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Old 08-27-2003, 02:02 AM   #1
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Ammonia in Salt Mix during cycling?



Anyone ever got a false Ammonia reading after mixing fresh RO water with Instant Ocean salt mix.

I have been cycling my tank for about 5 weeks, and have seen the ammonia spike and fall, the nitrites spike and fall and nitrate rise. This was about a week ago.

Peak ammonia was between 4-8 ppm. It's kinda hard to tell the difference. Nitrites peaked at about 4 ppm and is currently reading 0 constantly. Nitrates are at about 20 ppm. Test kit is Saltwater Master from Aquarium Pharmacuticals.

Trouble is the ammonia never really dropped to 0. It constantly hovers at 2.5 ppm.

After about a week of 2.5 ammonia, I got a little suspicious and tested my fresh RO water without the salt mix. It read 0 ppm. So I was thinking my test kit was working fine.

Today getting a little fustrated, I testing some of the RO water with salt that was aging in a 20 gallon trash bin. It showed 2.5 ppm ammonia. Bin was purchased new and never used for anything but aging water, and before that was soaking in tap water for 2 days.

Getting more confused, I took a sample of fresh RO water, mixed the salt, and retested after letting it rest for an hour. Again 2.5ppm ammonia?

Now I'm really confused, is it possible that adding the salt cause the ammonia reading in the water. I have salt from two different bags one in the tank and one in the trash bin so that probably eliminate a bad bag of salt...

I'm going to pick up another test kit tommorow, but it's strange that the water tested 0 ppm without the salt and 2.5 ppm with the salt.
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Old 08-27-2003, 06:17 AM   #2
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Any cats in the house? Do you store your unused salt near their litter box??
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Old 08-27-2003, 09:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Anyone ever got a false Ammonia reading after mixing fresh RO water with Instant Ocean salt mix.
YES

When i first got into this hobby i had this very problem. I was using a freshwater ammonia test kit (the kind that has the drops and the test tube) and it would test positive every time i added saltmix to fresh water. My only conclusion was that there was a chemical in the saltmix that the low cost freshwater test kit was picking up and confusing as ammonia.
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Old 08-27-2003, 02:12 PM   #4
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No cats....only living creature in my place is us humans, and hopefully a tankful of bacteria.

I'm going to pick up a new ammonia test at the LFS. Have seen the following brands

1) Redsea
2) Fasttest
3) Tetra

Are any of these any good, or should I look for something else?
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Old 08-27-2003, 05:05 PM   #5
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Go with Salifert
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Old 08-28-2003, 06:05 AM   #6
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im having the same exact problem. constant reasing of .250 though. i decided to use some AC and it cleared it up in 2 days.
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Old 08-28-2003, 05:10 PM   #7
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Hmm...made a mistake in my posting. Ammonia levels are at 0.25 not 2.5.

Tried a Hagen Ammonia kit today, borrowed from a friend and guess what....
Fresh RO water with salt shows higher ammonia level then the water in my tank!!

I think i will bite the bullet and take the 1 hour drive to the other LFS where I know they have a Salifert Ammonia kit, and also pick up some fresh AC to give that a try.

Wondering if I should do a water change, bring the Nitrates down, and put a couple of hermits or snails as sort of a canary test. I am quite sure this is due to a false reading as I have seen all signs of the cycle peak and drop.
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