07-04-2009, 09:22 AM
| || |
After three months the tank should not be in the first stage (ammonia) of cycling, so there is a problem somewhere. As previous replies have mentioned, have you tested your tap water? Some areas have high ammonia in the municipal water. Three fish in a 30g will not be causing ammonia that the bacteria cannot handle by now unless something else is occurring. However, the Amquel should handle that, especially with daily water changes.
A partial water change once every week is standard permanent maintainance, so don't get below this. I don't know about the ammonia detector you mention, but I would suggest a good test kit (liquid) like the API. Or take a sample of tank water to your lfs to test, most stores will do this for you if you are a regular customer. Your readings may not be accurate, and this certainly needs to be resolved.
On your question of ammonia/ammonium, ammonia is highly toxic and ammonium is not. Test kits available to aquarists like the API read both as "ammonia' and both are consumed by noitrosomonas bacteria as part of the normal nitrogen cycle. So ammonia or ammonium should have no effect on test kits or cycling. It does matter to the fish however, as ammonia (which occurs in acidic water but not in alkaline) will not harm the fish. However, the nitrite (the second stage of the nitrogen cycle) is also toxic, so it is not wise to just ignore things because it is ammonium.