'Toxic' levels of ammonia, fish are fine? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
jentralala's Avatar
 
'Toxic' levels of ammonia, fish are fine?

After cycling my 35 gallon tank, adding Eco Complete substrate, and some live plants I added fish. Everything looked to be good, I was using an old test kit (I don't even remember the brand, it came with the tank (used purchase), and had blocks for the water, and packets of powder) and the readings showed everything was good. Well my sister (doesn't live with me) recently bought a tank and I gave her the old test kit and got the API Master test kit. It shows my ammonia levels as off the charts, but my fish are fine and dandy and happy. I was very shocked and honestly panicked. I did a 50% water change and vacuumed my gravel (no high amounts of fish waste, and just a bit a plant debris floating around). I tested the water again and it still read as very high ammonia. I don't want to just say 'oh, the kit is wrong', but what is going on?

I have 4 pearl gourami, 1 male, 3 females. 4 flame tetras (I know the number is low, I've been slowly adding them so as not to overload the system) and 3 kuhli loaches (again, I know I need a few more :/...) Any advice as to what I should do? I'm really worried but my fish are just dandy. I only feed what they can eat in a few seconds, 2 or 3 times a day.
jentralala is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 03:40 PM
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Some other data is needed. What are the water parameters, specficially pH? Do you have live plants?

I don't have the API ammonia kit, so can you give us the number? And did nitrite and nitrate show up, and if so, what numbers?

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
post #3 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
jentralala's Avatar
 
My Ph is at 6, Nitrite at 0, and my Nitrate is somewhere between 5 and 10. I have it about moderately planted with anacharis in the back corners, a large piece of driftwood, a small piece of driftwood, water lettuce, and wisteria. Plus some duckweed that's floating around.
jentralala is offline  
post #4 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
jentralala's Avatar
 
Oh and the Ammonia was showing up at the 5 marker...It was a pretty dark green. I'm still pretty panicked about it.
jentralala is offline  
post #5 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 04:43 PM
Member
 
Geomancer's Avatar
 
In acidic water I believe some (but not all) Ammonia becomes Ammonium which is less toxic to the fish.

Some water conditioners, like Prime, all bind Ammonia into Ammonium. The test kits though can't tell the difference.
Geomancer is offline  
post #6 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 06:34 PM
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Yes, the "ammonia" you are seeing in the API test is obviously ammonium which is basically harmless to fish. In acidic water, ammonia converts into ammonium automatically. As long as the pH does not rise above 7 this will cause no trouble. However, that does not mean we should ignore it, as it shouldn't be there.

You have named some fast growing plants, which I would have expected to keep ammonia at zero and nitrates low (5-10 is fine). May be time to ask more questions. Which water conditioner? Any substances other than the conditioner being added to the tank? Before this became noticed, how often were water changes done and what volume of the tank?

I would cut back on the feeding. Once a day is more than sufficient (except for fry that need more). And missing a day or two each week won't hurt. I never feed on water change day (shouldn't feed before any disturbance inside the tank), and normally one other day is missed too. I'm really not suggesting this is the cause, but it may contribute and the additional food isn't necessary. Hungry fish are healthier.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
post #7 of 18 Old 11-06-2012, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
jentralala's Avatar
 
I use Seachem's Prime to condition the water, and I do weekly 20% water changes, and stir up the gravel every other water change. I'm trying to get my plants to root and I'm scared of messing with the substrate too often. I will definitely cut back on feedings to once a day and skip on water change day. Is there anything I can do to fix the problem?
jentralala is offline  
post #8 of 18 Old 11-06-2012, 06:26 AM
Member
 
1077's Avatar
 
Well, cutting feeding's to once a day, (see that no one else is feeding also) possibly larger weekly water change for a few week's ,and addition of more plant's, will all help considerably.
I am with Byron,,I would not expect to see ammonia in cycled,moderately planted aquarium.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
1077 is offline  
post #9 of 18 Old 11-06-2012, 11:50 AM
Member
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentralala View Post
Oh and the Ammonia was showing up at the 5 marker...It was a pretty dark green. I'm still pretty panicked about it.

As I understand it you have low ph, high ammonia and yet fish seem to be doing fine.

Dechlorinators and ammonia locks can result in those conditions.

The api ammonia test kit measures total ammonia not just the dangerous free ammonia.

Seachem (I think) has an ammonia multitest kit that measures both free and total.

What happens one adds the ammonia lock, locks up the ammonia, panics and adds more ammonia lock and still measures ammonia. All the while the ammonia lock is also locking up oxygen and can suffocate the fish. Which you luckily have not reached.

High carbon dioxide also results in low pH.

If you're worried about the ammonia I would get the multitest kit just for piece of mind. From what you say I'll bet a poped pop corn kernal the ammonia is all locked up and safe.


With the4 anacharis in the any free dangerous ammonia should be consumed rapidily.

So I would basically do nothing. Stop the water changes and just top off what evaporates. Cut down a little on feeding and see what happens. I think you will find the ammonia will drop down in less than a week, pH will rise, the fish will be more active, and the plants will grow faster.


But that's jut my.


.)2

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
beaslbob is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 11-06-2012, 01:48 PM
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
I do not advocate fewer water changes, or at any rate, fewer than once a week and changing 1/3 to 1/2 the tank volume. There is nothing so beneficial as a water change, and many suggest doing one at any sign of trouble. There is of course always the exception, I cover that in my article on water changes.

On to the pH. What is the tap water pH [remember to shake the water briskly before testing to outgas CO2]? There is absolutely nothing wrong with a pH of 6 in a tank with soft water fish. But we need to understand how it is getting there.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help with my ammonia levels. Please my fish are dying one by one rwoten Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 7 08-25-2011 02:04 PM
High Ammonia Levels With No Fish h2oIsaiah Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 06-20-2011 06:19 AM
Does low pH make ammonia less toxic? Fish-in Cycle, need advice! whitecloud34 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 4 03-06-2011 08:38 AM
High Ammonia Levels - Stressing me out more than it is the fish! mikaboshi Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 52 12-07-2009 05:34 PM
pH and ammonia levels high in freshwater fish tank, what more should i do? dancexonxwater Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 01-10-2009 08:28 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome