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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 60gal tank that has been up-and-running for about 6 weeks. For the first 4 weeks there were only 4 fish in the tank (2 Dempsey's, an Electric Yellow and a Pleco). I was patient and waited until the cycle completed before adding any more fish. Ammonia and Nitrites were both at 0 and the nitrates were b/tw 5-10.

About 1 week ago, I added another Electric Yellow and 2 small Convicts and now the Ammonia is through the roof!! I was expecting a bit of an ammonia spike with the addition of the new fish, but nothing that would be this drastic. I tested the water after the addition because the tank was starting to cloud up. The ammonia was 4+ and the clouding became so bad that I looked like someone poured a gallon of milk in it. When I came home that day and saw this, I immediately did a 50% WC. The very next morning, it looked just as bad, if not worse and the Ammonia was still really high. I did another 50% change. This helped a bit, but there was obviously still a problem. I went to the place where I bought the fish and they said it was most likely a bacterial bloom and gave me a coagulant (ACUREL F) to help clear the water. (Which worked amazingly well.) But I knew this was just a band-aid and didn't really solve the problem.

I've been treating with AmmoLock to help detoxify and doing 20%-25% WC's every other day, but I can't seem to get the Ammonia under control. And I've been very judicious with feeding - just once every 2-3 days. I'm not really sure what else to do... I'm new to the hobby and just want to enjoy the tank and provide healthy conditions for the fish.

Is it possible that it's cycling again?

Here are the particulars and the (API - liquid) test results from today:
60 Gal
Penguin 350 Filter
Ammonia 4+
Nitrites .25
Nitrates 5-10
7 fish (2 Dempsey's, 2 convicts, 2 Electric Yellows, 1 Pleco)
No live plants or natural stones
 

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Don't worry about clearing the water as it's not harmful to the fish. Local shops are always good at selling things in bottles that you don't need. It only helps their bottom line, not your fish. Besides, I doubt what you're seeing is bacteria and if it was, the flocculant would probably be counterproductive. Grade F for the local shop.

Stop feeding for now. Try to get this under control before resuming. If it goes a week, do a very light feeding if ammonia/nitrite are under control. Don't kill them with kindness.

Get more aggressive with the water changes. Daily 50% or better.

Don't touch the filters or make any ohers changes to the system.

Continue with the Ammolock and then just ride it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
clossboss - Sizes are as follows : Male Dempsey 4", Female Dempsey 3.0", Convict #1 - 1.5", Convict #2 - 2.0", Yellow #1 - 4", Yellow #2 - 3", Pleco - 2" (And the Nitrites were 0. They ticked up to .25 after the addition of new fish)

prov356 - Thanks for the advice. I'll up the WC volume and frequency. I've also included a pic of the cloudy tank (it actually got a little worse than this even...) What do you think it may have been if it wasn't bacteria?

Also, I'm still trying to get to the root cause of the spike. Any thoughts on that? One thing I did forget to mention earlier is that I did a pretty thorough vacuuming when I did the first 50% change after the spike. Could I have stirred something up in the substrate that would have caused this?

 

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Hard to day what it is. I just see bacterial bloom blamed often for no other reason than we don't know and need to pin it on something. I saw this once in a tank where ammonia shot up. I added more fry than the tank was ready for. It's not from stirring the substrate. I really don't think it's worth trying to determine what it is exactly. It's not harmful, and it'll clear up on its own.
 

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"Also, I'm still trying to get to the root cause of the spike."

If the tank was cycled at all to begin with, a newly developed bacterial bed is fragile, adding those 3 fish was enough to crash the whole system to the point where you almost have to start over cycling from scratch.
 

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i had a friend with the same problem. she later took out her oscar an it got better lol i think for some reason the oscar was giving off way too much ammonia that she wasn't ready for. she got the fish for the looks. but later found that it was hard to keep up an growing too fast.
now i have that same problem in my tank which is a 75, an i have some dempsey's, redbelly's, red devils, an some tinfoil barbs. all of which is fine just sometime the ammonia levels get high but i am bettin its cause of the twice a day feeding. lol. good luck bro.
 

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If it were me I would have alot more filtration than a penguin350. I run wet/dries on all tanks and never have a problem like this. I also run HOB's for mechanical filtration.Get multiple filters and you will have better results. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
krfhsf - could you please expound a little for me? Specifically wet/dries and HOB's. I'm fairly new to all of this and don't quite have all of the lingo down yet...

And it's been a few days since I posted and the levels are still pretty high. I've been doing big WC's (40%-50%) every day or every other day and they just won't come down to anywhere near zero.
 

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FStopFoodie said:
krfhsf - could you please expound a little for me? Specifically wet/dries and HOB's. I'm fairly new to all of this and don't quite have all of the lingo down yet...

And it's been a few days since I posted and the levels are still pretty high. I've been doing big WC's (40%-50%) every day or every other day and they just won't come down to anywhere near zero.
He's right, a Penguin 350 would be absolute minimum. You may want to add another of the same or larger. It won't immediately solve your problem, but will help long term. Manufacturer ratings are usually off base.

You didn't ask but shifting focus to your stock list, I think you should reconsider the choices you've made. Many of those fish can be problems long term due to aggression and/or size. So, you could solve that issue now by rehoming while helping to alleviate the overwhelmed biofiltration at the same time. I think I'd move the dempsey's out, and swap out the pleco if it's not an ancistrus (bushy nose) species. Then seek advice on possibly adding, but you're mixing lakes, so makes it difficult because you may have untried combos.
 
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