Need Help with High Ammonia!

30 posts • Page 3 of 3

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

I have a strict regimen I keep.

Every Thursday, the on the 55 gallon freshwater tank, I take 8 gallon of water out; on Sunday, I take another 8 gallons water out. On Sunday, I test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Every day, I log in temperature. If you have live plants, you may test for iron once a month (but this is not necessary unless the leaves are dying).

On a new tank, as yours is, test 3 or 4 times a week for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate (I did this when I first got my tank), also temperature every day. You want to make sure there are no extremes in the water test. You may also test for PH (I do this now about every other month for I know it is well balanced), but on a new tank, you want a steady PH (the wood you have, I take is real, will help the PH steady itself).

So for the next 4-6 weeks, test 3 or 4 times for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate; every day for temperature; once a week for ph.

On water changes, becaus eyour tank is new, and sadly (you did not know), too many fish in the tank means too much poop equals too much ammonia equals diseaster for a new tank because the bio-load or the bacteria in the filter cannot handle it, so your ammonia is very toxic which is killing your fish, it literally suffocates them to death (it's as if you were in a small room and someone placed gas methane in it...horrid image, but very true)...anyway, because of so many fish, you want to change the water either 2 ways, if you do not have a water test kit for ammonia (nitrite and nitrate...please do not get them now, liquid tests are much more precise) you will go by blind faith, so change the water 25% every 3-4 days (so half the tank is completely water cleaned each if a fish dies, you want to do an immediate 50% water change for the fish is telling you that something is wrong with the tank or the ammonia is way too high), or if you have a test kit, you test for ammonia every other day, you will see exactly the ppm's or the level of ammonia in the tank and water change therefrom, say 25% to 50%.

You will get to understand that this hobby will pay off once you put a little steady time into it. After awhile it becomes habit. It takes me about 30 minutes each week, both days, to do the routine tasks to the tank.

The redtail shark will always be on the move (it is not necessarily a bottom feeder); freeze dried blood worms and vegetable based wafers will suffice for now. In the tank I have, every other day, I supply the living inhabitants with frozen bloodworms, beefheart, daphina, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp (on Sunday I do not feed for it helps to clean their disgestive systems out). Because the redtail shark likes vegetable based foods, I'll tell you something most fish like (I feed mine it in between the frozen foods) that most people do not use, and the best part, it cleans out their digestive tracts of any possible blockage: peas. You must by fresh canned peas, take the shell off and place about 5 to 10 of the mush into the tank...your fish especially the shark will go crazy. Redtails will eat flake, but you must buy them top shelf flake. (you may order from dr (that's where I buy most of my foods, Prime water conditioner, aquarium salt, water test kits, etc).

Albino corycat is a bottom feeder. I'll give you a trick that I use that helps direct the food down to the bottom feeders (I have dwarf chain loaches, bottom feeders...though they help themselves to the snails all the time), but I do have dwarf african frogs, and the way I feed them at the bottom of the tank is with a turkey baster. Fill the bulb up with a little water, place whatever food inside, direct the needle to wherever you like in the tank, and wham: bottom feeders love ya for it - that way they do not have to wait for it to fall from the surface, where most of the other fish will get it first).

Albino corycats will eat flake, or actually anything like the redtail shark except they're not too crazy about the may purchase some live worms (blackworms are excellent)...I do this only as a rare treat, about once a can keep them alive in a container in your.....yes, refrigerator (or in a secure container outside if the area is warm; best kept in water).

So there ya have it...I hope I helped.

By the way, on the food, please please do not overfeed. Find what your fish like best, vary the types of foods, and after routine maintenance and observation, you'll find yourself truly enjoying this hobby.

Happy fishing!

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

one other thing, short note: feed flakes once a day, just enough so all the fish get it...frozen foods (it can be thawed in the microwave for about 20 seconds) every other day...freeze dried, every day, once...a lot of people would say twice a day at a certain time...I say, I beg to differ....

in the wild, fish are fed whenever it falls out of the sky (from leaves etc) or by certain other types of specimens in the water...but they never know when. When & how much are the keys to feeding.

You want a varied diet; about once a day, feed no more than 2-3 minutes or upon observation you know as a fact all the fish received something; and as far as when, up to you (except in the dark...for fish do "sleep" or their heart rates go way down into a meditative rest, I prefer to respect them...and though the frogs would prefer food at night, I do not want to disturb the entire tank for a few frogs...the frogs do eat well in the day, so another fallacy shot down driven by so called experts).

Fish are scavengers by nature. They will feed on the tank remnants etc in between your feedings. Fish are up to two things most of the day: scavenging and breeding. So do not think you did not feed enough...there is plenty specimens the human eye cannot see in the tank that a fish can and will eat.

Anyway, until you bring us back up to date, I will "shut up" :)

Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:18 pm

by kraigt

lol i absolutely love the way you put short note, write an essay and then have to tell yourself to shut up haha

But I'm loving the advice from so many, and so much of it too, setting up is definately the hardest bit, but once you know what your doing, the results are amazing, you can never ask enough daft questions in my apinion

nice going PK and Yasher

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

yw pal lol

Posts: 1980
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 am

by Peterkarig3210

I'm still here. Great advice guys. This is the type of thread I enjoy.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:41 pm

by Alice1980

I know this thread is old but I wanted to ty for all the great info.

