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Confused about cycling and ammonia levels

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Confused about cycling and ammonia levels
Old 11-28-2009, 06:38 PM   #21
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by long time fish luver View Post
hey im new to the forum how do u stary a conversation
im sorry im interupting
I've PM'd in response. Byron.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:50 PM   #22
 
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By the color of green your ammonia test came out I'd definitely do a good water change.

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this: I'd check the ammonia level of your tap water (I have about 1ppm of ammonia in my tap water and it altered my test results) but if you're using the ammonia treatment (prime) it's probably ammonium...harmless to fish and beneficial to plants.

I agree about the frequent water changes...I didn't do fishless cycling (practically fishless, though) and I checked my water every day. Doing it this way (and changing water as needed) I never had an ammonia spike or a nitrite spike. (I also used Smart Start live bacteria and it worked wonders).
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:31 PM   #23
 
Question

I hadn't checked my tap water for ammonia, so thanks for suggesting that. I did just test it, though, and the result was 0.

Not surprisingly, I'm still a little confused about the ammonia level in my tank.

I believe it has only tested at zero once, ever since then it has had some green in it. So, if the level is around .25, it is probably the ammonium and I shouldn't worry about changing the water?

I don't know if I'm color blind or what, but I have a really hard time determining which shade my water matches on the card, especially the smalll difference between .25 and .50. 0 is obvious, because it is yellow. 1.0 is obvious, because it is green. The two in between are so close (to my eyes, anyway) that I can barely tell a difference...
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:01 PM   #24
 
I just did a full water test again.

Ph: ~7.2
Ammonia: .25-.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The ammonia seems to never really change. I have done about four 50% water changes and get the same result for ammonia immediately after each water change (using Prime) and later the same day. I'm guessing/hoping that this is just the ammonium.

Are you referring to the Kordon Smart Start set with the two bottles? I was going to get this, but I read on one of the bottles that it is not compatible with a certain kind of testing kit. I asked someone at Petco if the API kit was that kind and their answer was "you don't need that, just get regular water conditioner" (i.e. "I don't know"), so I got Prime, since it was recommended. Now I know that API is a salicylate-based test, I could have gotten the Smart Start. Can I use Smart Start and Prime, or should I use one or the other. I'm willing to do anything to get the nitrogen cycle started.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:45 AM   #25
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paxt0n View Post
I just did a full water test again.

Ph: ~7.2
Ammonia: .25-.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The ammonia seems to never really change. I have done about four 50% water changes and get the same result for ammonia immediately after each water change (using Prime) and later the same day. I'm guessing/hoping that this is just the ammonium.

Are you referring to the Kordon Smart Start set with the two bottles? I was going to get this, but I read on one of the bottles that it is not compatible with a certain kind of testing kit. I asked someone at Petco if the API kit was that kind and their answer was "you don't need that, just get regular water conditioner" (i.e. "I don't know"), so I got Prime, since it was recommended. Now I know that API is a salicylate-based test, I could have gotten the Smart Start. Can I use Smart Start and Prime, or should I use one or the other. I'm willing to do anything to get the nitrogen cycle started.
I have used (and thus will recommend) Seachem's "Stability" which is 100% live bacteria. There are some other biological supplements, just make sure they are 100% bacteria and not chemicals. They jump-start the bacteria. And yes, they can be used with Prime (the bacteria ones); Prime detoxifies ammonia by changing it to ammonium which bacteria will use.

Byron.
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:09 PM   #26
 
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What seems to be generally available at both of my fish stores is Tetra Safe Start (not smart start what i said before). And by the way, I've learned to always do my research BEFORE going to the pet store, ESPECIALLY Petco/PetSmart. They never really know but they sound like they know. My LFS will sell me anything without telling me anything about the fish. They're rarely helpful, I try to know what I'm looking for (exactly) before I go. Believe me, I've learned this the hard way. And the Cycle, non-refridgerated cycling solution never did anything for my tank.

The way I use the Safe Start is that I dump half the bottle in the tank and half of it in the filter so it passes right through the bio filter. I don't know if it makes a difference or not. Or you might want to save half the bottle and add it a few days later because the bacteria will only survive if there's enough ammonia and nitrite to sustain them.

I know what you mean about the shades of green...i find the same thing between the nitrate levels. Frustrating.

Water changes don't hurt, so if you want t o get that ammonia level down (even if it is ammonium), why not do one? Do you have live plants in it? As Byron has mentioned before, plants absorb ammonium as well as some ammonia so live plants are always helpful with establishing a safe environment for fish. (Not to mention, when the plants grow, they provide lots of shelter for fish and other creatures).

Hope this helps, and be thankful that you can't tell the difference between .25ppm and .5ppm...at least it's that low! (I remember the time I tested a quarantine tank with my pleco and was horrified when for the first time the ammonia was a clear dark green, definitely all the way to 1ppm).
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:26 PM   #27
 
Thanks again for the suggestions and help.

Not surprisingly, the Petco down the street from me did not have Seachem Stability. So, I started looking at other ones. One was Nite Out, which said it contained all of the bacteria needed (all the nitro/nitra bacteria). I don't remember what the other one was called (maybe Smart Balance, or something like that), but it was what you were supposed to use before the Nite Out.

I made the unwise decision of asking someone. Of course, she didn't know, so she asked someone else. He said "Oh yeah. We use that stuff, but it smells like rotten eggs. We only do it at night cuz it stinks the whole store up so bad." He then recommended Stress Zyme or the "brand name", which is what he called the Nutrafin.

I ended up getting Nutrafin Cycle. Even though my aquarium isn't brand new, I started with the Day 1 dosing and put the Day 2 dosing in this evening.

Ever since my last water change, I've been getting the exact same test results, which were the same before the water change, too....

The ammonia is staying a very, very light green and nitrites and nitrates are zero.

I'm assuming, if I got the right stuff, that the bacteria will start "eating" the ammonia and create nitrites, which is when I should see the nitrites start to go up?

I have noticed that the water looks great and so do the fish, so everything appears good. I'm just confused, as usual, about what is going on, since nothing is changing...
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:52 PM   #28
 
By the way...

I see a lot of people mentioning LFS. What is that? An abbreviation for a store I dont know about?
I'm originally from the Midwest, but in Seattle now. The only stores I'm familiar with are Petco and PetSmart, although I did come across a Super Petz Warehouse in Augusta, GA. Everything was SOOOO cheap there. That's when I realized how much of a rip-off Petco and PetSmart are...

Ive been to The Fish Store here. Not sure if it is a chain or not. I'd like to find a local place, but Petco is only about five blocks from me.
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:34 AM   #29
 
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LFS is simply an abbreviation for local fish store. So no specific chain.
Hey be blessed I don't even have Petco & Petsmart around me lol. Just search online and keep your eyes open while out & about to find a store. What I found VERY helpful and good in the past is these little bitty stores operated directly by owners that are specialized in fish only, I pref them over the big chain's any day of the week (they also seem to have a healthier fish selection IMO).
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:21 AM   #30
 
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Paxton, looking through some fish classifieds here for stores for myself, came across this one, maybe it close enough to you bluesierraexotics.com
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