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Old 06-11-2013, 03:36 PM   #1 
katmandew
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Post HELP sudden ammonia spike

My 28 gallon has been established for about 6 months but I've been having some problems with Nitrates. I have a bio wheel filter that has practically stopped and I've tried everything to get it moving again but I give up. Five days ago I bought and set up an Aquaclear 50 Filter and have it running WITH the bio wheel.

Today was my weekly maintenance day and I changed about 40% of the water, scrapped off some algae, vacuumed and moved some decorations around. I decided to check the water parameters just to see if the nitrate has gone down and I have an ammonia spike!!! what the heck!! how and why did that happen? Nitrites are 0, Nitrates still high between 40-80, ph is good 7.2, but the ammonia is at .50, that hasn't happened since it was cycling. I've never had ammonia since it's been established.

I looked at my plants today and vacuumed it as good as I could to try to get the nitrates down so I don't know what is going on. I haven't fed the fish today so it can't be that. I'm not over stocked I have:

5 head and tail light tetras
3 Glo tetras
1 dalmation molly
2 unknown ( was told they are sword tails but I don't think so)

Can anyone give me an idea of why my ammonia spiked and what can I do? and any thoughts on why my Nitrates never go below 40?
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:55 AM   #2 
lilnaugrim
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How many plants are in there?

You probably have a mini-cycle going where the ammonia spikes up again and will cycle itself with the new filter in a few days. If the bio-wheel stopped and there's no movement in that filter, the BB would die off in a few days when it dries out. But there will be enough on the tank decor, walls and plants that it shouldn't be too long.

Also don't test right after a change, you're supposed to wait about an hour after till things settle and you can test again, otherwise you'll get weird readings.

So I suggest doing another water change tomorrow about 40-50% if you can to keep it safe for your fish. Test again and see what it is at.

And for your nitrates, you might have to do twice weekly water changes to get them down to a safe level. Nitrates are only taken out by water changes and plants use them a bit for food, that's why I asked about the plants. The more plants you have, generally the less Nitrates you have.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:02 AM   #3 
katmandew
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Originally Posted by lilnaugrim View Post
How many plants are in there?

You probably have a mini-cycle going where the ammonia spikes up again and will cycle itself with the new filter in a few days. If the bio-wheel stopped and there's no movement in that filter, the BB would die off in a few days when it dries out. But there will be enough on the tank decor, walls and plants that it shouldn't be too long.

Also don't test right after a change, you're supposed to wait about an hour after till things settle and you can test again, otherwise you'll get weird readings.

So I suggest doing another water change tomorrow about 40-50% if you can to keep it safe for your fish. Test again and see what it is at.

And for your nitrates, you might have to do twice weekly water changes to get them down to a safe level. Nitrates are only taken out by water changes and plants use them a bit for food, that's why I asked about the plants. The more plants you have, generally the less Nitrates you have.
First let me thank you for answering my questions :) I have about 6 plants in the tank. I did wait to test it so I was really surprised that I had ammonia. The bio-wheel hasn't completely stopped, it turns once every hour lol! So it's not dried out..yet! I figured I was doing the right thing having the new filter running with the old for at least a few weeks. I really can't figure out the nitrate problem. So yes I guess I should change to twice weekly changes rather than the once weekly. I did test just the ammonia this morning and it's down to between 0 and .25 so that's an improvement. Now if I can get those darn nitrates down.

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated :)
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:13 AM   #4 
lilnaugrim
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Yes you are doing the right thing with the new filter running! That's great that you can do that.

And 6 plants is good but it won't be enough to keep your Nitrates down, that's why they are high so do the twice weekly water changes until your new filter can hold the Cycle and it should help the nitrates as well inadvertently.

Also adding more plants will help that as well. For a 2 footer I would suggest about 15 plants in there lol but I'm big on the whole "Jungle" or "Forest" in a tank type thing so I say "The more plants, the better!"
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:27 AM   #5 
katmandew
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Originally Posted by lilnaugrim View Post
Yes you are doing the right thing with the new filter running! That's great that you can do that.

And 6 plants is good but it won't be enough to keep your Nitrates down, that's why they are high so do the twice weekly water changes until your new filter can hold the Cycle and it should help the nitrates as well inadvertently.

Also adding more plants will help that as well. For a 2 footer I would suggest about 15 plants in there lol but I'm big on the whole "Jungle" or "Forest" in a tank type thing so I say "The more plants, the better!"
LOL on the Jungle!! thanks again :)
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:29 AM   #6 
lilnaugrim
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Np ^_^
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