View Full Version : Ammonia and nitrates

01/09/2018, 06:36 PM
I have had ammonia at levels about 0.5 and nitrates anywhere from 10-40 for a few weeks now. I have a jbj 12 gal. Iíve been doing water changes (~10%) three times weekly and recently did two large (50%) water changes and those levels wonít drop. I did have a fish in there that I havenít seen in weeks. I have looked everywhere (everywhere. Except moving all the live rock and basically taking the tank apart) what should I do? I recently started dosing micobacter. I was curious if anyone has used the zeovit system on a tank this small? Not sure where to go from here. I have a good amount of coral (lps) all acro went through RTN.

01/09/2018, 06:39 PM
Forgot to say I have a deep sand bed (3-4 inches)

01/10/2018, 04:22 AM
How long has the tank been established? Ammonia is deadly to the livestock. With a 12g it's still hard to believe that one dead fish could cause such a spike in ammonia. If you have good filtration and enough rock, with a 3-4 inch sand bed, one small organisms death wouldn't cause a spike high enough to see on a test.

How long have you been experiencing the high ammonia?

Water changes and vacuuming the sand bed would be the best place to start IMO.

01/10/2018, 05:43 AM
I received the tank from a friend who had it set up for about 6 years. It didnít have much in it in terms of livestock. I added two small pieces of live rock and a good amount of live sand about 2 months ago. But ammonia and nitrate have been that high since I started testing really. Greater than a month. I have been doing very frequent large water changes and canít get it to go down

01/10/2018, 06:19 AM
Assuming when you moved the tank you had to break down the system thereby stirring up the sand bed. Did you reuse the existing water? If so how much in %?

The introduction of new live sand coupled with the move could have caused a small cycle, but again doubtful that it would last a couple of months. Another possibility is significant die off, yet again frequent water changes should be correcting that as well.

How old are the test kits? Perhaps a new ammonia kit is in order. Nitrates around 10ppm are not bad. Upwards to 40ppm are not usually desirable. Filter pad changes and water changes should bring those down over time so long as NSW is being mixed with RODI water and you aren't introducing additional sources to the tank when feeding/supplementing.

01/10/2018, 02:44 PM
I'd get second opinion on the test kit. I agree that you might need a new kit. Is there any food going into the system?

Have you measured the nitrite level? Nitrite will confuse nitrate test kits.

01/12/2018, 06:26 AM
I haven't put any food in the system for about a week now (since the clownfish died, so no fish right now). For the most part my nitrites were reading 0 but the last week (after I accidentally stirred the deep sand bed while trying to move things around) nitrites were about 0.25-0.5. I have the API (bought before I knew about Salifert, which I have for Ca, ALK, MAG, and PHOS). I have an Auqa gadget I can put stuff in, right now it just has ceramic rings in it. Should I put something like Blackwell Aquatics NeoZeo in there? or would another type of medium be recommended?

01/12/2018, 05:06 PM
I would dose Amque, Prime, or some similar ammonia binder daily for a while and maybe get another ammonia test kit. The kit might be having problems, but I can't be sure.

Large water changes might cause as many problems as they solve. I'd probably keep to a regular schedule, something like 10-20% every couple of weeks, and mostly just wait.

If the ammonia doesn't drop in a few days, I'd suspect the kit.