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Ammonia Problems


Guest hammondpiperman

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Guest hammondpiperman

We are new to goldfish keeping so any advice is greatly appreciated.

We have two fantails that are 4-5 inches in length, plus tail.

Tank: 20 gal

Filter: Two Whisper 20

Conditioner: KoiRx Detox Plus

Param. this a.m.: (per API test kits)

kH-40 :)

pH-7

Nitrite-0

Nitrate-5

Temp-76

AMMONIA: 1 (after 1/2 tank water change)

ammonia in tap water-0.25

Food: ProGold 1x/d and one Salad Supreme/d

Air Stone x1

I have bio stars in one filter

We are conditioning the water and let it sit as long as possible before adding to the tank.

Here is the story: I contacted Rick at Goldfish Connection regarding a scale I noticed appeared to be torn off of one of the fish. He said I needed to do a round of antibiotics. As he recommended I got PraziQ and also MediGold. We used the PraziQ, along with daily 1/2 tank water changes, for one week and the MediGold for 14 days (per Rick). We had cycled the tank without problems prior to the medications and had not had any param problems.

One week after the round of PraziQ, and at the end of the 14 days of MediGold, the ammonia suddenly spiked to 8. That happened 10 days ago. Since that time we have been doing about 30-50% water changes every day. This is because every morning the ammonia is reading about 4. After a water change we get it down to about 1. But, the next day it is up again. (again, we didn't have this problem before)

We got some Ammo-Chips hoping that would help, but there is no change. The fish seem normal except in the morning when I find one gulping at the top of the tank. They are active and always begging for food.

We don't know what to do about this problem.

Thanks for your help

Heidi

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  • Regular Member

Hi Heidi and welcome to Koko's.

I think what has happened is that the medicating of your tank has killed off the beneficial bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrite. This will re-establish itself in time and you are doing the right thing by doing large water changes to control the build up of ammonia. In my experience, it usually takes about 2 weeks or so for this to happen, so hopefully, you are near the end of the process.

There are products, such as Bio-Spira, that are said to be good for speeding up this process. I have never used this product, so I can't vouch for it. I have just relied on time and water changes to get me through the process. Here is a discussion on Koko's concerning Bio-Spira:

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...opic=28553&st=0

I hope this helps, and please feel free to ask questions.

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I agree with Touchofsky -in that something as happened to your beneficial bacteria that cycle your tank.... but something funky is going on here....

Your tank was fully cycled.

You treated with PraziQ ( I am assuming this is Praziquantel) which is a GREAT parasitical treatment

You treated with MediGold which is a very good medicated food.

Your tap water contains 0.25ppm ammonia

You have had spikes to 8 ppm ammonia!!!! :yikes

I am suprised that your fish are not dead. At 8ppm, the fish will die within 10 minutes or less!

The ammonia has to be coming from SOMEWHERE.... loads of waste food sitting somewhere. Your food additions look very normal - and are of good quality - that should not be the source. You do not have an undergravel filter hiding nasites - so that is not the problem....

Lets crunch some numbers:

If you have an ammonia reading of 8ppm and you change out 1/2 the water, you will have an ammonia reading of 4ppm. If you then change out 15 gallons of a 20 gallon tank, you will have 1ppm of ammonia left. If you daily have 4ppm, you would need to change 15 gallons to get it to 1ppm....

Prazi does not affect the beneficial bacteria of the cycle. I do not know if PraziQ is something "else" but in general you can over dose by 500 times and not affect the fish or the cycle with Prazi. It is a really good medication - for flukes and internal worms and other parasites.

Medigold, in general, does NOT release antibiotics into the water. It is in the food - and if you are not crushing the pellets into dust (Even that would not do too much) it is virtually impossible for it to do much if anything to your cycle. I have never had a cycle bump when using Medigold..... Even if grossly overfed so that there are a lot of pellets rotting on the tank floor, I doubt that you would have a problem from the medications for the cycle.

If you have 8 ppm ammonia, that could impact the beneficial bacteria. But they should be able to bounce back in a few days of good water. It takes longer to impact them than it would to kill the fish.

I truly wonder if your test kit is somehow been compromised....

With high ammonia readings, it does not hurt to change out substantially more water per change - what ever is needed to get the ammonia down to 0.50 if possible. Do not touch the media in your filters - just leave them be and change the water only. REmove the fish - syphon off some of the used water into a clean bucket and gently lift your fish into the bucket. Then syphon off the water from the tank and replace it, matching parameters in every way BUT the ammonia. Replace the fish.

