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Does anyone know if Ammo Lock will give a false reading?

Some lady came into my fish store saying she bought 6 fish two weeks prior and they all died the next day. She saved a cup of water from the day they died in the fridge. She also brought us a sample from today.

Test 1: Day of death
Ammonia: 8+ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 6

Test 2: Water from today (two weeks from last sample)
Ammonia: 8+ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 6

She said she is running a filter. This is a 10gal, and she has a blue ram that is still hanging on through all the madness. (seriously, that fish deserves a medal) I got her to admit that she used ammo lock. We told her to do a massive water change, stop using ammo lock, start using prime, change the water halfway every 3 days and bring us another sample in a week.

Thoughts?
 

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use the seachem ammonia multest kit to measure both locked and free ammonia.


I had seen 8+++ ppm in the one and only tank crash I ever had. I introduced a toxin of latex gloves to cause that. It was also a saltwater mixed reef tank.


Prime definitely causes the api test kit to read the locked ammonia and I presume ammo lock as well. In either case IMHO you should only treat for the free ammonia as reported in the seachem multi test kit or the seachem in tank ammonia test dot.


Much better to use live plants to consume the ammonia directly. And avoid this entire problem.


my .02
 

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The Seachem multi-test cannot distinguish between locked and unlocked ammonia. According to Seachem, nothing can. (Ammonia-locking is function of Prime, AmmoLock and some other conditioners.) It is not the same as the difference between free ammonia (un-ionized, NH3-) and bound ammonia (ionized, NH4+, aka ammonium).

The Seachem multi-test, and the test badge/dot which works on the same principle, reads free ammonia (NH3) only -- probably by reading the amount of hydroxyls (free H+ ions) in the water, similar to a pH test (but don't quote me on that).

The API test reads Total Ammonia Nitrogen (TAN), which is free NH3 and bound NH4 together. You can also determine how much of each is in the tank by using this Ammonia Calculator

In any case, 8.0ppm ammonia is deadly -- requiring immediate, large and frequent water changes, as well as the addition of Prime or AmmoLock) to detoxify any residual ammonia remaining. Even the low pH, which indicates a large volume of relatively safe ammonium (NH4+), can only go so far to prevent ammonia poisoning.

AmmoLock does the same ammonia-locking action as Prime, probably with the same or similar chemistry. Prime also chelates heavy metals, adds electrolytes and slime-coat protection.

I would treat for TAN. The locking feature of Prime and AmmoLock is temporary; the locking molecule decays in a day or two. Even a large overdose is not harmful to livestock.

I agree with this, entirely : "Much better to use live plants to consume the ammonia directly. And avoid this entire problem."
 
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