mystery ammonia

  • Joelrobertson
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Joelrobertson created the topic: mystery ammonia

Alright fellas, so I have a 9 inch Tiger Oscar (about 10 months old). I have been an avid oscar owner off and on for about 3 years. ( when I can afford the luxury of the hobby) I have visited this site on multiple occasions finding it very resourceful, and only under these circumstances unfortunately have decided to make an account and post something for some advice, which I probably should have done months ago.
About a month my oscar caught what I thought to be a mild case of ick due to a small white spot I noticed on one of his fins. After treating accordingly for about a week the spot was still there, assuming after since I did full round of treatment via malchite green, the spot was still there, it was some sort of fungus. I proceeded to do a fungus treatment, as well as an api general cure, pima fix, and melafix ,and some furan 2 do to some excess body slime I noticed after the malchite, and a mild case of hole in the head that he has had since I bought him about six months ago. I figured since I already was treating him I may as well do more of a broad range of tratment at once instead of trying one after another. (Not 100% sure this was the best idea).
After finishing up all the treatments, the spot was still there, so i did some excessive waterchanges and api ammo lock treatment as a cure assuming ammonia burn was the next the thesible issue, and sure enough after a few days the small white spot on his fin went away and has not since come back.

NOW TO THE REAL ISSUE
After the discoloration of the water dissapated I proceed to test my water peramiters about 2 weeks ago, everything was fine and dandy, ph 7.0, nitrites, 0 nitrates 0. But the ammonia levels were through the roof at 2.0. Obviesly that being an issue I immidietly changed 75% of my water , used api ammo lock and did 25% water changes EVERYDAY since than, as well as changing the carbon media once about a week ago to api ammo carb in hopes my bio filter would just catch up and it no longer be an issue as the old carbon media was probably outdated anyways.
Well since than, I have tested the water everyday and found ammonia in my aquarium at levels of 1.0 - 2.0.

Perhaps the oddest part of this is on almost any occasion these levels of ammonia (from my personal experience with Oscars in the past) are obviously toxic and would presumably be noticed in any fishes character via. Sulking at the bottom, not eating, lathargic behavior , discolorations and usually contractions of Parisites, funguses. However strangely enough with these levels of ammonia he does not exhibit any of these characteristics or common problems. Wicha to be honest I find quite shocking. My most recent move was to switch from api ammo lock to the kordons ammonia remover in hopes I would no longer detect ammonia, and I still have the problem. To be honest I have done everything I can think of to resolve the issue and with as much experience as I have I am stumped
My most current readings
ph6.8
AMMONIA 1.5
Nitrites 0
Nitrates0
FOOD-hikary large floating cichlids pellets (no I don't feed him goldfish, neon tetras on occasion but not for about 2 months
SET UP -30 gallon rectangle with a 55 gal Marineland hang on back/canister filter featuring a bio wheel. (Yes I know it's too small of a fish tank but it's all I have right now, and he has plenty of room, at least 4" of space for him to turn around, I plan on getting a bigger 55 tank and different filter ASAP.
As I would like to note as said before, I am extremely shocked he hasn't shown any signs of common ammonia side affects, ill gve credit to the ammo lock and kordons, as a matter of fact he seems more up and gitty than ever before with his mild case of hole in the head slowly dissapating, and his colors and charactor brighter and more lively than ever! Clearly healthy. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to show at the moment.
Anyways I have Givin you as much info as I could possibly think of and would greatly appreciate some advice or ideas from hopefully someone a little more knowledgeable and experienced in oscar care as I don't know everything but I've had my fair share of "fisshues" however this one really has me stumped!
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DRACO replied the topic: mystery ammonia

seeing the water params nitrite=0; nitrates=0 and ammonia = 1.5
means you lost the beneficial bacteria in there... what was the last thing you do
with the filtration system. fish becoming pale is always water related issue.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Hello and welcome to the site. As indicated, you have lost your established filter. Another issue is the filter you have is far too small to process the bioload of a large Oscar in a too small of tank. You need a bigger tank and filtration much sooner than you think. Dont bother with a 55g, as a 9in Oscar is already too big for a 12in wide tank. Seek out a minimum 75g with a footprint of 48x18. In the meantime to protect your fish, daily water changes of at least 3/4 volume of your existing tank. Sounds like a lot, but a 9in Oscar will foul the water of a 30g very quickly. More so without the protection of an established filter


