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Ammonia what the??


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Hi all.

My tank has been set up and running for 3 weeks exactly.

I put "sacraficial" fish in to get it the nitrogen cycle started and it took ages for any ammonia to come. I'm talking a fortnight. :)

And now the ammonia has come it won't go? It rose for about 2 days (went from yellow to light green to dark green) and is now at dark green and has been the same dark green for the last 4 days. I did a 25% water change 2 days ago. Still dark green.

How long is it meant to peak for? I thought it would have dropped by now and the nitrite/nitrate would be peaking and dropping. ;)

Is this normal???


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Hey Tropical Newbie,

What you are seeing is pretty much normal. It's hard to give you specific advice without knowing a little more like:

tank capacity? Number of fish added? Filtration in use? Plants?

Generally, (assuming you want to save your "sacrificial" fish), I would have done a 50% water change daily to try to keep the ammonia levels low enough for the fish to survive but high enough not to stall the cycling. Don't forget, once the ammonia starts to drop naturally, you should expect a nitrite spike which is also toxic.

It's a lot of work I know (depending on tank size), but there's really no way around it. Some people use Amlock to neutralise the toxic effects of the ammonia and hopfully save the fish but I think it may be a little too late if your fish have been in really high ammonia for several days. ;)

Another thing to keep in mind is that straight tap water contains chloramine these days which is a chlorine and ammonia compound, so even though you take ammonia out with the water changes, you are also putting some back in (albeit less).

Best advice I can give is to be patient and persevere. It can be stressful when cycling a new tank but the rewards down the track will be worth it. I'm addicted to fish :)

I'm sure others here will have some more usefull advice for you.

Chin up!

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