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High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish!

This is a discussion on High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> i could be wrong but............when ammonia is turned into ammonium(sp??) is is no longer toxic(not sure if ammonium is toxic at higher levels) however ...

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High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish!
Old 11-14-2009, 08:32 PM   #11
 
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i could be wrong but............when ammonia is turned into ammonium(sp??) is is no longer toxic(not sure if ammonium is toxic at higher levels) however it will still read as ammonia on the test. i am not sure if there is a way of telling if it is one or the other......if ammonia readings are over a certain # then you no it is ammonia and not ammonium????? that i do not know.....does my rambling make sence?? i cant think of any other way to word it....
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:37 PM   #12
 
Yeah it makes sense, and was kinda what I was thinking too. I read somewhere that if the pH is below 7, then its converted to ammonium, but if its over 7 then its ammonia. Mine is at 7.6. I also don't know how to tell the difference between the two!

I've also read about products like Biospira, SafeStart, and Stability that add bacteria to the tank. Anyone had luck with these, and are they safe to use with the fish in it?
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:46 PM   #13
 
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i used safestart when i first started my tank as i know this one is actual live bacteria and not something compounded...im not sure about the rest. while waiting for you to reply i found mention of a product on another forum called seachem ammonia test. supposidly this test will only test for TRUE ammonia reading and not that of ammonium. Sounds like the folks who have used this product that were getting reading of ammonia using testkits such as API, which will give you ammonia readings even if it is ammonium, have had good results with differentiating between the two.....i DID NOT find out if ammonium was toxic at any level. If i were you i would look into trying the seachem ammonia test before i adding anything other then your water conditioner to the tank. Again, i have no personal exp. with this particular seachem product, i am only speaking from reading about other who have. Maybe someone on here as used it and can give you their personal opinion
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:52 PM   #14
 
Thanks for doing a bit of research for me, I appreciate it! :D

That seachem test thing might be why my in tank constant reader has a different reading...I just looked it up (have the Seachem Ammonia Alert located Seachem. Ammonia Alert) and apparently that reads ONLY free (toxic) ammonia. That one isn't as accurate (gives a range instead) and has me sitting between .05 and .2 ... here I thought it was just defective! I will definitely have to look into the test that they have to get some more specific readings.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:59 PM   #15
 
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if your seachem ammonia alert is reading at 0.05 and 0.2ppm then you should be ok so long as this is accurate. Much better then 4.0ppm!!!!!!!!!!!!! but if at anytime my API test shows more then 0.25ppm ammonia i do daily changes until it is down to 0 then go baack to the weekly changes
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:03 PM   #16
 
Well then maybe that's the reason I've been stressing out more than my fish!! lol

Thanks so much for guiding me through this today :) I still would like my ammonia at 0 so I think I'll continue with water changes until we get there :)
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:53 PM   #17
 
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no problem, thats why we are here!! Keep us posted as to how everything goes!!
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:38 PM   #18
 
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I'm a new tank-keeper too, but I do have some experience to share.

The main red flag for me is that your nitrate level is zero...where are you BB and why aren't they converting the ammonia?

The ammonium does read on the test kits, and according to Byron plants absorb and use that ammonium so live plants would definitely help. Probably using the ammonium fixing stuff converted your ammonia so the fish aren't reacting.

I'd also strongly recommend adding Safe Start (refridgerated BB in yellow bottle). My tank cycled very rapidly using this (like, in a week). My nitrate levels went up without an ammonia spike, and my levels have been pretty stable since.

Glad your fishies are okay : )
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:43 PM   #19
 
Yeah I found it odd that I had 0 for nitrates too...I did the test twice to make sure!

I too have heard that about the plants so thats kinda why I was thinking that, but I have zero experience in that area. Used to have some swordtails that I bred back in high school, and never have had this much of an issue with my levels before!

I'm glad you posted about the Safe Start...I was kinda thinking about that stuff but hadn't heard anything either way about it.
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #20
 
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Yeah I added more Safe Start today because my filter stopped and my bio filter dried out before I got the new filter up and running (people told me to put it in the tank water to keep the bacteria alive and working). Anyway, my tank is only a month and a half old and it didn't even really "cycle" (ie. no ammonia spike). I think it's because of the safe start but it could be because of my low bio-load (only six skirt tetras and one baby pleco).

Good luck, and I guess at this point--water changes!!!
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