Aquarium Setup • Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

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Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Frankyboy303 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:42 pm

Hello again,

I have a new (5-6 weeks old) 50 gallon tank that apparently hasn’t fully cycled. I did a fish less cycle and thought I was good to go but apparently not. I came to this conclusion after one of the members on this forum said that my tank isn’t cycled until my test kit shows nitrates in the water parameters. PH is at 8. Nitrite 0. Nitrate 0. Ammonia .50 ppm. Ammonia has been stuck at .50 ppm for the last week. I’ve been doing daily 10% water changes but nothing seems to help.

My question is; if I use ammonia neutralizing crystals to lower my ammonia, will it mess with my other water parameters?

I heard something about the crystals lowering the PH and affecting hardness levels. Pretty much I need to keep the ammonia in check until my tank fully cycles. I have 6 juveniles in there so I don’t wanna put them through the ringer with a bunch of chemical treatments if I don’t have to. Please advise...
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby cyclonecichlids » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:40 pm

I'm not an expert on this by any means but I believe if you neutralize ammonia then you will starve the ammonia-eating bacteria and stall the cycle. Instead of using crystals or chemicals, I would do 40% daily water changes until you get a zero reading of ammonia and nitrite.
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Frankyboy303 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:52 pm

I think you might be right. I didn’t know if the bacteria colonies in the filter would sustain the crystals or not...thanks for the feedback!
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:01 pm

If you are doing fishless and adding ammonia (and not bottled bacteria) you can follow the directions in the article on fishless cycling in the Cichlid-forum Library. PWC are recommended at a certain point and not before. And I think every other day at most.

A week with ammonia is not a lot. Plan on six weeks as an average.
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Deeda » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:31 pm

Frankyboy303 wrote:Hello again,

Pretty much I need to keep the ammonia in check until my tank fully cycles. I have 6 juveniles in there so I don’t wanna put them through the ringer with a bunch of chemical treatments if I don’t have to. Please advise...


Try to keep your ammonia as low as possible either via water changes or if using Seachem Prime as your conditioner, it can temporarily bind the harmful component of ammonia.
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:51 pm

Ah I did miss that it was a fish-in cycle. Apologies.
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Question about finalizing Nitrogen Cycle

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:22 pm

Hello All,

Turns out you guys were right, my tank was not fully cycled. Due to my misunderstanding this has now turned into a fish-in cycle. I couldn't get my tank to fully cycle because I kept doing 25% water changes (every other day) which kept my ammonia level just below the recommended 1-2 ppm required to build up the Nitrites. I started dosing w/ Prime (& stability) every 48 hours and didn't do water changes for a week and I finally registered the following reading; 2ppm ammonia/.25 Nitrite/ 5 ppm Nitrate. I did a 25% water change and after a few days of continuing this method, my readings are now; .5 ppm ammonia/0 ppm Nitrite/10 ppm Nitrate.

Question:

1) During the cycle, Is it normal for Nitrites to fall to zero before ammonia does?

2) During the cycle, the highest Nitrate reading I've had is 10 ppm. Is my cycle complete? Should my Nitrates be higher?

Info: 40 gallon breeder. 2 Maylandia Barlowi, 1 Maylandia Lombardoi, 1 electric blue johanni, 1 albino peacock
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby DJRansome » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:37 pm

As long as nitrate is being produced, the reading is not relevant to whether the tank is cycled. It is not normal for nitrites to fall to zero before ammonia does. The tank is cycled when ammonia and nitrites are zero.

The species you have chosen are not a good fit for a 36" tank. I thought it was a 50G tank? Are you growing them out for another tank? Are they all males?
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Deeda » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:45 pm

Normally nitrites don't fall to zero when you still see ammonia. Test your tap water for ammonia and see if you are getting a result.

Nitrate is usually higher than 10 ppm at the end of a fish-less cycle but your cycle is different due to the error made when you thought it was cycled and added fish. Don't stress too much on whether the nitrate is higher or lower.

It has been over a month since you first posted so odd that you are still seeing 0.5 ppm ammonia but it is possible it is the less harmful ammonium. Some people always read a low ammonia level for some reason and find that using a Seachem Ammonia Alert in the tank helps them differentiate whether the actual ammonia levels are high. Test your tap water first and that may give us some answers.
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:07 pm

Readings as of 6/7.

Deeda: my tap water tests at .50 ppm ammonia. But if my nitrites are doing their job it should fall to zero. I think I might of messed up the cycle when I did a 25% water change a few days ago. Although I only sucked out the water column and didn’t touch any of the gravel.

Djransome: I ended up with the species I did because my lfs had mislabeled the tanks. I bought all 6 cichlids at the beginning of April and luckily they are still alive and not fighting too much (occasional lip locking at first but all good now).

*i think my problem is the water change I did a few days ago. Everything was on track until then. Just frustrated..I should of done more research instead of 100% relying on the “cycle in the bottle” claiming that it’s ok to add fish right away..
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby DJRansome » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:41 pm

Regarding the species...I would make sure they are all male and remove one of the barlowi. You may be OK for a month or a year, but at some point you should not be surprised if aggression develops.

You have some very aggressive fish that would do better in a tank that is 48" x 18" with tons of females.
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:26 pm

I agree. At the moment I have only 2 females and 4 males. It’s so tricky figuring out which juveniles are females at the lfs. Not to mention the breeds they sold me are not purebred. I’m in the process of researching more reputable fish stores I the area..

Correction: I have 2 peacocks not 1. 2 peacocks (1 female), 1 lombardoi (female), 2 barlowi (males), 1 electric blue (dominate male).
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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:31 pm

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Re: Ammonia neutralizing crystals- are they safe?

Postby shiftyfox » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:55 am

I’ve done the bottled bacteria with fish added straight away. Those results look very similar to what I had.
As mentioned above the Ammonia tube I’m sure will be showing Ammonium not Ammonia.
Water changes won’t mess anything up. Just to be certain continue to test your water regularly along with small regular water changes.
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