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Ammonia Still High In New Tank


Tuataress
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Hi - I have a had new 150 litre I have been trying to cycle for the past 3 weeks but the ammonia test I have been doing is still coming out green. I have been using ammonia removers for the last 2 weeks it imporved it a little.

The Aquarium shop where I bought it from said not to take too much from the testing kit I used and told me to put some fish in to get the nitrates cycling. So I have 5 little danio's swimming around in there, they have survived a week. Tehy seem to be happy enough! I have plants in there and they are still alive as well.

I can't work out why it is still high. I washe d the gravel before I filled the tank, the only other thing is a piece of drift wood. It leeched a bit of tanin into the water could this be the problem?

I was expecting it all to cycle within 10 days, I am being too ambitious? How long does it usually take?

It is a biological drip filter.

I'll post a piture soon. I really want to start adding more fish!!

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you need to have a few fish in there in order to cycle the tank properly... as it was explained to me, fish = ammonia = bacteria that use ammonia = nitrites = bacteria that use nitrites = nitrates = good

maybe you should get some "bacteria in a bottle" to help things move along...

i think it's just the size of your tank being 150L. i know my small approx 10 litre tank took about 2 weeks before it was fully cycled with a sponge filter, gravel and plants, it may just be a matter of patience, the tannins from the drift wood wouldn't be a problem i don't think, if anything i'd say its a good thing.

hope that helps (i'm by no means an expert on this though)

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tannins shouldn't affect the ammonia too much, if at all.

i'd say the cycle isn't complete yet, it usually takes 4 weeks in an average tank. you need to build up the nitrifying bacteria in the tank before the ammonia levels will stabalise. they need ammonia to feed on in order to build up their #'s - so removing ammonia may have slowed down the cycle. also being a larger tank it may take a bit longer to cycle.

i'd just be patient and wait a bit more :P

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I am surprised that 5 danios produce enough ammonia to even get a reading on a 150 L tank. Are you only using the fish to cycle or did you add ammonia itself at any stage? what is your ammonia reading, exactly? telling us it is "green" isn't very illumionating, because mine tests in shades of yellow :P

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thanks for your advice!

Sorry Lilli, I was trying to find the card that matches the reading - my unit is turned upsidedown at the moment - can't find a thing!! I'll get back to you on that one - I know "yellow" is the magic colour and what I want to see! Green is not!

I don't know where the ammonia come from. Maybe through the hose. For the first week I only added gravel and some ornaments - maybe I should check the ornament hasn't got a dead snail inside as it was sitting outside before I added it - rinsing it under the hose a few times.

The next week I added the driftwood but the ammonia was reading high then (again I'll give you a number on that later)

I'll introduce some more fish at the weekend to get the cycle going.

The Danio's were just the sacrilambical fish!

They were a real nusiance in my other tank so I moved them in the big tank - see how they went with the ammonia, poor little things now I'm quite fond of them - they need company!

And yes pantience isn't one of my strongest points!

Here is a picture of the tank

communitytank25_02_07.jpg

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Your problem would be with the ammonia removers, which are removing the neccessary component through which good bacteria can colonise, and thus cannot change the ammonia to nitrite and then nitrAte.

If you wish to remove the tannin from the water, this may be achieved through the use of activated carbon (however it may not solve the problem)

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What ammonia removers are you using? Removing the ammonia may well actually just be detoxifying/locking the ammonia, which will throw things into a bit of a spin.

Some ammonia lockers/removers (Prime, ammolock2 etc) change the form of the ammonia to ammonium, which is supposedly less toxic to the fish. The problem with this is twofold; 1) it makes it very difficult for the nitrifying bacteria to eat (its like wrapping their food in 40 paper bags) so its slows your cycle right down and 2) it will almost always show up on ammonia test kits because they measure total ammonia, and the locked version counts. False ammonia readings are part and parcel of those chemicals, mostly they just fail to mention that on the label.

I'd say that is where you are hitting the snag, have your nitrite levels peaked yet?

So, where to from here?

Well, you could just stick with it. Leave the ammonia locker be and let the tank do its thing. Even once your nitrite has peaked and troughed (and be careful as sometimes it double peaks, make sure its down to 0 again) you are likely to still be getting ammonia readings, but more than likely from the locked form. If you are worriied, maybe add bottled bacteria (Cycle, Nitravec etc) to help get things under control.

You could ditch the water and start again. Use only a dechlorinator and if you are worried about the danios get a bacteria booster which should keep a/n/n spike levels nice and low. It'll probably take another month from go to whoa.

You could put many more plants in your tank. I think it was Diane Walstead a few years ago that experimented with aquarium plants and found that they'll happily reduce/eat the ammonia in tanks, apparently they prefer it over nitrate, which is interesting. Definitely heavily planted tanks hardly seem to cycle at all. Be mindful of the light you have available for plants etc.

Hope that helps. :P

Your test kit is more than likely measuring total ammonia

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Thanks for all that Callatya. I have taken the ammonia removers out, added more plants and added some stress emzyne from the aquarium shop. The readings for the ammonia are still high (4.0 NH3/NH+4) but I guess that is to be expected with a new tank this large. I have added the platys to help with the nitrate cycle. I read that they will tolerate the ammonia in the water but may reduce their life span - that is a hard decision to make. But they are all very happy at the moment. I will wait a couple of months before I add any more fish, hopefully things will have cycled by then.

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That'll do it easily. Make sure you keep up your bio boosters and feed very sparingly for the first 2 weeks.

BTW, are you using test strips? If so, take a sample of water to the pet shop every week or so and get them to do it with the liquid reagents. The strips can be somewhat unreliable :P

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