Dirt tank, High ammonia. wth - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Dirt tank, High ammonia. wth

Hello,

If anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate it. I am having a problem with ammonia in a new dirted tank.

I set up a 5.5 gallon. I used an organic potting mix. Planted heavy. Next day I checked ammonia. Reading Zero. Never tested again. Assumed there was nothing that would add ammonia. I let it run for about a week. Then bought 4 Cherry Barbs. Next morning one was dead. 1 was at the top gasping, the other 2 closed fins and wiggling back and forth in one spot. Went to work, got home, another dead. I decided to check the parameters. Ammonia off the chart. Did not expect that. Immediate Water change. Ammonia Drop. Next day. Ammonia over 4. I have several other tanks so I took the fish out. To late they had to much damage I guess, they died a few days later.

I am not an expert but I am an experienced fish keeper. This is just my 1st dirt tank. I let the tank run for 6 weeks. I had a white film cover everything after the 1st week. Kept doing changes. plants kept melting.

Finally after 6 weeks and ammonia continueing to rise no matter what, I took tank down and got miracle grow organic potting mix. Ingredients were identical to the stuff I was using. Put dirt in, topped with black sand. planted heavy again. this was in the morning. that evening I checked ammonia. reading zero. next morning check and its off the chart. Same thing today. 4 days now. the miracle grow is worse than the other stuff. I do an 80% water change and within an hour the ammonia test is off the chart.

I did search after search and I am not seeing anyone having this problem. I want to do dirt but am about to say fk it and go back to flourite.

If anyone can tell me what step i missed or what I can change. I really want to do a dirt tank.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-11-2015, 03:11 AM
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Your tank needs to cycle before adding too many fish it's a normal process to see ammonia spike in a new tank do a search on tank cycling there are many ways to do it it makes no difference what substraight is used tank still needs to go threw cycling process and it's alot more critical in a small tank as there isant as much water as a large tank and your water can get out of whack Quickly
If you have other established tanks take the filter media from that and give it a squeeze into new tank your trying to start it will jump start the process of getting beneficial bacteria started
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