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3 years ago #1
Echo41
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30 Gallon tank
1 Siamese fighting fish
2 White clouds
1 danios left I just killed three trying to fix my ammonia problem. I added tap water when doing a 25% water change and I thought I treated the water properly but I apparently did not. I saved the rest of the fish by quickly removing 50% of the water and adding RO water back in.

I have an Aqueon HOB water filter and one bio wheel Emporer 280 power filter. Both capable of replacing 200 gal/hr. Added the biowheel filter a week ago thinking this wood help in removing the ammonia.
I have about an inch of gravel and all plastic plants and decorations.
I bought an air tube and pump about a week ago to aid the growth of bacteria by adding oxygen to the water.
I just added three moss stones to aid in adding oxygen.
I have a water heater that heats the water to about 74 degrees.
I use only RO water.
I had a perfect tank going for about 3 weeks. No ammonia, no nitrite or nitrates and ph about 6.6. Then I did a 25% water change, vacuumed some gravel and replaced the filter! Oooops now I know I shouldn't have done that. At the time I thought I was freshing up the tank for my fish. **** I am so ticked at myself for doing that. Well now that the ammonia is sky high at 8.0 ppm for the past three weeks I can't believe my 4 fish are still alive. I added one cap of Ammo Lock just to make sure I could save the fish and I think I added it again a couple of days later. I'm not sure. I did 25% water changes every day for four days with no change in ammonia. I thought maybe that was too much so I started doing 25% every other day for about six days with no change in ammonia levels. That's when I added the biowheel, got the air tube and then added the moss stones to improve O2 in an attempt to get the first stage of bacteria to grow. I've checked every where for dead fish which I found two weeks ago and removed. It was a few ghost shrimp that died when the ammonia spiked. I have only been feeding my fish every other day and only give them a pinch while I watch them eat it to make sure it's gone within a minute or less. I turn the light on when I come home at night and turn off the light when I go to bed so about 4 hours or so. The filter, heaters and air tube is always on. I have not vacuumed anything since the first vacuuming. I'v been adding live bacteria, two capfuls a day into the filter but I think the ammonia is so high it's killing it anyway. That's it. I stopped doing water changes because it's not doing anything anyway thinking maybe the water changes are keeping the bacteria from growing. I'm at my whits end and don't know what else to do to lower the ammonia so that the good bacteria can start to grow. Water changes have not worked so far so is there anything else I can do? Do I stop everything and start all over? I don't want to do that because I fear I would kill the rest of the fish in the process. Please help if anyone has any GOOD and NEW ideas.

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3 years ago #2
johnarthur
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Sometimes when you use things like Ammo Lock and Amquel, you get a false positive reading for ammonia. If the fish seem OK, that's probably what has happened.

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3 years ago #3
Echo41
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I haven't added Ammo Lock for a couple of weeks and have done many water changes since then. How come I still don't get an accurate ammonia reading?

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3 years ago #4
Fry Daddy
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The problem could be in your tap water and the conditioner you are using to treat it. Most likely your tap water contain chloramine and you will need to use a water conditioner that breaks down chloramine and neutralizes ammonia. If you are using a water conditioner that doesn't neutralize ammonia then the chloramine breaks down into chlorine and ammonia. The chlorine gets removed but not the ammonia and you end up adding more ammonia with each water change.

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3 years ago #5
Echo41
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I'm using Reverse Osmosis water. I didn't think it had chloramine in it?

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3 years ago #6
johnarthur
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You may want to take some aquarium water to a local pet shop for a free test. This should help confirm your test results. If they were accurate the fish would be getting sick.

Reverse osmosis water is safe, but it has no pH buffering minerals. The exclusive use of RO water will result in pH fluctuations unless you add a buffer.

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3 years ago #7
Fry Daddy
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I'm confused, in your initial you mention using treated tap water then replacing it with R/O water when you noticed the problem. Have you been using only R/O water for your water changes or tap water?

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3 years ago #8
Echo41
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I have an API test kit with the drops and I've tested other water with accurate results. I've been using the kit since day one with accurate readings. I have not been treating the water for Chloramine though because I didn't think RO water had it. The tank was just fine for three weeks before I changed the filter and I was using the same RO water so that part doesn't make sense.

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3 years ago #9
Echo41
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I only used tap water that one time. I read on the blog that you should switch between tap and RO to keep Ph levels balanced so I did just that one time and killed four of the fish.

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3 years ago #10
Fry Daddy
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You are correct the R/O water will not contain chloramine and should be safe. Try this, test your tank water to get the current ammonia level then change 50% of the water and test again. The ammonia should be 50% of the previous reading, if not then your test kit is suspect. To make sure that you aren't adding ammonia back in with the water change, also test the water you are adding to the tank. This will rule out your source water as the culprit. Let us know the results.

