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Little help needed.

Tank has been set up for 3 months, 70L, and 6 little albino tiger barbs, 2 small gouramis, and two baby African Butterfly cichlids.

Ammonia last week tested at 1ppm, same as the week before.

This week it tested at 2ppm, done 15% water change, with prime, gravel vac, cleaned filters in the same tanks water, etc, and I retested 24 hours later, and still at 2ppm.

I have 2 wisteria, and 3 other plants in there, and the fish get fed a tiny amount of food, once daily, although the day it spiked, they were fed a little bit of bloodworm.

Fish all seem to be very happy, and lively, not struggling, breathing well, chasing each other and playing, and eating fine.

What can I do to get the ammonia back down?

Nitrite and Nitrate both registering 0ppm, PH 7.4, 70L tank, built in filter (blue planet tank).

Josh

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Sounds like it's not cycled u should have 0 ammonia and at least a small reading of nitrate... Lowering the ph will makenhigh levels of ammonia less toxic by turning it into ammonium. But that will most likely be a waste of time I'n ur case. I'd just stick to 15-20% daily water change till it goes back down. That has worked for me I'n the past

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when you stated that you cleaned the filters what filters are you running, what media is in them and how did you clean the media.

If you have more than one filter clean them each once a month. only clean one a month though. so each filter only gets cleaned every 2 months. With your stocking levels this shouldnt be an issue.

If you only have 1 filter and you cleaned all the gunk out of it the chances are you have cleaned alot of the bacteria out that convert the ammonia to nitrites. This has basically reverted your tank cycle to that of a new one.

just keep up with the water changes to reduce the ammonia concentration. dont add any more fish into the tank till it settles down...

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Thanks guys. It has little bio balls, and stones, but I cleaned them at the same time as the filter wool. I done this after the jump to 2ppm, but its still testing at 2ppm even after cleaning them. Its the first time the filters or media has been cleaned. So I should just clean one type a month? Silly mistake by me if thats the case :(

Should I double dose on Prime doing 15% daily water changes?

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A small airpowered filter or a small powerhead will do the trick.

If you want to keep it with just the blueplanet built in, you need to put more efficient media in it.

matrix is better than bioballs, and coarse foam is better than the dacron. Problem is, the bacteria you have on the bioballs and dacron is the only bacteria you have to work with. So we dont want to pull that out right now lol

My approach would be to put a second filter in there, then in 2 weeks time, to optimize the built in filter with more efficient 'media' than the standard wool/bioballs.

This will give the bacteria more surface area to grow on = more bacteria = more efficient conversion of ammonia/nitrite into nitrate.

Well done with the testing by the way, many would have missed the ammonia and it would have led to problems down the track.

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Dude (or dude'ette), ever heard of the expression "loving your fish to death"?

But something that the others missed, you said you washed your media? Don't. Ever.

Your tank will not cycle if you keep doing that. Replace the wool, don't wash it (it's as cheap as chips). And you don't really need to change it that often TBH. Just leave the filter and everything in it alone for a few months.

Just keep up with the water changes till you start to see your nitrates spike

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Dude (or dude'ette), ever heard of the expression "loving your fish to death"?

But something that the others missed, you said you washed your media? Don't. Ever.

Your tank will not cycle if you keep doing that. Replace the wool, don't wash it (it's as cheap as chips). And you don't really need to change it that often TBH. Just leave the filter and everything in it alone for a few months.

Just keep up with the water changes till you start to see your nitrates spike

I disagree.

But not with the reasons you say that, just that this is a different case.

You cant just replace the wool in these filters when its dirty BECAUSE it is 90% of the filter media.

You need to clean filters in water taken from the aquarium, NEVER in tap water!

You only need to clean when the filter becomes so clogged water cannot flow through it.

And only need to squeeze it out enough so water can flow through it again.

blue planet above tank filters are tricky.

they are horizontal flow filters

stocked with disposable filtration media

and a few bio balls

because of the amount of dacron, and how quickly it gets clogged

you need to squeeze it out in some water taken from the tank

just to keep it functioning

anyway the regular squeezing water

makes a good plant tonic.

