Originally Posted by Laurenbee
OK. So I do not want to step on toes here. You are the fish experts not me, but there are a few things I know a little about. Science is one of these things. AmQuel, Ammo Lock, and other like products convert ammonia (NH3) a toxic substance into ammonium (NH4+) If you are using a test kit with Nessler reagents you will get a result indicating the total of both. This is when you get a "false positive" If you are using a test that uses Salicylate reagents you should get a reading based only on the toxic ammonia (NH3) and therefore not get any false positive.
The trick here to to get a test kit that can test only for NH3 and not NH4.
The PH in my tank is high about 7.8 I had considered as a drastic measure to lower the ph so that I would have NH4(ammonium), but I decided this would be very stressful on the fish as well, and add another chemical to the tank. I think it is better to leave the PH alone.
If you want to know more about ammonia ionization I would be happy to talk more about it.
I am not an expert on that either, but I do know a little.
The septicemia seems to be back, and I am not sure if I can mix the medication for ick with the antibiotic. Do you know? Is one product better than another? It seemed that the Maracyn Two had been succesful, but I guess it was not. The fish were better for about a week, and now it is back, and with the Ick also. I don't know what to do.
Also, I made a poor choice in my substrate, and I need to change it for the Bichirs to be happy. How long should I wait to start this process after the tank has cycled? The large river rock/gravel mix I have in the tank now isn't working for them. I think I may need to go back to sand.
I still can't manage to respond to portions of a post (with original text broken up), maybe one of you computer whizz's can explain this for me sometime; so I'll respond in total.
I am aware of the different regeants for ammonia, didn't want to get into that, but you understand it and better than I do anyway, so that's good. I understand most of the available test kits read both as ammonia, but you may be able to find one that is ammonia only. I haven't come across one in aquarium stores myself, but then I wasn't particularly looking since I have never had an ammonia issue. In my view, the easiest way to handle ammonia is to have live plants. In acidic water they absorb more ammonium that the nitrosomonas bacteria, and in basic (alkaline) water they can convert the ammonia into ammonium to use, and it is now thought that they also use nitrite and convert it back into ammonium. A heavily planted tank will never have ammonia or nitrite problems. However they do it, it works.
A pH of 7.8 would be high if you want to maintain wild caught acidic water fish that are sensitive to pH and hardness, but many fish can adapt particularly if commercially raised as many now are. I agree, it is always better to leave the pH and choose fish that are compatible, rather than trying to adjust the pH. Although it can be done safely with peat filtration or RO water (mixed with tap water to provide the necessary mineral content since RO water is too pure to support fish and plant life). On no account use any chemicals to adjust pH with live fish or plants in the tank. You are obviously aware of the buffering capability of water depending upon the KH, and this acts against the adjusting chemicals to the point where the buffering agent is maxed out, then the pH crashes and result is usually dead fish or severely stressed ones (from the continual fluctuation) that are more prone to disease and parasites. Peat and RO are the only safe ways I know of to lower pH and hardness.
But I wouldn't go down that road until the ich and septecimia are gone, as more changes to the environment will only stress the fish and bring on more disease. I am one who believes that ich only occurs when fish are stressed by something; in this case it may be the other disease and treatments. It can occur when the tank is chilled; when aggressive fish are added and they harass the others; when water parameters fluctuate significantly (temp, pH, hardness), and so on.
To treat ich I now always use Aquari-Sol. It is safe for sensitive fish (they still don't like it, but it does not in my experience stress them as much as some other copper-based remedies or salt) and in my cases has always cleared it in 5-6 days and it does not return. The septecimia I do not know about, have never had it, so no comments. But as mentioned previously in this thread, don't mix medications.