Jump to content

Help - Ammonia slowly rising


Recommended Posts


I have a 36gal aquarium for about two months. I have 2 guppies, 1 male 1 female, 1 coridora emerald and around 8 guppies fries. I feed them once a day a few flocks for guppies and a couple of pellets for the cori. The water has been cloudy, but it cleared by itself now. I have a Fluval canister 207 with the media that comes with plus polish pads that I add. I've done a couple of 50% water changes and washed the media with tank water.

Ammonia levels are slowly rising while Nitrites and Nitrates are 0. Here are my last two readings with the API test kit:

                April 9          April 17

Temp -      78.0            77.9

ph -            7.4              7.8

Ammonia - 0.5            2.0

Nitrite -      0                  0

Nitrate -     0                  0

GH -          18               19

KH -           6                  7

What am I doing wrong and how can I solve this?


Thank you for your time and help.


P.S. - In case you haven't noticed...I'm a very big amateur/newbie/rookie. 🙂

WhatsApp Image 2022-04-17 at 8.00.17 PM.jpeg

Edited by MarcoS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The cloudiness was probably heterotrophic bacteria. They show up when there's too much organic carbon in the water which is common new tanks. Heterotrophs also eat ammonia and outcompete the nitrifying bacteria you want for resources. My guess is your cycle didnt establish because of the heterotrophs.

Or it's possible the media washing  took out your bacteria. But you'd have to wash it decently hard for that to happen which I'm guessing wasn't the case.

Since you have fish in the tank make sure you keep up with water changes and watch them for any unusually behavior. If you see them hanging out at the top and sticking their noses out the water, that means there's enough ammonia to make it hard for them to breath and an extra water change is needed. At pH 7.8, my dwarf guppies start do this at about 1ppm on the API ammonia test.

Edit: oh, and feed very lightly. More feed = more ammonia. And don't be afraid to skip a day or three of feeding if water changes can't keep up.

Edited by modified lung
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have a local fish store see if they’ll sell you some already seeded media for your filtration. The next best option would be a piece of wood or rock in their tanks. A lot of stores sell anubias on driftwood and this can be helpful. 
Your tank has no plants and I’d recommend getting some. You have the choice of doing some easy plants like Valisineria, Amazon swords, Aponogetons, dwarf aquarium Lilly or red tiger lotus which will use ammonia as well as nitrogenous waste. There’s also the lucky bamboo method see @dasaltemelosguy

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What you want to do is daily 50% daily water changes and dose prime till your ammonia reaches zero keep testing when you notice it get above .25 do a 50% water change you can also try and get holed of some seeded filter live plants like @Beardedbillygoat1975 suggested you could add  some floating  plant such as Amazonian frogbit or dwarf water lettuce will also help  

Edited by Colu
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Step 1: stop washing your media. Unless you have SIGNIFICANTLY reduced flow, never do this again. 

The only thing you should do with your media is replace the floss pad. Other than that, leave it alone. Don't touch it. 

Edited by AndEEss
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with @AndEEss,  and besides stop washing media, throw the crap away that came with the filter (bio max I think) and put course foam in it's place. Course foam is a MUCH better bio media. Oh, and you don't need the carbon either. 

My guess also is you killed the cycle by washing media too much. Or of course it never really quite got going. It really does take a long time. Sometimes up to 8 weeks to finish. 

If you stop using "polishing pads" too and only use foam you won't have to open that canister for months at a time. 

All that brown gook in there is good and as long as it flows you are in awesome shape. 

I love this video that Cory made about foam, the SAME concept applies to canisters too. This video should take place of all that replaceable filter crap at Petco.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...