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Old 07-01-2012, 02:06 PM   #1
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Ammonia and PWC

I'm still in the process of cycling my tank. I've been testing for ammonia everyday or every other day at least. It took awhile for the ammonia to rise enough for me to even get a reading on it, but now it looks like the levels are starting to rise enough for me to have to remove even more water when I do a PWC.

I've had the tank for 2 weeks now. Yesterday I took a reading for ammonia and it looked like it was about .25PPM. I did a PWC of about 30-40 percent yesterday. This morning I took a reading and it looked like it was getting near .50PPM. I did a 50% water change and then took another reading. It still looked like it was about .50PPM. I've just got a bottle of Prime and have been using that the last few water changes. I know it says it removes ammonia, but if I'm still getting a reading of it, I would assume that's not a good thing. There are 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates as it is still cycling.

Any advice?
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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Are you fishless or fish in cycling?

If fish in how big is the tank and what is in it?
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
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in reply to the ammonia and Prime, I can't answer for certain. I've never used it, in fact up here in my little neck of the woods in Canada I haven't seen it in our local pet store.

But I believe it simply breaks down the ammonia into a less toxic form for the fish so you can still read it on the test. I may not be correct on this though so I hope someone jumps in here.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Prime does not remove or break down ammonia. It temporarily bonds with it. After about 24 hours it wears off. When you test you will still get an accurate ammonia level reading.

Have you tested you tap water yet?
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:32 PM   #5
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Rule of thumb

from my SW experince and FW I can tell you that I have never done WC while cycling especially if there are no fish in, but if in your case you have fish in there in order to continue with the cycle and keeping the fish alive this is what I have done.

25-35% H2o changes
replenish the H2O with distilled to lower the ph and the amonia, with trites, and trates
gear up on things to lower amonia and nitrites, as with the cycle will continue if the amonia is spiking it will eventually drop and be converted to nitrities, which is also deadly. i would also withold myself from adding new fish or anything live in there as everything produces waste which will add to the amonia, also feeding habits how much are you feeding and how much are they consuming it has to be a rational factor if not you end up with a clean looking tank with filthy substrate which lead to amonia nitrties, and trates, with this being said to make it short and sweet again just gear up for the amonia, nitrite spikes.

if you are still having problems with amonia after all of this and for the following days I would do a 50-65% H2O change buy a buffer for the PH to not make it to soft and just try at it again, amonia, trites and trates are very anoying but if you have ways around it you will have a sucessful tank.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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It's a fish-in cycle. It's a 29 gallon aquarium with 5 platys in it right now. I originally would have gone with 2-3 fish, but there was a sale and I chanced it to save a little money.

I'm about to test the water again just to make sure my results were accurate. If it's high, I guess I'm going to do another water change, just more.

I have tested the tap water. 0 ammonia.

EDIT:
I lied. I just tested the tap water again and I'm getting a reading of at least .5 PPM... I know I have tested before and it was 0. I know this from when I first filled up my tank 2 weeks ago. Now I'm not sure what to do. Can I dose with Prime?
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Old 07-02-2012, 12:43 AM   #7
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Some water plants use chloramine in the water supply and not just chlorine. Chloramine is chlorine bonded with ammonia. Any good water conditioner will break this bond and neutralize the chlorine leaving you with ammonia. It's typically not a big problem, you just have to know that you will never be able to get the ammonia below what is in your tap water. If you are using Prime you are ok. Like I said, Prime will detoxify the ammonia for about 24 hours. Test daily to monitor for big spikes and do daily water changes if you feel the need.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #8
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So, I tried to figure out why I was not getting an ammonia reading before when I was using the same tap water. I tested the tap water, but this time added a drop of Tetra Betta Safe to it (this is all I had on hand when I set up the tank). The test showed 0 ammonia. I also did another test adding a drop of Prime (which is super concentrated), and I again got what looked to be 0 ammonia, however, the color was kind of off. It was turning a little brown. I think this was from the concentrated amount of Prime.

