Help ammonia.

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Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:35 am

Hi, sorry it's a long time since I've been on here but everything was ok so I sort of left my tank and stopped stressing about it - basically if it ain't broke don't fix it. Well it's broke!!!,

When I first started I was on here and had some fab help getting my tank settled and then was advised to stop testing the water because I was getting jangled about it, and I did and the tank has been tickety boo. I haven't been testing the water, I've just been going off the fish, my Cory's lay eggs regularly, I had guppies that were breeding like crazy, everything was good - until recently.

I started to loose fish, I was doing water changes etc but the fish were iffy. Oh let me throw in a bit of extra background info here, we had a planted tank and the tank is on the cupboard right in front of my bedroom window, I try to keep the curtains closed when it's sunny but we had a bad algae problem, we decided to get rid of he plants but even with artificial plants it was bad, the whole tank was green - not the water the sides and ornaments etc. anyway I spoke to the aquarium guy who sold me some kind of algae control liquid. So we scraped off some algae and hen started adding the algae control stuff and that's where I'd say things went downhill. I started to loose fish, I did water changes and stuff but my fish were not looking good. Then I lost 2 of my oto's and 2 of my Cory's I was gutted!!!! I checked the ammonia level and it was sky high, I again did water changes and checked the filters and noticed the filter sponges seemed very clean. So I sort of wondered if maybe the filter wasn't working properly - and since wondered was it adding the algae control stuff that's affected my filter - so I went and I spoke to someone at the shop about my filter and she asked about it, and I mentioned that the sponges were clean, she said bearing in mind it was a while since I had changed the sponges she would expect at least a small build if of something on them and so she would suggest the filter hasn't been working, so I bought a new filter added that and did more water changing.
My fish seemed to perk up, they had been just lying around on the bottom not moving and at one point my albino Cory was sort of over on its side. Well they perked up and were swimming around etc. so I thought alls good I've got it back on track, I carried on doing maybe 25% water change once a week. Anyway I went yesterday to see if I could get any otos as I have just one on its own and it worries me, I was gutted I lost the others as I know they are hard to keep so I was quite proud that I must be doing something right for them to thrive. But I couldn't get any but bought 2 new Cory's to replace my lost ones.
Well I got up this morning and the fish are all very active, and I mean VERY ACTIVE. my 2 albino Cory's appear to be doing THE DANCE but I'm not sure, so I checked the water again this a.m and on e again the ammonia levels are high - I mean the strip is dark green, so I have just done about 50% water change.
The filter I have is a fluval and funnily enough yesterday afternoon my hubby asked if the filter was switched off, I asked why and he said cos it wasn't blowing bubbles, I realised he was right and hat the water had gone a little murky and fiddled with the top bit and it started blowing out the bubbles again.
I have a 48L tank. I have 2 rummy nose, 5 neon. 2 albino Cory, 2 little Cory ( not sure what type they look a bit transparent with a dark stripe down them, and 1 otocinclus.

The fish seem ok at the moment, and my intention is to do some small daily water changes - any more advice greatly appreciated.

P.s. Sorry for long post.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby SparkyST » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:25 pm

Sounds to me that your filter wasnt working and now you have a new one your tank is cycling again, cut back on the feeding and keep up with regular water changes (daily if needed) and monitoring the ammonia and nitrite levels in the water.

Make sure there are no dead fish hidden anywhere and nothing rotting in the tank e.g. excess food.

Live plants shouldnt make a difference to the ammonia and will help to keep nitrate levels down

As with your algae problem I would keep all sunlight off the tank and try to clean it off as soon as it starts building up, although the Oto's will help by eating some of it.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:34 pm

SparkyST wrote:Sounds to me that your filter wasnt working and now you have a new one your tank is cycling again, cut back on the feeding and keep up with regular water changes (daily if needed) and monitoring the ammonia and nitrite levels in the water.

Make sure there are no dead fish hidden anywhere and nothing rotting in the tank e.g. excess food.

