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Odd Ammonia Cycle

Discussion in 'Tropical Aquarium Advice' started by Foxmallow, Dec 6, 2018.


  1. Foxmallow

    Foxmallow PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, new fish keeper here.

    I set up a tank two weeks ago, and I was waiting on some plants before I added fish as I was unable to find suitable ammonia to cycle it.
    However, last week when I finally found the plants I wanted and put them in I had an ammonia spike (4ppm).
    I have no idea what caused it (I think it might have been the pot the plant was transported in, as my gravel isn't deep enough for me to plant it fully and it kept floating off so I had to put it back in its pot.
    Before that I had 0.25 ppm Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and between 5-10 ppm Nitrates.
    I am now at 4 ppm Ammonia (it did fluctuate a little but it hasn't dropped yet), 0.25 Nitrites and 20-40 Nitrates.
    It doesn't seem to be following the nitrogen cycle in the way I understood it so I am not sure whether I should wait it out or whether a water change will help.
    I do have bio balls in the filter.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM PetForums VIP

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    That does seem odd. Dead and decaying plant matter can produce ammonia, but I wouldn't expect such a big spike so quickly. Have you put anything else in there at all, such as ferts or special substrate for the plants? What are you using to test?
     
  3. Foxmallow

    Foxmallow PetForums Newbie

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    I had put some Love Fish liquid fertiliser in but I assumed it wouldn't cause something like that because its for use with planted aquariums. I just have gravel, which had been in the tank a week before I added this plant and I had tested the water already and it wasn't showing anything (0.25 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 5-10 Nitrates).
    I'm testing with the API Liquid Master Test Kit.
     
  4. NaomiM

    NaomiM PetForums VIP

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    The ferts shouldn't contain ammonia, but it might be worth testing by putting a few drops of ferts in a cup of tap water, then doing an ammonia test on this - just to rule it out.
     
  5. Foxmallow

    Foxmallow PetForums Newbie

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    Good idea :)
    Do you think I should do a partial water change as well to help it go down or is it best to let the bio balls do their thing?
     
  6. NaomiM

    NaomiM PetForums VIP

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    Since you're doing a fishless cycle anyway, I'd be inclined to leave it and let the cycle get started :) 4ppm is the amount you'd dose if you were adding ammonia anyway. If you know anyone with an established tank, you can speed things up by asking them for a small piece of their filter media to place in your own filter, or, failing that, a squeeze of water from one of their filter sponges.

    You'll still need an ammonia source to top it up once it starts to drop.
     
  7. Foxmallow

    Foxmallow PetForums Newbie

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    Okay, thanks for the help :)
    I was thinking about doing a water change because the surface of the water looks pretty gross, almost looks like there is dust floating around on the top. When I put more bio balls in the filter some slimy stuff came off the wire too.
    Unfortunately I don't know anyone in my area with an established tank :(
     

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