Ammo chips can be a dicey thing to use. If used in sufficiant quantities, they can bind all the ammonia from the system. Once bound, though, it is NOT available for the beneficial bacteria to process. Without ammonia, they can die off..... Then the double whammy of the ammo chips comes back and bites you in the rear - they only hold so much ammonia. When they "fill up" they stop working - suddenly and without warning. Now you have ammonia and very few beneficial bacteria to process it and the ammonia in the tank will soar in levels!!!!

I would suggest ditching all the ammo chips. They are VERY useful when used in a non-cycled system. They have no use in a cycled system. Instead, invest in a bottle of Prime or Amquel+. These products will bind the ammonia so it is non-toxic to the fish, but still allows the beneficial bacteria to process it. Change out water every day - and use a liberal dose of Prime to hold the ammonia to a tolerable level for the fish until the next change.

I think I would even invest in another ammonia test kit. You can always use the first one up later, if it proves out that it is not flawed somehow. Those numbers just do not ring right - I think you are being misled somehow by the test numbers.....

I would also cut waaaaay back on the food for those fish for a few days, also. At 4-5 inches in size, they are big enough to be fasted for 5 days - or fed very lightly every other day or so. This will limit the amount of ammonia being created and give you a head start on the situation.

BioSpira is a GREAT product, BUT it is a solution of beneficial bacteria in water. It does not attach to your media for a number of days. It will process the waste in the water as it floats around, but cannot be disturbed until it has had time for the bacteria to attach and populate your media. If you add BioSpira and then do a water change, you will be dumping that expensive product right down the drain.

Good luck. I hope your tank is quickly brought back in control. :)

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Guest hammondpiperman

Thank you for the quick reply. We were suspecting that might be the problem, but were unaware it could take so long to build up the good bacteria once more. We certainly do appreciate the help.

Heidi

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Guest hammondpiperman

Thank you Daryl.

The ammonia test kit is new, but I will get another today and retest with it. We can't figure out how the ammonia can be 4 in the morning and then 1 after a water change, either. And, yes, I don't know why my fish haven't died with such high ammonia levels. I have the ammonia alert in the tank and it also registered toxic.

My husband does the water changes and gets out most of the waste that has accumulated. I'll get the ammo chips out.

When you say a liberal dose of Prime, what do you mean? I do not have either of the products you mentioned, but I will look for them today. Is the Amquel in place of the other water conditioner I am using?

Heidi

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Another suggestion is to get your water tested at the aquarium or pet store. Usually they will test the water for free. That will give you an idea if the test kit is compromised.

Also, when you mentioned the product that you got from Rick, you said he suggested an antibiotic. Does the PraziQ have the ingredients listed? Does it contain an antibiotic as well as Prazi?

Prime and Amquel+ are do pretty much the same thing. Just different manufacturers.

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Ammonia reading 8ppm is crazy high!

Mine show intolerance at 0.25ppm even with a pH of 7.0 and temp in the high 60's.

At best guess I think you probably do have some ammonia in there but your tests are up the left. I hope thats what it is anyway.

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Guest hammondpiperman

I purchased a new test kit. The ammonia is reading 1.0ppm. We haven't done anything different than usual. We had not cleaned anything when this started (and still haven't). Everything was going normal until 10 days ago when I checked the ammonia alert and it was dark purple and the ammonia test really truly read 8ppm. I think it is weird that the fish act their normal selves, except for occasional taking in of air at the top of the tank.

We will keep up with the water changes.

Thank you all for your help.

Heidi

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In my experience, some fish are very tolerant of poor water, whereas others would die under the same conditions. I had an experience once where only one fish displayed any signs of distress when a tank had sky high nitrite readings. Out of about 12 fish, only one appeared sick. I am sure it wasn't good for the others, but they didn't display outward signs of distress.

I would keep up the water changes, and keep your ammonia as low as possible.

Out of curiosity, I would like to know what your ammonia reading is tomorrow morning.

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Guest hammondpiperman

Thank you all for the good advice. I think we are finally getting somewhere. I bought another ammonia test kit. It registered identical to the old one, so I don't guess that was the problem. I got the Amquel and used it with the water change (half the tank) last night. The ammonia this morning was 1ppm and after 1/2 water change was 0.25ppm. I think I will throw out the other stuff. I won't feed them today and see how it looks this evening.

Thank you again.

Heidi

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