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My nitrites spiked like a week ago, and today when I checked the Nitrites were at 0. However the ammonia had been lingering around .25ppm for weeks but has started to rise past few days and now at .50-1ppm. I did a 40% water change but is this normal? It's only 6 gallons.

Nitrates around 5ppm, hard to tell really.
 

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I'm wondering if I have "new tank syndrome" ... I feed twice a day and I have a platy that generally consumes it all unless the filter blows food out of the way. Though he has been pooping excessively so I guess I'm going to cut back to one time a day feeding. Originally I used Nutrafin cycle but it didn't kick in.
 

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Do you use Prime or an equivalent dechlorinator when you add or change water? Your water company may be treating the water with chloramine, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. Prime will convert the ammonia to harmless form.
 

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Do you use Prime or an equivalent dechlorinator when you add or change water? Your water company may be treating the water with chloramine, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. Prime will convert the ammonia to harmless form.
I use Prime, Flourish, Flourish Excel, as well as Osmocote root tabs.
 

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That small of a tank and feeding twice a day could be your issue with ammonia. The bio filter in a tank that size is very delicate. Fish do not need to be fed more than once a day unless maybe you are raising fry or something. I have two tanks of livebearers and only feed them every other day and they still live, grow, and breed normally.

IMO a tank that size only works for a single Betta or shrimp.
 

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That small of a tank and feeding twice a day could be your issue with ammonia. The bio filter in a tank that size is very delicate. Fish do not need to be fed more than once a day unless maybe you are raising fry or something. I have two tanks of livebearers and only feed them every other day and they still live, grow, and breed normally.

IMO a tank that size only works for a single Betta or shrimp.
I'll try feeding once every other day and see if that changes anything, thanks.
 

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How long has this tank been set up? If you are doing a fish-in cycle it can take as long as 6 weeks or more, and the fish is stressed by ammonia and nitrite most of that time. Better to boost the bacteria population with the right species ASAP.

Read the label on bottled bacteria. If it does not say Nitrospira species of bacteria it does not contain the right species. Get the right product to boost the bacteria population.

Until you get the right species of bacteria, keep the ammonia under .25ppm and the nitrite under 1 ppm.
When nitrite shows add 1 teaspoon of salt (sodium chloride) per 20 gallons. This will reduce the amount of NO2 that crosses the gills. (1/4 tsp for 6 gallon tank is fine). When you do a water change dose just enough for the new water. A 3 gallon water change would get 1/8 tsp salt. This is a very low dose of salt, just enough to stop the NO2 crossing the gills. Platies are fine with salt, and it is low enough that plants won't mind, either.

Fish poop is not the main source of ammonia. Fish release ammonia via their gills.

Platies are tough fish. You can easily cut to 1/4 the amount you are feeding: Every other day, just one small meal.

Protein in fish food supplies the nitrogen that becomes ammonia, whether the fish eat it or decomposing organisms act on the food.
 

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How long has this tank been set up? If you are doing a fish-in cycle it can take as long as 6 weeks or more, and the fish is stressed by ammonia and nitrite most of that time. Better to boost the bacteria population with the right species ASAP.

Read the label on bottled bacteria. If it does not say Nitrospira species of bacteria it does not contain the right species. Get the right product to boost the bacteria population.

Until you get the right species of bacteria, keep the ammonia under .25ppm and the nitrite under 1 ppm.
When nitrite shows add 1 teaspoon of salt (sodium chloride) per 20 gallons. This will reduce the amount of NO2 that crosses the gills. (1/4 tsp for 6 gallon tank is fine). When you do a water change dose just enough for the new water. A 3 gallon water change would get 1/8 tsp salt. This is a very low dose of salt, just enough to stop the NO2 crossing the gills. Platies are fine with salt, and it is low enough that plants won't mind, either.

Fish poop is not the main source of ammonia. Fish release ammonia via their gills.

Platies are tough fish. You can easily cut to 1/4 the amount you are feeding: Every other day, just one small meal.

Protein in fish food supplies the nitrogen that becomes ammonia, whether the fish eat it or decomposing organisms act on the food.
Thanks Diana,

Originally I added the Nutrafin Cycle and was going to do a fishless cycle, but I assumed the Cycle wouldn't work without an ammonia source. So I added flakes, but then decided to add the Platy. I think I was too late though because clearly the cycling didn't go into effect.

