Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

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Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby Scubee » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:58 am

I have a new tank set up, which i ran empty for about a week, using test strips to check nitrite and nitrate levels. I added silk plants rather than real ones on advice from my LFS, on easier maintenance grounds. After about a week, I added 6 gold neon tetra. Everything seemed hunky dory, water was clear and the test strips were good. A week later, I added 2 bristlenose, and still everything was ok. 10 days later, I added 5 black phantoms.

The test strips still show all is ok, but after a week, the water went cloudy. I hoovered and did a 25% water change, but the following day, it was still cloudy.

I took a sample of my tank water to my LFS, and had a chat with the guy. Initially ( before he tested it) he suggested bacteria bloom, but when he tested the water, it was high ammonia.

I'm continuing frequent water changes, which I don't think will do any harm, but should help, and reduced feeding to once a day ( from twice). I've got my own test kit now- I didn't realise that you could have acceptable/ good levels of nitrite and nitrate and still have too much ammonia- so am doing daily tests.

My understanding is that the way to treat high ammonia is to increase the bacteria levels, but a bacteria bloom is caused by too much bacteria. I read somewhere in the internet that plants might assist with cloudy water, so if that is the case, and not just IBS, then I'll get some.

So my dilemma is- which do I deal with, and how best to deal with one, without making the other worse??

All the fish seem happy enough, which is a good thing :)
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby SparkyST » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:45 am

I'm fairly new my self to keeping tropical fish, but have read and understand that with high ammonia comes high nitrite. Keep doing daily water changes to get the ammonia levels and nitrite levels down. Cloudy water (bacteria bloom) isnt a bad thing as I have read, its actually a good thing as it means the bacteria are growing and multiplying which you need to stabilise the ammonia and nitrite levels.

The cloudyness will clear eventually maybe a few days time.
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby ady » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:47 am

keep the feeding light for awhile...this will have a effect on amount of waste produced..

mite have to increase ya water changes....

too many fish too soon,but it can be controlled with the water changes......not ideal tho.....

the bristlies,like all "plecs" are poo machines......that hasnt helped the situation.my juveniles are growing well and laying cables like a north sea gas pipeline :lol: :lol: .

close monitoring is required.....

plants wont help reduce ammonia or nitrite...only nitrates.....but as you having to do regular water changes these levels will be kept in check.

good luck with this

:)
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby Scubee » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:21 am

Thanks :)

I've just tested the water (working from home has its benefits ;) ) and have:

pH 7.5
NH4/NH3 1mg/l
NO2 0
NO3 0

so (I think) the major issue is ammonia. As this is harmful, and cloudy water probably isn't, then water changes, which logically should dilute the ammonia, should help.
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby san-ho-zay » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:36 pm

A bacterial bloom is caused by bacteria, usually a reaction to sudden increase in ammonia. The bloom will clear of its own accord as the new bacteria take their rightful place on surfaces of the tank and in the filter. It's harmless.

The ammonia is a concern and may lead to a nitrite spike, which is even more of a concern. You are correct that the solution is daily water changes to dilute the ammonia, giving the bacteria a chance to catch up.

Plants love ammonia as a food and will consume it in preference to nitrate. If it didnt trigger algae growth and kill fish, it would be brilliant in planted tanks! Powder garden fertilisers like Miracle-Gro contain a large proportion of ammonium phosphate for rapid plant growth, which is why they are lethal for aquaria (because of the ammonia, not the phosphate).
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby Scubee » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:02 pm

Thanks - that is really helpful :)

I'll continue the frequent changes, hopefully it will work, and I'll sort out plants to help as well.
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby Scubee » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:50 pm

Whoo hoo!!

Just to update on this- the tank is now clear, with v.low ammonia and all other levels in pretty good shape.

I got some plants and the fish seem to be perfectly happy with them. They even came with another inhabitant - there seems to be a little snail slithering about.

Thanks for all the advice :)
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Re: Ammonia/ cloudy water dilemma

Postby ady » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:16 pm

glad it's stabilised now.......

just be careful when you clean the filter,dont over do it.or do it in tap water or you could kill off the bacteria you worked so hard for....keep up the water changes and your tank will continue to mature nicely... :)
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