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New substrate leaching ammonia!
March 5, 2013
7:06 pm
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Mattz fish
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I recently changed my old gravel to a mix of clay, laterite, JBL florpol, peat, flourite sand and JBL manado. When added the flourite it smelled bad and thats when i realised my cat had been urinating  in it. I tried to get as much as i could out then carried on with the rest of the new gravel. After i finished i took an ammonia reading of 4.9 ppm. I did a water change and brought it down th 2.4ppm (still very high) but by the next day it was back to 4.9. I tested NO2 the last couple days and it has been at 0.1 or there abouts. I tested Nitrates and found they were present but I dont know how much as i lost the evaluation sheet. Before this i had never had problems with ammonia. So should I plant the tank back up to absorb the ammonia that is leaching or is my tank going through some sort of cycle?

Thanks. 

March 10, 2013
1:55 pm
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coelacanth
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Just let it cycle, maybe add some bacterial cultures to help it along, then do some water changes, be fine.

March 11, 2013
4:02 am
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Mattz fish
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The tank should already have cycled as it has been running for over a year i just changed the substrate. Also Im getting very low levels of nitrite as well as a decent level of nitrate which is a sign of a cycled tank right?

March 11, 2013
9:59 am
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coelacanth
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By replacing the substrate you've removed a lot of active nitrifying surfaces and added an ammonia source, so everything has to play catch-up. The nitrate reading you're getting may have already been present (?), or could be a sign that the system is kicking back in. If I remember correctly high levels of Ammonia are toxic to the bacteria that break down nitrite, so they could have taken a knocking which would mean a lag. 

March 12, 2013
4:35 am
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Mattz fish
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Ok I see. The nitrates have either leached out with the Ammonia or was produced by bacteria as I essentially did a 100% water change and don't worry about the fish they're in a "temporary holding tank" but would like to get them back in the tank as soon as possible. So should I add some plants to help absorb any of the remaining ammonia still to leach out into the water column or leave it be?

March 12, 2013
11:26 am
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coelacanth
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I wouldn't say that plants will take up Ammonia enough to really make a difference if levels are high enough to pose a problem to start with.

March 12, 2013
7:17 pm
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Mattz fish
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Ok so it really doesnt matter what I do in terms of plants. Could I still add them as the tank would be a better environment for them than the dark bucket or will high levels of ammonia harm the plants? I could probably guess that my Crypt would melt.

 

March 12, 2013
7:24 pm
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Mattz fish
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Just tested Ammonia twice and it came back at 0.0 or pretty close to itSurprised

March 12, 2013
7:28 pm
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Mattz fish
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Nitrite is now through the roof with a reading of 3.3 ppm or higherFrown

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