Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Julie's Julies 09-25-2007 11:58 PM

Unusual water conditions
Hi all, I have several tanks and I try to do weekly 25% water changes on them all. Out of financial necessity I have to use tap water, and our tap water has ammonia in it. I've called the water district and they are not interested in the slightest in correcting the problem. My question is this: since nitrates are much less harmful to fish than ammonia is, would it benefit my tanks to let them go two weeks between water changes since each new batch of water adds ammonia?

Here are the stats to consider: there is .5-1.0ppm ammonia in the tap water (once it spiked up to 2.0ppm). When I do the weekly water changes, there are always less than 15ppm nitrate. I always use a dechlorinator that is supposed to bind ammonia but I am not convinced of its effectiveness. Theoretically, if I left the tanks alone for two weeks, the nitrates should still be low enough not to harm the fish and then they would not have to suffer from the ammonia as often.

I am working on obtaining free bottled water from my father-in-law's plant where he works, but it's taking a little while to get that put into effect and thus I am looking for a short-term solution. I also have plans to research water regulations and see if there is anything I can do to make the water district look into my complaint.

Thanks for any thoughts and/or advice!

fish_4_all 09-26-2007 12:35 AM

Well since there is ammonia there are a couple things you could do. Since you change 25% and ammonia is only considered to be "dantgerous" at levels about .5ppm then doing a 25% water change at 2ppm only takes your tank to .5ppm. Your water conditioner should be able to handle that easily, especially if you are using prime. Maybe dose double the recommend 2 drops per gallon just to make sure it detoxifies all of it if you are worried. Or better yet, treat the water before putting it in and then the ammonia is neutralized before the fish ever see the water.

I would contact Seachem or the company for whatever water conditioner you are using and see how much ammonia it detoxifies. Would be good to know information.

saint 09-26-2007 01:43 AM

if you had the room you could always have a large drum or barrel that you could have full all the time cycling your water and when you need to do water changes you just have to take some out of the barrel then replace what you took out of the barrel with tap water. you would need to have a power head in there for circulation and if you can use some media from another tank to put in there for proper cycling

Julie's Julies 09-27-2007 12:57 PM

Thanks for the recommendations - really appreciate it! I always add Prime before adding new water, so I will continue to do this and will double the dose for safe measure. I loved your idea of "precycled" water, Saint; just wish I had the room to set up another tank or barrel for such purposes!

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