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Urgent help needed with Ammonia Levels

Figureguy

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We are having a serious problem controlling the ammonia in our tank. We have 2 five inch goldfish in a 37 gallon aquarium. We use a Fluval C3 five stage filtration external filter for up to 50 gallons. We had been using the Carbon/Ammonia controlling bag media but we have the pure ammonia controlling bags coming.

We perform a 20% water change ( about 8 Gallons) as needed which we almost have to do every couple days due to ammonia. When we do we use tap water filtered through a PUR filter and add Tetra Aquasafe. We also add Tetra Easy Balance and Tetra Safe start when we do.

I feed them a quarter teaspoon of Tetra Flakes twice a day. I also give them a small cube of frozen brine shrimp (once defrosted) once a week and a small bit of seaweed once a week.

Our nitrites are at 0 and nitrates are 5ppm controlled but our ammonia is always .25 and .5ppm. The ph is 7.4. We bought some Seachem Stability and Prime tonight to try and see if it helps.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as we are worried and don’t know what to do.
 

Oranda88

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Hi

Tricky one! It sounds like you're doing lots of the right things.

What kind of substrate to you have? And silly question but just to check - you never wash your filter media do you? Just trying to establish how many places you have that will hold the good nitrifying bacteria you need...

Sorry that's probably not massively helpful!
 

Figureguy

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Thank you for responding. We have gravel for substrate and actually we HAD been washing the media under tap water or outright changing it if it got bad enough. We are now rinsing it in tank water and changing only according to the filter instructions timewise.

Any help is appreciated at this time as well as any thoughts.:)
 

PetNatter

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Thank you for responding. We have gravel for substrate and actually we HAD been washing the media under tap water or outright changing it if it got bad enough. We are now rinsing it in tank water and changing only according to the filter instructions timewise.

Any help is appreciated at this time as well as any thoughts.:)

Hi Figureguy

just to echo what Oranda was saying - definitely avoid rinsing anything in tap water. Whether that’s filter media, ornaments, plants, gravel, etc. Never let tap water near it.

And even when washing in tank water, be careful not to squeeze the filter materials too much or wash them too vigourously.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, we think Oranda may be on to something and it might be worth not cleaning anything for a while, even in tap water. Though do continue the water changes. It may be that your “good bacteria” (nitrifying) need some time to build to higher levels in your tank.

Please keep us updated!
 

Figureguy

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Here's the gist of the situation. We have had cats over the years and 3 passed. All of them were sick and had various illnesses. Cancer, diabetes, thyroid, allergies, etc. I became an expert on cat biology and treatments fast. After all of them were gone we got a pair of siblings who also have health issues.

However fish never seemed that difficult due to my early life experiences. My wife was a biology major so she handles the tank chemicals and maintenance. I handle the feeding and playing, as much as they will.

When I was in 4th grade I won 2 fish at a school carnival. They were really tiny and being a child I had no idea how to really care for them. But I got a large bowl, longer than tall and changed the water twice a week and fed them once a day. Senior year of high school (Yes, 8 years later) one passes. The second passes the day after I believe from a broken heart.

We had discussed getting fish for some time and always put it off. But I missed having them and this past February pre-covid New York has a winter version of the New York State Fair. They had the ping pong game to win fish and I just felt the impulse and it felt 'right.' I remembered the ones I had and knew an aquarium would be best but didn't know about growth as the others never seemed to.

I started with a 5, then a 10, and then a 20. The only spot in the house to put a tank could fit an aquarium stand that could hold up to a 37. Please don't get me started on how hard it is to find a 37 gallon tank. HECK, PURE HECK to not offend anyone. My wife has been very supportive and is the one who handles the changes, etc. I researched the tanks, food, stand, equipment, etc. But she is getting very frustrated by the ammonia and I never thought we would get here. I never knew there was so much to fish care and I have much respect for you and anyone who has taken the time and effort to learn.

Just wanted to give you a heads up of where we are coming from. It's been a very bumpy ride and we are trying to do our best with what we have. We spent a bit and know we won't be able to get a larger tank till next year and since one is a common and one is a comet it sounds like we will need one.

I put us in a pickle indeed.

Because they are goldfish we get a lot of waste so the filter sponge clogs. There is a little 'float' on the Fluval that pops up to let you know your sponge is full and needs to be cleaned. We usually add Safe Start but my wife was wondering if it was possible to get a bad batch. That is why we are trying the Stability instead. This morning we registered a 0 for Ammonia but now we are registering a .25. Any thoughts?
 

ShesColorful

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I’m having the exact same issue. I’ve done everything suggested to me, though, no one mentioned not rinsing the filter. I’m definitely going to stop rinsing the filter.

I’m following for any helpful info... in fact, my oranda’s wen has a slight green color to it. We love our fish and want to make sure to keep them well.
 

Tropico

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Because they are goldfish we get a lot of waste so the filter sponge clogs. There is a little 'float' on the Fluval that pops up to let you know your sponge is full and needs to be cleaned.

How exactly do you clean the sponge?

I really think this could be the root of the problem.

I'd recommend not cleaning at all for as long as possible. And if you do clean it then literally just get a tub of tank water, gently swish the sponge around with it a bit (no rubbing, squeezing, or anything like that!) then put it back.
 
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