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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Question High ammonia

I have a high ammonia (up to 4 ppm) while I am cycling the 5gal fish tank with the TSS+ (Tetra Safe Start Plus), for almost a week already which I believe now it's failed.

For the past 2 days, I did 3-4 large water changes (75%-85%) and I wait for after few hours, the ammonia still about 3 ppm. Should I continue to do few more WC for the next few days until the reduce to about 0.50 - 0.25 in order to recycle it again with TSS? Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 10:04 AM
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Do you have any fish in the tank?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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1 guppy use for cycle with tss
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 04:07 PM
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I'd highly suggest using pure ammonia instead. If that is not an option, get a water treatment like Prime and double dose it to lock the ammonia to keep the fish alive. It will still grow bacteria, but it should keep the fish alive. TSS+ takes up to 2 weeks to cycle a tank from what I have read about it. My fishless cycle took a week longer than that.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 04:15 PM
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When I did a fishless cycle using pure ammonia in my 75g, it tool three weeks. Instead of TSS, I used seeded used media from another tank. However, I failed to pay attention to how high my nitrItes had gotten and it stalled my cycle. As soon as I got the nitrItes down, the cycle ramped up and finished within 2-3 days. Diana will hopefully stop in and post her cycling instructions. That is what I followed and it worked well.

Last edited by benealing; 05-26-2015 at 04:16 PM. Reason: added more details
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master503 View Post
I have a high ammonia (up to 4 ppm) while I am cycling the 5gal fish tank with the TSS+ (Tetra Safe Start Plus), for almost a week already which I believe now it's failed.

For the past 2 days, I did 3-4 large water changes (75%-85%) and I wait for after few hours, the ammonia still about 3 ppm. Should I continue to do few more WC for the next few days until the reduce to about 0.50 - 0.25 in order to recycle it again with TSS? Any thoughts?
I thought the best approach is to avoid WC and just wait out the cycle? The ammonia will drop, you just have to be patient and wait out the next week or three.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ennui View Post
I thought the best approach is to avoid WC and just wait out the cycle? The ammonia will drop, you just have to be patient and wait out the next week or three.
Yes, per TSS+ instruction .. I should wait but I was shock out too soon about the ammonia when I tested so I thought the cycle was failed and I did WC which I should not until 2 weeks.

Now I should wait for another day or 2 before I re-do my cycle with TSS+ after few WC to bring down ammonia back to 0.25 or at least 0.50.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 06:37 PM
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First off, a quick math tip for anyone doing the fishless cycle! I believe the ammonia level is supposed to be dosed to 4 ppm. So you take the size of your tank, x Gallons, and convert it to mL. In my case, 5 gallons becomes 18927 mL. Then you do some cross multiplication 4/1,000,000=X/18,927. X= 0.0757 mL of PURE ammonia. I only found 10% ammonia by volume. So for me, that is about 0.75 mL of ammonia. I just dose on volume instead of drops. This can be applied to almost any tank, I believe. It has been working for me.
Using 10% ammonia (Janitorial strength), 1.5ml brings 10 gallons to 4 ppm. Extrapolation is fine here.

Basically:

1. Dose ammonia to 4ppm, checking at least once every 3 days.
2. When ammonia levels drop below 1ppm, dose again.
3. Nitrites should appear at this time.
4. When nitrites are off the scale, check for nitrates.
5. When nitrates are high, do a 50% water change.
6. Continue to check ammonia/nitrite until they both register 0.
7. Dose to 4 ppm again and wait 24 hours.
8. Cycle is complete when ammonia dosage leaves 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite after 24 hours.
9. Do the largest water change possible (90%+) to get nitrates in check.

Tips:

Use a bit of established media from a local friend with a healthy tank.
Turn the heat up to 78-86* F.
No surfactants! This will foam if you shake the bottle.
Add tons of plants, they are great for the cycle.
Don't use carbon.
Add a pinch of fish food in the middle of the cycle.
Don't forget de-chlorinator!

20-40 ppm nitrate is generally the accepted level for a planted tank.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2015, 01:55 AM
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Remove the fish.

Dose ammonia to 3 ppm. Never mind the math: put a few drops in. Test. Add a few more drops. Test... until it hits 3 ppm. If the ammonia is already too high, then do a water change to get it a bit lower.
Test the NO2, also. This should be under 5 ppm. If it is not, then do a water change until it is.

Make sure the other parameters are in the optimum range for the bacteria to grow. For example, soft, acidic water will not encourage the bacteria to thrive.

Here is the fishless cycle:
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.

1a) 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.

1b) 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. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) 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.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

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 1a) 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. Tropical 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.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2015, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Hello,

Today my ammonia level is down to 0.25, nitrite: 0 and nitrate: 5 ppm, PH: 7.6. So I re-dosed the TSS+ with a guppy in 5 gal tank.

My 5 gal has single sponge filter (i took from existing cycled tank long time) And run a Bubble air

Here is my test this afternoon prior dose the TSS+ today.

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