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My discussion with my City's Water Manager

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    As some of you may have read my excessively long posts, I have had a terrible problem with ammonia with one tank reaching 8 ppm. Of course I neutralized it with prime and amguard - but ALL three of my tanks seem to have lost their cycling. Most likely due to the addition of too many fish at once (I buy online and shipping costs a fortune whether you buy 1 fish or 10 so you tend to over-buy and then become overstocked).

    Back in April/May I tested our City's water and found all was well - nothing that could harm my fish. Then this summer (when my tanks lost their cycling) I tested the city water again and found levels of ammonia as high as 1.5 ppm. So even if I had zero ammonia, as soon as I did a water change I would have ammonia again - and with my tanks not cycling properly the ammonia levels grew and grew. The only solution (after trying many remedies) was to empty the tank completely, clean everything (leaving the filter with the bioorganisms alone but cleaning the filter casing itself and adding media that was intended to reduce ammonia. The total water change always brought the Ammonia levels down to about 1.0 (due to the city water having ammonia.)

    I left voice mails and emails for the person responsible for our City's water report (This is in Topeka KS) - finally caught their attention when I cc'd their legal department. I wanted full disclosure of the ammonia issue. He then called me back immediately. He said that they use Ammonia to convert all the Chlorine they add into Chloramine which neutralizes the taste and smell of all the Chlorine they use (ie., think swimming pool water). They are required by law to do this. His concern was that they should be adding such exact levels of Ammonia that there should not be any left over - and as I told him - in the spring the water tested zero ammonia but now it runs .5 ppm to 1.5 ppm depending on the day. He promised he would have a talk with their City Plant Mgr responsible for determining the correct amount of chemicals to use but suggested that I should drink bottled water or use a filtered water that has a carbon filter and that I should routinely change out the carbon filters in my fish tanks (which I really don't think will help but I have been doing that) - of course I am using Prime and AmGuard and Stability daily to neutralize the ammonia as well as help add the biological's needed to get my tanks cyclin again. I'm concerned that neutralizing the ammonia is actually preventing my tanks from cycling but what am I supposed to do when the ammonia levels get up to 8 ppm routinely?

    Anyway - I'll post what I hear back and encourage you all to test your tap water and see if there are ammonia, nitrites or nitrates in there. The City report states there are Nitrates in our water but I never see them in my testing.

    Finally I want to discuss with him the ridiculously high PH levels (9 or more) we have in our water and get their explanation of why they don't try to lower that closer to 7. My guess it has to do with the hardness of the water (which really isn't that bad any more) but I'll be interested in his explanation,

    So don't be afraid of contacting your City's water water manager if you have any issues with your water. While my fish have been staying alive (until I found two small ones dead yesterday) - one died right in front of me. Some of my other fish with big eyes have red where it should be white - so their eyes are clearly irritated most likely by the ridiculous and dangerous amount of chemicals I've been adding. And any clues as to why my tanks won't cycle would be welcome (I have zero nitrites and nitrates - only Ammonia).

    I just purchased a jare of Zeolite Crystals - another ammonia reducer but I need to put 1 cup in a media bag and I don't think I have room to do that with all my other necessary media. So I'm not sure what to give up - the sponge, the carbon filter the City says is so essential , my floss or (big no) my Biomedia. I have Aqua50 filters - so I think I'm going to have to add another filter for the ammonia reducer media and the Zeolite crystals. What a drag!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    What is the ammonia reducer media you are talking about?

    Ammogon or Zeolite both remove ammonia from water so there is no need to use anything else. However, you should be use these in a bucket of water and not in the tank because they will stop the filter bacteria from developing because they remove all the ammonia before the bacteria can use it.
     
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  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Good to know - I was wondering about that .But when you do a water change do you add it to the bucket then? I mean wouldn't it still stop bacterial growth in the tank? Do you add it directly to the water or put it in filter bags (the instructions say to add1/4 cup per 10 gallons in a bag and place it in the filter. But I don't want to kill off all my good bacteria. I'm SO confused. I'm currently using a filter media for ammonia reduction, Prime daily, and AmGuard daily. When the ammonia levels reach 8 ppm then I tear down the tank completely (leaving the biofilters alone but just cleaning the filter case, the impeller etc. Rinse out the gravel and all the decorations - including the driftwood and slate. I remove all snails - sometimes in the hundreds but I think I finally have that under control. Then I refill the tank with water that has been sitting in buckets for several days. This typically brings the ammonia level down to 1 ppm (due to the city water having that much ammonia in it). The damn tanks WILL NOT cycle - so I think all this algae remover chemicals are preventing the cycling - but I can't have ammonia levels at 8 ppm - all the fish would be dead before the tank. cycled. If I stay on top of it with all the chemicals I can keep the ammonia in the range of 1.0 to 4.00 ppm.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You get a bucket of tap water and add the dechlorinator to the bucket of water.
    Aerate the bucket and add a filter with the Ammogon/ Zeolite in, to the bucket of tap water.
    Leave the filter (containing the Ammogon) to run in the bucket of water until the ammonia is at 0.
    Then use that water to do a water change.
    You need to make this water up before you do water changes.

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    Ammogon/ Zeolite should be put into a mesh bag to stop it going all over the tank or bucket of water. That bag of media gets put into a power filter or air operated box filter.

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    You can put as much or as little Ammogon/ Zeolite into the filter as you like. The more Ammogon/ Zeolite that is in the filter, the faster it will remove the ammonia from the water, and the longer it will do this for.

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    The Ammogon/ Zeolite should be recharged after each use. You recharge it by soaking it in a bucket of salt water for 24 hours.

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    Using water that has been treated to remove the ammonia from it, will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria. The filter bacteria in the aquarium will live on the ammonia that is produced by the fish and fish food in that tank.
     
  5. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Good for you, Jan on taking this step. I think we are seeing a growing number of water municipalities changing the chemistry in our tap waters.
     

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