Ammonia doesn't decrease?!?! - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
A Life of Regrets's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: California
Posts: 11
Ammonia doesn't decrease?!?!

I purchased a 10g tank with a bio wheel filter, heater, airpump (with tube and stone), gravel, decor sunken ship, two thermometers (each side), and LED lights on Friday, April 11th. I've treated my tap water with API Stress Coat and then used API Quick Start for live nitrifying bacteria. On the bottle of API QS it says that it allows instant addition of fish but I was still feeling suspicious whether it would work. Then on Thursday, the 17th, I purchased three zebra danios.
I've been using API test strips for Ammonia, but I don't know.

The instructions on them say to dip the strip directly into the aquarium for 5 seconds, remove and hold strip level with pad face up, and to wait for 60 seconds. The reading I get off of it (after 60 seconds) says the water in my tank is at 3.0 ppm. Howver, when I leave the strip setting on my table and I come back, or when I pinched the pad on the strip, its color changes to the one that matches 6.0ppm.

I am not sure whether I am getting a false reading do to defective strips because my zebra danios are still looking healthy (my knowledge from searching diseases of zebra danios).
Should I just take the zebra danios back to where I purchased them, no refund, and start all over or dump the entire API Quick Start that treats up to 230 gallons into my 10 gallon tank? This is the only problem I have.

Last edited by A Life of Regrets; 04-19-2014 at 04:04 PM. Reason: Typed something that I didn't mean to type in.
A Life of Regrets is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 04:12 PM
Moderator
 
Darkblade48's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto/Singapore
Posts: 11,638
As you have experienced first hand, test strips can be notoriously inaccurate.

I would look for a liquid test kit, or failing that, at least get a measurement from your LFS. They should be able to test your water for you, and you will have an idea of what your ammonia levels actually are.

In the meantime, it would not hurt to do some water changes.

Anthony


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Eheim Pimp #362 - Eheim 2213 x2, Eheim 2028, Eheim 2217, Eheim surface skimmer and Eheim autofeeder.
Victor Pimp #33 - HPT272-125-350-4M
Darkblade48 is offline  
post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 04:14 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
THE V's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Washington State, on the dry side
Posts: 627
The test strips are notoriously inaccurate. They sell liquid test that are much more reliable.

With cycling with fish you need to do a water change whenever you detect ammonia or nitrite.

Dumping in the entire bottle of the quickstart will also not hurt your little tank.

I'd do a 75% water change now, dump in the rest of the bottle of the quckstart after and then go buy some good liquid test kits.

Hopefully you also picked up something to remove the chlorine/chloramine.
THE V is offline  
 
post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
A Life of Regrets's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: California
Posts: 11
THANK YOU GUYS FOR THE HELP!!!
Yeah, should have just bought the liquid test as I did for the pH test.
I'll do the 75% WC today and dump what is left of the quickstart and purchase the liquid test.
A Life of Regrets is offline  
post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 04:37 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Life of Regrets View Post
I purchased a 10g tank with a bio wheel filter, heater, airpump (with tube and stone), gravel, decor sunken ship, two thermometers (each side), and LED lights on Friday, April 11th. I've treated my tap water with API Stress Coat and then used API Quick Start for live nitrifying bacteria. On the bottle of API QS it says that it allows instant addition of fish but I was still feeling suspicious whether it would work. Then on Thursday, the 17th, I purchased three zebra danios.
I've been using API test strips for Ammonia, but I don't know.

The instructions on them say to dip the strip directly into the aquarium for 5 seconds, remove and hold strip level with pad face up, and to wait for 60 seconds. The reading I get off of it (after 60 seconds) says the water in my tank is at 3.0 ppm. Howver, when I leave the strip setting on my table and I come back, or when I pinched the pad on the strip, its color changes to the one that matches 6.0ppm.

