HIGH Ammonia - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation HIGH Ammonia



I'm about to pull my hair out. In both my 29 and 55 aquariums, my water is reading >8ppm ammonia. I know there are two 'types'..ammonia (toxic) and ammonium (not so toxic)..and that you can have more ammonium in warmer/acidic water. I have 4 otocinclus in the 55, and two in the 29 along with a clown pleco. I've been using Ammo-Lock while the tanks cycle, and I'm doing a 50% WC each Sunday on all of my tanks. I also dose with Pfertz NPK+trace and run DIY CO2 into powerheads.

Random/unhelpful information:
pH: ~6
Nitrites: 0
Haven't bothered testing for nitrates considering the ammonia level.

I've had these set up for about a month now, and I shouldn't be having such high levels on this blasted test. I tried it on my tapwater and it registers around 0.25-0.5ppm ammonia normally. Today I finally got some gravel from a trusted LFS to seed these bloody tanks, but otherwise I'm at a loss. I'm keeping a close eye on the few fish I do have, but they seem to be fat and content. And (of course) the plants are happy.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:47 PM
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is your test kit reliable?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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I thought it could have been off, which is why I tested the tapwater..but it gave me a reasonable result for that. It's one of those Aquarium Pharmaceuticals master kit..things. :T
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:54 PM
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How are you testing ammonia is it a strip test or a liquid drop test? If it's a strip test they suck unholy and could easily be wrong if that's the case I'd recommend going to petco or a LFS and pick up the API ammonia liquid test it's about $15'ish.

Other than that throw a bunch of stem plants in there that's one of the fastest ways to get rid of ammonia.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:56 PM
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well the 0 nitrite and high ammonia doesnt really make any sense for a tank that has been set up that long.
Using ammolock is just going to make your tanks take longer and longer to cycle also.

If you are set on keeping otos in there while you cycle your kinda stuck, they are sensative and wont do well if you stop using ammo lock, and if you keep using it your tank will never cycle.


I would try and get some filter cartriges from the lfs or if they use sponges then squeeze them into a buck and put the mulm in your tank.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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It is an API liquid test, came with the master kit that also has separate nitrite, nitrate and pH test bottles.

I have everything from jungle vals, rotala rotundifolia, Amazon swords, crypts..all in the 55, and oval ludwigia, spiral crypts and wisteria in the 29 which are going crazy. Gah. Should I just go buy a crapload of anacharis (very few plants available locally) and stuff it in? :/
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishsandwitch View Post
well the 0 nitrite and high ammonia doesnt really make any sense for a tank that has been set up that long.
Using ammolock is just going to make your tanks take longer and longer to cycle also.

If you are set on keeping otos in there while you cycle your kinda stuck, they are sensative and wont do well if you stop using ammo lock, and if you keep using it your tank will never cycle.


I would try and get some filter cartriges from the lfs or if they use sponges then squeeze them into a buck and put the mulm in your tank.
I grabbed the otos prematurely, I admit. I really regret taking down my established 10 gallon to use the space for the 55..it would be really helpful about now to put these fish in. The Ammo-Lock supposedly only makes the ammonia non-toxic but doesn't remove it..so would it really affect the cycling?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:07 PM
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If it has that many plants then something is really off, what substrate are you using?

You could check with your local aquarium club to see if anyone has a bunch of hornwort to loan you until the spike is gone that's the best floating plant I've found for tank cycling. I keep a bucket of it on hand just for this type of issue, that and for fry.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:10 PM
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Odd indeed after seeing NH readings you should have seen NO2 pop up on a test within 10 days. My last unseeded tank took 9 days to show NO2. At 13 days NH readings disappeared and NO2 was heading for a peak that converted after 17 days total and bottomed out. I'm thinking the water changes are stopping your cycle from completing.

Levels have to peak to convert. If your using Ammo-Lock (I didn't) toxins are eliminated there. (I guess) The NH peaked at 1ppm on my tank untreated. Allowing NO2 to go to >1ppm it converted in 48hrs. to NO3.

Based on guidance from Diana Walstad I treated the NO2 with salt rather then doing a WC. 1TSP/10g eliminated the toxic effect and does not hurt the plants. My tank jumped through the cycle when I did not change the water.

Quoted from D. Walstad's post to my string;
Recommendations for a safe ammonia level vary. My book, p. 20, discusses ammonia toxicity (in detail). In general, hobbyists should keep ammonia levels below 0.02 ppm, especially if pH is alkaline. Sustained levels this high may cause, long-term problems but shouldn't kill fish outright.

Nitrite (discussion of nitrite toxicity in my book, p. 22) should be kept be below 0.01 ppm for chronic effects. A one-time addition of salt (1 level teaspoon uniodized salt per 10 gal) will take care of your nitrite levels quite handily. This salt concentration (about 0.015%) should not hurt plants. To make sure salt gets quickly disbursed in the tank water, I would dissolve the salt in some water and then add the resulting salt solution to the tank.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewesterngate View Post
I grabbed the otos prematurely, I admit. I really regret taking down my established 10 gallon to use the space for the 55..it would be really helpful about now to put these fish in. The Ammo-Lock supposedly only makes the ammonia non-toxic but doesn't remove it..so would it really affect the cycling?
This is what it claims, but IME it is not available for bacteria to convert...
You wouldnt have 8ppm ammonia if it was available.
Try and get a nitrate reading, it is important so we can tell if your tank has started cycling at all.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'm starting to doubt the accuracy of this kit, but it was the only one I could find locally. I used the (crappy) dipsticks and THOSE are registering nitrites and some nitrates in both tanks. FML.

I'll see if Petsmart has some hornwort, but since they downsized their plant section, I think I only saw anacharis this morning. I'll just grab that, since I'm pretty positive my city doesn't have an aquarium club to speak of. I may as well buy a new test kit while I'm at it. Blargh.

Thanks for your speedy replies, all.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:18 PM
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nitrite is good actually, because if you didnt have any then your tank wouldnt be cycling at all.

I would start dosing prime instead of ammolock and let the tanks run there course another couple weeks.

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