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Complicated Cycling Situation

This is a discussion on Complicated Cycling Situation within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Okay so tomorrow makes 1 week that I've had the 3 guppies. I did a 70% water change Wednesday night, just finsihed testing my ...

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Complicated Cycling Situation
Old 04-29-2012, 01:21 PM   #61
 
Okay so tomorrow makes 1 week that I've had the 3 guppies. I did a 70% water change Wednesday night, just finsihed testing my water(Sunday morning) and I'm still getting 0.50ppm of Ammonia. Nitrite is at 0ppm and Nitrate is at 5.0ppm. I'm starting to think that the Ammonia test in my test kit is defective.....
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:36 PM   #62
 
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Originally Posted by rolo View Post
Okay so tomorrow makes 1 week that I've had the 3 guppies. I did a 70% water change Wednesday night, just finsihed testing my water(Sunday morning) and I'm still getting 0.50ppm of Ammonia. Nitrite is at 0ppm and Nitrate is at 5.0ppm. I'm starting to think that the Ammonia test in my test kit is defective.....
Your test results look like mine except I have no ammonia in my tap water. Im on week 12 or 13 and Im not sure my tank has cycled either. Not sure what size tank you have but I've got a 150 with a small population of fish.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:46 PM   #63
 
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You will still get ammonia readings. Prime (and most other ammonia detoxifying products) work by changing ammonia into ammonium. Ammonium is basically harmless. The API test kit (and most others we aquarists use) reads ammonium as ammonia. So having used Prime you can be assured that the ammonia is actually ammonium.

[For the benefit of those reading, I'll explain a bit further. The same thing occurs with nitrite. Prime binds the nitrite somehow, making it non-toxic. But a nitrite test will still show it as nitrite. Prime is effective for 24-36 hours according to Seachem. So within this period, any "ammonia" or "nitrite" will be non-toxic. After this period, any ammonia or nitrite showing in tests will be toxic, which is why you do alternate day water changes using Prime until you get to zero for ammonia and nitrite during cycling.]

With live plants in the tank, or in a cycled tank, by the time Prime becomes ineffective in say 36 hours the ammonium will have been taken up by the plants and/or bacteria.

Another note, if the water is acidic (pH below 7), ammonia automatically changes to ammonium so there is again no toxic effect. Plants grab it fast. And nitrosomonas bacteria will take up ammonia/ammonium, whichever is present.

Byron.
Let me see if I understand this correctly. If the PH is below 7, I will read ammonia from my test kit but its not ammonia its ammonium? And ammonium is non-toxic to fish? So as long as my PH is below 7, my tank occupants are safe other than nitrites?
Now, Im confused
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:56 AM   #64
 
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Originally Posted by mikejp67 View Post
Let me see if I understand this correctly. If the PH is below 7, I will read ammonia from my test kit but its not ammonia its ammonium? And ammonium is non-toxic to fish? So as long as my PH is below 7, my tank occupants are safe other than nitrites?
Now, Im confused
Basically, yes...to your questions I mean, not to you being confused--though you may be that too.

Ammonia is a form of nitrogen, as is nitrite and nitrate. Dissolved in water, ammonia has two forms: one form is un-ionized ammonia [represented in the period table of elements as NH3] and the other is the ammonium ion [NH4+]. The value reported by our test kits (all but the scientific technical type) is the sum of both forms, what we term total ammonia or simply "ammonia." The relative proportion of the two forms present in water is highly affected by pH and temperature.

Un-ionized ammonia [NH3] is the toxic form and predominates when pH is high. Ammonium ion is relatively non-toxic and predominates when pH is low. In general, less than 10% of ammonia is in the toxic form when pH is less than 8.0 pH units, but this is more than enough to affect aquatic life. This proportion increases dramatically as pH increases.

The equilibrium between NH3 and NH4+ is also affected by temperature. At any pH, more toxic ammonia is present in warmer water than in cooler water. This is another reason for maintaining the aquarium water temperature in the lower end of the preferred range for each fish species.

The chart below from AquariumWiki illustrates this; unfortunately the forum software will not allow extra spaces between text, so the chart is a bit jumbled, but you should be able to decipher it.

% Percent of ammonia from 'total ammonia'
Temp C/F pH 6.5 pH 7.0 pH 7.5 pH 7.7 pH 8.0 pH 8.5
20C (68F) 0.125 0.395 1.239 1.95 3.81 11.15
25C (77F) 0.179 0.565 1.766 2.77 5.380 15.242
28C (82F) 0.221 0.696 2.170 3.396 6.55 18.156
30C (86F) 0.253 0.798 2.482 3.78 7.450 20.292

Consequently, at the normal aquarium temperature of 77F, "ammonium" testing at .5ppm will have only .179% in its toxic form, but at a pH of 7.5 it will have 1.766% toxic. This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is.

The majority of ammonia detoxifiers, such as the conditioner Prime, detoxify ammonia by binding it such that it becomes ammonium.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 05-01-2012 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:01 PM   #65
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Basically, yes...to your questions I mean, not to you being confused--though you may be that too.

Ammonia is a form of nitrogen, as is nitrite and nitrate. Dissolved in water, ammonia has two forms: one form is un-ionized ammonia [represented in the period table of elements as NH3] and the other is the ammonium ion [NH4+]. The value reported by our test kits (all but the scientific technical type) is the sum of both forms, what we term total ammonia or simply "ammonia." The relative proportion of the two forms present in water is highly affected by pH and temperature.

Un-ionized ammonia [NH3] is the toxic form and predominates when pH is high. Ammonium ion is relatively non-toxic and predominates when pH is low. In general, less than 10% of ammonia is in the toxic form when pH is less than 8.0 pH units, but this is more than enough to affect aquatic life. This proportion increases dramatically as pH increases.

The equilibrium between NH3 and NH4+ is also affected by temperature. At any pH, more toxic ammonia is present in warmer water than in cooler water. This is another reason for maintaining the aquarium water temperature in the lower end of the preferred range for each fish species.

The chart below from AquariumWiki illustrates this; unfortunately the forum software will not allow extra spaces between text, so the chart is a bit jumbled, but you should be able to decipher it.

% Percent of ammonia from 'total ammonia'
Temp C/F pH 6.5 pH 7.0 pH 7.5 pH 7.7 pH 8.0 pH 8.5
20C (68F) 0.125 0.395 1.239 1.95 3.81 11.15
25C (77F) 0.179 0.565 1.766 2.77 5.380 15.242
28C (82F) 0.221 0.696 2.170 3.396 6.55 18.156
30C (86F) 0.253 0.798 2.482 3.78 7.450 20.292

Consequently, at the normal aquarium temperature of 77F, "ammonium" testing at .5ppm will have only .179% in its toxic form, but at a pH of 7.5 it will have 1.766% toxic. This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is.

The majority of ammonia detoxifiers, such as the conditioner Prime, detoxify ammonia by binding it such that it becomes ammonium.

Byron.
Well, that explains why I had a ammonia reading of 2.0 this afternoon and all my fish were swimming like normal. BTW, I just did a 75% WC after I saw that 2.0 reading
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