I am not sure whether I am getting a false reading do to defective strips because my zebra danios are still looking healthy (my knowledge from searching diseases of zebra danios).
Should I just take the zebra danios back to where I purchased them, no refund, and start all over or dump the entire API Quick Start that treats up to 230 gallons into my 10 gallon tank? This is the only problem I have.
You are going through a good old fashion nitrogen cycle. If you dump everything out and start over, you will still have to go through a cycle. Every tank goes through it. Tetra safe start is my favorite ammonia and nitrite eliminator.
greaser84 is offline  
post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 04:23 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 54
Patience my friend, the absolute best thing you could do is wait. Fish are nice but maintaining it before a complete cycle isn't. If your going to go planted you can add all kinds of live interesting things (plants) and not worry so much about complete failure. You will fight algae but that can be defeated with a toothbrush, water changes and turning out the lights. It will still take time to get a balanced tank. As stated before you need a declorinator before and ding or changing any water. The chlorine will kill any beneficial bacteria and lengthen you cycle.
Mastertech is offline  
post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 05:04 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
Take the fish back.
Do the fishless cycle.
Read the ingredients in the 'Bacteria' you bought. The actual, proven species of nitrifying bacteria is Nitrospira species. If your bottle says others, and does not include Nitrospira, take it back, too. Waste of money. (The right product will contain several species of bacteria, but MUST include Nitrospira- otherwise they are using an old, old species that is not the right one)

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, aquaponics 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. Further research over the years has fine tuned the details.

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. Minimum KH 5.6 degrees.
pH between 7 and 9, and in the upper 8s is optimum.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated. 77-86*F is optimum, with high oxygen level.
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. A biowheel is an example of high oxygen method, exposing the water to the air in very thin sheets.
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. 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 1b) 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.

Sources of information:
The basic method is from a site that is no longer up, and I do not remember the names.
Dr. Timothy Hovanec, several articles about the identification of the organisms in the nitrogen cycle in aquariums (both fresh and salt water) including the set up (water parameters) used to culture these organisms.
Southern Regional Aquaculture Center publication number 454.
Cruising the web and gleaning bits of information over many years from diverse sites including waste management, sewage treatment, aquaponics, aquarium and pond sites, and many others.
My own experiences with raising these bacteria for keeping fresh water fish in aquariums and ponds.
Answering questions in forums about problems people have had doing a fishless or fish-in cycle, and following the corrective measures and results.
Diana is offline  
post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 01:40 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Hampstead, NC
Posts: 339
I have used the process outlined by Diana above four times now and it works. The tanks don't have ammonia or nitrite issues even following the addition of sigificant bio loads.

50G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
120G Low Tech Planted Tank- Community Fish
10G QT
MarkM is offline  
post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 01:45 PM
Banned
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Near Ashville, North Carolina
Posts: 1,866
Keep the fish, buy tetra safe start , put it in. Test in a few days and I bet your ammonia will be done.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
jrill is offline  
post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 02:28 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: White Plains, MD
Posts: 1,001
Using TSS is a crap shot at best. I never believe in snake oils. Tried it once, didn't make any difference. A fishless cycle takes about 10 days.

I would not do a water change until you reach 1ppm on ammonia or nitrite with fish. If you test and it is lower, just leave the water alone. This leaves enough for things grow and evolve. Fish seem to tolerate this level for small periods of time with no issues.

Eheim Pimp #448
jrman83 is offline  
post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 04:37 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
Tetra Safe Start worked very well the one time I used it. The bacteria are not 'snake oil'; they are the proven bacteria that are the active working bacteria in the bio filter.
The problem is that they are perishable, and must not be over heated or frozen. If the bottles are mishandled during shipping the bacteria can die.
Other products that have the right bacteria include:
Dr. Tim's One and Only
Microbe Lift's Nite Out II
There may be others, read the label.