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3 years ago #11
Echo41
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So attached is a picture of the test tubes. The tank water on the left the RO water test on the right.

I added Aqueon water conditioner to the RO water just in case. Fry Daddy you are correct. If Chlormine is neutralized is does break into chlorine and ammonia. But none of the water conditioners I could find says it would neutralize the broken down ammonia. The bottles that did say it would break down chlormine into chlorine and ammonia said I would need a product like ammo lock to neutralize the ammonia. I don't want to use ammo lock and I know alot of people don't because it can cause slowing of the tank cycle. Sooooo, I bought MarineLand Carbon-Ammonia Neutralizing blend and added it to a filter bag and placed it in one of my filters. See attached pics. This product says it "removes toxic ammonia, chloramine and impurities for fish safe water".
I tested the 15 gallons of RO water I'm about to put in the tank for the 50% water change and it has about .25ppm ammonia in it. Hmmmm. Where is that coming from? Well I Googled it and I found a site that explains because of the low molecular weight of Chloramine it is impossible for RO filters to take all the Chloramine out of RO water so there is still some in the water. Now before I add this water I am assuming .25ppm is better than 8.0ppm so it would be ok to then water change with this RO water. Wouldn't you agree?

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3 years ago #12
rickey
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That is undoubtedly the most informational post ever on this forum and I need time to digest it all. Right off the top of my head The RO is a bad idea, it has no chemistry. It pure water the universal solvent and unless you are add mineral to the water is not suitable for most fish,but, I'm still going over the post

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3 years ago #13
Echo41
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So I removed 15 gallons of water and added 15 gallons of RO water. I added 3ml of Aqueon Water Purifier to each 5 gallon jug along with 1/2 scoop of ProperPh 7.0 to stabilize the Ph in each jug. I made sure they were 70 degrees or above before adding. After adding I waited about 10 mins then tested. Attached is the pic. The color looks between the 2 and 4 ppm on the color chart. The Ph is 6.6 So what should be my next step?

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3 years ago #14
rickey
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I know you not use any tap water but have you test you tap ?

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3 years ago #15
Echo41
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Tested the tap for what? Before or after I add a purifier?
The Ph of my tap water is 8.2 and if I add that it will make the ammonia in my tank very toxic to my fish and I don't want to do that. The ammonia before purifying is .5ppm. Is that what you were asking?

I also wanted to say I add a tablespoon of aquarium salt for every five gallons of water I change to add electrolytes to the water. Again I didn't have any problems with the tank until I changed the filter and **** up the initial cycle. My fish are vibrant and healthy so I think the RO water works just fine. Why would using RO water have anything to do with high ammonia verses tap water anyway? Are you saying the minerals in the tap water have something to do with controlling ammonia levels?

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3 years ago #16
rickey
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You are right about the pH an ammonia but you are over think this thing

First stop the pH modifier
Slowly mix RO with Tap till you are 100% tap and use Seachen Prime to bind the ammonia the ammonia will still be present but will be nontoxic. do you water changes and be patience

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3 years ago #17
Echo41
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Ammonia binders will slow down the cycling process. At this point I'm not worried about saving the fish from toxic ammonia because they are doing fine. I want to get the ammonia down so the tank will cycle. Ammonia binders will not lower the ammonia just make it non-toxic and also prevent my tank from cycling. I would like to try another approach other than ammonia binders. I could keep doing water changes but again that could also kill the good bacteria if I change the water too much. This is my dilemma.

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3 years ago #18
Echo41
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I did go to the website you linked and it does look like a good product. I'm just stuck on the fact that binding ammonia can slow down the cycling process. At this point I'm willing to try anything though....

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3 years ago #19
rickey
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Ammonia binders like Prime do not slow the cycling. The ammonia is still there to be use by beneficial Bactria it not like Ammo Lock that removes ammonia

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3 years ago #20
Echo41
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Ok, thanks. I'll look for it at the store. Should I just keep adding it until my tests come out normal or is it a one time use thing? Will the test kit think it's ammonia and give me false readings?

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3 years ago #21
Echo41
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BTW, if I don't use PH buffers on the tap water what will bring the Ph down to safe levels then?

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3 years ago #22
rickey
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Echo41 wrote:
Ok, thanks. I'll look for it at the store. Should I just keep adding it until my tests come out normal or is it a one time use thing? Will the test kit think it's ammonia and give me false readings?


