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High Amonia Levels


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Hi guys, just got back from a weeks holiday (neighbour and friends were feeding my ranchu and oranda) first thing I noticed was the water is very cloudy, so did an anomina test and it reads 4.0mg/L :o

I've just removed 80% of the water, as this is a panic water change my issue is that the new water won't be at room temperature.

I am filling buckets as I type this, could I leave the my fish in 20% water over night and change in the morning when the water should be at room temperature

Any suggestions?

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Is the fresh water warmer or colder than the tank? How big is the tank?

If it is warmer than the tank, is there a way you can go to a grocery store and get a couple bags of ice? That's what I have to do, because the water from the faucet is WARMER than the water in my tanks. So during water changes, when re filling the tanks, I slowly add ice in at the same time and keep an eye on the thermometer so the temperature changes only one or two degree up or down. :)

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Thanks guys for your super quick replies, well it's late at night here in Melbourne and I haven't got a thermometer (on my shopping list), the whole house is heated so I suspect the water in the tank is slightly warmer than the tap water.

My tank is 152 liters (sorry don't know what that is in gallons)

Could I have removed the ammonia levels with Prime?

What should I do, wait until morn to be on the safe side or just fill the tank?

My poor babies

Thanks in advance

Edited by salvo
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  • Regular Member

Thanks guys for your super quick replies, well it's late at night here in Melbourne and I haven't got a thermometer (on my shopping list), the whole house is heated so I suspect the water in the tank is slightly warmer than the tap water.

My tank is 152 liters (sorry don't know what that is in gallons)

Could I have removed the ammonia levels with Prime?

What should I do, wait until morn to be on the safe side or just fill the tank?

My poor babies

Thanks in advance

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Sorry about the double post above.

Ok I just added the tap water after only about an hour of sitting. Tank is now about 3/4 full, enough to cover the output of the filter otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep with that torrent of water in my ear (or maybe I'd dream of waterfalls). I've only ever added room temperature water apart from this occasion. The tank water is quite warmer than the added water due to the house being heated which I estimated with my hand.

I wonder what is worse for the fish adding warmer water to a cooler tank or vice versa? Hopefully it wont shock my pretties too much, they must have been already stressed out by the high ammonia levels.

Next time I go away I don't think I'll get my neighbours to feed them, I think the high levels in this case was a case of over feeding. Oh and I'll buy a thermometer. Lesson learned!

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Yeah, they can easily go a week without food. Best thing to do is bringing the water params down to 0/0/0 as you can before you leave. Then leave them something in there that they can eat on for maybe a couple days. Like live plants that your fish will eat, or a piece of lettuce, kale, a slice of cucumber or zucchini. That will feed them for a couple days and they will only have to "starve" for a few days, which a healthy fish can easily handle. :)

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It's been 48 hours since my last post, whilst the ammonia levels have dropped (4.0 - 2.0) it's still in my tank. :(

I did an 80% water change, changed the sponges in my filter and added fluval zeo carb media, I also removed one of the old plants.

Should I do another water change?

I'm about to start filling buckets again.

My API test kit is a probably 3-4 years old, could my ammonia tester be out of date?

Thanks in advance

Edited by salvo
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Yes continue doing wc until the ammonia is gone. :)

The ammonia test kit is good for three years. To determine bottling date check the lot # on the reagent bottle. The last 4 digits are the month and year of bottling.

Hope this helps and that your babies are okay. :)

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Hey thanks for your reply Caitie I will check the used by date.

I went ahead and did a 50% water change (not at room temperature :o ) the ammonia has dropped down to 1.0

I think I found the problem I have a couple of small terracotta pots filled with stones and plants, when I emptied these they were full of gunk, I have removed both old plants as I think they are past their used by date and they were breaking down (I'm a bad mummy).

I also rinsed the gravel in tank water and will do another water change tomorrow, at least this time the water will be at room temperature.

I'm thinking of removing the gravel altogether how should I do this without upsetting the bacteria, a little at a time?

Hopefully one more water change and ammonia will be gone.

Edited by salvo
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How much gravel do you have in the tank? Is it all over the bottom? If you have a lot, remove a small amount at a time. Also, if you use gravel as your substrate, how often do you vacuum it?

What filtration do you have in your tank?

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Hi Grace,

I have a 40 gallon tank, there's not much gravel and it doesn't cover the bottom, I have a fluval canister filter.

I must admit I never vac the gravel cause there's not much there, I have these river stones that are kind of piled up on each other, I found alot of waste under them.

The tank is looking alot better now, and my fish have perked up alot, I have decided against removing the gravel now, I think I'll do the opposite and cover it in electric blue.

I feel a little silly but I removed the Java fern from my tank, and put it on the kitchen compost (veg only) I've decided that it was a silly thing to do to remove the fern as it was quite healthy, I just freaked out about the ammonia and now the tank looks bare without it.

:doh11:

Question - I have rinsed the Java fern, it was sitting on the vege compost in the kitchen for a few hours, do you think it will be ok to put it back in the tank? I've had this fern for years and feel bad getting rid of it.

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You can always do a quck bleach dip if you think something might have gotten on it. 1 part bleach to 19 parts water. Then rinse in dechlorinated water.

I am always just paranoid. And the bleach dip won't hurt the java.

Rinsing in dechlorinated water is probably fine.

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Ammonia is dropping I just did my 3rd big water change and ammonia reading is 0.50

I added the correct amount of Prime every time I change the water.

There is a lot number on the bottle with 7 digits the last 4 being 0308 could this be the March 2008?

I checked my ph (high range) and it's at 8.8 :(

The tank is right next to ducted heating so it would be warming up the tank could this affect the ammonia/ph reading?

I know every tank is different but how many water changes has anyone done to clear their tank of ammonia

Edited by salvo
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If you replace half of the water in the tank, the ammonia concentration will be cut in half. If you replace 3/4 of the water, the ammonia concentration will be cut to 1/4 of what it was before. If you do a 90% water change, the ammonia will be 1/10 of what it was before the change.

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Thanks Shakaho

I'll do a 90% water change, I've been doing 50-80% the last 3 times.

I got the PH reading wrong it's at a good level however I found a nitrite reading of 0.25 :crying: (checked twice to make sure)

I've been reading this IS NOT GOOD to find any presence of nitrites in an established tank?

I am filling buckets as I type this.

Hopefully a big water change will get rid of it!

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:mytank1:

Hey thanks everyone for your wonderful advice!

I just did a 90% water change and I now have a sparkling ammonia nitrite free water :yeah:

I'm gonna feed Mr and Mrs Boff very little for the next couple of days and keep a close eye on things, I think in this case they were overfeed whilst I was away on holidays.

I won't make same mistake next time.

Mr and Mrs Boff head are looking at me "why won't you feed us slave?!"

I will upload some pics soon they are beautiful fish and well worth the trouble.

Cheers x

Edited by salvo
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