I had read somewhere that spikes up to 4.0 were ok while still cycling, but I know you can't believe everything you read lol. I'll keep up with water changes and keep you posted.

If the ammonia stays high in spite of water changes, might this be due to overstocking during cycling? Also, is it really bad to use those Tetra fizzy tabs to lower the ammonia immediately while I implement water changes over the next few days?

Thanks again all!
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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I would say it may be helpful to use ammonia removers, but PWC's are better. the reason I say this is because if ammonia is neutralized, it is no longer available to the nitrifying bacteria, which can cause die-off and stall your cycle.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjmac
Thanks all for the input!

I didn't realize that this spike was such a big deal while cycling... I had read somewhere that spikes up to 4.0 were ok while still cycling, but I know you can't believe everything you read lol. I'll keep up with water changes and keep you posted.

If the ammonia stays high in spite of water changes, might this be due to overstocking during cycling? Also, is it really bad to use those Tetra fizzy tabs to lower the ammonia immediately while I implement water changes over the next few days?

Thanks again all!
Yeah, these idiots at the major chain stores are trained that it's acceptable to kill or permanently damage fish to get a tank cycled. We on this site try to take the best care of our fish as we can and wouldn't subject any fish to things like that. It's good business for these store to make you come back and spend more money on new fish and chemicals.

The only solution is daily water changes (pwc's) and add your dechlorinator every time you change the water. The fizzy tabs and dechlorinators don't actually remove the ammonia, they temporarily convert it to a non toxic form. Unfortunately, since your tank isn't cycled the ammonia will become toxic again and keep climbing because your fish are still producing waste. You've just gotta do your big water change at first to get the ammo below .25, then daily 50% pwc's to keep it there until it cycles.

You're doing a good job now, you've just got to be patient and committed at this point.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:11 PM   #9
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ammonia and nitrite spikes are supposed to happen during a cycle. however when there are fish present in the tank, it is not "OK" to let the levels spike and leave them there, because the fish will be seriously harmed and/or killed. that's why most members here will recommend fishless cycling, so you can let the cycle run it's course without having to worry about harming or killing any fish.

when you are cycling with fish, large daily PWC's are the only way (if you want to keep your fish safe)
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