Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Help! I really need to go to bed, but something is terribly wrong!

Today I got an order of about 55 various colored neos from The Shrimp Factory (great shrimp, love them), and I put about 45-50 in my 5 gallon. Before I set the tank up, I'd stuck its filter pad in with my ten gallon's filter for a couple weeks, then I set up the tank (caribsea eco complete on bottom, pool filter sand cap, thrive caps in there too, I have a ton of plants coming in a couple days - the shrimp came early and the plants are late, so I wasn't able to get it planted first), added some pygmy cories and a chubby pond snail and waited another two weeks, and everything was going just fine. No ammonia, no nitrites, no problems. The shrimp arrived a few days early but they look great.

 

I moved the snail and cories back to my 10g, then dosed the 5g tank with prime (just to be safe, I always do in newish tanks before adding their new permanent inhabitants). I added a few of the shrimp to my 2.5gallon, then put the rest in the 5 gallon. About two or three hours later I decided to test before I went to bed, nitrates were slightly high, but the ammonia was at 4ppm (not 0.4, nono, a full 4ppm)!!! I was floored! I quickly did a 50% water change, dosed more prime, added a second bigger filter with a spare (nice and dirty) filter pad I have on hand, and tested just minutes later. No ammonia. I unplugged the filter, waited five minutes, and the ammonia was 0.5ppm already!! I'm not exaggerating the timeframes, it's that fast.

 

I removed any organic material in there that had dead algae or might possibly be decaying, but nothing is helping and I'm losing my mind. This is my third tank, and neither of my other two have ever had a spike this insane, especially not with shrimp. I'm scared something in the tank has maybe fried my bb... even in the dirty filter I just set up!?!? I don't know what else to do besides more water changes and prime (all night!). Astonishingly, everyone looks alive and well in there right now. the levels have been going up, but a bit slower, so I just did another 50% change and vacuumed the gravel to make sure there's no leftover food from the cories or anything. Ammonia went back down to 0, but 15 minutes later was back to 0.5 ppm.... I have no idea what to do... do I move half of them to another tank? There's nothing in my 5g yet except a stubby amazon sword, a few marimo balls, and a fake hollow pirate ship and fake hollow ox skull (got them both at my LFS).

I haven't even fed them yet! I have to work tomorrow and I'm terrified I'm going to lose them, please help!



 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It could be the caribsea eco complete, not sure if this specific substrate leeches ammonia but many planted tank substrates do. I would suggest using seachem stability or some other bacteria in a bottle product, that may be your only option if you dont have another tank to move your livestock into. Also frequent water changes during this time will help. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanna say in advance, sorry if I seem a bit terse, basically didn't sleep. I appreciate all advice right now!!

 

Ecocomplete isn't a soil, and doesn't leach. It also has added bacteria to speed up the cycle. This tank was fine for two weeks prior. 

 

 

I'm using a standard API Master Freshwater kit. Both my other tanks read as normal. After vaccumming, I ended up doing two more water changes. At one point around 2:30 am, I was checking the filter pad and I noticed a slight smell, so I grabbed two small bags of activated carbon and added one to each filter. The ammonia has been holding at about 1ppm since. I know AC doesn't adsorb ammonia, so I'm baffled by that too.

 

I've been able to relax a bit now, rest for an hour at a time for the last few hours, now that it isn't rising like crazy anymore, but I still don't know what the heck happened. I'm using prime and water changes, but the ammonia goes back up to 1ppm pretty quick and sits there.

 

Just wanna add, I could move them into my 10g, but I really doubt 50ish shrimp caused 4ppm ammonia and rising, in just a couple hours, and I have no idea why activated carbon stabilized the spikes, so I'm a bit afraid to move them on the off chance my 10g (which is doing fine and has my CPDs and my favorite snail, as well as some amanos and my pygmy cories) starts going crazy too. I don't know if there's space in there for all of them, either. My boyfriend lives with me and he's kept tanks since he was a kid (we're both in our 30s) and he's completely stumped, he's never heard of or seen anything like it. Dark green (1-4 ppm) to pale yellow (which the kit claims is 0) after a 50% change makes no sense to us either.

 

 

Edited by Chikazz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My guess is you used municipal tap water that was treated with chloramines. Chloramines are chlorine + ammonia and when you added Prime into the tank, it went through a redox reaction, separating the chloramines into chlorine and ammonia. However, prime also detoxifies ammonia for a brief moment of time(ammonium) but are still picked up by ammonia kits. After a while, if the detoxified ammonia is not dealt with, it reverts back to the toxic state of ammonia. Usually this is handled by the aquarium filtration.