You add it at every water change and between water changes to reduce ammonia the ammonia will show with the Nessler method test kit it will all so show false positive with nitrite but I will say that the water changes and testing are the most important part of cycling an aquarium
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3 years ago #23
rene
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Wow, I have learnt a lot here! I cant help but think that the snag is something done right before this whole problem started... "I cleaned the filter", methinks its simply damage to the filter medium bacterial colonies...also make sure that the subsrtate you are using is enough ie the filter is full, if you have active charcoal...mmm change it or remove it altogether.

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3 years ago #24
Echo 41
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Thanks to all for all the great comments. I wanted to follow up for all of you that helped me and for those with the same problem. All is well. I finally have zeros on Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. I bought a biowheel filtration system. I added three caps of Prime and one bottle of Tetra live bacteria to jump start the bacteria in the tank. I then waited 48 hrs and added three more caps of Prime and added another bottle of Tetra live bacteria. Then I didn't do any more water changes for a week. The water changes, even though I was only doing 25%, was slowing down the beneficial bacteria growth. After two weeks my ammonia levels were finally 0ppm. I now have 3 large angels, 5 neon tetras, 3 long finned tetras, one beta, 3 rainbow tetras, one pleco, one spotted catfish (can't remember what kind!), and 3 guppies. I have two 200 gallon/hour water filters, one with a biowheel and all is perfect. I do 25% water changes once a week with a vacuum. I've added three live plants and they are doing well.
Thanks for all the input. I hope this reply helps others with the same problem!

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3 years ago #25
Goldibug
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I'm going through something very similar right now. How long did it take for your ammonia to drop? Mine has been so far off the charts for the past 5 days that you can't even see through it My fish are still eating and are all alive.

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3 years ago #26
Echo41
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It took about six weeks. After putting two capfuls of Prime in & the fact that my PH was 6.0 saved my fish. Also puring in a whole $20 bottle of nutrifying bacteria from TetraMin it sped up the bacteria growing process. The milky white water will go away in a few days. Don't worry about that it'll clear itself up. I didn't do any water changes the first 10 days too because just as the bacteria was starting to build up I would destroy it again with another water change. You can actual do more damage with too many water changes. Do as I did above with the Prime. Wait 48 hrs and add a couple more caps of Prime. Remember your standard ammonia test kit will tell you the ammonia is still high that's because Prime changes it from harmful ammonia to non-harmful ammonia. But standard test kits will still read ammonia because it can't tell the difference. I bought Seacgem's MultiTest on Amazon for $12. This measures free ammonia & total ammonia do one can tell the difference between harmful & non-harmful ammonia. You don't really need it I just wanted to know. As long as you're adding Prime it should protect your fish.

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3 years ago #27
Goldibug
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Thanks! I added some Prime yesterday but only a cap full. I'll double it up next time. I've been using ammo lock every other day and was doing water changes once a week. I just bought a bottle of some bacteria that I hope works. It's the jungle brand walmart carries. Not exactly what I wanted. I've been impressed with Tetra Safestart but of course my walmart doesn't carry it and that's all I can get to for now. So should I stop water changes all together until the ammonia and nitrItes drop or should I still do them once a week?

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2 years ago #28
spencer2012
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Don't over do it a new tank will have lower lvls at first later on it will spike showing that you are getting the right goodies in your water/filter for the bio. its part of the cycling of the filters/tank. Prime is the best thing you can use for that. For your ph ex... i would use a buffer from seachem also. Just remember you can use 5x the amount on the prim for very bad spots you get your self in to. It is all ways better to add them to the water you are adding to the tank. you only want to do a 10% water change every week and 30-40% water change along with cleaning your gravel once a mth. I have had the same problem the past few days but fish are happy and safe just shows higher spikes do to the fact i changed my filters out for canisters i used my same bio rings from my old filter to help it along. Don't forget over filtering can be a good idea using R/o water is not a bad idea but not needed. try this out see if it helps. note i keep Afrikaans and south Afrikaans been doing this for some time it just takes time.

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2 years ago #29
rchatto
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Hi:

I am not sure whether this issue has been addressed but replacing the filter in a one filter system will remove a large portion of the good bacteria. I have a two filter system and only replace one filter every 2-3 months alternatively.

I don't alter ph of my tap water and mostly buy fish from the local store with similar ph. Since I only have community fish, most of them are good with high ph. I think constant ph is good for the fish high or low over big ph flactuation in a short period.

Hope everything works out for you.

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2 years ago #30
Ken
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Your story was really helpful and thanks for that.
Could you do me a favor and put the pic of Tetramin, you biowheel filter and prime.
Thank you

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