Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

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Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby Absolver » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:10 pm

I've been lurking on here (and anywhere else google see's fit to send me) for a while and I've read some potentially* conflicting stuff about tank maintenance and it's impact on ammonia levels.

*or maybe I'm just a moron and have the reading comprehension of the yellow "mystery snail" we have in the tank.

I like to do small water changes (10-15% of total volume--and also I have a 20gal or 76L) with a siphon to suck up derbies from the bottom on a weekly basis. so that I'm not taking a HUGE chunk out of the established water all at once. Also I've got a snail, a Bristle Nose Pleco, and 3 Ghost Shrimp to help keep the bottom clean. My water parameters have all been brought into ideal conditions. The tank is still new and cycling and I want to know how often I should change the filter. I'd thought regular filter changes would be good but I read recently that removing the filter bag/activated carbon removes all the beneficial bacteria. What's the right answer on this?

If relevant I run a filter rated for a 30gal (114L) tank because I always assume accessory manufacturers are dastardly liars.

Additionally, while cycling how high should I let the ammonia get before throwing some ammonia remove in? I know I need to let it be in there for the bacteria to eat but I'm assuming if it gets up to 8ppm I'll wake up to find a dead tank (currently at about .25ppm and I've added remover, in doses compliant with manufacturer prescriptions, twice in about a week when it's picked up to .50ppm).
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Re: Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby Carylnz » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:31 am

You can never have too much filtration (unless it creates a current too strong for the fish to swim against) and it always pays to have more than recommended.
I am confused as to how you are cycling this tank. Why are you adding ammonia and then adding 'ammonia remove"? If you are doing a fishless cycle it was my understanding you slowly added ammonia and the bacteria grew to eat it, thus starting the cycling process. How you ever figure out how much ammonia equals the waste output of the future fish I don't know as I have never done a fishless cycle.
Smaller, regular water changes are considered ideal.
You should only ever change the filter (I assume you mean some of the media) when the water flow return has been reduced by a noticeable amount. If you are using ceramic noodles or similar you never change then at all, just a quick rinse in used tank water is all that is required when water flow is reduced. Sponges get rinsed also and can be re-used until they clog too much.
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Re: Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby Absolver » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:36 pm

I'm not adding any ammonia. I've been adding ammonia remove when the tanks ammonia levels reach 0.50ppm to try and allow some ammonia to stay in the tank to allow for bacteria buildup, but not let the levels build up so high as to harm my fish. I'm wondering if this is a good procedure or if I should let the levels get higher before adding remover, or keep the levels lower altogether.

And I've got a filter that uses a white bag of some kind of synthetic fiber filled with activated carbon, behind a black pad of some sort of stiff plastic that's extremely porous.

I use the TopFin Power 30 filter as seen here (actually it shows the Power 10 filter but same concept just larger filter):

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.j ... lInUS%2FNo
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Re: Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby SparkyST » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:17 pm

As far as I understand it the Ammonia remover doesnt actually remove the ammonia it just "locks it" in so its not harmful to the fish and the bacteria should still feed off it.

Keep up with regular water changes when the ammonia starts to creep up, I would try not to let it go above .25ppm
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Re: Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby Absolver » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:41 pm

I've read conflicting stuff about weather the ammonia remove leaves the ammonia in a form that bacteria can flourish on. Do you have anything to support your position? Not trying to be argumentative I've just heard both what you're saying, and the exact opposite (if it matters I use Topfin ammonia remover). I'd really like you to be right, I'll keep dosing with the ammonia remover and be keeping my fish safe, without holding back the food for the bacteria.

I also have a "bacteria supplement" solution (no idea what's in it) from Topfin which I've used once. Not sure if I should keep using it or not *shrug*
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Re: Ammonia Management and Filter Media Changes

Postby Carylnz » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:32 am

If you are using a product like Ammolock, it binds the ammonia but doesn't remove it. This gives you false test readings too.
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