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don't normally post on here, p forum uk normally, i would only recommend Ammo lock in emergency's only, messes with test results for ages ! I have used Ammo Chips before and have more confidence with them....... just my opinion like

1,919 Posts
i have used it...it does work....after a few day you will still have wrong ammonia readings. do not treat them!!

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About Karen Fields

I own and maintain a large number of tanks with many various tropical fish species. During my fishkeeping past I have learned a lot of the myths and truths about tropical fish care. Currently I keep a wide range of species and have a lot of experience in; Severum cichlids, gouramis, platies, goldfish, bettas, tetras, paradise fish, Angelfish, Corydoras catfish, and many others. If you have a question on tropical fish keeping I`ll be sure to answer it in the simplest way I can, and if I don`t know the answer, I`ll research the answer for you. Happy fish keeping!

I have experience in setting up fish tanks, what to feed certain species, compatible species in my experience, cleaning the tank,
and all around tropical fish care. I also have learned the truth of many of the myths of tropical fish keeping in the past.
Happy fishkeeping!

You are here: Experts > Animals/Pets > Pet Fish > Freshwater Aquarium > Ammonia Problem

Topic: Freshwater Aquarium


Expert: Karen Fields
Date: 6/18/2006
Subject: Ammonia Problem

We have a 55 gallon fish tank. We had it set up for 2 months and had an ammonia problem. So we started all over. We've had it set up for 1 1/2 months. We are having an ammonia problem. Nothing we do seems to get rid of the ammonia. We do water changes, but it seems to us if we continue to do water changes all of our good bacteria will be gone.

Please help. Any suggestions or what are we doing wrong. Our fish are not dying at this point, but we just can't figure out what to do.

Thank you,


Dear Tricia, I apologize for responding so late. It's been very busy around here...
Your aquarium may not have completed cycling/or establishing the beneficial bacteria yet. What is best when you start up an aquarium is to only add 4-5 small hardy fish and go through the whole beneficial bacterial establishment before adding any other fish or aquatic life. In a established aquarium, ammonia should be-0 and nitrite-0 and nitrates reasonable.

*~Water changes are ESSENTIAL when ammonia is present and doing so does not disrupt the bacterial colonies growth. The reason there is so much ammonia is not enough bacteria are colonized to deal with the high levels and hence a water change is in order. Sometimes it is said by aquarists that too high an ammonia level can hamper beneficial bacterial developtment.

You must do 30-50% water changes anytime your ammonia or nitrite are above safe bounds. How high is your ammonia? What levels are your nitrite and nitrate ate? This would really help.

Just do 30-50% water changes when levels are above safe bounds but don't disturb the gravel or filter during cycling

Could your water conditioner also neutralize ammonia and cause false readings on your test kit? Let me know what water conditioner you use. Some ammonia neutalizing water conditioners are only compatible with test kits with a certain ingredient in them.

All I can really say is continue cycling your aquarium,do water changes when neccesary, test everyday, check your water conditioner, and hope for the best. Remember sometimes tap water contains ammonia when water conditioners break the chloramine bond and leave ammonia. If you find the conditioned new aquarium water contains ammonia, you have been adding ammonia to the tank! This can happen, but fortunately the water conditioners that remove or neutralize ammonia along with neutralizing chlorine/chloramines and heavy metals, will solve this problem.

Best wishes and I really hope this helps!

Karen~ best of luck!

Sorry to jump in on your thread Karl, but since we are talking about Ammo Lock here I just had to ask. I read this somewhere on the internet. Is Ammo Lock one of these water conditioners that "leave" ammonia? Ammo Lock is the one I am using now.

Nurses Do It Better
10,000 Posts
i have used AmQuel in my tank before. Has anyone else here ever used it? If so, what did you think about it?
Amquel and Ammo-Lock will both give false readings in only Nessler based test kits, meaning if your ammonia test kit only contains one bottle. If your test kit contains 2 bottles it is not a false reading but your actual ammonia reading, just in a detoxed state. This will be gone once your filter's nitrifying bacteria catches up.
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