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Old 06-08-2010, 09:48 PM   #1 
AliciaH
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ammonia issues

For about the past 4 days I have had to do water changes because my 2 gallon tank keeps rising in ammonia. Even with 40-50% water changes the ammonia is back up to .25 ppm 12 hours later. I tried turning up the flow on the filter (making a buffer so it didnt bother my betta), but that hasn't seemed to make a difference so far. Just before I noted the ammonia issue a few days ago, I had done about an 80% water change when changing the fiilter and stirred up the gravel pretty good doing so. Is it possible that I caused the tank to de-cycle and it's trying to cycle again?? I have tried using an ammonia remover today, but it doesn't seem to have an affect. Help
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:42 AM   #2 
mfskarphedin
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Originally Posted by AliciaH View Post
I had done about an 80% water change when changing the fiilter and stirred up the gravel pretty good doing so. Is it possible that I caused the tank to de-cycle and it's trying to cycle again??
What exactly do you mean by "changing the filter?" Did you take out all the media and replace it? If so, you will have to wait until your tank/filter cycles again. Disturbing so much of so many things at once, especially in such a small tank, can wreak havoc on the balance of the system.

I don't know exactly what kind of filter and substrate you have, so I can't get too specific about further recommendations atm. If feels to me like there is something else abnormal going on if so much ammonia is building up so quickly, so further details would be good.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:13 AM   #3 
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I get the feeling I should not have listened to the woman working in the pet store I literally changed the fliter... took the old one out and put in a new one. The lady said that there would be enough "beneficial bacteria" in the gravel so that the tank would not re-cycle.

It is a 2 gallon tank with less then two inches of gravel, a couple amazon sowards (fairly new), the new filter is a spounge/charcoal filter. I put some ammo lock in the tank tonight to hopefully help while I figure out what to do next. I feel aweful for the little guy... lesson learned. What is the best approach to fix the tank situation??
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:17 AM   #4 
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Hmm, it's late here, so I'll probably not have as full of an answer as I should, but if anyone recommends salt at this stage, I personally would not use it, because it will raise the pH and that makes the ammonia more toxic.

Another thought: if your water is base (people say alkaline,) you could replace 1/2 the change-water with distilled water. This will soften your water and allow it to become more acidic. Done grandually, it will put less stress on the fish, which likes softer water on the acidic side, and it will also greatly decrease the toxicity of the ammonia. If your water's already soft and acidic, that's good.

When the nitrite starts to build up, you can detoxify it a lot within the fish by adding methylene blue, but it stains everything and will likely kill your plants. Salt is the more common preventative (which will bring your pH back up likely, but then the ammonia will have fallen back down.) I'm not sure if bettas are as affected as non-anabantoids, but here's a page on nitrite.

http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/di...ritepoison.htm

Yeah, about the filter media: if you can just rinse it in treated tap water instead of changing it, or just change half, that will keep the bacteria alive. There's no real need for carbon if you keep up on your water changes, so just chuck it, IMO.

Hope that helps. Boy, after 3am. I'm off to get ready for bed!
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:32 AM   #5 
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I would submit that it takes three to eight weeks for a filter to build up the necessary bacteria (good kind) to consider the tank cycled, and agree that if the tank has been running with fish for less than this time,that replacing the filter cartridge could have destroyed a good portion of the biological filter.
Gravel does indeed also hold beneficial bacteria ,and getting too aggressive in cleaning it and replacing filter cartridge at same time could also remove beneficial bacteria.
Best to clean filter as mentioned in dechlorinated water or some of the old water you remove during water changes and stick the cartridge back in the filter compartment. Should only need to replace the cartridge when it begins to fall apart from the numerous rinsing's.
Feeding too much can also cause ammonia levels to rise in aquariums as well. In any event,, water changes using a good dechlorinator such as PRIME will detoxify ammonia that may also be present in your tapwater if the city where you live uses chloramines to treat the water.
Some water conditioners are considered full function and PRIME is one of them.
Seem to recall you mentioning that filter cartridge for your filter uses carbon and zeolite. Products like zeolite and ammolock can affect test readings for ammonia by rendering false positive or so it has been reported. Would also submit that if using zeolite or ammolock that I would NOT use salt in the aquarium. Some products such as these ,absorb ammonia and can be recharged and used again by soaking in salt solution which causes the material to release what it has absorbed. If using salt in an aquarium with these products,it could cause ammonia that has been absorbed to be released back into the tank if salt is also used in the tank.
I am doubtful that you destroyed all of the beneficial bacteria but would keep up with testing and water changes until ammonia levels are once again at or very near zero. I would also reduce feedings a bit and see that no one else is also feeding the fish. If the tank was cycled at some point,,it should rebound without too much trouble but do keep an eye on parameters.
In the future,, try to space out cleaning of tank. perhaps rise the filter material out one week,the next week clean gravel with siphon,and perhaps clean glass with clean paper towel folded into fourths. try not to clean everything at one time.

Last edited by 1077; 06-09-2010 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:58 AM   #6 
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Question about PRIME: the dosage is 5ml for 50 gallons... how do I measure an amount for a 2 gallon tank?
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:45 PM   #7 
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Nevermind, I was able to find a small bottle for small doses :) I did a 50% water change this morning and added PRIME. I hope now we are on the right track.
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