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Ammonia Level Is Too High?


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Yesterday I did my regular water test, the readings were a bit strange:

PH 6

NH4+ 3

NO2- 0

NO3- 7

This is a 30 gallon (about 120 liters) tank which has been running for nearly 4 month. There are 2 filters in it, one is Fluval 4 plus which pushes 1000 Liters/hr and another is Aquael Fan -2 which pushes 450 liters/hr and only 3 golies in it.

I thought the tank has cycled as all readings were nil before. :) Anyway, in order to reduce the NH4+ to a controllable level, I have done two 50% water change yesterday and today. Now NH4+ level is about 1.0.

I feed them per-soaked Hikari Lionhead mini sinking pellet. I feed them twince a day and the amount is about 30 pellets which can be finished in a couple of mins. They eat a lot and poop a lot. They even grow nearly 1.5 inches in 50 days. Amazing, isnt it?

Any idea whats happened? Overfeeding or overpooping :D ?

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No med or salt at all in the tank. And normally I change about 30% water on Wed and about 50% on Sat. As my tank is bare bottom, I just siphon the bottom each time I change water (basiclly it's to get rid of any solid stuff in the bottom if there is any). :krazy:

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I have been using a water conditioner called 'Tap Safe' which is said to work both on cold water and warm water from centeral heater. I have not tested the tap water, but will do tomorrow.

I could not believe the NH4+ was that high until I found a tiny bit black mark on the tail of an orange oranda which is definitely the Ammonia burn. But the NH4+ seems not to bother them at all, they are always starving and eat like pigs. :D

And I rinsed the filter sponge yesterday in the tank water, it was really really dirty. Last time I washed it was about a week ago. Is it possible that the overloaded sponge cannt handle so much waste produced by goldie?

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Hmmm - that's alot of waste for a week. I usually rinse mine out monthly (& my cannisters get rinsed out every 3 months or so at this point - but I'm currently understocked) A super full sponge usually causes problems with overflow in the filters & not so much with the readings in the tank (unless it's high nitrates from the end stage wastes)

Did you do a large water change on the same day as the major sponge clean?

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Last Sun, my girlfriend did the water change and forget to rinse the filter songe. So I rinsed it this Mon when I performed the 50% changed to reduce the NH4+.

Just now I tested the tap water, NH4 is nil. :) And I have done the 3rd 50% water change in 3 days. The NH4+ level reduced from 2 ish before the waterchange to about 1.

I dont know where the22 NH4+/NH3 is from? No poop at all on the bottom of the tank as the filters are very strong. And I check the filter sponge, lots of brown gunk in it. I think that it should be a good habitate for those bacteria. :D

Based on the currenct situation, does it mean I have to go through cycling process again? :(

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I surf online and happened to find a product called 'bio-spira' which can help tank cycle instantly. Although I think my tank is cycled, I think the good bacteria could be not enough to decompose the ammonia. I search around, unfortunately it is not available in the UK. Alternatively a product called 'Bactinettes' that is meant to do the same work.

Has anyone ever used it or a similar product to deal with the high ammonia problem?

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There are many products out there. I personally haven't had any luck with them but others have so....

I think you might have had a burp in the cycle from doing a large water change alongside a really good filter clean.

Since your levels seem to be staying down - I would just keep an eye on it at this point.

(Most do a large water change OR a good filter clean but not both at the same time. I tend to do a slightly smaller water change when I'm cleaning the filter media)

Hopefully this is it & the problem won't reoccur!

:D

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I have been fighting the ammonia level for this whole week. The ammonia seems playing game with me. After water change, it reduces to 1 ish and then goes back to about 2. :angry:

What shall I do then? Keep changing water to reduce ammonia level or just keep my eyes on it? I worry that the high ammonia will kill my fish.

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How long does it take to go to 2? I'm with you - I wouldn't want it above .5-1 either. (with 0 really being where you want to be) I'd keep up the changse with an ammonia bunder (or a water conditioner that binds ammonia)

As an aside - how many fish are in this tank? (I know you said they were growing like weeds)

edit: do you know if your tap water has chloramines in it?

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Thanks for your reply. It takes about 24 hours to go back to 2. :) It is really quite, isnt it? But it seems it is not going any highter. I have tested the tap water the readings are:

NH4 0

NO2 0

NO3 0

PH 7.6

I thought that the NO3 in my tank could come from the tap water. But after testing, I am wrong. This means there are some bacterias that can convert the ammonia to NO2 and eventually to NO3.

I have no idea how to test chloramines. I forgot most of the chemistry knowledge. :D Its molecular formula could be C7H7O2NSNaCl.3H2O, which is used to sterilize tap water. Any idea how to test it? :)

I was feeding them the Hikari Lionhead which contains 48% protein. I thought it could be too much protein that converts to NH4 in the water. So I changed to flake, but it is still the same.

Now there are only 3 goldie in the tank. The largest one is about 4.5 inch long. I think the tank could be ok given the size of the tank and the gph of the filters. They are quite happy everyday, the NH4 doesnt bother them at all. The oranda growed about 1.5-2 inches in 2 months. :D

As to the ammonia bunder, will it do any harm to the cycle?

Sorry for the endless questions. :D

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Hi Happy Oranda,

Sorry to see you are having difficulties.

From what I can see in your last post, you have no nitrates (NO3) or Ammonia (NH4). I would guess that the bacteria in your filter have died from the cleaning and will need to grow again. :(

Would you mind telling me how much Hikari you feed and how many times a day? I ask this because I suspect your NH4 trouble may have started with the amount you are feeding.

Another thing to consider would be your filtration. What is in your filter? Is it just sponge and filter floss?

Hope your NH4 troubles disappear for good and do post back soon.

Slugger :)

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Thanks for your reply, slugger.

The NH4 and NO3 of the tap water were 0, but the water from tank is about 1-2 and 10 respectively. I tested the tap water as I thought the NO3 reading could be from the tap water rather than being converted from NH4 by bacterias. But results showed that NO3 is definitely from somewhere in the tank instead of tap. :)

I just tested the NH4 level 5 mins ago. I was just above 1.0. It remains at this level after I changed back to flake. :D

I took out a portion pellet that I normally feed them before and counted it. Wow, about 50 mini pellets. Normally I feed them twice a day and about pre-soaked 50 mini pellets each time as counted above. :D But they can just finish them in no time. Did I overfeed them? If I did, how much I should feed then?

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Oops, my mistake. I thought your readings were of the tank. :) Perhaps I should pay more attention. :D

Perhaps you should cut down to a thumbnail size portion per fish each meal? Either that, or review your filtration.

You do have impressive growth of goldfish though. :)

Slugger :)

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