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Old 12-10-2009, 10:33 PM   #1
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Ammonia or Nitrites in tap

Ok, Ill start by saying that I do not have a sw tank, I hope to have one some day and I dont think you can ever start learning to far in advance.

While reading someones thread about using tap water to start there sw tank, a thought occured to me. I do know enough about sw to know that there is a different kind of nitrifying bacteria that cycles the tank than what cycles a fw tank.

Speaking mainly of using tap for sw, although I know it is best to use RO water for most situations.

So, with that thought in mind, if you have nitrites or ammonia straight out of the tap, how do they get consumed since technically they are fw, or are they considered sw once you mix the salts in? Also, even if you don't have ammonia or nitrites in the tap, if you use water that has chlorine or chloramines in it, those get turned into ammonia, so how does this work in a marine system?
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:48 PM   #2
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I think you get ammonia, nitrites mixed up with "Nitrates". Ammonia and nitrites are a b-product of food and nitrate is the end process of food changing from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate and back to nitrogen if you take it that far.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:54 AM   #3
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...or are they considered sw once you mix the salts in?
That's more or less it. There isn't "freshwater ammonia" and "saltwater ammonia"... just "ammonia". And both the bacteria that exist in FW tanks and SW tanks consume "ammonia". So your bacteria, freshwater or saltwater, really don't care what type of water the ammonia came from. It's just ammonia. Same thing applies to nitrites.


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Also, even if you don't have ammonia or nitrites in the tap, if you use water that has chlorine or chloramines in it, those get turned into ammonia, so how does this work in a marine system?
I'm assuming you mean after you treat the chlorine/chloramine with a dechlorinator? Just like a FW tank, you don't want to put straight chlorinated water in a SW tank.

If it's chlorine, the dechlorinator breaks it down into chlorides. If it's chloramine, it breaks it down into chlorides and ammonia. Then the ammonia is bound into harmless ammonium by another component of the dechlorinator - assuming that it's designed to be used for chloramines. The ammonium is then converted by the bacteria - either FW or SW.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:13 AM   #4
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What? you just blew my mind. kurt Nelson and thincat said so much in so little words. Ya'll should write manuals.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:39 AM   #5
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It's the water!
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:22 PM   #6
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Yay, my question was answered... Basically, ammonia and nitrites stay the same for fw and sw. It is the bacteria that is different between salt, or rather had to change to convert the two into nitrates.

Im not so sure that post is clear so.. to put it simply, the ammonia and nitrites are the base, it's just the bacteria that had to accomadate the salt in the water for sw.

Hopefully that comes accross as making sense..lol, it makes sense in my head and I'm sure someone will understand what Im trying to say.

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:40 PM   #7
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A good article to read.

Chemistry and the Aquarium
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:18 PM   #8
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...to put it simply, the ammonia and nitrites are the base, it's just the bacteria that had to accomadate the salt in the water for sw.
Yup. You got it!
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