It's been almost 30 days since the tank has been set up. I added the Platy around Day 5.

The Nitrites have shown and gone. However the Ammonia levels continue to rise and the Nitrates haven't risen much. Most it got was around 10ppm.
 

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Thanks Diana,

Originally I added the Nutrafin Cycle and was going to do a fishless cycle, but I assumed the Cycle wouldn't work without an ammonia source. So I added flakes, but then decided to add the Platy. I think I was too late though because clearly the cycling didn't go into effect.

It's been almost 30 days since the tank has been set up. I added the Platy around Day 5.

The Nitrites have shown and gone. However the Ammonia levels continue to rise and the Nitrates haven't risen much. Most it got was around 10ppm.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I suspect that a lot, if not all, of the Nutrfin Cycle bacteria died because the flakes didn't decompose to ammonia quickly enough. You should've used janitor strength ammonia, from the hardware store (10% is okay), not the grocery store, the stuff without SURFACTAN and JUNK, added enough to bring the ammonia up to 3 ppm, maybe 4 ppm, and watched the bacteria feed by testing parameters. They should be able to bring those levels down to 0 within 24 hours, THAT'S A CYCLED TANK.

Some tap water can be legal to have as much as 5ppm ammonia. When dechlorinated, it leaves ammonia behind, because it was part of the chloramine, depends on your water company. I now use RO water to avoid all that ammonia, still have 0.25, even after adding a DI filter.

Are you new at this? A 6 gallon tank has very very little margin for error.

Yup, first it was the ammonia, then the nitrates, now the algae, what next?
 

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Of course, I could be wrong, but I suspect that a lot, if not all, of the Nutrfin Cycle bacteria died because the flakes didn't decompose to ammonia quickly enough. You should've used janitor strength ammonia, from the hardware store (10% is okay), not the grocery store, the stuff without SURFACTAN and JUNK, added enough to bring the ammonia up to 3 ppm, maybe 4 ppm, and watch the bacteria feed by testing parameters. They should be able to bring those levels down to 0 within 24 hours, THAT'S A CYCLED TANK.

Some tap water can be legal to have as much as 5ppm ammonia. When dechlorinated, it leaves ammonia behind, because it was part of the chloramine, depends on your water company. I now use RO water to avoid all that ammonia, still have 0.25, even after adding a DI filter.

Are you new at this? A 6 gallon tank has very very little margin for error.

Yup, first it was the ammonia, then the nitrates, now the algae, what next?
Yes I'm new. I guess I had been over feeding but I was just feeding as the food is directed and only as much as the platy would eat. The Nitrites spiked and then vanished and I thought all was done but then I noticed the Ammonia levels rise. I'm going to get Tetra Safestart and see what impact that does to it.
 

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Yes I'm new. I guess I had been over feeding but I was just feeding as the food is directed and only as much as the platy would eat. The Nitrites spiked and then vanished and I thought all was done but then I noticed the Ammonia levels rise. I'm going to get Tetra Safestart and see what impact that does to it.
Oh wow, I just realized what you said, there I go not paying attention. So yeah, it does appear as if it had cycled. I now suspect the ammonia spike you noticed was food from previous days/weeks that was decomposing. You're right, you must have been over feeding, to the point where a new cycle started, as if the tank had more than just the platy. Maybe you just have to vacuum the gravel a bit. A bigger tank would allow for a wider margin of error.

I'm 6 months new and am just starting to figure out how to deal with algae blooms, by stabilizing things more, (do smaller changes more frequently) so the plants can better compete (algae adapts better to unstable environment). But yeah, that's the next thing you'll need to understand, after learning the nitrogen cycle.
 

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There are many ways to interpret test results. Since it is possible that the tank is not well cycled, yes, get some Tetra Safe Start and see if that helps.

Look into the water parameters to make sure the bacteria will grow well. Platies are just fine with these parameters, too.
GH and KH over 3 German degrees of hardness, and harder is better. Something more like 5-10 degrees is good. The bacteria, and Platies can go even higher, too.
If you need to increase these go slow, about 1 degree per day, or a couple of degrees every other day. Too great a change is not good.
 
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