View Full Version : ammonia & nitrite spikes in semi-established 55

12-21-2006, 07:01 PM
Tank Size: 55 gallon
Filtration: Eheim 2217 and Whisper 60, 1 ZooMed Powersweep
Inhabitants: 6" Oscar, 4" Jack Dempsey, 3 TF Barbs
Substrate: Medium Gravel and some limestone rocks for decor

I do about 15% water changes twice a week and use Tetra decholrinator. I vacuum most of the gravel EVERY time I do a water change because I feed my fish quite a bit. My roomate likes to feed them too so I have to really watch for overfeeding.

I have had this tank going for about two months. It had fish in it the same day I filled it with water. I seeded the tank with a filter from an established tank. For the first two weeks nitrite tested between .5 and 2 ppm. After about a month though nitrite registered at 0 on multiple tests and I figuired I was in the clear.

Now a month later....Nitrite is back to 1.0!!! I added 1 tbs salt/10 gallons.

I am very new to fishkeeping in general but have spent the last two months reading and reading these forums. I think I am pretty well educated on the Nitrogen Cycle and all that.

Anyone have any suggestions

12-21-2006, 07:22 PM
Oh yeah...ammonia is .75 in the tank but is nearly 1.0 from the TAP! Is that normal? I decided some of my carbon was too old and I just replaced some of it, in my HOB.

12-21-2006, 08:02 PM
You should have no ammonia in your tap water. Is it city water or well? If it's a well I would call someone in to make sure the water is safe for you to drink. What I would do for your fish is get some kind of ammonia neutralizer like ammo-chips or a liquid water conditioner that helps render the ammonia harmless. Your tank will not be able to fully cycle if there's ammonia in your water changes. Until the ammonia in the tap is resolved you will have to add something to the water to help your fish.

Changing the carbon will not help the cycle. If it's old you may have just thrown away some of the beneficial bacteria that was converting some of the ammonia, making your spike a bit worse. Adding salt was a good idea.

12-21-2006, 08:11 PM
I would consider using prime to condition your water as an in between step. I would also take a sample of tap and tank water to your lfs to be sure your tests are still good.

12-21-2006, 08:42 PM
It is city water, OKlahoma City that is. I went to my buddies house (downstairs from my apt) and tested his tap water, ammonia was .75 PPM also!!!!!

Then I tested his water in his 20 gallon and ammonia was 0. He hasn;t changed his water in that tank for over a month though. What is going on?

12-21-2006, 09:10 PM
any suggestions on the nitrite?

12-21-2006, 09:12 PM
His tank has obviously caught up with the ammonia supply and that's why it's at zero. The nitrates will be higher if you don't change the water though. Even though nitrates are not nearly as dangerous as ammonia, they are bad for your fish at higher levels.

I would alert the water works to your results and have them test it. You should not have ammonia in your drinking water, especially if it's treated by a company before it reaches you.

12-21-2006, 10:19 PM
Ok...I found this article called "Ammonia in Drinking Water" published by the World Health Organization in 1996.


"Cement mortar used for coating the insides of water pipes may release considerable amounts of ammonia into drinking water and compromise disinfection with chlorine."

"The presence of ammoinium cation in raw water may result in drinking water containing nitrite as the result of a catalytic action or the accidental colonization of filters by ammonium oxidizing bacteria."

"Taste and odor problems as well as decreased disinfection effeciency are to be expected if drinking water containing more than .2 mg/liter is chlorinated."

"Ammonia may be present in water as a result of disinfection with chloramines."

"Ammonia is not of direct importance for the health of humans in the concentrations expected in drinking water."

What about fish?

12-22-2006, 01:19 PM
I added the recommended dose of prime to my water in the 55 gallon tank. I might get some ammo-chips later on when I can afford it.

From what I have read, ammonia in tap water is not unheard of.

Hopefully, my nitrite will come down on its own soon.

12-29-2006, 09:05 PM
not an expert, but you should find out if ammochips work with salt in the water. i was told it wont so you might not want to waste your money. i think you had a spike when you removed the old carbon.