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Old 08-29-2012, 06:11 PM   #1 
wombatgirl
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Question Cycling help

I have four tanks, and I'm working on getting them all cycled. Most of them are progressing along fine, but one is giving me issues.

It's a 3 gallon tank, with one male betta and two ghost shrimp in it, all of whom appear happy and healthy. It's got black gravel substrate and a number of plants, most of which appear to actually be doing pretty well.

Over the last week, due to some other obligations, I've only been able to check my tanks' ammonia levels ever other day. My two five gallons have said nothing to very low. My other three gallon has said very low. This one (Jayne's tank) has said 2.0 every time. I'm using an API ammonia test - the kind with the two types of drops, and it's turning SCARY GREEN every time I test.

So I've been doing a 50% water change every two days. But this has been happening for a whole week. So I'm curious. Why would it be so much higher than every other tank? Why would it get so high so quickly? Is something wrong?

It's got a tetra whisper filter with an aquarium sponge baffle in it, a heater, and a piece of aquarium decor along with all the live components listed above.

I've got an API kit that tests for 4 parameters with the little test tubes on the way, but right now, I've got some strips for water testing the other parameters, and everything else is fine. Nitrate and nitrite are showing at 0, and while my water is a little high in pH, everything is great.

I'm using the same tap water in every tank, and I've been cutting back on the amount I feed, and I try to feed all four of mine the same amount as well.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:16 PM   #2 
Olympia
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Hmm, that is bad. Surprised the shrimp are doing fine. Try gently rinsing your filter cartridge in some old tank water.
Are you sure none of the plants are dying? I doubt they'd give that high a level, but worth checking.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #3 
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Oh, and just so I don't get this advice, I will be upping the water tests to daily - the thing that's been keeping me from checking every day is done, and I've got more time now.

Is there any way that the plastic decor piece might be causing a false positive?

I'll try and post a pic later tonight. I swear, it looks like a happy little tank.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:29 PM   #4 
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I think you should do at least a 75% change to physically remove the majority of the ammonia instead of diluting it by half every time you do a water change. Then test right after that and see where it's at with the fresh water, then test the next day and see what happens - if there's a major spike again you haven't removed the source of the issue. My assumption is that something is rotting, possibly where you can't see it under the gravel or stuck to part of the filter?

I don't know if you could get a false reading from plastic decor.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:40 PM   #5 
teeneythebetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babystarz View Post
I think you should do at least a 75% change to physically remove the majority of the ammonia instead of diluting it by half every time you do a water change. Then test right after that and see where it's at with the fresh water, then test the next day and see what happens - if there's a major spike again you haven't removed the source of the issue. My assumption is that something is rotting, possibly where you can't see it under the gravel or stuck to part of the filter?

I don't know if you could get a false reading from plastic decor.
That's what I was thinking... Are there any plants in the tank that are dying? Is the gravel being siphoned? As Olympia mentioned, swish the filter cartridge in some USED tank water, a big water change too.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:45 PM   #6 
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Check all the plants to be sure they are alive and healthy and I agree with the babystarz do a 75 percent water change ! Keep checking the ammonia level and write it down each day helps. You can do 1 75 percent wait and hour or two check again and if its still high do 50 percent water change and check to see of that helped after a couple of hours. Good luck I just finished cycling my 5 gallon it took a month and half. And the water kit is a great one thats one I used.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #7 
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Well, I did get some news today - apparently my tap water has ammonia (or ammonium?) in it. So, yeah, apparently my three other tanks are already cycling it pretty well. I did another 50% water change with some Prime by seachem, and did a really good suctioning of the gravel. Tomorrow I'll swish the filter. (Are you suggesting taking a small amount of water out of the tank, swishing the filter in it, then dumping the water?)

thanks.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:56 PM   #8 
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Yes, just swish it in the tank water and dump that. Don't want to swish it around in that chlorinated tap water..
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