High Ammonia and Nitrite. Please help?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Fertilizers and Water Parameters


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-14-2013, 08:33 AM   #1
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

High Ammonia and Nitrite. Please help?


Okay.
So.
I set up my first tank about three weeks ago. I ran it for a week to let everything settle down and then bought my first group of fish. Six glowlight tetra, and one male dwarf gourami.
For a while everything was fine. pH was at about 7.0, Ammonia and Nitrite both at 0.0ppm.
Then my dad, as a house warming present, (i've recently moved into my own place) bought me some fish for my tank, not realising that its unwise to add too manhy too fast.
My tank is the only one I had, and I couldn't refund the fish as the place my dad bought them from doesn't do refunds. So, because I had no where else to keep them, I had to put them in the tank with the other fish. These fish bought for me were six block neon tetra and 2 female dwarf gourami and 1 more male dwarf gourami.
Since then, my water parameters have been a living HELL.
I have a 61 litre tank, its two ft by I guess 1ft. The filter is encased inside the tank with the heater. I have a light which is timed and comes on for about seven hours a day.

Ammonia and nitrite levels sky rocketed. pH has remained the same. I've lost one of my glowlight tetra, and the levels have been like this for the best part of a week and a half.
I have been to my local store where I bought my first fish and my tank, and have been given various advice which I have been following.
First I was told to add a liquid treatment to the water called Stability, supposed to lower the nitrite levels. Two capfuls a day for five days and no feeding the fish.
This I have been doing, with no changes.
Then I was told to do some emergency water changes. 50% on the day I got this advice (Sunday) and 30% the next day. Done this. Treated the water with the Stability, and the dechlorinator, and I rinsed the filter in the removed water from the tank, not tap water.
Still no changes.

Thankfully, I haven't lost any more fish. I count them several times a day, and keep an eye on their behaviours. But I'm really beginning to worry as some of the glowlights and black neons are beginning to swim a bit lop-sided, and I know that high ammonia and high nitrite levels can lead to Ich.

I'm going down to my local fish place again today because I need to pick up some more of the Stability formula, and I will be explaining everything to them, and seeing if there is anything more I can do.
But I thought I would also ask here, if there is anything more I can do, of if there's something I'm not doing that I should be.
I'm really worried about losing the fish and honestly, just want to get the levels down to where they were.

Thank you for any responses.
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-14-2013, 09:23 AM   #2
merritt1985
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Dickson TN
Posts: 156
Default

Get some Seachem prime follow what it says on the bottle for high ammonia levels. Keep up with the water changes everyday. I'd do at the least 30%. Put some kind of floater in you tank hornwort, duckweed, frogbit if you can find it. Good luck I hope everything works out.
merritt1985 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 09:24 AM   #3
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (136/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 4,484
Default Re: High Ammonia and Nitrite. Please help?

Ok, basically the new fish added a large bio-load to your newer tank. Your biological bacteria is growing to handle the new load but it needs some time to catch up. This is very common and not unexpected.

(knowing your exact Ammonia and NO2 and NO3 numbers would have helped me a lot to give you more specific advise)

- doing 30% -50% daily water changes was the right advise. Keep doing them daily until Ammonia is 0

- If you are worried about the fish, add about one-half of recommended dosage of Seachem Prime. That will neutralize some ammonia and leave some ammonia to help the bacteria to grow

- Adding Stability ncreases the bacteria colony in your tank and it will process your ammonia and NO2 faster. Keep adding it until your Ammonia is 0

Cheers.

via Droid DNA Tapatalk 2
__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #4
mjbn
Wannabe Guru
 
mjbn's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: US
Posts: 1,289
Default

Get Prime to neutralize ammonia, I'd say try Tetra Safestart or some bacterial colonizing product to possibly help your growing colony.
mjbn is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 09:35 AM   #5
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (136/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 4,484
Default Re: High Ammonia and Nitrite. Please help?

Adding plants as recommended above is a great idea. Other plants like water sprite, water wisteria and other Hygrophilias will help a lot.

Once things are back to normal, check if now you have too many fish for your tank. Either find them a new home or set up your tank to handle high bioload: add more plants, biological filtration, increase your airation an so on.

via Droid DNA Tapatalk 2
__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

Sorry! The exact levels of the Ammonia and the Nitrite have been:
2.0ppm for ammonia (at first it was like, 8.0ppm) and nitrite was originally 5.0ppm and is now 2.0ppm.

Thank you for all the advice. I'll keep adding the stability and ask about Prime.
I'll get on and do another water change today.
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 02:43 PM   #7
gSTiTcH
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
gSTiTcH's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Posts: 838
Default

WOW. Those are crazy high levels, and are pretty toxic. I would continue doing water changes of 50% at least daily until you start seeing the effects of the beneficial Bacteria taking off.
gSTiTcH is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-14-2013, 02:52 PM   #8
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

I went to my local fish place, bought some hornwort, and also more Stability, Tetra Safestart and the Tetra Aquasafe.
I'm going to keep on with the water changes, as I've been suggested to and hopefully the numbers should start dropping shortly.
I did look for the Seacham Prime, but had no joy in finding it, but hopefully the Stability, Safestart and Aquasafe combined should help, along with the hornwort?
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-15-2013, 02:39 AM   #9
Diana
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 6,407
Default

Tetra Safe Start contains the right species of bacteria.

