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Problems With Ammonia and Nitrite Levels

Discussion in 'Basic Care and Husbandry' started by assad, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. assad

    assad New Member

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    Please help having trouble with Ammonia and Nitrite levels.
    I will try and keep it brief.
    Bought a Juwel Trigon 190 in January this year, set up the aquarium using the Juwel filter which came with the tank.
    Over the last 11 months I have slowly stocked up the tank with the following fish.

    3 Cory Cats
    2 Bristle Nose
    8 Rummy Nose
    15 Cardinal Tetras.

    Just added last week 6 juvenile Discus between 2.5” to 3”

    2 weeks prior to getting the discus I thought I would do a bit of tank maintenance, I cleaned the filter media with tank water and gave the gravel a vac and topped the tank up with 50% fresh water, dechlorinated with Stress Coat.
    I only use tap, not gone for the RO option.

    Prior to adding the Discus I bought the Cardinal Tetras about 6 weeks ago.

    Over the last few days I lost a couple of Cardinals, so I checked the water and the Ammonia and Nitrite had risen, so carried out a 50% water change, checked daily and the Ammonia and Nitrite started to rise again, so carried out another water change, this time 75%.

    I’ve read that this could be down to using stress coat as the dechlorinator, as stress coat does not remove Chloramines, which could be giving me an incorrect reading of Ammonia and Nitrite

    So carried out another water change today but used Sachem Prime double dose as the dechlorinator.

    What else should I be doing.
    Water parameters prior to water change today:
    Ammonia 1mg/l
    Nitrite 1mg/l
    Nitrate 20mg/l
    Ph 7
    Kh 120mg/l
    Gh 120mg/l

    After water change
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 20mg/l
    Ph, Kh and Gh not changed.
  2. salty

    salty Well-Known Member

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    how often are you doing a wc? sounds like quite a heavy stock to me maybe this is the cause?
  3. lofty

    lofty Active Member

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    just a quick question , what substrate are you using, if it's gravel ,food and other nasties, such as dead cardinals, could be stuck in there , this is a cause of ammonia and nitrite spikes, can also be something else, but go from there;)
  4. assad

    assad New Member

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    I've been doing water changes every day for the last 3 days.
    The dead Cardinals were floating at the top and were removed straight away.
  5. assad

    assad New Member

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    I know idealy the Ammonia and Nitrite should be 0 but at what level should I let it reach before doing a water change.
    Also I have not stopped feeding the Discus becasue I did not want them to stop eating and start having probles with the Discus
  6. salty

    salty Well-Known Member

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    anything above 0 should result in a change in my books.
  7. assad

    assad New Member

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    Another quick qestion, when I do large water changes, I syphon the water out of the tank and then I have a small clean pond pump which I sit in a 15 litre bucket, which pumps the water back in to the tank as not to cause to much disturbance. I keep topping the 15 litre bucket with fresh water.
    My question is which is better to add the dechlorinator to the tank prior to filling up or to fill up first and then add the dechlorinator.
    I was originaly adding the dechlorinator to the bucket but it is difficult with Sechem Prime as it is very concentrated and you only need 5ml for 200 litres.
    Also does the carbon filter reduce the affect of the dechlorinator, should I leave the filter off for a while after dechlorinating the water.
  8. Lt shinysides

    Lt shinysides Active Member

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    As lofty has said above check the gravel, how deep is the gravel?
  9. dangermouse

    dangermouse Well-Known Member

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    Personally think you should invest in a HMA filter, Devotedly discus and Durham discus (sponsers of the site) both do good ones
  10. Malawibob

    Malawibob New Member

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    Is your filter working properly as you said you had it apart to clean it? Are you adding anything else to aid the bacteria numbers in the new water? Ammonia spikes in mature systems are exactly that spikes and should die quickly, but you seem to have it constantly, which suggests you have a filter problem or as the rest have said, your problem lies with a dead fish or debris in the substrate.
  11. assad

    assad New Member

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    I've got the normal pea gravel about 3" to 5" thick.
    I think what might of started the problem is that when the discus arrived they were a bit shy, I fed them beefheart which they did not eat straight away, turned of the light and checked a little while later and they had eaten the food, this went on for a couple of days. Then I started feeding them Prima which they eat straight away.
    I have vaccummed the gravel since the beefheart was given and I have done 3 water changes
  12. dangermouse

    dangermouse Well-Known Member

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    Way way to thick, all sorts will be in there.
  13. Tommy Saville

    Tommy Saville Well-Known Member

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    Yes, this filter will take out chlorine, much better than adding various dechlorinators. And most expert Discus keepers say "Don't use carbon in filters".
  14. hipflask

    hipflask Admin Without A Clue Staff Member

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    I agree with Lofty & DM, your substrate is deep enough to significantly raise the possibilities of nasties building up in it and most likely the reason for your spike readings. If this is correct then I would suggest dealing with this or any other solution you try is only going to be a temporary fix.
  15. shaunj46

    shaunj46 Well-Known Member

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    Silly one but have you checked your levels out the tap?
  16. Sevvy

    Sevvy Active Member

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    Agree with the comments about the gravel, also if i read your post correctly, you are topping your tank up with tap water and then adding dechlorinator.
    Tap water contains chlorine and chloramines, while you are filling your tank this is being cycled through your filter, and will kill the helpful bacteria in your filter, which is why the ammonia and nitrite is rising.
    hipflask and shaunj46 like this.

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