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The Ammonia Spike

Water Quality

If your fish are struggling, test your ammonia levels with a test kit. If you have an ammonia spike, here are some things you can do to help correct the problem right away:

  • Do a 20% water change with dechlorinated water and continue to do this every day until the ammonia level drops.  The best ways to dechlorinate the water are to let it sit in a bucket a few days or to use a product like Seachem, which also removes ammonia.  Be careful with other chlorine removers as these can also kill the valuable bacteria you are in need of.

  • Test the water daily for ammonia levels.  If they remain high, you'll need to change more water.

  • Keep good aeration in the tank to help develop bacteria.

  • Avoid using medications, as these kill bacteria.

  • Don't feed your fish at all if your ammonia readings are high, as this will cut down on the ammonia that the fish produce.

  • Don't clean the gravel. You want to promote bacteria and gravel is an excellent location for this.

  • Don't change your filter material.  Allow bacteria to develop there.