So, now it makes a little sense on why I was getting the results I getting. However, now I'm not sure what to do. Prime is not removing ammonia, while it looks like the Tetra product is? Or, it's giving me some kind of false result. I'm not sure. If it was removing the ammonia, then I can see that my first cycle would have taken forever!

Anyway, what should I do? Just water changes everyday and keep using Prime? The fish still look happy and active, but I don't want to essentially poison them every time I try to do a water change.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Noah0504 View Post
So, I tried to figure out why I was not getting an ammonia reading before when I was using the same tap water. I tested the tap water, but this time added a drop of Tetra Betta Safe to it (this is all I had on hand when I set up the tank). The test showed 0 ammonia. I also did another test adding a drop of Prime (which is super concentrated), and I again got what looked to be 0 ammonia, however, the color was kind of off. It was turning a little brown. I think this was from the concentrated amount of Prime.

So, now it makes a little sense on why I was getting the results I getting. However, now I'm not sure what to do. Prime is not removing ammonia, while it looks like the Tetra product is? Or, it's giving me some kind of false result. I'm not sure. If it was removing the ammonia, then I can see that my first cycle would have taken forever!

Anyway, what should I do? Just water changes everyday and keep using Prime? The fish still look happy and active, but I don't want to essentially poison them every time I try to do a water change.
I think someone mentioned it before, but Prime does not remove ammonia, it detoxifies it -- there's a difference.

The detoxified ammonia will still be present in the tank, and will still show up on your tests, it just won't harm the fish while in the detoxified state (and as mentioned, the detoxification wears out in 24-48 hours).

When cycling, this is actually a good thing -- the bacteria still have their food source, yet it's in a form that won't harm the fish. If one removed the ammonia (like with those filter chips, for example), one would also starve the very bacteria one is trying to cultivate.

Daily or every other day partial water changes with Prime should do the trick. Ammonia stays relatively low, but yet present to feed the bacteria, and in a detoxified state that won't harm the fish.

Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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Okay, I think I understand it now! I'll just keep up with a small water change everyday and keep testing the ammonia levels until they start to drop and the cycle moves on.

I do still wonder about one thing: why was no ammonia showing up after using the Tetra product. Do you think it was messing with the results? If so, it was kind of a panic moment when you go from 0 ammonia to .5PPM in one day! I had a stressful Sunday because of it! Haha.

Anywho, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to chime in and help me out!
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:33 PM   #11
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Okay, I think I understand it now! I'll just keep up with a small water change everyday and keep testing the ammonia levels until they start to drop and the cycle moves on.

I do still wonder about one thing: why was no ammonia showing up after using the Tetra product. Do you think it was messing with the results? If so, it was kind of a panic moment when you go from 0 ammonia to .5PPM in one day! I had a stressful Sunday because of it! Haha.

Anywho, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to chime in and help me out!
Sounds like a plan to me.

Also, in addition to detoxifying ammonia, Prime also detoxifies nitrites, so when you move on to that part of the cycle, the procedure will be exactly the same.

I always keep Prime on hand for this reason alone -- for example, one time ammonia in cycling tank got a bit high, only I didn't have the time to do a partial water change that particular day. Knowing that the normal dose of Prime detoxifies 1 ppm of ammonia, I just poured the proper amount of Prime into the tank based on water volume and ammonia level and bought myself 24 hours -- and did the water change (again with Prime) the following day.

I am not saying that Prime is a substitute for partial water changes. The water changes should be the first and most important part of the battle -- but if one's in a situation where one can't do the partial water change right then and there, for whatever reason, Prime can detoxify things in a pinch.

Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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...
I do still wonder about one thing: why was no ammonia showing up after using the Tetra product. Do you think it was messing with the results? ...
I have not used that product but it is possible it was causing inaccurate test results. No chemical additive, in the hobby, can REMOVE ammonia. To do that you need special filtering.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #13
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I use prime for all of my tanks ( 7 of them). I highly recommend it. It doesn't take out the ammonia it detoxifies it, and when your nitrites start in the prime also detoxifies the nitrites to. You only need the one product instead of several.
You will see test readings of ammonia in your water but as long as you are doing water changes daily and using prime the water will stay nontoxic to the fish, when the nitrites start you will also see them on the test but the prime keeps them non toxic for your fish, once your cycle is complete you will be able to do weekly water changes and your
fish will be fine.
My water source is treated with chloramine so for 2 days after my weekly water change I add prime to the tank because the chloramine breaks down to ammonia. 2 days after my water changes my ammonia readings go to zero. It just takes a little longer for the bb to break down the chloramine.
Cycling a tank can be hard work especially with a fish in cycle but it is allot of enjoyment after all is settled and well worth the effort.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:14 PM   #14
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I'd once again like to thank all of you for the information and advice you have given. I think I'd be much worse off if I had never come across this forum! Haha.

I only used the BettaSafe because that's all I had when first starting the tank, but quickly saw Prime mentioned over and over and ordered a bottle as the pet store here didn't carry it. Once it came in, I began using it immediately. That's what started all of this mess!

I just did another water change and dosed the water with Prime. I'll probably keep doing this everyday until the tank is cycled. The fish seem to love it, so I might as well!

In the mean time, I'll patiently wait for the tank to cycle and enjoy watching my fish!
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #15
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Your fish will love the water changes, mine like to swim thru it as I am pouring into the tank, They play in the bubbles.
And as for this forum, I have learned allot here, everyone is very helpful. I learn something new every day it seems just reading thru the current posts.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:03 PM   #16
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So, just an update...

I've still been doing daily water changes with Prime. The fish seem happy as can be, even though the ammonia level still stays at a constant .5PPM (this is what the tap water contains). Doing the PWC everyday has kept the level from rising anymore, but after 3 weeks of starting this tank, I guess I'm going to have to keep waiting for it to cycle because I have yet to see any nitrites. I even added some gravel from my other established 5 gallon tank. Granted it wasn't much, but I was hoping it would introduce some bacteria that would multiply quickly.

I'll keep it up until the tank is cycled.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #17
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If you know any one else close by that you could get a piece of used filter media from it would really help. You could also check with your local fish store, they might let you have a small piece or maybe a little gravel from one of their tanks.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
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So, just an update...

I've still been doing daily water changes with Prime. The fish seem happy as can be, even though the ammonia level still stays at a constant .5PPM (this is what the tap water contains). Doing the PWC everyday has kept the level from rising anymore, but after 3 weeks of starting this tank, I guess I'm going to have to keep waiting for it to cycle because I have yet to see any nitrites. I even added some gravel from my other established 5 gallon tank. Granted it wasn't much, but I was hoping it would introduce some bacteria that would multiply quickly.

I'll keep it up until the tank is cycled.
bummer. sorry it's being such a pain. Have you tried one of your local pet stores? I know some people have managed to buy seeded media from some. May be worth a shot
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #19
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We do have one, but sadly, I don't think I want anything out of their tanks...

I could add more gravel from my established tank. There is a possibility that it would work. Other than that, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing until the the natural cycle kicks in.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:10 PM   #20
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Every tank is different; 3 weeks isn't much so just keep doing what you're doing. ALso if your tap water contains .5 ammonia (test it straight from the tap, no need to add anything to it like dechlor for testing) then there's no sense in doing water changes if your tank is .5 ammonia or below since you'll be putting that same amount of ammonia back in anyway. What's your PH and what temp is your tank at? This guide can help determine how toxic certain levels of ammonia are in your tank (I wouldn't let it get above .5 but this guide might ease your mind some about the .5 reading in your tank). Your Guide to Ammonia Toxicity
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