Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Zeolite Crystals

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Jan Cavalieri, Sep 13, 2019 at 5:54 AM.

Tags:
  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    19
    Somebody (perhaps Colin?) suggested I purchase Zeolite Crystals to keep my ammonia levels down - so I purchased some. There are no reviews, no instructions and a little pricey.. What the heck am I supposed to do with these? They say put in a bag (for my size aquarium- 1 cup) and add to your filter. Change out every few days (I would go broke doing this) There is no way my filter has room for one cup of more media in it. I'd have to get rid of either the sponge or the biomedia - neither which would be a good idea. So do I buy a second filter? I do have some that came with tanks that I generally hate, but might be fine for the Zeolite. Other than one tank my ammonia levels are slowing coming down - it's just the 5 gallon tank that will not reduce in ammonia and has not started to cycle - about 1/2 cup should be fine.

    Love it when people make great suggestions but please add a little more detail to how it's supposed to work - these manufacturer's don't really put a lot on the cannister and Amazon has little/no information and only 1 review (basically asking the same question I am - what do I do with these?).
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    15,640
    Likes Received:
    862
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    Zeolite adsorbs ammonia from fresh water, and releases any ammonia it contains when put into salt water.

    To use it, simply get a mesh bag, stocking leg or something similar, and put the Zeolite into the bag. Put a rubber band around the end of the bag or tie it up somehow so the Zeolite doesn't come out.
    Rinse the bag of Zeolite under tap water for a few seconds to wash out any white dust on it.
    Put the bag of Zeolite into a power filter or air operated box filter and put the filter in the tank. Let it run until the ammonia levels have come down to 0 and then remove the Zeolite and put it into a bucket of salt water.
    If you don't have room in the filter for a bag of Zeolite, hang the bag next the filter outlet so the water flows over the bag and it will work, just not as quickly.

    You only leave the Zeolite in the tank until the ammonia is at 0, then you take the Zeolite out so the filter bacteria can eat any ammonia that is produced after that. If the ammonia levels go up again after that, you can put the Zeolite back into the tank. However, it should be used as a temporary measure and not used in tanks permanently because it stops the filter bacteria from developing.

    If the ammonia level goes above 5ppm or the pH drops below 6.0, the cycling process can stall.

    -------------------------
    To recharge the Zeolite, put the bag of Zeolite into a bucket of salt water and leave it there for 24-48 hours. Then remove the Zeolite from the salt water and rinse it under fresh water to wash off any salt. Allow the Zeolite to dry and put it in a plastic zip lock bag until you need it again, or re-use it straight after rinsing with freshwater.

    If you have the Zeolite in an air operated box filter, or a power filter that is not used for the main tank, just put the filter (containing the Zeolite) in the bucket of salt water.

    If the Zeolite is in a bag and not in a filter, put an airstone in the bucket of salt water to help circulate the salt water through the Zeolite. Make sure the bag is loose and the Zeolite can easily move around in the bag. Put the airstone underneath the bag, which should be hanging in the water.

    The salt level should be about the same as seawater or a bit higher. You can use rock salt, sea salt or swimming pool salt to make up the salt water. Or go to the beach and bring back a bucket of sea water. Most people buy a bag of swimming pool salt from the hardware or pool shop and use that because it's cheap.

    You can buy Hydrometers from pet shops or online and these tell you how much salt is in the water. There are 3 main types of Hydrometer.
    1) Plastic Chamber Hydrometer. These are a clear plastic container about 4 inches long x 4 inches high x 1/2 inch wide. They have a plastic lever in the container and there are numbers on the side. You fill the container with salt water and the needle (plastic lever) floats up to whatever the salt level is and will point to a number. The number is the salt level.

    2) Floating Glass Hydrometer. These are a thin glass tube and they have a mark near the top. You float them in the salt water and read the mark (number) on the glass bit where it is at the surface of the water.

    3) Refractometer. These are the most accurate but also expensive. You put a drop of water on a small glass panel and look through an eye piece. There will be a line with numbers and you see these by looking through the eye piece. Whatever the number reads, is what the salt level is.

    My personal choice is the plastic chamber hydrometer because they are tough, reliable and reasonably cheap, and easy to read. The glass hydrometers break too easily. The refractometer is expensive and needs to be calibrated quite regularly.
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    19
    I was following you well until you started talking about Hydrometers and such LOL! Right now I just have one aquarium with high ammonia levels (it's the 5 gallon - the dang thing will NOT cycle). I think rather than deal with the hydrometer stuff, I'd just toss the old Zeolite - the 5 gallon should only take about 1/4 cup of the crystals.

    Thank you so much for explaining how this works, and should I get into this situation again I'll deal with the Hydrometers - but thankfully my two larger tanks appear to be finally cycling and ammonia levels are low. I don't want to add anything that might stall the cycling.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    15,640
    Likes Received:
    862
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    The Hydrometers are simply used to measure the amount of salt in the water.

    When you are recharging the Zeolite you need water that is quite salty and the Hydrometers can tell you if it's salty enough.
     
  5. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,428
    Likes Received:
    169
    Location:
    Berks
    However, as mentioned in one of your other threads, adding chemicals to absorb ammonia means your filter will never cycle.
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    15,640
    Likes Received:
    862
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    That's why you only leave the Zeolite in the tank until the ammonia level is 0, then you remove the Zeolite.
     

Share This Page