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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an established 3 gallon betta tank he got popeye I think from being too cold this winter. He was getting old for a betta. I euthanized him and the tank set for about 3-4 weeks now. I've still been doing some water changes and top offs. The ammonia has skyrocketed and will not drop or goes right back up. It's the darkest blue rating on the test. There was nothing else in the tank. I use prime for wc. There is some driftwood and java fern in there. The fern is doing great.
Should I start over or remove substrate? Where is this ammonia from? How can I get it back down for a new betta?
 

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Part of the diagnostics you should be doing is a full wc using water known to be free of it. A full wc hurts nothing


There is no source for free ammonia in that tank above

Another diagnostic is don't use API ammonia tests for anything

Google this
API test kit gives false ammonia reading

see what you think about ten thousand people who agree
People on here like the test, but what do the search results convey?

Use any other brand just not API, check your sourcewater especially if its a well, do a full change, prob fixed. If its sourcewater that could explain fish loss, stress etc
 

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Google this



Prime causes false nitrite reading in API test


That's not to say it causes false ammonia readings, but what it is to say is API is sure involved in a lot of crappy search returns in one manifestation or another. Heh
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Google this



Prime causes false nitrite reading in API test


That's not to say it causes false ammonia readings, but what it is to say is API is sure involved in a lot of crappy search returns in one manifestation or another. Heh
People destroy golf clubs after missing their shot, too. It's always the fault of the equiment, never the user, right? ;)

I have several other tanks. Ammonia readings are ok on those. I'm thinking of just starting over. There has to be something in there causing this.
Yeah, that's probably what I would do with this tank, too. Maybe the driftwood is rotting or there's more debris buildup at the bottom or in the filter than you realize?

PS- LOVE the metaframe tank! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Did 80 % wc and cleaned out the filter. In the intake tube I found a clump of either hair or decaying plant. Maybe both. Hopefully this was my issue. After the 80% wc the reading was still 0.50 ammonia. I will get a nitrate/nitrite test and start watching them now. Curiously enough the there where some little wiggle worms alive in the substrate in strangely high ammonia conditions.
 

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Did 80 % wc and cleaned out the filter. In the intake tube I found a clump of either hair or decaying plant. Maybe both. Hopefully this was my issue. After the 80% wc the reading was still 0.50 ammonia. I will get a nitrate/nitrite test and start watching them now. Curiously enough the there where some little wiggle worms alive in the substrate in strangely high ammonia conditions.



Why not post the pics of the test kits readings between your high samples and any samples that read zero? The worms further indicate no ammonia thats a helpful detail to know, that planaria were still kicking. The reason we would like pics instead of numbers readings is to compare between known clean sources and suspect sources.


*By you posting a pic of your API reading zero on your sourcewater, we eliminate 50% of the title of this thread, pics of your test kit readings give closure

The one thing in question here is that there ever was ammonia. A pic of the .5 reading above and a pic of the reading taken from the water you used for the 80% would change the thread from guessing to fact.

The reason 100% was recommended instead of 80% wc was to get your tank to a true zero and see how fast it rebounds, by your test kit pics of course not the description of them.
 

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Another aspect is unavailable total waste vs actual free ammonia, what if you have a high level reading of prime bound ammonia and it doesn't factor into the equation...

the search returns show you prime can be an adulterant literally or by interpretation.

For true free dangerous ammonia in a fully cycled tank with extra hob surface area with a pic like that, your options are:

Direct addition from sourcewater (well water percolation, faulty membranes etc)

Dead fish

Abnormally large organic deposits disturbed
(but you kept up water changes, the tank looks good)

Medication affecting biofilter integrity.
 

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That helps a lot to see. The solution is then easy, change out 100% of the water into known zero ammonia water where there is no detritus and you will have zero ammonia per those results, good pics. There is no other source of ammonia I can see

The water didnt look especially stained by uncured driftwood...so I'm assuming it self submerges etc and is decently cured underwater? My new stumps never leaked ammonia but they sure did tannins for about 18 mos. in a few easy steps all ammonia can be accounted for, and after a full water change and substrate/ filter cleaning there is no where else for it to come back from and you have a better tank than you did previously because its ready to slowly ramp up with bioloading from a new fish
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok thanks I will try that. I don't think the driftwood is the issue because it has been in there for over a year with no problems. It did leak tannins but even when I set the tank up I didn't have cycling problems. I used existing media from a different tank. Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did 100% water change. Did full gravel vac. Very dark water. Cleaned filter earlier did not rinse out filter insert. Rinsed sponge in drained tank water.
So now what do I do? The tank still reads slight ammonia not .025 under that amount. But not the bright yellow of tap water. Should I wait 2 days and test again?
 

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Since you've eliminated your tap water as the possible source of the ammonia, there are limited possibilities remaining:

1) filter

2) driftwood/java fern

3) substrate

I still lean towards debris buildup in your sbustrate. The fact that you've got a planaria outbreak reinforces that.

It's a tiny tank. I'd personally still pull everything out for a good cleaning (in dechlorinated water), especially the substrate. Seems to me that that would be the quickest, easiest way to get this tank ready to house fish again. LOL
 
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