Ammonia with no fish in the tank...

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Ammonia with no fish in the tank...

Post by Jmstrizich » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:07 pm

I have a 75 gallon aquarium that had a filter from an established tank, been cycling for 3 weeks, and rocks found in the desert. There were no fish so how can the ammonia be at 1 ppm? My water source has no ammonia and there are only rocks in the aquarium. Rocks? I can't find anything online that explains this. The rocks were washed clean. Any ideas? I added fish after 3 weeks, 2 minutes after I added them I decided just to check the ammonia and traces were found. How is this possible and why haven't the bacteria from my biological filter removed it yet? This tank overall has been set up for over a month and I have two filters. Water changes don't even phase this ammonia at all. The fish seem perfectly content and the PH is 7.8.

Main question is why was there ammonia in an aquarium with no fish and no debris?

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Re: Ammonia with no fish in the tank...

Post by SergeS » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:21 am

If the filter came from a well stocked tank, there may have been too many bacteria in the filter - assuming they were still alive to start with, as they start dying within hours after the filter has been shut off.

In a brand new tank, the bacteria did not get any "food", and a large part would have died, causing ammonia to be found in the tank. When the ammonia is gone, try adding a little bit (!) of food, such as flakes, daily. As it will not get eaten by the fish, it will serve nicely as food for the surviving bacteria, and the colony will start to grow once more.

The effectiveness of using a filter from an established tank to start up a brand new tank - initially without fish - is doubtful to say the least, because of the lack of food for the bacteria. It probably works better when you need to "kickstart" a tank, by putting in fish very quickly after filling.

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