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Old 12-19-2012, 10:31 AM   #1 
btook
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Ammonia advice needed

OK, my ammonia has been at 6.4 for months, and I'm having difficulty getting it down to zero.

I have a 2.5 gallon Marineland Eclipse aquarium with the filter with one betta and a bunch of java ferns. I had been changing the water 1x- 2x a month which I realize now is not often enough. The past couple of weeks I've changed 50% of the water every other day or so, and today I broke down the whole tank, removed the gravel that hadn't been taken over by the java ferns (I was able to remove about 3/4 of it) and washed all the debris out (there was a lot) and did about a 75% water change. And still.... ammonia at 6.4.

I'm guessing I need to do 50% water changes every day until the ammonia is gone? But part of me is pessimistic because so far nothing I've done has touched it... do I need to keep slogging on, or is there something I should be doing in addition? Ammo-Lock or something, that white carbon stuff you put in the filter, etc?

TIA!
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:43 AM   #2 
ChoclateBetta
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If you have a filter you could grow semi aquatic plants in it or grow it from the lid. Marimo is great too.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:02 AM   #3 
btook
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What's marimo?

I have a fair bit of detrius in my gravel- could this be causing my long term ammonia problems? I washed a lot of the detrius out today, but since I didn't take the gravel out my java ferns were rooted in there's still a fair bit. Should I clean out every last speck of detrius? Would this hurt my plants?

I just tested my tap water for hee hees- not sure but there might be a trace there too. I do use that Nutra Fin stuff to remove tap water chemicals.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:30 AM   #4 
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Is this 6.4 ppm ?

What kind of test are you using? Since a 2.5 gallon is really difficult to properly cycle, my advice would be to thoroughly clean everything (yes, I'd get every bit of debris out) and keep the tank uncycled; this will require water changes several times weekly, and some will need to be 100% changes. The reason for the 100% changes is this (disclaimer: these numbers are not realistic- they are used for simplicity's sake): say your betta produces 1 ppm of ammonia each week. At the end of the week, you change 50% of the water, cutting the ammonia concentration in half to .5 ppm. By the end of the second week, your betta has produced another 1 ppm of ammonia, raising the final concentration to 1.5 ppm. A 50% water change then only dilutes this to .75 ppm....etc. As you can see, the ammonia continues to build up until it reaches a very high equilibrium of 2 ppm at the end of each week.

As for your plants, java ferns are very hardy and can even do well above the substrate, so I wouldn't worry too much about pulling them up and perhaps just tying them to a decoration or piece of driftwood to keep your water changes easy ;)

Also, turkey basters work well for removing uneaten food and any poop you can find on a daily basis, thus keeping the water cleaner between changes.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:31 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btook View Post
What's marimo?

I have a fair bit of detrius in my gravel- could this be causing my long term ammonia problems? I washed a lot of the detrius out today, but since I didn't take the gravel out my java ferns were rooted in there's still a fair bit. Should I clean out every last speck of detrius? Would this hurt my plants?

I just tested my tap water for hee hees- not sure but there might be a trace there too. I do use that Nutra Fin stuff to remove tap water chemicals.
Ball Moss. An algae that is very useful.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:47 AM   #6 
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Just to add on to what Kim said....have you tested the ammonia in your tap water?
6.4 PPM is pretty high....like, dangerous and deadly high. I'm surprised your betta is still alive and undamaged. O.o Regardless of what sort of test your using, though especially if you're using strips since those tend to be so inaccurate, I would double-check your water parameters by taking a sample of both your tank and tap water to a local pet store that uses liquid tests to test your water, or buy a(new)liquid testing kit......just to make sure your testing equipment isn't giving you false readings.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:51 AM   #7 
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I would plant is extremily hard.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:57 AM   #8 
shellieca
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I agree with Kim & Dragon, 6.4 is deadly, if that is a correct reading I'm surprised Mr. Betta is still alive. I would definitely get it double checked at a local LFS or LPS & ask them to write down the actual number & ask that they use a liquid test kit.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:58 AM   #9 
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Fill that tank with plants.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:22 PM   #10 
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I stopped using gravel at all just becuase of the cleaning issues. It is SO much easier to clean a bare bottom tank. After you feed, just take a turkey baster and suck out any uneaten food, and that will do a LOT to decrease your ammonia levels. Prior to cycling my tanks, I was having to change the water in 10 gallon tanks once/twice a week, almost 100% just to get the ammonia levels down to near 0. But once I got rid of the gravel and started a few minutes of post-feeding sucking, I was only changing water twice per month, and even then they were only partial changes to keep the levels near to 0.
Since you're going to all the trouble of filtering and plants, is it possible to switch over to a bigger tank? That would make it possible to actually cycle it and then you'd not have to worry so much.
If you have a Petco, a PetSmart or a Pet Supplies Plus (this is my favorite), they'll frequently have 1$ per gallon sales on tanks, so you can get a 10 gallon for $10. Or, if you have a super walmart, they sell the 10 gals for 12$ all the time.
As for cycling, I did mine the regular way, but I had one tank that I added meds to without thinking...and killed my cycle. As an experiment, I bought some API tank startup bacteria because I'd heard mixed reviews about the effectiveness of the bottle bacteria. But, this one worked, and within 24 hours my tank was cycled. So, if you want to try an "instant" cycle in your new tank, you can try that stuff. It wasn't terribly expensive, and it worked. I did make sure to use water that was "old" and had about a 2.0 ppm ammonia level in it, so that the new bacteria had something to "eat" right off the bat. If you just added it to new treated water it might not work as well.

I agree with several of the others though...I'd really wonder if your readings are off...especially with plants and a filter, even in a small tank that seems really high.
Good luck to you!! :)
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