I would do this:
BIG water change, or even 2 of them back to back. Get the ammonia and nitrite as low as possible.
Add Tetra Safe Start.
Follow the directions about waiting for the bacteria to settle into the filter and other places before doing more water changes.

Next:
Gouramis are aggressive, territorial fish, and will not live peacefully together, even male and female. Return all but one, even if the shop will not refund money. They should never have sold your dad several Gouramis for one tank. Plunk that bag on the counter, and make sure they know you are never coming back to that shop because of their poor attitude:
a) New tank... DO NOT ADD FISH, yet they sold you and your dad fish before the tank was cycled.
b) Poor advise: Constant water changes are required when there is an ammonia emergency. Not 'Wait and see'. The fish are being poisoned NOW. They need help (removal of the ammonia) NOW. Not next week.
c) Nitrifying bacteria do not grow well when the ammonia and nitrite are too high. Gotta do water changes so the bacteria will grow.

Here is the fishless cycle, a much better way to cycle a tank.
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1a) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Topical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
Diana is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-15-2013, 12:38 PM   #10
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

The ammonia has dropped to .50ppm and the nitrite is now at 1.0ppm, I'm going to continue to do the water changes and treatments until they're both at zero, which I'm hoping should be the end of this week if all goes well.

My pH level has always been around the 7.4/7.6 level and the temperature fluctuates between about 76 degress and 78 degrees depending on if the light is on or not (its only on for about 7 hours a day, on average. I have it on a timer).

I've also removed my second male dwarf gourami and the two females and took them back to where they were bought from.

Last edited by Ivresse; 05-15-2013 at 01:05 PM.. Reason: Typo
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-17-2013, 08:22 PM   #11
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

I just wanted to say, with the advice I've had here, my levels have dropped immensely.
The water is almost down to 0.0ppm of Nitrite and the Ammonia is down to 0.25ppm
I am incredibly grateful for the help/advice I've had here. Hopefully I'll be able to share some photos of my fish and tank as a whole once everything is fully back to normal.
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #12
Dashdbn
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: South Africa
Posts: 24
Default High Ammonia and Nitrite. Please help?

Well done. I would still try and get some seachem prime. What biological media are you using in your filter?
Dashdbn is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-17-2013, 08:48 PM   #13
Indychus
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Indychus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Irmo, SC
Posts: 645
Default

If you have 4 dwarf gourami in 15 gallons (which is what I gathered from your first post) plus the tetras, you are WAY overstocked. In addition to being overstocked on bioload, the male Dwarf Gouramis will kill each other when they mature. And if they successfully breed with the females, they will kill anything in the tank, probably including the females. They are extremely territorial and require more space than you have. I keep a pair of males in 20 gallons, and the only way it works is because it's a jungle in there and they have lots of hiding spots and plants to break the line of sight. I would not dare to add females in the mix as well. I would try to return all but one of the males for store credit at your LFS. You can try a male/male pairing or male/female pairing, but they will become more aggressive as the mature and you'll need to provide floating plants and lots of places for them to hide or break the line of sight.
__________________
The Fraternity of Dirt
Check out my open-source Arduino-Powered Light Controller Guide for Current LED+ and other IR switchable lights.
Indychus is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-19-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
Ivresse
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: England
Posts: 8
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indychus View Post
If you have 4 dwarf gourami in 15 gallons (which is what I gathered from your first post) plus the tetras, you are WAY overstocked. In addition to being overstocked on bioload, the male Dwarf Gouramis will kill each other when they mature. And if they successfully breed with the females, they will kill anything in the tank, probably including the females. They are extremely territorial and require more space than you have. I keep a pair of males in 20 gallons, and the only way it works is because it's a jungle in there and they have lots of hiding spots and plants to break the line of sight. I would not dare to add females in the mix as well. I would try to return all but one of the males for store credit at your LFS. You can try a male/male pairing or male/female pairing, but they will become more aggressive as the mature and you'll need to provide floating plants and lots of places for them to hide or break the line of sight.
Since first posting this thread, I've actually returned three of the gourami to where they were bought from. They were sold to my dad, who did not know the size of my tank, or that I already had one male gourami. Had he, then he would not have bought them. They were a house warming gift.

As I said, I have returned to them the store they were bought from, and now I have just one male who seems a lot happier since there are no other competitors for territory or such like.

Last edited by Ivresse; 05-19-2013 at 09:53 PM.. Reason: Minor change to wording
Ivresse is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may 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

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012