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Old 11-10-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
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Ammonia Confusion

I am using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Master Test Kit. This kit measures total ammonia.

Setup:
Tank: 20 Gallon Long Fish Only 26 lbs baserock
Fish: 1 tiny Firefish
Salt: Instant Ocean

Water Specs:

Temp 79
pH 8.2
SG/Sal. 1.022
Ammonia: .3ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: <5ppm

When I saw the .3ppm ammonia reading I became worried and started some more tests. I tested distilled water right out of the Walmart bottle and it tested 0ppm for ammonia. I did this because I wanted to see what 0ppm ammonia looked like on the color chart.

I then tested aged saltwater that was in a bucket. It tested around .3ppm for ammonia. This water is the same distilled water just mixed with instant ocean with a SG of 1.022. I thought for sure this new saltwater would test 0ppm for ammonia but it didnt?

I compared the test color of the fresh aged salt water against my tank water and they are exactly the same. I am very confused as to whether there is an ammonia problem in my tank or not. Is the instant ocean salt introducing ammonia in to my aquarium? Is the salt producing a false positive with my specific ammonia test?

The firefish seems very happy in the meanwhile swimming around and eating very well. I do notice he flashes against the substrate once in a while, maybe once an hour or less.

I bought ammo-lock but am hesitant to add it, also hesitant to do an emergency water change. Thought about taking the water to the LFS so I can use a different ammonia test. I have ceased feeding since.

What do you all think?

Thanks
Aamir
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:40 PM   #2
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Your source water should not have any ammonia in it. I believe you are getting a false positive reading there.
I would get another type of test kit to compare, or take a sample to your LFS for testing to be sure.
If your firefish is flashing, keep a close watch there may be a parasite present or if you have ammonia he may be suffering from that. Did you qt him?
Please don't use any additives in the tank. Get the water tested first and if you have an ammonia problem, you can solve it with water changes.
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:58 PM   #3
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I don't like puting chemicals like that in my aquariums. Do a water change every week till the ammonia subsides. How long has the tank been running? I had a very similar problem in my tank its also a 20 long. I never cycled the tank using fish though I used uncured live rock to cycle the tank and thats when i had the high ammonia. The ammonia your reading could be from fish waste or decaying organisms on your live rock, it could also be from over feeding. Never the less ammonia is cause by decaying matter in the water so if you lose the decaying matter you lose the ammonia.
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Old 11-10-2004, 05:05 PM   #4
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What you said regarding ammonia is very true gozetec02. In my specific case the confusion is stemming from the fact that my fresh unused aged salt water that was made from a distilled source is testing the same as my display tank water for ammonia. Adding to the confusion, distilled water from the bottle is testing 0ppm for ammonia.

I suppose ill be buying the seachem test after work and bringing a water sample to the fish store.
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Old 11-10-2004, 05:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
suppose ill be buying the seachem test after work and bringing a water sample to the fish store.
Thats what I would do. Verify and then you know how to react.
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Old 11-10-2004, 05:46 PM   #6
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What you said regarding ammonia is very true gozetec02. In my specific case the confusion is stemming from the fact that my fresh unused aged salt water that was made from a distilled source is testing the same as my display tank water for ammonia. Adding to the confusion, distilled water from the bottle is testing 0ppm for ammonia.

I suppose ill be buying the seachem test after work and bringing a water sample to the fish store.
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:37 PM   #7
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The people at the LFS told me that its common for the Wardley and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals ammonia test to consistently test slightly positive ~.25ppm for ammonia in salt water even when there is 0ppm ammonia. They said they have repeatedly tested their freshly made RO saltwater at around .25 with the two kits. They suggested I try the seachem test but said not to worry if the color of tank's ammonia test continually matches the color of freshly mixed saltwater test results.

I am starting to get quite frustrated with these supposedly accurate test kits I am shelling money out on....
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