Live plants shouldnt make a difference to the ammonia and will help to keep nitrate levels down

As with your algae problem I would keep all sunlight off the tank and try to clean it off as soon as it starts building up, although the Oto's will help by eating some of it.


Thankyou. No there are no dead fish. Yeah I think that's what's happened with my filter and I guessed like you say now I've introduced a new filter it's having to cycle. Originally I did have 2 filters in - a big one and a smaller one. When I bought the new filter I removed the big one but left the small one in thinking that will already have the bacteria needed for the tank, but maybe that's not working so it's just a case of a new filter cycling now, just hope my poor fish can cope and go through it. I've given my husband strict instructions not to feed (he likes to feed and watch them feeding but does absolutely nothing else to help my tank!!) and I'm going to do daily water changes for a while.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:49 pm

Just a p.s. To this my Cory's have laid loads of eggs!!!!

My albino Cory's have always laid eggs in the past, but quite recently haven't laid any - since before the algae issue etc. well like I said the Cory's went floppy and were just lying on the bottom of the tank, and then in the last day or so they have become really active again and this morning they were definitely doing the dance, well I've just come upstairs and the side of my tank has eggs all over. I'm really happy at that because they haven't laid for a while and I honestly thought I was loosing them the other day,
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby Carylnz » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:49 am

Good news re the eggs.
I suspect your filter will be cycling again so keep doing the daily water changes - 25 - 30% if necessary.
Is the tank in front of the window so the light shines in the back and top or below the window level so light is coming in the top? I did not think you got enough sun in the UK for it to be a problem :wink: :mrgreen:
Is there some way of covering the affected parts of the tank rather than having to pull the curtains?
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:59 am

Hi carylynz,
Haha yes we get the ODD bit of sunshine in the uk!! :rofl:

My bedroom has a big bay window with a cupboard built in right the way along so it totally fils the bay and is a window ledge height, so the tank is on that and the window is all the way around the tank. The way my house faces the sun is full in (when we get some) from the back of the tank around to the left side of the tank ( my right as I'm looking at it) and then sort of around midday the sun travels over round the back of the house so their is no sunlight at all, but my husband said it's not just any sunlight it's daylight (what does he know??) so I tend to just draw the curtains.

The eggs are all still there this morning, and the fish are lively. One thing, yesterday when I got up, my 2 rummy nose were pretty pale, this a.m when I put the light in the have bright red noses, so this I am seeing as a good sign because I was told they were good indicators too.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby Carylnz » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:51 am

Your husband is right, it can be any strong light, not just sunlight.
Put some sort of heavy backing sheet on the back, top and sides.
Pale fish are not happy fish. They also can lose their colour overnight when the lights are off so if you come in and turn the lights on, they may be sleeping on the substrate or looking pale. This is normal.
Not sure the eggs and/or fry will survive unless you move them to a fish free tank. They can be scraped off the glass with a razor blade.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby Carylnz » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:56 am

Your husband is right, it can be any strong light, not just sunlight.
Put some sort of heavy backing sheet on the back, top and sides.
Pale fish are not happy fish. They also can lose their colour overnight when the lights are off so if you come in and turn the lights on, they may be sleeping on the substrate or looking pale. This is normal.
Not sure the eggs and/or fry will survive unless you move them to a fish free tank. They can be scraped off the glass with a razor blade.

One thing I wanted to see when I was in the UK, was your stars. Having never seen the northern hemisphere stars I was keen to do so but... it was either too bright from city lights, or overcast/raining and no stars to be seen :(
We thought. "Oh well, we will see them when we reach Vancouver" but no, too bright city lights.
Last night I was up around 2.30am to go to the loo and looked out the window to see the Southern Cross, Centauri and Beta Centauri shining so brightly above the neighbour's roof and straight up above was the Milky Way in all its glory. A beautiful sight!
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:37 am

I know that fish can sometimes look pale first thing, but like this a.m I've switched the light on and the rummys are bright red nose, same as yesterday whereas the day before they were just pretty much all one colour.

