How Do I Lower Ammonia Level In My Aquarium?

How Do I Lower Ammonia Level In My Aquarium

Ammonia is one of those compounds you should never allow to accumulate in your aquarium. It is one of those compounds that can make the aquarium inhabitable for your fish and seriously affect the state of their health. Considering the severity of ammonia accumulation in your tank, you should do everything possible to keep its level low in your fish tank.

To lower the ammonia level carry out a weekly change of a certain percentage of your aquarium water. Likewise, you should remove and prevent the accumulation of organic wastes in your tank. You can also lower the pH of the tank to boost the result.

No fish love to have a high concentration of ammonia in their tank. It can cause a lot of damage to their body system. However, you can quickly curb the severity of ammonia in the aquarium by carrying out simple maintenance steps. You should also pay attention to the fact that a high concentration of ammonia can be a big problem in tanks with live plants.

Effects Of High Ammonia Concentration On Your Fish Tanks

Ammonia buildup in the tank is a gradual process. It primarily results from the breakdown of fish metabolism and the decomposition of organic wastes. High ammonia levels in containers can be enhanced by overpopulation in fish tanks and high pH levels.

Ammonia is a very toxic compound in freshwater tanks. It can even be more virulent in saltwater environments. Also, when present in a lower amount, ammonia can cause severe stress to fish.

Stress alone has a lot of grave consequences on the well-being of your fishes. Aside from the fact that it can single-handedly shorten their life span, it can significantly reduce their resistance to disease and infections; and this consequently makes your fish vulnerable.

Likewise, a high level of ammonia can have a detrimental effect on the growth level of your fish, mainly fry. This impact is because an elevated ammonia level causes a significant loss of appetite in fish. Fish in their growing stage especially fry needs to feed as much as possible to grow well.

Also, a high ammonia level in the tank can lead to ammonia poisoning. Ammonia poisoning on its own can be lethal to the health of the fish. Consequently, ammonia poisoning can lead to the death of the affected fish population.

Other health implication of high ammonia content in the tank include; inflamed gills, inflamed eyes, pink or red gills, failure in bodily functions, clamped fins, deterioration in the tissues of fishes, damage to the organs and nervous system of the fish, and in extreme cases can lead to the death of fish.


How To Detect High Ammonia Level In Your Tank

Before anything else, you need to learn how to detect the presence of a high ammonia level in your tank. Taking fast action can mitigate the effect of high ammonia levels on your fish, and these quick actions are dependent on how soon you can detect the problem.

One of the signs to look out for in your tank is how your fish feeds. High ammonia content in the aquarium can lead to loss of appetite in most species of fishes. Also, you suspect the presence of high ammonia content in your tank if your fish keep surfacing to the top of the container more than it usually does.

The fish in a tank with high ammonia content can also observe some uncomfortable changes in their body structure. For instance, their eyes can become inflamed, their gills can become inflamed, and they can have a pink coloration around their gills. These symptoms can lead to some significant health complications like labored breathing.

If you are not sure with these signs fish give, you can use more definitive measure test kits. These test kits can either be test strips or liquid test kits. These test kits can tell you precisely the amount of ammonia you have in your tank. Consequently, the kits will quickly tell you if you have higher ammonia in your tank than necessary.

How Do You Get Rid Of Ammonia In Your Tank

Anytime you find out that you have a higher concentration of ammonia in your tank than usual, you don’t have any reason to panic. Getting rid of excess ammonia is very easy. It is even more comfortable if you discover on time before it becomes a real problem for your fish.

Ways you can get rid of excess ammonia in your tank include;

  • Do a regular partial [at least 30%] water change.
  • Vacuum your gravel.
  • Get rid of all organic waste in your tank. The organic waste can include; unconsumed food, infected plants, and even fish waste.
  • Evacuate any dead fish from the tank immediately.
  • Unclog your filter to allow free flow of water.
  • Do not overfeed your fish. Ensure that you only feed them with the food they can consume and finish within a short period.
  • Avoid overcrowding your tank to avoid excess organic fish waste in the tank.
  • Allow more aeration in the tank to prevent ammonia from staying.
  • You can also add some neutralizing drops to the tank. This method does not directly remove the ammonia; instead, it eliminates all toxic effects of the compound in the tank.
  • You should also lower the pH of your tank because it is easier for ammonia to accumulate at higher concentrations.


The first thing to take note about allowing ammonia to accumulate in your tank is that it can be lethal even in small quantities. Its effects can become more severe as the concentration increases over time if you do nothing. Therefore, it is essential to know how to identify and get rid of excess ammonia in the tank.

Getting rid of ammonia in the tank is quite easy, especially in the early stages, before it becomes very complicated. A simple regular cleaning exercise and partial water changes will go a long way in getting rid of the excess ammonia.

Overall, you should understand that prevention is better than cure. It would be best if you can prevent ammonia from accumulating in your tank at all.


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