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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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?
 

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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 ?
 

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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.
 

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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.

Byron.
 
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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.
 

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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?

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).

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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.

Thanks
 

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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.

Thanks
absolutely.

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.

my .02
 

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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?
No, the acidic pH converts ammonia to ammonium so it is not toxic. If the pH was to suddenly rise to neutral or above, the ammonia would be toxic.
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.
 

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Never heard of Prime locking up oxygen.
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To my knowledge, Prime detoxifies ammonia but does not cause it to increase.
If the water has been treated with chloramine (NH2Cl) the prime removes the chlorine and releases the ammonia which it then converts to ammonium... so if city water has been added and treated with Prime, there will be a higher concentration of ammonia/ammonium over and above the combined tap water and tank water content. All the ammonia will show up on the test, toxic or not.

If that ammonium is not removed it will convert back to toxic ammonia in the ratio determined by the pH after the 24-48 hour detox time. The lower the pH, the less of a concern it may be.

Jeff.
 

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Never heard of Prime locking up oxygen.
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Without trying to get all chemical, choramine is NH2Cl. The Prime turns the NH2 into NH4 (ammonium) so obviously there are some sort of freed up Hydrogen ions used for this and Prime does not alter the pH so it doesn't use existing ones. If you over dose the Prime it might be safe to assume (I'm only speculating here) that a whole lot of H ions could be grabbed by the O2 to create more H2O. I think that 5 times the dose is suggested by the manufacturer as still being safe so you would probably have to REALLY be overdosing it.

Adding lots of chemicals just doesn't sound like a good idea all around.

Jeff.
 

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Without trying to get all chemical, choramine is NH2Cl. The Prime turns the NH2 into NH4 (ammonium) so obviously there are some sort of freed up Hydrogen ions used for this and Prime does not alter the pH so it doesn't use existing ones. If you over dose the Prime it might be safe to assume (I'm only speculating here) that a whole lot of H ions could be grabbed by the O2 to create more H2O. I think that 5 times the dose is suggested by the manufacturer as still being safe so you would probably have to REALLY be overdosing it.

Adding lots of chemicals just doesn't sound like a good idea all around.

Jeff.

thanks hadn't considered that and the locking up of oxygen is reported by water companies. But I didn't know the mechanism.

I also have heard reports that KH (carbonate hardness) also crashes. So perhaps those h+ ions are hitting the carbonate ions as well.

Meahwhile back at the tank perhaps this also explains why pH is low.

All of which well be reversed by not using prime and letting the plants consume the ammonia directly. Plus consuming co2 and returning oxygen as well.

I also read one article years ago that plants when consuming nitrates return KH to the tank in the same ratio the aerobic bacteria ate up producing the nitrates. But then they may also be using carbonate for carbon instead of carbon dioxide. So you may not wee any difference.

All I know is my uncirculated planted tanks have a pH of over 8 just before lights out.

still just my .02
 

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thanks hadn't considered that and the locking up of oxygen is reported by water companies. But I didn't know the mechanism.
I don't know that I am correct, it just makes sense that might be what is going on with regards to the O2 issue.

I also have heard reports that KH (carbonate hardness) also crashes. So perhaps those h+ ions are hitting the carbonate ions as well.

Meahwhile back at the tank perhaps this also explains why pH is low.

All of which well be reversed by not using prime and letting the plants consume the ammonia directly. Plus consuming co2 and returning oxygen as well.
Prime doesn't change the plant or bacterial consumption of ammonia, locked or not it gets used up similarly. Prime instructions state that it removes ammonia and binds nitrites and nitrates, which is a little off. It binds ammonia also allowing the plants and bacteria time to consume them while rendered non-toxic which is considered the "removing" mechanism. There's a whole thread devoted to this... here's the link.

I also read one article years ago that plants when consuming nitrates return KH to the tank in the same ratio the aerobic bacteria ate up producing the nitrates. But then they may also be using carbonate for carbon instead of carbon dioxide. So you may not wee any difference.
I noticed that while my tank was still new, KH was reduced after each water change over the next few days with the plants before I ever had any nitrates... by as much as 25%. Now my KH seems more stable and my nitrates don't really move up much, always under 5ppm even after two weeks between the last changes. I don't add CO2, my pH rides in the high 7's. So that sort of makes sense. I'd have to think about the chemical changes involved... but it's lunch time.

Jeff.
 

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If the water has been treated with chloramine (NH2Cl) the prime removes the chlorine and releases the ammonia which it then converts to ammonium... so if city water has been added and treated with Prime, there will be a higher concentration of ammonia/ammonium over and above the combined tap water and tank water content. All the ammonia will show up on the test, toxic or not.

If that ammonium is not removed it will convert back to toxic ammonia in the ratio determined by the pH after the 24-48 hour detox time. The lower the pH, the less of a concern it may be.

Jeff.
Yes, I misspoke regarding the removal of chlorine, which creates ammonia that Prime converts to ammonium for 24-48 hrs. My point however, was that the low pH makes ammonia non toxic, but a sudden increase in pH could cause a problem.
 
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