The eggs are no longer an issue - they've been eaten as usual. I don't have another tank and they were partly hidden by one of the decorative plants so I was sort of hoping that a few might be saved but sadly someone has had an eggy snack in the night :( .

I'm going to do another partial water change shortly, I didn't do one yesterday as a few of the eggs were pretty near the top of the tank and so I didn't want to expose them, but I'm going to do one when I've had my big mug of tea to fuel me for the day.

Yes I suppose that is one of the pretty sights in the UK the stars, though it has to be a very clear night, often cold that's when we tend to see the stars when it's cold and frosty. At the moment we are having some stormy weather so it's very cloudy and dark and wet but it is quite pretty when the stars are out.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:37 pm

Arrrgggh it's stressing me out now.
I've been doing the partial water changes, yesterday I did a50% because I hadn't done one the day before. Anyway I have just tested the water with my ammonia kit and it was really bright/dark green, I've done another 50% water change quick! then I've just checked the water and it's still green and reading about 2.0. It literally is only about 15 minutes if that since I did the water change so I don't know. I've not been feeding and just fed them slightly last night as they haven't been fed this week. The fish do seem ok, no gasping or gulping or anything and they are all active, whereas the other week they were lethargic.
I don't have the kit to do the whole tests, this is literally an ammonia test, I could take a sample to the pet shop, but I worry that they'll just start trying to sell me things that mask the ammonia - isn't that what they do? I do have something that is supposed to work on ammonia, but I'm worried about putting things in that I don't know what they are and I think that's what was the problem with my filter, I was adding a chemical that got rid of algae and that's when my tank went downhill.
Any tips?
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby SparkyST » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:51 pm

Have you also tested your tap water to make sure it has no ammonia in? Sometimes local tap water can have a level of ammonia and wont help your tanks Ammonia levels.

Do you know anyone with a fish tank? If so you could ask them for a squeeze from their filter media onto yours which will help boost the cycle.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:04 pm

SparkyST wrote:Have you also tested your tap water to make sure it has no ammonia in? Sometimes local tap water can have a level of ammonia and wont help your tanks Ammonia levels.

Do you know anyone with a fish tank? If so you could ask them for a squeeze from their filter media onto yours which will help boost the cycle.


I don't know anyone with fish tank, thing is I originally had 2 filters in and decided that one wasn't working and so bought the new one, I have left one of the original filters in because I figured it would need some of the bacteria or whatever in, so it's not like it's cycling from brand new.
I did consider testing the tap water, because even though I know I've ammonia in there, I would think that a 50% water change is going to dilute some of it.
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby SparkyST » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:30 pm

Can you give a squeeze from the filter that is still in their to your new filter?

I would of thought a 50% water change would of brought the level of ammonia down. Worth testing the tap water. I am assuming your using tapsafe or equivalent dechlorinater when doing the water changes?
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby Darryl1984 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:38 pm

:shock: Sorry to hijack but your posts seem to be from the future. :o :shock:
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Re: Help ammonia.

Postby keatingschick » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:31 pm

SparkyST wrote:Can you give a squeeze from the filter that is still in their to your new filter?

I would of thought a 50% water change would of brought the level of ammonia down. Worth testing the tap water. I am assuming your using tapsafe or equivalent dechlorinater when doing the water changes?


So, squeeze the sponge from the old filter into the new filter? The filter is still in the tank and is still running (sort of) so I assumed the old stuff was gonna help the tank tick over until my new filter cycled, but yeah I'll give the sponge a squeeze into the new one. Haven't tested the tap water yet, I'll do that and yes I'm using dechlorinator.

Darryl1984 wrote::shock: Sorry to hijack but your posts seem to be from the future. :o :shock:


I don't get this?


I have now tested the tap water and it's fine, so it IS my tank. I'm going to have to squeeze the sponge tomorrow, obviously I have to switch the filters off etc and take the take apart to squeeze the sponge and the filters and stuff have been switched off once today so I'm a little bothered about interrupting it again today and causing the fish any more distress......or would I be better doing it now?
Last edited by keatingschick on Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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