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Ammonia Spiking - Help Please


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  • Regular Member

Hi Kokopeeps. I need some assistance. I have 3 tanks, 100L (Two small fish), 70L (1 old fish) and a 40L (3 plants) all three of them are experiencing high ammonia readings. I noticed it yesterday so I did a water change in all tanks, rinsed filters and even rinsed decorations! To no avail it seems... as the readings are close to what they were yesterday. I don't get it.

Side note: I added an air stone to each of my tanks with fish 2 days ago. Would that do anything to ammonia levels???

I've had no fish deaths, thankfully. The ammonia at the moment is sitting around 2ppm... even the nitrate is creeping up again, overnight?

What should I do?

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  • Regular Member

What are your tap readings?

0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrates.

Also, is your tank cycled?

It has been yes, everything was fine when I last checked it =S which was only just over a week ago. I do weekly water changes though.

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  • Regular Member

if i remember, you were going through cycling not so long ago? did you manage to get any one of them cycled at all?

are there any NitrAtes showing?

Hi Helen, yeah I did get it cycled in the end, thanks to fish food =) Yes there are Nitrates showing they are at about a 5-10 ppm

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  • Regular Member

What are your tap readings?

0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrates.

Also, is your tank cycled?

It has been yes, everything was fine when I last checked it =S which was only just over a week ago. I do weekly water changes though.

When you say you've been rinsing your filters, how do you mean? Did you do it in the sink, in old tank water? Another method? Sorry about your cycle bump.

Some weeks I just feed more too, not on purpose, and have to do a change a day early? Don't know if that's the case here but just a thought :)

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  • Regular Member

What are your tap readings?

0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrates.

Also, is your tank cycled?

It has been yes, everything was fine when I last checked it =S which was only just over a week ago. I do weekly water changes though.

When you say you've been rinsing your filters, how do you mean? Did you do it in the sink, in old tank water? Another method? Sorry about your cycle bump.

Some weeks I just feed more too, not on purpose, and have to do a change a day early? Don't know if that's the case here but just a thought :)

I rinsed them in the tank water I siphoned out, definitely not tap water no.

Thing is I did a change on all tanks only last night, I didn't feed them "that" much between then and now lol...

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Retest your water after rinsing the tubes well? Retest the tap? Whats your tap/tank ph? Maybe you did not add enough conditioner? Although if your tap really is at zero I guess that may not matter.

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Retest your water after rinsing the tubes well? Retest the tap? Whats your tap/tank ph? Maybe you did not add enough conditioner? Although if your tap really is at zero I guess that may not matter.

I rinsed my test tubes and syringes and retested just now and the results were as follows.

pH is at 7.4

Ammonia is definitely at 2.0ppm

Nitrites at 0ppm

Nitrates at 10ppm

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  • Regular Member

Well, what IS clear is that it's time for water changes! Woo! Until the cause is identified, get the levels safe for the fish. It is possible you had a cycle bump before you want change and the water change just wasn't enough to get them to zero as well.

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Honestly, something like this happened to me a long time ago. I had a stable cycle and an overstocked tank .. but the fish were very little and things had been holding steady. Then, I had an algae bloom and decided to do a better clean. Two things could have occurred at that moment 1. I could have overcleaned the filter media (even though I didn't rinse it in tap water, I did clean it rather vigorously) or 2. The tap water at the moment I replaced it had ammonia (the water was from a mountain lake and unstable in many ways).

Whatever the cause, I developed spiking ammonia and all the water chemistry seemed changed and it took a lot of work to get the parameters stable again.

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Honestly, something like this happened to me a long time ago. I had a stable cycle and an overstocked tank .. but the fish were very little and things had been holding steady. Then, I had an algae bloom and decided to do a better clean. Two things could have occurred at that moment 1. I could have overcleaned the filter media (even though I didn't rinse it in tap water, I did clean it rather vigorously) or 2. The tap water at the moment I replaced it had ammonia (the water was from a mountain lake and unstable in many ways).

Whatever the cause, I developed spiking ammonia and all the water chemistry seemed changed and it took a lot of work to get the parameters stable again.

I will have to agree... If you have one filter on a tank and you do a water change and a filter clean on the same day, you will cause the ammonia to go crazy....

Best thing right now is to do a water change I say about 70-80% water change and add your water conditioner to the tank... Then test in about 4 hours after... let us know the levels :)

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Honestly, something like this happened to me a long time ago. I had a stable cycle and an overstocked tank .. but the fish were very little and things had been holding steady. Then, I had an algae bloom and decided to do a better clean. Two things could have occurred at that moment 1. I could have overcleaned the filter media (even though I didn't rinse it in tap water, I did clean it rather vigorously) or 2. The tap water at the moment I replaced it had ammonia (the water was from a mountain lake and unstable in many ways).

Whatever the cause, I developed spiking ammonia and all the water chemistry seemed changed and it took a lot of work to get the parameters stable again.

Oh gosh =( I must have done #1, as I checked our tap water yesterday and that was fine... Thank you for your help!

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  • Regular Member

Honestly, something like this happened to me a long time ago. I had a stable cycle and an overstocked tank .. but the fish were very little and things had been holding steady. Then, I had an algae bloom and decided to do a better clean. Two things could have occurred at that moment 1. I could have overcleaned the filter media (even though I didn't rinse it in tap water, I did clean it rather vigorously) or 2. The tap water at the moment I replaced it had ammonia (the water was from a mountain lake and unstable in many ways).

Whatever the cause, I developed spiking ammonia and all the water chemistry seemed changed and it took a lot of work to get the parameters stable again.

I will have to agree... If you have one filter on a tank and you do a water change and a filter clean on the same day, you will cause the ammonia to go crazy....

Best thing right now is to do a water change I say about 70-80% water change and add your water conditioner to the tank... Then test in about 4 hours after... let us know the levels :)

Ok, never again will I be changing water and clean the filter on the same day. Thank you so much for the info Koko :)

No worries I will have to do the 70%-80% change tonight as I'm working all day >_< I will let you know the levels tomorrow morning. That will be the best I can do at this stage...

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Honestly, something like this happened to me a long time ago. I had a stable cycle and an overstocked tank .. but the fish were very little and things had been holding steady. Then, I had an algae bloom and decided to do a better clean. Two things could have occurred at that moment 1. I could have overcleaned the filter media (even though I didn't rinse it in tap water, I did clean it rather vigorously) or 2. The tap water at the moment I replaced it had ammonia (the water was from a mountain lake and unstable in many ways).

Whatever the cause, I developed spiking ammonia and all the water chemistry seemed changed and it took a lot of work to get the parameters stable again.

I will have to agree... If you have one filter on a tank and you do a water change and a filter clean on the same day, you will cause the ammonia to go crazy....

Best thing right now is to do a water change I say about 70-80% water change and add your water conditioner to the tank... Then test in about 4 hours after... let us know the levels :)

Ok, never again will I be changing water and clean the filter on the same day. Thank you so much for the info Koko :)

No worries I will have to do the 70%-80% change tonight as I'm working all day >_< I will let you know the levels tomorrow morning. That will be the best I can do at this stage...

:thumb:

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Guest GrahamW

how do the parameters look now? a 2ppm your fish are at serious risk, what conditioner do you use, if it is a variety that binds ammonia this can be deliberately overdosed in order to detoxify ammonia til your cycle catches up leave 24 hours between treatments of conditioner. water changes are a must in this situation. do not add salt to the tank! zeolite media if another option however not my personal recommendation.

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