Fish-in cycle:
Do enough water changes to keep the ammonia < .25ppm and the NO2 < 1.0 ppm.
When NO2 shows add 1 teaspoon of salt (NaCl) per 20 gallons. This will reduce the amount of nitrite that crosses the gills. Nitrite entering the blood causes Brown Blood Disease in fish and other animals. The blood cannot carry enough oxygen. 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons is a very low dose, safe for salt-sensitive fish and plants. When the NO2 is under control regular water changes will remove the salt from the water.
Ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissues.
Diana is offline  
post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
A Life of Regrets's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: California
Posts: 11
Thank you everyone for guiding me through the nitrogen cycle.
A Life of Regrets is offline  
post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 05:39 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
King of Hyrule's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Posts: 534
You might want to get a second bottle of beneficial bacteria, they work best with some ammonia already in the system (too little and the colony won't have enough food [Ammonia] to get started). The trick I found is to use the bottled stuff about or just after adding the fish. A water change too soon will slow your rapid cycling. Don't panic, just keep testing. Watch your nitrate readings, they should be climbing while the ammonia starts to drop. I have very good results with Dr Tim's One and Only for rapidly cycling a number of tanks.

The test strips are good enough, the drop checkers are much better. The test strips will continue to react even after x number of seconds, which gives skewed results if you read them after x seconds (they also give you incorrect readings if you read them too soon.)

side note: test your source water (tap) to know what the levels are you are adding to your tank.

Ammonia (and nitrite) are far more important then pH. Don't fight your natural pH its costly and unbeatable; work with it. You'll find as your tank settles into its own, you might get a lower pH anyways.

Your tank is going to be ok, you're doing a good job.

Father of the Princess Zelda.
King of Hyrule is offline  
post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:30 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
brandon429's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Playas, NM
Posts: 581
Im the first to jump in with counter points of cycling

this is all sound info. Bottled bac are in no way devoid of bacteria, whole industries revolve around trying (and commonly failing) to simply keep aerobic bacteria out of X solution, an industry centered around colony isolation and fluid inoculation with a known shelf life was someones genius million dollar baby and is not hard to actually do. They are selling us selectively contaminated water, not snake oil. marc weiss reef additives 1-20 were snake oil. see it for sale anymore? I dont even though Im sure someone has some leftover crates of prune juice reef additive to ship out.


You can wait to attain the bacteria naturally, or by cross contamination as mentioned, or you can legitimately purchase it in a bottle and be darn sure its got bacteria.

Whether or not they did the proper strain selection depends on the integrity of the company in question, and I believe they are done right for the brands mentioned as iVe used em too. aerobic bacteria love to be bottled in a cool dark place within a stated date range for the o2 levels left below the cap and in solution as they tune down metabolism and await the new venture.

its as reliable as clockwork. judging by cousin organisms whose factors arrived riding comets and asteroids lol this is the hilton
after having guided a few full ceramic substrate marine reefs (zero real live rock, all fake) to a complete cycle using bottle bac and ghost feeding it does work even though Ive only a lable and someones trust to infer its nitrospira. when we were getting zero ammonia off 2ppm inputs daily (not using API, using salifert) thats when i was sure bottle bac wasnt fake.

back in the day if someone would have told us to use cleaning ammonia we'd have freaked out Im sure the cool crew knew about this but your average aquarist was buying guppies where the lfs put in one drop of stress coat with each purchase, and you simply had your aquarium running for 30 days before you put in the first fish knowing the bacteria had already seeded through natural means. Ammonia actually got in those tanks in ways we commonly fail to see, so aquariums simply left running for 30 days could definately support a small entry bioload...so to me thats another testimony of bottle bac, someone purposely put them in there of course they work. these bacteria show up where we dont even bother to seed and feed, its just slower that way.

small old reef tank:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


still running in 2018

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
brandon429 is offline  
post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:50 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
I have never used the bottled bacteria but not for the reasons most have stated here. I don't feel that the product is bad when produced but there are lots of things that make me not want to trust them when I get them.
I have friends who work in the trucking industry. One is a dock worker and I know what his frieght goes through, both in trucks and on the dock. The temperature can run from way above 150 down to way below zero. So whether the bottle contains valuable bacteria and works or is "snake oil" may depend on your luck. Did your bottle cook in a truck setting in the parking lot over a holiday or did it freeze setting on the dock waiting for a truck that is hung up in a snow storm? In either case it is not hard to imagine a time when the bacteria are totally dead!
PlantedRich is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

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:
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:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



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
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome