fw:HELP! High CO2 and Ammonia (Causes and Cures)

From Jayme Donnelly.

---forwarded message---->

To: Aquatic-Plants <Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com>
From: Jayme Donnelly <Jayme_Donnelly%BOND__NOTES at notes_worldcom.com>
Date: 12 Jul 95 17:38:30 EDT
Subject: HELP! High CO2 and Ammonia (Causes and Cures)
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From: stevensj at calshp_cals.wisc.edu
Subject: HELP! High CO2

>But ... I came home at lunchtime & found the tank looking cloudy,
>CO2 >40 ppm again and the fire-eel & angelfish dead, kuhli loach,
>3 corydoras catfish & two small guppies (the only other tank 
>inhabitants) still alive & quite active.
>I wondered if maybe the tap water I used to do the water change (since
>I had no RO water on hand) had caused the cloudiness. I had used
>Tetra Aqua Safe One Step chlorine, chloramine, toxic ammonia remover.
>I added a polyfilter to the tank & changed one of the carbons in
>one of the two aquclear 150 powerfilters.
>The pH is 7.0-7.2, as it was this morning.
>Nitrites were zero this morning, now it is 0.25ppm
>and ammonia was zero this morning, now it is 0.1 ppm, presumeably
>due to my excessive waterchanges which upset the biological
>filtration, or possibly because high CO2 killed bioloogical filtration
>and/or fish, elevating these levels.
>I removed the dead fish & tried to catch the remaining fish but could 
>only catch one of the corydoras catfish (it is a heavily planted tank).
>Please could someone help me figure out what's going on & how to
>fix it.  The only change to the tank recently was a 10% water change on 
>Sunday using tap water that had been soaked in a bucket with peat for 
>2 days and addition of a large aponogeton (elongatus) plant from another tank.

There appear to be two problems, too much CO2 and Ammonia/Nitrite 

TRY:  I would immediately  lower the PH to BELOW 7.0 to *reduce* the 
toxicity level of the Ammonia (I would say 6.7-6.7).  Ammonia is less toxic 
at lower PH levels (below 7.0).

*Minimize* the water changes.  Water changes will temporarily help, BUT
in the long run it aggrevate the problem (which is what you are seeing).

Suspend use of your CO2 injector completely for now.  You also need to 
keep the surface of the water to be very turbulant to encourage exchange
of O2 and CO2 (to reduce the CO2 levels).  Use as much Aeration on the
tank as you can with Aerators.  Borrow another Aerator if you can.  

Also, Even though the tank is heavily planted, try temporarily adding 
more plants.  Plants (as you know) eat/consume *both* CO2 and 
Ammonium.  You need to reduce both of these.  Plants are better at 
processing/comsuming Ammonium than Ammonia, so this is another 
reason to lower the PH. Ammonia becomes Ammonium below PH 7.0.

NOTE:  The Nitro-Bacter (good Bacteria for the Nitrogen Cycle) need 
Oxygen too, and since your tank appears to be low on Oxygen and high on 
CO2, then the Nitro-Bacter will start dying, and then Ammonia will appear.  
If you could see the Nitro-Bacter with your naked eye, they would be reacting
the same way your fish are, gasping for breath and dying off).

Making water changes aggrevated the situation by diluting the percentage
(amount) of Nitro-Bacter in the water.  

If you didn't rinse the Carbon Insert/Cartridge for the Powerfilter, that will 
introduce Carbon Dust into the water, which creates Carbonic Acid. Yuk!
The CO2 Levels and Ammonia Levels problems are inter-related for the
reasons mentioned above.

"Heaven  = Fish + Magic (more than a card game) + Music + Shopping + Cars"
jayme_donnelly at percussion_com