Ammonia disaster...please help - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-07-2008, 11:33 AM
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Well, at this point you're basically re-cycling the tank. You're welcome to come over and get some more water and such if you'd like. Just keep doing water changes every time it gets over 1.0. Don't do anything under that tho or you'll slow down the cycling.

If you're really worried, I can rearrange things and have a tank for you to leave Odie in at my house until your tank is cycled.

It would be really good to document ammonia level VERY religiously for a while so we can get a good idea of what is going on. Here's an example:

1) test before water change
2) test water being used for change
3) test RIGHT after change
4) test 1 hour after change
5) test 3 hours after change

etc etc so we can see what the heck is going on.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-10-2008, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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This is officially driving me nuts.

Prior to testing (I did 2 days of 50% water changes and using bottled spring water then on to 20% changes) ammonia levels were generally around 1.0ppm. I just tested it after another 20% change and it's .50ppm. Nitrate levels are at 5.0ppm. Nothing is fixing this...
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-13-2008, 03:24 PM
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The spring water is fixing it, you're just doing so many water changes that you are slowing down the cycle by removing so much bacteria. Is it the nitrate or the niTRITES that are at 5ppm? Cuz nitrates at 5 is perfectly safe and healthy.
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-13-2008, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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I forget
if I don't do huge water changes every 2 days, the ammonia level shoots up back to 1.0 or higher. I now have 12 gallons of empty spring water bottles and i can't afford to keep buying water. Ummmm, I might have to go to your house and steal 12 gallons of tap water.
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-13-2008, 07:57 PM
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Yeah, it's a tricky situation. :(
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-24-2008, 04:30 PM
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Figured it out! (This is gonna get a bit complicated)

Nowadays chloramine is added to a lot of people's water instead of chlorine. The problem with chlorine is that it's very unstable and easily dissipates, so the water companies have to add a lot of it to ensure that some of it remains in the water until it gets to our tap. Chloramine is chlorine bonded with ammonia- it is much more stable and actually quite difficult to get out of water, so the water utilities don't need to add as much of it.

When we test water for ammonia, any water containing chloramine will give an ammonia reading. Chloramine is dangerous to fish, and does need to be removed from water, so it's important to make sure you have a water conditioner that removed chloramines.

Unfortunately, water conditioners don't work perfectly. The way Prime works (and I'm pretty sure this is true of all the other commercial water conditioners) is that it *removes* the chlorine part of chloramine, and converts the ammonia (NH3) part into ammonium (NH4+).

Here's the good thing: NH4+ is relatively harmless to fish. I use relatively because it can cause harm, but only in much higher concentrations than is probably present in this case. It's also much more readily absorbed by plants.

The thing about our liquid test kits, is that they test for *both* NH3 and NH4+, so you don't know exactly what the concentration of each type of ammonia is.

Here are two Q&A's I got off the Seachem website about their dechlorinator, Prime:

Q: I am using Prime™ to control ammonia but my test kit says it is not doing anything, in fact it looks like it added ammonia! What is going on?

A: A Nessler based kit will not read ammonia properly if you are using Prime™... it will look "off scale", sort of a muddy brown (incidentally a Nessler kit will not work with any other products similar to Prime™). A salicylate based kit can be used, but with caution. Under the conditions of a salicylate kit the ammonia-Prime complex will be broken down eventually giving a false reading of ammonia (same as with other products like Prime™), so the key with a salicylate kit is to take the reading right away. However, the best solution is to use our MultiTest: Ammonia™ kit... it uses a gas exchange sensor system which is not affected by the presence of Prime™ or other similar products. It also has the added advantage that it can detect the more dangerous free ammonia and distinguish it from total ammonia (which is both the free and ionized forms of ammonia (the ionized form is not toxic)).

Q:I tested my tap water after using Prime and came up with an ammonia reading. Is this because of chloramine? Could you explain how this works in removing chloramine?
A: Prime works by removing chlorine from the water and then binds with ammonia until it can be consumed by your biological filtration (chloramine minus chlorine = ammonia). The bond is not reversible and ammonia is still available for your bacteria to consume. Prime will not halt your cycling process.
I am going to assume that you were using a liquid based reagent test kit (Nessler based, silica). Any type of reducing agent or ammonia binder (dechlorinators, etc) will give you a false positive. You can avoid this by using our Multitest Ammonia kit (not affected by reducing agents) or you can wait to test, Prime dissipates from your system within 24 hours.
This quote was gotten from the following website address:
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