Originally Posted by trishalove
After I posted this yesterday I tested the water again and found that there was a slight bit of ammonia. I am using the Seachem free ammonia test since there is bound ammonia in my tap water. The free ammonia test is difficult to read but showed a slight discoloration of the sensor. I'd say it was under .25 ppm. I went out and bought Prime and SafeStart. I changed 50% of the water - double dosed on Prime and added the bottle of SafeStart.
My fish were shortly thereafter very happy. Even the Platy came out. Just got home from work and they still are swimming around happily and even ate some.
Now, I just tested the water and there is still some slight ammonia and 0 nitrates. The ph of the tap water and the tank are both 7.6 - although the tap water is slightly darker blue color.
Now with the API ammonia test:
Tap water .25 ppm
Tank water .50 ppm
With Seachem free ammonia test:
Tap water 0
Tank water: slight discoloration
So I am going to assume here that there is most likely .25 ppm ammonia in the tank.
My question now is - if I do another water change, is this going to affect the SafeStart that I added yesterday? I hate to wait to see my fish suffering again before doing a water change.
I have 2 small live plants - been in for 5 days just like the fish, sand substrate.
This is stressful!
Thanks for your help!
You're welcome. Now, first thing to recognize is how Prime works in relation to your tests. Prime detoxifies ammonia by binding it to form ammonium. It also binds nitrite, differently. In both cases, the resulting bound ammonia/nitrite will still register in test kits as ammonia or nitrite respectively. But in both cases, the substances are bound and not harming fish. So don't worry about reading either after a water change.
Second, Prime is effective for 36-48 hours, according to Seachem. After that, the ammonia/nitrite if any is present will revert to the toxic form. This is why we recommend daily partial water changes until both read zero.
Third, ammonium is taken up by most aquarium plants as their preferred form of nitrogen. So with live plants, and especially fast-growing stem plants and floating plants, the ammonia from the fish and breakdown of organics will quickly be grabbed by the plants and changed into ammonium for their use. The ammonia in the tap water is not a concern with plants, and using a conditioner that detoxifies ammonia (and all of them do so by changing it to ammonium) will deal with the initial influx in the tap water and the plants will then take it up.
SafeStart is fine, it is 100% live bacteria so use it as directed and use it up; by which I mean don't stop using it if there is any left in the bottle, because it quickly becomes ineffective once the bottle is opened. So putting the opened bottle on the shelf to use next time in say 3 months is pointless as it will be totally useless. This product will help seed the nitrifying bacteria; the formula is the first one discovered/prepared by Dr. Tim Hovanec, and he sold the rights to Tetra. He now has another product he markets on his own, the Dr. Tim's One and Only that another member mentioned. I can't say if the newer product is that much better, but Dr. Hovanec says it will instantly cycle a fish tank, so given his expert knowledge as a chemist i must assume it will. But the SafeStart will still work to establish the bacteria. [Hope this hasn't confused too much.