Elevated Amonia and Nitrate - Even after Partial Water Change...?
Been testing my water at the same time each day. My ammonia is reading right at 0.50 ppm on my API Test Kit. The Nitrate registers maybe between 5.0 and 10 ppm. My ph level was around 6.4 to 6.6 and my Nitrite was 0. I know that my tap water has Nitrate in it because I tested it last week. However, I did my partial water change yesterday having done about a 40% change using Bottled Spring Water. My numbers are the same. Is there something I'm missing? Are these numbers toxic to my fish?
We aim for 0 ammonia. Anything above that will cause health issues. The nitrate is at acceptable levels. Did you test the spring water ? Fast growing stem plants take up ammonia quickly as a nutrient. How long has the tank been running ? How is it stocked ?
At .5ppm ammonia any stock would be doomed. Sounds like something is generating excessive ammonia. Need to reduce the source of the ammonia and do water changes to reduce the existing levels.
Fortunately you have acidic water, the pH is below 7, so ammonia will be largely ammonium which is basically safe to fish. But the source still should be found as this is not normal.
What is the nitrate level in the tap water? There may be better ways of dealing with this than using bottled water, which can cause other problems.
It would make sense to do a complete test on the tap water...pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, gH/kH to see what it looks like.
Also, is the source water municipal or well water? If municipal, is there excessive chlorine?
The danger right now in using bottled water is that it could raise the tank pH enough so the ammonia becomes toxic.
What you're missing is using plants to keep things in line instead of water changes.
Ammonia, low ph, and presistent nitrates can all be corrected by adding thriving plants. Plants will consume ammonia preventing elevated readings even while the tank is cycling. Low pH is a sign of high carbon dioxide which plants consume raising the pH. Nitrates in a new tank can initially jump up as the plants are consuming ammonia for nitrogen. Then as the aerobic bacterial build up the plants are forced to use nitrates for nitrogen. So after awhile nitrates jump down.
Also chemicals like dechlorinators and ammonia locks can stll result in positive ammonia tests even though the ammonia is locked up and safe(r).
I did a test of my tap water (ph, ammonia,nitrite and nitrate) and all were normal and safe except for nitrate which was at 5.0 ppm.
According to the above post, if my ph is low then it kinda offsets my higher ammonia reading. Is that correct? also, since I am using Prime as my declorinator, that might be making my ammonia reading higher. Is that right?
Finally, I have several plants that I've had in there for weeks. I don't know the name of them all but wisteria is one of them and I have several. I probably have 8 plants (bunches) in my tank. I plan on doing more as time and budget permit.
What happens is prime locks up the ammonia but that ammonia (with normal ammonia test kits) still tests as ammonia. Even though the ammonia may be safe(r). The danger is you add prime, still test ammonia, add more prime and so on. Plus prime also locks up oxygen so the fish can suffocate with almost exactly the same symptoms as ammonia poisoning. In fact, your low pH may also be because of the prime.
I would stop using the prime and stop doing regular water changes. Just replace what evaporated every other day or so. And stop feeding the fish for a few days. I think you will find your ammonia will drop to unmeasureable levels and you pH will rise.
I would also measure pH just before lights out. PH will rise after light on and drop after lights out due to the plants consuming carbon dioxide.
Both ammonia and ammonium test as ammonia. This is why large bottled water changes alone right now could create a problem if pH increases. However, if pH is slowly increased to neutral or above, plants and bacteria should process the ammonia/ammonium just fine.
To my knowledge, Prime detoxifies ammonia but does not cause it to increase.
Never heard of Prime locking up oxygen.
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