08-10-2011, 05:48 PM
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And with livebearers you do not want to be lowering the pH, they need harder water with a pH above 7.
What your grandpa is talking about, and quite correctly, is that in acidic water ammonia basically converts to ammonium. But this won't happen in basic water, which again you need for livebearers.
Fortunately, plants have the ability to change ammonia to ammonium themselves, so they will handle most of the ammonia produced naturally in the aquarium. This is from fish and bacteria processes, but should never be high enough to measure with test kits.
I'm assuming your reference to ammonia is in your tap water, and redchigh's suggestion to use a conditioner that detoxifies ammonia is the way to deal with this. By the time the conditioner is no longer effective, the plants and bacteria will have the extra ammonia from a water change under control.