Ammonia Levels Slightly Elevated

bettacarl

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
4
Location
Wisconsin
So I recently finished cycling my tank, and added a few mollies in. I've been checking the water parameters daily. My tap water has ammonia at 1.0 ppm and whenever I check the tank water it is a color kind of between the yellow (0ppm) and the light green (0.25ppm). I've had the fish for almost 2 weeks now and the ammonia still hasn't changed. I know ammonia is supposed to be at 0. What should I do to get it to 0. Was my tank not cycled enough to handle the fish?

Nitrites: 0ppm
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrates: 5ppm
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
7,614
Reaction score
4,309
Location
USA
If your city water uses chloramine instead of chlorine, then your reading of 25ppm is probably actually ammonium and not ammonia. Ammonium is much safer for fish. I always have .25ppm when testing. That’s 0 to me because I have chloramine in my water. I keep a Seachem ammonia monitor in one tank just to monitor. It’s always in the safe zone. You can also buy a Seachem Free & Total Test Kit which will show you how much actual ammonia you have. I’d get the monitor for peace of mind. Here’s a pic of what they look like.
F1958683-C505-451D-9731-77CC0FD93B60.png
 

Yohance1130

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Location
Canada
So I recently finished cycling my tank, and added a few mollies in. I've been checking the water parameters daily. My tap water has ammonia at 1.0 ppm and whenever I check the tank water it is a color kind of between the yellow (0ppm) and the light green (0.25ppm). I've had the fish for almost 2 weeks now and the ammonia still hasn't changed. I know ammonia is supposed to be at 0. What should I do to get it to 0. Was my tank not cycled enough to handle the fish?

Nitrites: 0ppm
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrates: 5ppm
I think it’s fine that still happens to me with my fully cycled tanks. I use API test kits and they are known to read ammonia readings of 0.25 when it is really at 0 so don’t be too worried. Just keep an eye on it and see if it rises or not.
 

Ch4rlie

Moderating Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Retired Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
7,300
Reaction score
1,150
Location
GB
A fairly common occurrence as chloramine is present in a lot of water supplies to folks homes, well as far as I know for U.K. water supply, don’t know about USA and Australia etc but this is what a lot of keepers call a false reading.

Sometimes you’ll get false or inaccurate readings if you use cheap test kits, particularly the dip strip kits, best avoided but better than nothing if you have not the budget, if unsure take water sample to LFS and ask them to test for you for a second opinion, sometimes they ask a small fee but ensure you watch them do this if you can, if not, ask what test kit they use and ensure you get specific numbers of test results just not a generic “your water is ok” type of response.

Have heard of keepers getting false or wrong readings if they use dirty test tubes or using fingers over the end of tube rather than the cap when shaking the tubes, this cross-contaminates your sample and may give false/wrong results.

This is why it’s worth purchasing a half decent testing kit such as API and Salifert just to name two common brands widely used in fishkeeping. And it’s worth looking after your test kit, keep nice and clean and store in cool area away from direct sunlight as heat from sun or even radiators may affect the liquid solutions.

The lab based testing kit which is more accurate and are usually way too expensive to be economically viable to use for fish tanks but if you have the cash, go for it!
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Herder
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
1,986
Reaction score
2,882
Location
UK
Have heard of keepers getting false or wrong readings if they use dirty test tubes or using fingers over the end of tube rather than the cap when shaking the tubes, this cross-contaminates your sample and may give false/wrong results.
I use the API master test kit, but got a reading that alarmed me one day, until I realised I'd just rinsed the tubes out under the tap after testing a different tank, then pulled water from the tank I was testing using a syringe and added that, but it would have been slightly tainted by the untreated tapwater still clinging to the inside of the test tubes. Now when I'm doing multiple tests so the tubes don't have time to dry out between tests, I rinse well with tap water, then dip the tubes and caps into the tank I'm going to be testing and pour them out a few times, to be sure that the only water left on the tubes is the tank water. I don't know whether those few little droplets of tap water was really enough to throw a reading off, but I feel better about doing it anyway.
 

ClownLurch

Fishaholic
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
434
Reaction score
615
Location
North London
Mines
Amm 0.25
Rites 0
Rates 10
direct from the tap and after 24 hrs standing and basically has been every test for the first month.
Apparently it’s nothing to worry about. Just aim to keep your tank the same readings as your tap.
 

Ch4rlie

Moderating Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Retired Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
7,300
Reaction score
1,150
Location
GB
Yes, even if it’s accurate at 0.25ppm ammonia and it’s from your tap water source, not a lot you can do about that.

Fish can quite easily cope with 0.25ppm ammonia readings so am not unduly worried about this, buts as always, best to aim for 0ppm if you can.

If you have loads of live plants, this can help reduce your ammonia levels as well anyway.
 
OP
B

bettacarl

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
4
Location
Wisconsin
I think it’s fine that still happens to me with my fully cycled tanks. I use API test kits and they are known to read ammonia readings of 0.25 when it is really at 0 so don’t be too worried. Just keep an eye on it and see if it rises or not.
Thanks that makes me feel a lot better! I get worried reading that any level of ammonia in the tank is bad, and I wasn't sure why it wasn't going down after I thought the tank was cycled.
 
OP
B

bettacarl

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
4
Location
Wisconsin
A fairly common occurrence as chloramine is present in a lot of water supplies to folks homes, well as far as I know for U.K. water supply, don’t know about USA and Australia etc but this is what a lot of keepers call a false reading.

Sometimes you’ll get false or inaccurate readings if you use cheap test kits, particularly the dip strip kits, best avoided but better than nothing if you have not the budget, if unsure take water sample to LFS and ask them to test for you for a second opinion, sometimes they ask a small fee but ensure you watch them do this if you can, if not, ask what test kit they use and ensure you get specific numbers of test results just not a generic “your water is ok” type of response.

Have heard of keepers getting false or wrong readings if they use dirty test tubes or using fingers over the end of tube rather than the cap when shaking the tubes, this cross-contaminates your sample and may give false/wrong results.

This is why it’s worth purchasing a half decent testing kit such as API and Salifert just to name two common brands widely used in fishkeeping. And it’s worth looking after your test kit, keep nice and clean and store in cool area away from direct sunlight as heat from sun or even radiators may affect the liquid solutions.

The lab based testing kit which is more accurate and are usually way too expensive to be economically viable to use for fish tanks but if you have the cash, go for it!
I use API and sometimes I'll do it twice after making sure the test tube is clean. So hopefully the test is accurate :)
 
OP
B

bettacarl

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
4
Location
Wisconsin
I use the API master test kit, but got a reading that alarmed me one day, until I realised I'd just rinsed the tubes out under the tap after testing a different tank, then pulled water from the tank I was testing using a syringe and added that, but it would have been slightly tainted by the untreated tapwater still clinging to the inside of the test tubes. Now when I'm doing multiple tests so the tubes don't have time to dry out between tests, I rinse well with tap water, then dip the tubes and caps into the tank I'm going to be testing and pour them out a few times, to be sure that the only water left on the tubes is the tank water. I don't know whether those few little droplets of tap water was really enough to throw a reading off, but I feel better about doing it anyway.
That's a good idea. I also have just been rinsing them off with tap water and then leaving them to dry.
 

essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
8,831
Reaction score
5,063
Location
Teesside, UK
I don't leave the tubes to dry, I dry them with a tissue (the kind you use if you have a cold) poked down inside the tube.
 
Top