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Joelrobertson replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Alright thanks for the advice, much appreceated, I will just have to get a new tank and filter this next week and keep up with your recomended 75% daily water changes. After pondering for the past week I figured that would be about my last option. No signs of him being pale. Or any signs of distress. I find it odd only because this was not an issue before and he was about the same size than.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Water quality, or lack thereof, is the most common thing that triggers odd behavior in cichlids. Color changes, loss of appetite. lethargy. While tank and filter shopping, go with the biggest and best quality you can manage. Do not get a filter that is just rated for the tank size. Filter ratings do not apply to tanks with large messy fish. A good investment is a high quality efficient canister filter like an Eheim Classic or API Filstar. Add to that a potent hob like an Aquaclear 110 and any tank in the 75 to 100 gal range is covered for the life of your Oscar. Be aware though that just adding new filters does not instantly make all better. You will still be in the process of developing the bacteria colony that converts ammonia to nitrate. Will take several weeks to complete. You need an API freshwater test kit. Daily monitoring of ammonia and nitrite will give you an indication of how its going. When ammonia and nitrite reach 0, and you see some signs of nitrate, cycle is complete. Nitrate is still toxic in higher amounts, its the water changes that keeps this at a healthy level for your fish. Water changes have no substitute.


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Joelrobertson replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Once again thank you, I would like to note that I do have a 55 gallon Marineland canister filter on a 29 gallon rectangular tank, filter at a rate of 155gph, leaving me with a little more than 5 times turnover of the water each hour. I have also always have had in my possession an api freshwater masters test kit. What I was considering doing in the mean time was getting another canister filter (likely a magnum 350) and letting that run along with the one I already have going to hopefully kind of kick start the bio cycle? Also to hopefully buy me some more time to find and save $, and new spot for a later 75 gallon as I live in a small appartment . I though with my tank size, my filteration would be adequate however it seems this is not the case?any thoughts?
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Suprd71 replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Running a new filter along with an established one will speed things up. Putting some seeded media from old into new is even quicker, but I think your existing filter is still rebuilding its own colony. I like the Aquaclear hob as a mechanical aid to the bio canister. Will let you run the can longer without opening to clean. AC sponge takes a couple minutes to rinse out, canister cleaning a half hour or so. Turnover is not as much important as media capacity in a canister. The more ceramics it holds, the bigger your bacteria colony. Look into an API Filstar xpl. Its a better filter than the Magnum, may be less cost as well. Eheim 2217 another solid choice.


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Phantom replied the topic: mystery ammonia

Suprd71 has you on the right track. It sounds like you may have nuked what biological bacteria you had with all those treatments. Unfortunately treating with bacterial medication usually destroys your good bacteria. Also, when medicating do one treatment at a time and then remove all traces of it with water changes or carbon before trying a different med. Mixing meds can cause a lot more problems.

As a side note, a small white spot on a fin does not always mean a problem. My oscar will sometimes have one appear on one of his pectoral fins and it just grows out like a spot on a finger nail. If your oscar was scratching at it or it had fuzz growing off of it then that'd be different.
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Phantom replied the topic: mystery ammonia

I wouldn't rely too heavily on the ammo lock or kordons. They wear out fast from what I've heard and failure to replace/recharge them will release the toxins right back into your tank. It'll be a PITA till you get a larger tank but large daily WC's is the best way imo.
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Phantom replied the topic: mystery ammonia

If your looking for another opinion on filters, I also recommend the API Filstar XPL. I run 2 of them on my 90 gallon, they work great, lots of room for bio media and are easy to maintain.
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