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 Post subject: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 01:58 
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I started an ebb and flow system and I cant seem to manage the Ammonia levels. It has been running now for just under 3 weeks. I have the stock tank filled with about 100 feeder fish and some crawdads. Here are my water levels over the last couple of days. Temp: 65- pH: 7.4- Ammonia:4.0 ppm- Nitrite: 0.0- Nitrates: 0.0. I did a 50% water change two days ago and the Ammonia levels still will not drop. I understand there should be a spike in ammonia initially, but after a huge water change I would think the ammonia levels would drop even a little. I am making sure there is no extra food and I remove any dead fish. My veggies are growing so I know the Nitrogen Cycle is starting. Any advice would be much appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 08:31 
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stop feeding for now,
did you get a nitrite spike? how big is your tank and growbed? how big are the "feeder" fish? a huge water change with chlorinated water could interupt cycling expecially at the early stages, my first system took over 4 weeks to cycle, more like 6 weeks

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 Post subject: Re: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 08:46 
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jtball85 wrote:
I started an ebb and flow system and I cant seem to manage the Ammonia levels. It has been running now for just under 3 weeks. I have the stock tank filled with about 100 feeder fish and some crawdads. Here are my water levels over the last couple of days. Temp: 65- pH: 7.4- Ammonia:4.0 ppm- Nitrite: 0.0- Nitrates: 0.0. I did a 50% water change two days ago and the Ammonia levels still will not drop. I understand there should be a spike in ammonia initially, but after a huge water change I would think the ammonia levels would drop even a little. I am making sure there is no extra food and I remove any dead fish. My veggies are growing so I know the Nitrogen Cycle is starting. Any advice would be much appreciated!



I suggest with 0 nitrate and high ammonia the Nitrifcation process has NOT started, I suggest doing a lot of reading here, a 3 week old system will not handle those stocking levels as the filtration hasnt started yet.....

Stop feeding, wait for the Nitrite spike to go through, then when ammo and ites are 0 begin feeding again very lightly and monitor spikes.

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 Post subject: Re: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 09:21 
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How much aeration do you have in your tank? Oxygen is a key component to ammonia to nitrate conversion. Try putting a couple of airstones in your tank and if oxygen is the "missing link", you should see nitrites 1-2 days later...

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 Post subject: Re: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 09:52 
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First off thank you for all the advice, I really appreciate it!

I do have lots of aeration going. I have 3 air stones and great aeration from my beds draining.

I have been doing a great deal of reading on this forum!! I slowly changed out the water to allow the chlorine to off gas. I cleaned the tank and put 15 to 20 (1 & 2in.) feeder fish back in. I have definitely stopped feeding and am waiting for the Nitrite spike.

I have a 320 gl tank and 2 grow beds each 3x3 ft. my pump can do 3000 L/hr and I have it on a 15 on 45 off cycle. My veggies are growing pretty quickly; with my water level off so much I'm impressed!

I'm over here in California, completely impressed with the way you guys are on the leading edge of Aquaponics. It has become an obsession of mine and I am trying to learn as much as I can. I have started a sustainable living blog and am trying to push methods such as aquaponic systems. Please check it out and let me know what you think. Critique is always welcome. Once again thank you for the help. I will be asking many more questions soon!!


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 Post subject: Re: High Ammonia Levels
PostPosted: Jun 19th, '11, 10:24 
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You might want to try pumping constantly for a while as well, and knowing that you will most likely be having a nitrite spike coming soon, you might want to salt the system to help the fish.

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