Ammonia won't go down - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Ammonia won't go down

Hi, I've had my planted tank up and running for about 4 months and didnt put fish into it until about 2 months ago. My molly, platies, and betta are all laying on the bottom of the tank but still eating just fine and swimming around occasionally. I tested the levels and same as always. Ammonia=0.25 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=0. I don't know if this is what is causing them to do this or why I cant get my ammonia down. Also for nitrates if I'm not producing any if the cycle just didnt work or if my plants are sucking them up. I need help. Let me know if you need more info.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 01:44 PM
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Are you using an API liquid test kit? If so, it's not unusual for the ammonia to read as 0.25 ppm even if there's no ammonia in the water. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten a test of water from an aquarium to come back completely yellow with no green.

As for the nitrates, you really need to shake the crap out of that #2 bottle. Shake it for a full 30 seconds and shake it hard enough that your arm is tired when you're done, then do your nitrate test again.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:27 PM
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I agree about the API Kit. It is difficult to discern (at least in my case) the difference for 0 and .25. I usually put 0, but sometimes it looks like .25.

Recently had it tested at LFS and they indicated .1, so I am comfortable it is good enough since there is no change and I do routine maintenance and test regularly with no oddball measurements.

But OP hasn't advised if using API kit...

I think if cycled and you indicating you have plants, if you have no readings then likely your plants are using up your nitrates.... mine maintain a low level at 5 ppm, and was advised to raise that by this community. I have begun to dose with Seachem Nitrogen, and after first dosing had 10 ppm. It is due for another test today.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by brothermichigan View Post
Are you using an API liquid test kit? If so, it's not unusual for the ammonia to read as 0.25 ppm even if there's no ammonia in the water. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten a test of water from an aquarium to come back completely yellow with no green.

As for the nitrates, you really need to shake the crap out of that #2 bottle. Shake it for a full 30 seconds and shake it hard enough that your arm is tired when you're done, then do your nitrate test again.
Yes I'm using that kit. I shake those bottles and the tube for so long it hurts and still nothing. My guess would be my plants are sucking up all the nitrate.

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I agree about the API Kit. It is difficult to discern (at least in my case) the difference for 0 and .25. I usually put 0, but sometimes it looks like .25.

Recently had it tested at LFS and they indicated .1, so I am comfortable it is good enough since there is no change and I do routine maintenance and test regularly with no oddball measurements.

But OP hasn't advised if using API kit...

I think if cycled and you indicating you have plants, if you have no readings then likely your plants are using up your nitrates.... mine maintain a low level at 5 ppm, and was advised to raise that by this community. I have begun to dose with Seachem Nitrogen, and after first dosing had 10 ppm. It is due for another test today.
Ok, thank you!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-04-2019 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 04:54 PM
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I think if cycled and you indicating you have plants, if you have no readings then likely your plants are using up your nitrates.... mine maintain a low level at 5 ppm, and was advised to raise that by this community. I have begun to dose with Seachem Nitrogen, and after first dosing had 10 ppm. It is due for another test today.
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Yes I'm using that kit. I shake those bottles and the tube for so long it hurts and still nothing. My guess would be my plants are sucking up all the nitrate.

To my knowledge, most plants prefer to consume ammonia, rather than the converted nitrite or nitrate. If it were my setup, I would be concerned about the .25/0/0 reading, even if the .25 is erroneous. There would seem to be one of two possible issues: 1.) there is a lack of beneficial bacteria available to convert ammonia-->nitrite-->nitrate, possibly caused by cycling the tank with plants already in it. From what I've read about others who have done this, the tank doesn't actually go through a full nitrogen cycle if planted from day 1. Or 2.) the .25 is inaccurate and the plants are consuming the nitrates faster than they are being made available.



In either case - I would be careful about how much you are feeding the livestock so as to limit any potential ammonia spike, add some beneficial bacteria (ex. Seachem Stability) to be sure you have sufficient bio-filtration, and start dosing nitrogen immediately. As already mentioned, nitrates in a planted tank should ideally be kept at 10-20 ppm.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 04:24 PM
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I would add that the 0 nitrate is concerning with everything else concerned unless it is heavily planted. Can you share a photo to see how many plants you have? Is your test new or old?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 04:58 PM
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I would add that the 0 nitrate is concerning with everything else concerned unless it is heavily planted. Can you share a photo to see how many plants you have? Is your test new or old?
This is correct. You will not have 0 nitrate in a stocked and cycled tank unless you have a significant amount of plant mass and you're not fertilizing...but then you'd probably also be dealing with other issues as well - plant deficiencies, algae, etc..

How did you cycle your tank prior to adding fish?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:33 PM
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A bit of info on the "false" ammonia reading---if it is in fact false. Depending on how our water is treated and what we use to dechlor we can be jumping at false info. Prime does not "remove" ammonia but more terms it locks up ammonia by creating ammonium rather than ammonia and that can often be read as ammonia even though it is now safe for fish.
So perhaps, no ammonia but then the fish ARE definitely telling you "something" is not right and you do need to take action, sooner the better. Fish may act strange when new to the tank but not after a month and certainly not laying on the bottom.
If you are not doing too much water parameter changing like on the PH/GH/KH, I would do a large (50%?) water change. Make sure to not upset the tank temperature too much but good water is my first step to see if that doesn't get them back to normal.
After the water change, I would do a small test on my water and the treatment used by testing for ammonia after treating but before going in the tank. If you see ammonia reading, assume it to be false. But do look for cures in the meantime as they are stressed and stressed fish do get worse!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 09:47 PM
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What's your pH?
Below 7 .25 "ammonia" is nothing.
Test measures both ammonia and ammonium but little will be ammonia (the bad stuff) at pH7 or less..



Personally never had a planted/livestock tank that could push Nitrate to zero..
Even just dead/decaying leaves push Nitrate up..
What are you using for a substrate?

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
I would add that the 0 nitrate is concerning with everything else concerned unless it is heavily planted. Can you share a photo to see how many plants you have? Is your test new or old?
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Quote:
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I would add that the 0 nitrate is concerning with everything else concerned unless it is heavily planted. Can you share a photo to see how many plants you have? Is your test new or old?
This is correct. You will not have 0 nitrate in a stocked and cycled tank unless you have a significant amount of plant mass and you're not fertilizing...but then you'd probably also be dealing with other issues as well - plant deficiencies, algae, etc..

How did you cycle your tank prior to adding fish?

I do have quite a few plants. I dose ferts a few times a week. I added food and microbacter7 for about a month. It has been planted ever since I added water. I have a dirtied tank. I attached a pic.

I added in an airstone and all is well. I think it was an oxygen deficiency. My test kit is only a few months old.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-24-2019 at 04:06 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 09:37 PM
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I added in an airstone and all is well. I think it was an oxygen deficiency. My test kit is only a few months old.
Did they perk up after adding the air stone?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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I added in an airstone and all is well. I think it was an oxygen deficiency. My test kit is only a few months old.

Did they perk up after adding the air stone?
Yep. Nobody's on the bottom at night or gasping. Everyone looks good. Even got some new fish about a week and a half ago and everyone's happy.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 05:44 AM
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Yep. Nobody's on the bottom at night or gasping. Everyone looks good. Even got some new fish about a week and a half ago and everyone's happy.


Yep there’s your problem and solution. Congrats!


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by freshwater.rain View Post
Yep. Nobody's on the bottom at night or gasping. Everyone looks good. Even got some new fish about a week and a half ago and everyone's happy.


Yep there’s your problem and solution. Congrats!


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Thanks!
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