I am just starting out a 75 gal tank and fear that the store misinformed me one how many fish to cycle and all so I had no clue on the feeding habits. I have 6 Mollies and had 6 tiger barbs. Now the tiger barbs have all most all died off. I know now that it was because I was over feeding them by a lot! the ammonia spiked and killed the tiger barbs. The Mollies are doing fine but if I am right I need to change some of the water out now? I just started my tank Sunday. I am really excited about it and hope to get everything to normal levels. I need to get a test kit. My local pet/fish store will test for me for free but it would probably be better if I could test here. I love my tank and look forward to getting my Balas once the tank cycles.

I think my biggest down fall was not reading up on it till it was to late. I trusted my local store and they just did not inform me on the feeding habits at all. The Mollies act hungry all the time so I just kept feeding them. Now I know better.

Thanks again for all the great info guyz!
577f4-tank 3.jpg

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

well hate to be the one to inform you but in a way, it is good that the Tiger Barbs died off because if not, The Tiger Barbs would have killed off all your mollies (Tiger Barbs are semi-aggressive fish and Mollies are peaceful...this is the first thing)

second, Mollies need at least one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon in order to reach optimum health

third, yes, you need a liquid test kit either from Seachem or API for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and a temperature strip on (place on tank, on side)

fourth, the power filter you have, what is the name of it?

fifth, water change 25-40% of the water in the tank dependent upon the water test...if too much ammonia, more water change (40%) if less (25%)...understand, use reasonable judgment

sixth, do not overfeed; you have 6 Mollies, plenty poop if overfood, it will overhwelm the filters, or you will wind up with an endless cycle

seventh, more filtration the better (always at least ten times the amount of the tank, so with a 75 gallon tank, you will need at least 750 gallons per hour (gph) filtration)...and never ever change the filter pads until at least 90 days (if you have a filter with bio wheels, you may rinse the filters ONLY after the tank is cycled)

eighth, if you can, get some live plants (anubias is a good starter...will help with the nitrates)

ninth, observation...two keys to a healthy fish tank: fish are moving or swimming and the fish take food...if either one is not working, it means the fish is ill and may die

and tenth, ammonia will rise, then nitrite, then nitrate...first you must get the tests (liquid), once you do this, I need all test results of the tap water and the water in the tank before the water change (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph). Once you have these test results, I will give you an exact idea as what to expect next, okay?

look forward to your test results

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:41 pm

by Alice1980

Hmmm the lady told me the barbs and mollies would be fine together....

I got the API liquid test kit. I tested the tank and the tap.

Tank 0 Nitrite and nitrate
0.50ppm ammonia-did about a 15 gal water change the other day and used the hose on the gravel to get
junk out of the gravel. It read lower after that but now is back up.
8.2-8.4 PH- the lady at Jack's aquarium said that Ohio reads high on PH.

Tap- O ammonia, nitrite , and nitrate.
7.8 PH

The temp. in tank is 75.

As of Saturday I have been running two filters. The one that hangs on the tank I started with is a Penguin I believe it has two Bio-wheels. Then I have the one my friend sent me which is Eheim Professionel II canister filter ... Id=9956353 . It says it pushed 251 gph .

Now I am at 5 mollies. One is swimming upside down and from what I read that means it has air in it's swimming bladder. It says don't feed it for 2-3 days and when I do feed again give it peas to help it move it's food out of it's bladder.They all so suggest foods that sink instead of flakes.

The rest of the fish look good swimming around fine.

This is what Jack's had me use to start my tank, stress coat +, Bio-boost, and aquarium salt.

I cut back to feeding them once a day after reading post and books. I feed them flakes one day and brine shrimp the next.

Jack's told me not to do live plants till the ammonia is down because the ammonia will wilt the plants. I do want live plants though.

I hope I answered everything. Look forward to hearing your suggestions!
Thanks for your time.

Posts: 993
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 5:35 am
Location: QLD Australia

by Alasse

Now generally i am not one for adding chemicals to a tank, but there are occassions where they are required. They are not always a bad thing

I recently used an API ammonia lock product, mind you my ammonia levels were completely off the charts (it was a toxic dump and deadly in seconds to fish!), the tank has suffered no ill effects from me using this, infact it has sped the cycling process along, by forcing the ammonia to a non toxic form, though the tank will still test positive to ammonia.

If your fish as showing no signs of stress, then let the tank run its cycling course

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

most fish can tolerate a high ph, so you are okay here

well if your ammonia is testing at 0.50 ppm or less, this ammonia will not affect live plants...actually, the sooner you can get an assorted bunch of live plants in the tank the nitrates will be used as food for the plants, thereby helping your tank greatly (Jack needs to become a member of this forum so he can learn (((smiles)))

get a hold of clove oil, place about a teaspoon in a pint of water to put the fish down (it is painless)...upside down fish means swim bladder disease and it is very painful for a fish plus to cure it is near impossible - put it down

Tiger Barbs will pick on the mollies...Tiger Barbs are semi-aggressive fish

considering the rest of the fish look fine, then you need not worry about any further problems, but if you have any questions we are here to help

Need Help with High Ammonia!

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