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Some technical advice about Ammonia and Nitrites

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Three of my 4 tanks were all cycled beautifully and according to directions on this website using Ammonia. It usually took 5-7 cycles of ammonia before I could get 2 days in a row of 0's in all the right places.

    Where I deviated was to adjust the PH down with PHdown before fish were added. Our cities average PH is 9.9 - all my fish need it around 7.0, I realize that due to water hardness and other factors like water changes the PH will never remain stable but I do the best I can, So now moving on to Ammonia

    I purchased a kit that shows you "active" and deactivated ammonia - meaning that when you test for ammonia in you tank and it shows say 2.Oppm and then add Prime or something similar it "deactivates" the ammonia. Problem is it only works for about 2 days and you have to add more prime. But if you run your water sample through this kit it will show your water is perfectly save even if it registered 8 ppm Ammonia ie., the API test doesn't differentiate between active and deactivated ammonia. It's kind of a pain to use so not practical for everyday use but I am curious - my 5 gallon tank has been sitting on 8 ppm Ammonia FOREVER - occasionally after a water change it will drop down to 4 ppm but by the next day jump up to 8 PPM. It NEVER goes away - of course it's really "not there" - it's deactivated at least as long as I continue to use Prime in the water.

    So WHEN WILL those ammonia readings no longer display. Does the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites also convert the deactivated ammonia to nitrates so you can FINALLY GET RID OF IT from your API tests.

    I believe there is a similar measurement for active and deactivated Nitrites - will the deactivated Nitrites disappear as soon as they are converted into Nitrates

    You obviously can't skip dosing prime because an 8 ppm reading would kill your fish but it would be nice to know if your bacteria will take care of both the deactivated and activated forms of Ammonia and Nitrites.
     
  2. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Herder

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    You know what Jan ? The best thing for you to do given the tap water where you live is to buy a reverse osmosis unit. Your water would be perfect. You can also drink it. I make my coffee with RO water. The coffee maker lasts longer and the coffee tastes better. They really aren't too expensive. You don't need one with all the bells and whistles. Just a basic unit. Another added benefit is you never buy any aquarium chemicals ever again. Dechlorinator alone is expensive over time.
     
  3. Jstanfill

    Jstanfill New Member

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    I have 75 g tank and having ammonia issues it’s been cleaned and siphoned but stands at 0.25 ppm on ammonia with two freshwater angelfish inside , how can I bring it down better
     
  4. Jstanfill

    Jstanfill New Member

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    It’s been running for couple of years , no issues just noticed when checked ph was ok but ammonia was at 0.50 at first check then I siphoned bottom and added fresh water plus added filter that pulls out ammonia , just have two angels
     
  5. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    I talked to my landlord about getting a RO unit a long time ago and told him I would make sure that the unit was installed by professional plumbers and I could either leave it here when I moved or have it uninstalled.

    He comment was that NO modifications may be made to the plumbing of the house - so unless there is just a little unit that plugs to your faucet in like a coffee maker plugs into the wall and if it requires no plumbing changes I'm out of luck. Plus don't you do have to make SOME alterations to the water - I mean you can't put this into a tank with no K value and at whatever PH - my understanding is that it just creates stable water, it doesn't necessarily make the water in the exact way you need it made? Isn't some re-mineralization needed for "healthy water" - just like drinking distilled water would have bad consequences on your health so would drinking RO?
     
  6. seangee

    seangee Member

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    No plumbing change for me. I used a "double adaptor" tap on the washing machine water feed. For the waste water I feed that into the washing machine waste pipe.
     
  7. f1avor

    f1avor New Member

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    If you are reading ammonia then your tank is not cycled. A cycled tank should read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and you would have nitrate.

    Are you replacing your filter media when you do your water changes? If so you are throwing away your biological bacteria. A new filter media means you would need to cycle your tank again.

    There are RO water system that you attach to your faucet. So you don't need your landlord permission and should be a lot cheaper.
     
  8. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Yeah I would say that my aquariums aren't cycled any more. But I'm also NOT really reading ammonia - I'm reading ammonium which is not harmful. My tanks were all perfectly cycled at one time, then once I got a high reading (actually my logs show it was a slow steady increase and at the time I was frantically doing a lot of water changes trying lower the ammonia and I was using Prime and AmGuard to convert the ammonia to ammonium but the ammonia values never went down and nitrites never went up).

    Another question would be if I'm really missing the bacteria to convert Ammonium to Nitrites because I'm barely getting any nitrite reading. You know, when you cycle your aquarium you know all is well when it finally starts converting ammonia to Nitrates - my tanks don't seem to be doing that any longer because I'm getting low values of nitrites. I am getting nitrate values but the highest value has been 5.0. It's nice to have logs to go back and look at what happened since when you have 4 tanks you aren't going to remember when or what you did.

    Can the bacteria convert both ammonium or ammonia to Nitrites or is it not being converted to Nitrites because I've converted the ammonia to ammonium? If that's the case I'd have to stop dosing it with Prime, let it convert back to Ammonia (killing all my fish in the process) then let the ammonia convert to nitrites. Of course since my fish would all be dead it really wouldn't matter. So frustrating - and since I don't know what I did the first time to get my ammonia values so high - chances are I'd do the same thing again.

    It's got to be overfeeding or overstocking. One tank is 5 gallons with 5 tiny little Rasbora's in it - hardly overstocked plus before I had them in the tank it was inhabited for a month by an evil Danio that had killed all his mates - and it REALLY wasn't overstocked with one fish but that's during the time when the ammonia readings started going up. I could have been overfeeding one fish but I can't believe I overfed one fish so much that it resulted in such high ammonia readings - that's a LOT of extra food. The other tank is 29 gallons with 29 fish. 4 of the fish are fairly large Gourami's (about 5 inches each) but the rest of the fish are mostly 1-2". I do have 4 Dojo loaches that I don't know how to figure their size - they are at least 5" long but very snakelike thin so they don't have much mass like the gourami's. So that's probably a bit overstocked but not significantly. It's easy to over feed when you have so many fish but I've really cut way back and I never find leftover food the next day.

    Of course I haven't replaced my biological media nor have I rinsed it in chlorinated water - same biological media since I first cycled the tanks. All my tanks use Aquaplus as their filters - an expensive well respected filter although it's limited on how many different types of media you can have in there - basically 3 - including a sponge and ceramic beads.

    I was looking at a RO system that connects to the faucet - I wonder if the tubing is long enough to set it on the floor because I have no counterspace plus I'd be worried the wastewater would fill up my sink faster than it would make a gallon of water (the Python used for water changes connects the same way and I can't use it because it takes such a high waterflow to get the suction you need that my kitchen sink overflows before I can get all the water out of a 29 gallon aquarium so somebody has to stand there and monitor it while somebody at the other end is cleaning and draining the aquarium I live alone and haven't been able to teach the cat how to do either thing. It is NOT fun mopping up a LOT of overflowed water on a hardwood floor. Now if they made a connector to attach it to my bathtub that would give me plenty of room for all the water run off - but I've checked before and there isn't such a thing according to the plumbing store (I was looking for my python).

    The R/O system on Amazon makes about 50 gallons of RO water a day with anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons of waste water. Then I'd need some way to store the 50 gallons or more and haul it down the hall to the aquariums (I'm disabled and can't carry more that 3 gallons of water at a time and that about kills me) but it's definitely something to think about.
     

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using pre-nitification to convert ammonia to nitrites