In the name of reducing effort though

I'd upgrade the media to coarse sponge and decent rings/ceramic

and add in a small second filter

but then I like filtration systems that can handle the bioload

and are low maintence

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I was in today to talk about this, but I got your boss instead, lol.

One thing I didnt mention was that my snail had a clutch of eggs a few weeks ago, which hatched. I thought I would teach the kids about the life cycle. We came to the conclusion that it is probably the amount of dead snails the African Butterfly Cichlids are leaving around the place. We decided to leave the water for a few days, whilst treating it, and drop the water changes, so the bacteria can catch back up, try the small filter and replace media slowly, and use Ammolock till the bacteria take back over and get things on track.

Thanks for the help guys, Ill keep you posted if anything else happens.

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I was in today to talk about this, but I got your boss instead, lol.

One thing I didnt mention was that my snail had a clutch of eggs a few weeks ago, which hatched. I thought I would teach the kids about the life cycle. We came to the conclusion that it is probably the amount of dead snails the African Butterfly Cichlids are leaving around the place. We decided to leave the water for a few days, whilst treating it, and drop the water changes, so the bacteria can catch back up, try the small filter and replace media slowly, and use Ammolock till the bacteria take back over and get things on track.

Thanks for the help guys, Ill keep you posted if anything else happens.

Um, not to sound like the grim reaper here, the worst possible thing you can do is stop the water changes if you have a reading of 2.0+ppm

The amount of bacteria in the actual water itself is negligible. So your not going to affect your cycle perhaps to the extent your thinking.

From memory, Ammolock, does not actually 'remove' the ammonia. It binds it to form Ammonium (sp?).

The only real thing you can do is get some established media from somewhere and put it directly into your filter. By the sound of things, that might not be possible with your filter, if not, put it in a pantyhose and just thro it into the tank..

But dear god, keep up the water changes if your anything above 0.2-0.5ppm (even then would be iffy to stop)

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Hi ,just a idea on your ammonia problem - i had a similar problem with nitrate and i did the same as you for a couple of month with the same result - "it did'nt help " tried ever thing - so in desperation i tried " api stress zyme+' -its a live bacteria booster - 1 dose and my nitrate went from 2 to 0 -its suppose to help with ammonia too.

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ammolock does bind the ammonia into a version that is far less harmful to fish, but still available to bacteria for conversion to nitrite/nitrate.

This is an acceptable way of riding out the ammonia spike.

The other option of water changing more frequently, is viable as well.

As for the bacteria in the water being negligable...... normally I would agree to, BUT in this case its this bacteria that is going to colonise the new media and new filter. We are talking spores and hitchhikers.

Yea ya still want to keep an eye on the ammonia, and water change if its heading towards 1ppm.

But in a tank this 'old', simply backing off on feeding, and adding ammolock until the system can stabilise can work quite well.

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My rather expensive course of action would be (most of which has already been mentioned):

Feed as little as possible until this issue is resolved.

Purchase and install decent new media - I'd even fork out for Eheim bio rings with your limited volume - apparently they even more surface area than Matrix. And always (especially in those hood filters) make sure your prefilter foam is bigger than needed so it sits snug and ensures no chunky detritus gets to your bio rings.

Dose with course of Sera Nitrivec, its basically liquid bacteria for your media. Follow instructions.

Test ammonia daily and use Ammo Lock until Nitrivec kicks in. What these fellas were saying about Ammo lock only being a converter is true - therefore don't panic if your ammonia test kits still register a reading after treatment, as long as it doesn't go up, follow the above instructions and it should go away within a week.

Keep cleaning - and water changing but don't touch your bio media and don't bash your foam media too hard like the gents mentioned above. Nick off all dead animal/plant matter.

Finally, if this is one of those in-hood trickle filters theres probably not much water movement in tank. Maybe consider chucking a little Otto PF800n near the bottom.

Let us know how you go.

Edited by Hennessy

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