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Ammonia Level Too High


Guest Sacreligioushippie

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Guest Sacreligioushippie

I've had my 10 gal tank running for just over two weeks now and I still can't get my ammonia levels down. I bought a bigger filter this weekend, a Whisper Power Filter 20 (105 gph). I took all the old filter media from my muh smaller filter & dumped it into the new one. I have been doing 50% waterchanges every day for the past week and a half. Even after a waterchange my ammonia only drops to .25, before it's usually about 1. One of my fantails is just getting over ammonia burns apparently (black on edges of a couple of fins). I can't tell with my other fantail, its a calico. I know its overstocked, but I was originally told an inch of fish per gallon (they're about an inch without the tail). I hate to just toss them in a bigger uncycled tank, so what can I do about this tank while I wait to get a larger one cycled? Is ammo-lock any good? I know the tests read positive with it, but it supposedly detoxifies the ammonia.

Other readings:

Nitrite 0 (even after 2 weeks)

Nitrate 0

ph 7.2 - 7.4

Ammonia from the tap 0

ph from the tap 7.6ish

Thanks

~Jessica

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It sounds like this tank is also uncycled - so putting them into a larger uncycled tank is really not such a bad idea - if you have one. You can always hang the Whisper 20 over the side of the larger tank and run it as well as any filter that would go with the larger tank. Double filtration is usually a good thing.

Keep in mind that when you do water changes to bring down concentrations of ammonia (and soon, nitrite), you are just diluteing it. If you have 4ppm ammonia in the water and you do a massive 50% water change, you will still have 2 ppm of ammonia in the tank plus whatever the fish are constantly adding. It is a bit like chasing your tail. You would need to change 50% of the water (2ppm ammonia) then 50% again (1ppm) and then 50% again (.5ppm) to get it down to reasonable levels. If your fish can push it to 1-2 ppm ever 24 hours, you will need to do 1-3 50% water changes every day.......

A larger volume of water will help dilute down the concentration of ammonia in the tank - making it easier for you to keep the amount within tolerable levels for your fish. It might even be a good thing to use a large tub if you have no larger tank at this time. Hang all the filters you have over the side of a large Rubbermaid (or similar) tube and put the fish in there. The filters will cycle the same as in the tank, but the volume of water will help you and the fish out. When the filters are cycled, just transfer them back to their respective tanks.

A product like Amquel will bind the ammonia so it is still available for the beneficial bacteria to utilize and grow on. (read article on AmqueL) Be careful of ammolock and other producgts using zeolite as the ammonia binder. It binds the ammonia so that it is not available for the bacteria to use. This is not all bad - for the fish are adding more, but you need to really know what is going on. When you get to the stage in cycling where the nitrites peak, you will wish to add some salt to help the fish deal with the nitrite. Salt will cause zeolite to release any ammonia it has bound up - all at once. This is not good. (Salt "recharges" the zeolite)

:)

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Guest Sacreligioushippie

Thanks daryl.

Boy do I feel stupid :thud

I think I'll go out and get a bigger tank. I guess I was just afraid that whatever may have cycled would've been a loss, but if I add this filter to the new tank with another filter then it shouldn't be so bad right? Now, it's just a matter of rigging it up so I can have two filters on the new tank w/ the hood & keep the cat out. :blink:

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I often hang the "spare" filter off the front of the tank for a while. It may not look asthetically pleasing but it works well. If your lid does not quite close down all the way it is fine - if the cat likes to bug the fish (they will dive and avoid the cat, but....), just tape the lid down, for even if there is a paw hole, he cannt dip deeply into the tank and get any fish at all.

GOod luck. Let us know how it is going! :)

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Guest Sacreligioushippie

Another thing...

I've been vaccuuming my gravel at every water change but I read somewhere that good bacteria live in the gravel. Am I sucking up the good guys? I thought I was doing a good thing by getting rid of the poop and uneaten food. Though I've been only feeding once a day because of the ammonia.

~ Jessica

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The "good guys" are microscopic and live in the pores of the stones. The more porus a material is, the better platform it is for bacterial colonization. You cannot vacumn the bacteria up with a water vacumn. Rest assured that anything that is residing in the gravel is still there - healthy and hearty and hopefully starting to grow in numbers for you. YOu are doing a good thing getting rid of the poop and uneaten food. :)

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