 

There are zeolite products on Amazon for a few bucks to remove ammonia until you find out the cause and a solution to your issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Epitaph I just tested my tap water plain, and after adding dechlorinator and prime. Both were negative.  I do use tap water, but I use it in my other two tanks as well, and I've never had this issue. I also always use the chloramine dosage on my water dechlorinator every time. This tank has been cycled, and had already had fish in it for two weeks (and as I said, the pad was getting nice and dirty for a couple weeks in my old tank's filter for a few weeks before THAT) with no problems. Also, the eco complete has added bacteria to speed up cycling. I've never had ammonia problems like this before. I have cycled multiple tanks, I'm aware of chloramines and well aware of the nitrogen cycle, I just don't know what's going on. My PH is 7.2 (it didn't crash or spike or anything), my GH and KH are fine in all three tanks (I have hard water but it doesn't bother my neos), the problem tank has some nitrites and a fair amount of nitrates, so that would indicate that the BBs are working in there.

 

I think I mentioned before, I put a second filter in there last night, a 20 gallon filter with a filter pad that's quite well cycled from another tank, PLUS the 5 gallon cycled filter the tank came with (the one I described above) is in there as well, and the ammonia is still rising, in a 5 gallon tank that only has shrimp in it.

 

Oh, forgot to add, when I left for work at 11 (we had an appt this am) my ammonia was at 1ppm, when I got home at 3:30 it was back up to 4ppm. Emergency water change and more prime. I think I'm gonna have to water change every 3 hours until I can get some zeolite or the ammonia drops, but I really feel like I need to know what happened. I'm afraid it'll happen again, that the water changes/prime/zeolite will only treat the symptoms, since I can't seem to crack the root cause.

Edited by Chikazz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can try an ammonia test kit that only tests for NH3. The ammonia test kits that are found normally tests for total ammonia, including NH4 and maybe even the salts used in Prime. Dechlorinators and prime can also affect the color of the reagents in ammonia test kits. For accurate readings, you should test the water before adding any conditioners or wait for the conditioners' effectiveness to expire.

 

You can also try taking a glass of your tap water, add some dechlorinator and prime, add whatever food you are feeding the shrimps with, and check the ammonia readings after a few hours to see if it spikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@EpitaphI'm sorry, but I already said I tested the water with nothing in it as well as treated with prime/dechlor. And I mentioned that I haven't fed them yet, I don't want to add anything that might raise the ammonia. I've only had the shrimp since yesterday around noon, and they didn't get put in the tank till 5:30ishpm (they were in breather bags, and they were a bit chilly, and since they got here several days early I set them aside to warm up to room temp before I opened the bags) so I don't think they absolutely need to be fed yet. There's enough biofilm in there, and they're running around picking at it fine. Only one loss so far, and he somehow jumped into filter outlet earlier this afternoon (it hasn't improved since removing him), so at least the ammonia doesn't seem to be killing them off as long as I can keep this pace up. 

 

I did try removing the 5 gallon filter's media pad, and moving it into my ten gallon (so now I have the 5g filter w/o media (just circulating water with a bag of carbon in it), and the 20g filter that does have media and it's own bag of carbon). I'm curious to see if that media's BBs somehow got blitzed and it's the source of the spike. Fingers crossed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Testing the tap water w/ Prime and whatever leftover food you can find in the aquarium(s) is to see if your ammonia test kit is giving you any false positives on toxic NH3. Adding leftover food(even better if you have pure ammonia as you don't have to wait) will provide ammonia to the water sample but since Prime is added into the water, it will render the ammonia into a non-toxic state for ~24 hours, but if your ammonia test kit still gives you an ammonia reading greater than the reading of just your tap water, then that means your test kit is giving you readings of all ammonia forms and compounds that are similar to it and/or the reducing reagents are affecting the color reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Epitaph I don't have any leftover food in there though, I vacuumed the substrate last night and took out anything I could find that might be releasing ammonia. I mentioned that earlier. I was pretty thorough when I vacuumed, as I was worried leftover food might be causing the problem. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, and I know you're trying to help, I appreciate that.  I may be a bit short right now.  I've been doing everything I can think of since yesterday evening, with virtually no sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Epitaph Not sure if this helps but here are some pictures of my tank. The glass looks very clean because I wiped it down for the picture. And again, I vacuumed the substrate last night, so it's clean too. Also included a picture of the filters without their covers, you can see the carbon on the left, and then on the right there's a bag of carbon behind the filter pad.  Also included a shot of some water tests, the yellow one is my tap water after API water conditioner and prime are added, and the green one is from my tank a few minutes ago (I did another 50% wc somewhere around 45 mins ago and water from the bottom of the tank was testing bright pale yellow after). My plants are late and the shrimp came early, but I have a ton of plants coming the day after tomorrow. The deco items are just to give them surface area and hiding places until the plants arrive.

IMG_20191205_200707.jpg

IMG_20191205_200412.jpg

IMG_20191205_201312.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...