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ammonia

(4 Posts)
Squashybanana Fri 13-Nov-15 14:53:14

Hi all.
I'm new to fish keeping. We bought my son an aquarium for his 14th birthday. He has aspergers and likes watching the fish, finds it calming. We went to LFS avoiding big pet stores...and they sold us a biorb 30L. I know we were stupid but the FS has a good reputation and we weren't to know.
Anyway we ran it for two weeks empty but with Quickstart in the water (single dose). We then got 2 bloodfin tetra about 1.5cm long without tail and ran it a further 2 weeks. I was using the dip strips and water looked good but with trace amounts of ammonia (everything else ideal).
After 2.5 weeks with the two tetra and aware they are schooling fish, and the bigger one was nipping the smaller one, we asked LFS if we could add more fish. They said yes. We bought 3 more bloodfin tetra, two v small (1cm) and 1 larger (1.5 cm, without tails all measurements). This was a week ago. I also bought the test kit that uses test tubes. This revealed ammonia at 1 ppm.

We have since done every other day measurements and 25% water changes. We can't get the ammonia down below 0.5 - 1ppm. The fish seem perfectly OK. What do we need to do different? The set up has now been running since 10th Oct so I would have expected the ammonia to have dropped naturally by now?

TreeSparrow Fri 13-Nov-15 21:26:50

Oh dear. Terrible advice from the shop. The tank is too small for bloodfin tetra in my opinion. 30 litres is only really suitable for some species of micro fish, or a single betta (Siamese fighting fish), or shrimp. Can you return the fish and start again? That way you should be able to cycle the tank in 2-3wks using pure ammonia (dosed in the tank) and using liquid test kits.

Test strips are crap. Notoriously inaccurate.

If you don't want to take the fish back you'll need to do a "fish in cycle". Google it and read up. Buy a good liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You'll need to test daily and do waste changes daily, following the fish-in cycle instructions. It'll take a while but your fish will be safer than they are right now. Fish in cycling is still pretty hard on the fish though. :-(

Squashybanana Fri 13-Nov-15 22:58:27

HI we have the liquid test kits which is showing between 0.5 and 1ppm of ammonia.
Annoyed with the fish shop (who said the fish won't grow much bigger than they are) to look online and see they will potentially grow to 5-6cm which is far too big for the tank.
Where can I get decent advice. I thought local independent fish shop would be good sad

TreeSparrow Sat 14-Nov-15 18:05:57

Google everything and plan it before you buy. I wouldn't take advice from any shop really. Always check adult size, best water parameters, group requirements, temperature suitability before making a purchase. You can join a fish keeping forum for advice. Practical Fishkeeping has a good one.

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