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Old 09-16-2012, 10:35 PM   #1 
sunstar93
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Question Ammonia Questions?

Okay so I've had my little guy for almost 2 weeks now and I've already done a couple of 50% water changes (he's in a 3 gallon tank, artificial plants, small heater, small filter, aerator that he loves to play in). I checked the ammonia levels a couple days after I got him and it read 0.5. I thought that maybe it would cycle out and I just checked it again today and it is still reading 0.5.
This probably sounds really dumb but are there any products or natural ways that will help lower the ammonia in the water? I heard that adding bacterial supplements will help but I want to ask the experts before I put anything in!
Also, will changing the filter cartridge make the ammonia spike again? (The box says to change the filter every 2 weeks but that seems too often..)

Thanks so much! Leo and I will appreciate the advice

(This is the first cycled tank I've ever owned so I want to make sure I'm doing it right!)
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:26 PM   #2 
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You don't have to ever change the filter cartdrige unless you care about having active carbon. By removing the filter you will get rid of mot of your bacterial colony.
It takes way more than 2 weeks to cycle a tank. Leave it alone and up your water changes.
Even when cycled because of the size of your tank you will need more frequent water changes to keep it stable.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:36 AM   #3 
Hallyx
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When cycling a small tank while your fish is in residence (fish-in cycling) it is important to keep the ammonia below 0.25ppm. If you are using a liquid test kit to get your readings, you already know that you have to at least double the number of water changes.

Leave your filter media alone. That's where most of the bacteria live. Swish/rinse it in tank water every few weeks or when it gets funky.

Read this: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/b...ecific-107771/

Keep us up-to-date on your progress.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:28 AM   #4 
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I buy activated carbon and cut open the top of the filter, pour out the old carbon once a month, pour in new rinsed) carbon, and use a plastic clip to hold it closed again.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:38 AM   #5 
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Some fast growing live plants will suck up the ammonia. Some easy plants to get for this cause would be a floating plant like duck weed, water lettuce, amazon frogbit.. or a stem plant like hornwort or pennywort.. or wisteria. If you don't really want any future plant maintenance, I would suggest the water lettuce or frog bit. Your fish will love feeling the security of the plant canopy and they're both very easy to care for and very easy to get rid of if you decide you don't want them at all.. these are all pretty easy plants though, and grow pretty fast so they quickly absorb things from the water column.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:28 PM   #6 
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Thanks for all the advice! I went to my LPS and unfortunately they didn't have a very good selection of plants (tall Anubis and sickly looking onion plants). But I did manage to snatch up a wisteria (hope they make it they are so tiny!) and an Amazon Spear plant (honestly it looks pretty). I just did a 100% water change - mostly so I could rearrange the tank for the plants- and I will be upping the water changes. Rinsed out the carbon filter in the tank water and decided to take out Leo's beloved aerator...which he totally forgot about the moment he discovered all the leaves he could hide behind. Also, got 3 ghost shrimp on sale for 20 cents each and so far the only thing they've done is run head first into him.
But at my LPS I helped a lady decide on a 10 gallon tank and proper heating/care of her beautiful new pink betta girl (which she bought after I told her I'd hate to see her die there). Saved a betta from the tiny torture cup! (:
Again thanks so much everyone!
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:25 AM   #7 
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The nitrifying bacteria that you want to cultivate in your tank/filter really like oxygen. Aeration is important, not for the fish, but for bacteria. You can remove it later if you choose.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:30 AM   #8 
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Also, remember, with a filter (and plants) you still need to do water changes.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:54 PM   #9 
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So I tested the tap water last night (just curious as to what it will say) and it read as 0.5ppm. Good thing I don't drink from it! I feel bad putting Leo in with it but hopefully the plants will help.
I didn't know that about the bacteria needing air so I'll put it back in thanks!
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #10 
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Actually, ammonia is fine to drink.. and nitrate, too, my tap water has 10ppm nitrate and some small amount of ammonia.
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