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Old 01-09-2008, 07:34 PM   #1
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ammonia issues

Ok so i have had my tank for several years and everything has always been fine. Recently I cleaned my filters (Hang on and a canister) and i changed th filter media and ultimately i made a huge mistake and I inadverntently removed beneficial bacteria obviously, because I had a ammonia spike... so I did daily water changes until I got the ammonia down to.25 my ph is around 6.5 and i keep South American cichlids. The fish seem to be doing ok but I cannot get my ammonia to go down it is just staying at .25. i do regular 20% water changes every sunday. My Nitrites 0, my nitrates 5, ph 6.4, ammonia .25... I am not feeding for 24 hours starting now I guess. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am frustrated at this point.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:41 PM   #2
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What size tank and what kind of test kit do you use? I would recommend doing 50% pwc. Are all your fish accounted for? A dead fish hiding in an ornament or plant can cause ammonia.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:53 PM   #3
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I have a 90 gallon tank and all of my fish are accounted for I have no rotting plants. i use the liquid master freshwater kit. When i look at the tube against the color chart it is lighter than the .25 but it's not 0. I did a water change on Monday, about 20 gallons at that time and gave it a few hours and checked the parameters still the same and the same for tonight. Is my tank cycling again? Do you think a 50% water change will bring down the ammonia?
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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It is possible you are going through a mini cycle. Doing an extra pwc will not hurt at all. 50% will get the ammonia down. When testing after a pwc, wait at least 2 hours before testing to get an accurate reading.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:23 PM   #5
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Cool... I'll try that.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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One other thing - if you have chloramines in your water (most city waters do), that will react with your dechlorinators to give ammonia. That ammonia is bound to the dechlor & harmless, but will read positive with a Nessler test (a salicylate test (SW ammonia) will read free ammonia accurately). This may account for the faint colour in your test.

To confirm - test some tap water with dechlor, if you get that same faint yellow cast, you are reading the chloramines in your tap water. If so, no worries. The small amount of bound NH3 will be gone in a day or so. <The fact that you have NO3 & the fishies are fine makes me suspect that your faint NH3 reading is artefactual.>
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:30 PM   #7
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http://www.novalek.com/kordon/articl...mquelworks.htm

Your source of the ammonia may be coming from your tap water. I would further suspect this because if you have done all of these water changes and it has not gone away, your local water supply may be the culprit. I had a friend in Texas one time who had a huge pond in his back yard. He left the hose on all night long and he lost over 50 Koi. It was a terrible disaster and it was from the ammonia from the city water supply. Where we lived in Texas we had to use this product for every water change we did.

I noticed you are from Atlanta. Depending on where you live some towns are having to pull deeper and deeper from Lake Lanier. Right now the City of Cummings is pulling really deep from the lake. This could be a major problem for tanks. The deeper they go the further the water quality comes down. They USE ammonia to treat bad water.

I'm sure some will say that the cities check the water for ammonia. They certainly do, but what you and I can live with, fish cannot.

I posted a link above for a product you should purchase as soon as you can. This is the only chemical I ever will use in my tanks. No other treatment other then Amquel will be found in my fish room. This will immediately remove any ammonia you may have. You will have to check it a week or so later just to make sure you are back on the cycle. I would also get a glass of water right now from the tap and test it. In a 90 gallon tank it would be unusual to have the problem you describe unless this is coming from the city water source.

Good Luck and keep us informed.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:57 AM   #8
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Well I tested my tap water and concluded that the ammonia is coming straight out of the tap. Thanks Jsoong and Odessadude. Also Odessadude, I use that Amquel product. I use Amquel and or Aeachem and thats it. I am pretty loyal when it comes to products.

*** noticed you are from Atlanta. Depending on where you live some towns are having to pull deeper and deeper from Lake Lanier. Right now the City of Cummings is pulling really deep from the lake. This could be a major problem for tanks. The deeper they go the further the water quality comes down. They USE ammonia to treat bad water.****

That completely makes complete sense. Thanks
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:35 AM   #9
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Dingogirl I glad to have been able to help. I'm glad somewhere down the line someone introduced you to this product. Also beware of what you read on these boards before you research it yourself. Although I don't believe most posters would intentionally give you bad information, some suggestions could contribute to problems one may be having.

http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg8/odessadude/
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:21 AM   #10
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I would say that jsoong hit the nail on the head. It would appear that chloramine is added to your drinking water. AFAIK, they do not add NH3 directly to the drinking water.

Here is your 2006 water report:

http://www.atlantawatershed.org/pdf/WQR2006.pdf

It does not mention the addition of chloramine? But under the "Disinfection Byproducts", it informs you of what chloramine is and what it does.

http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking...ogram=WaterTre

That would lead me to believe that it is added.

Here is also a list of what is tested:

http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking...ogram=WaterTre

chloramine is one of them.

BTW, I cannot find any mention of receiving water from Lake Lanier. All of the processing plants get your drinking water from the Chattahoochee River.

This is from the water report:

"Sources of Your Water
Each day, the Atlanta water system provides
approximately 120 million gallons of treated drinking
water for nearly 1 million residents in the metropolitan
Atlanta area. All the water processed is surface water from
the Chattahoochee River.
The raw water intake for the Chattahoochee and
Hemphill Water Treatment Plants is located on the
Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee Plant receives
the water directly from the river. The Hemphill Plant
processes raw water that has been pumped from the river
to a reservoir. These two plants supply about 75% of
Atlantaís drinking water. The remaining water is supplied
by the Atlanta-Fulton County Water Treatment Plant, which
also processes water from the Chattahoochee River. This
plant supplies treated (finished) water to the northern area
of our distribution system."

You can also find the EPA's website using google, or the like, if you would like more info on what can and cannot be added to drinking water along with the federal limits for each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by odessadude View Post
Also beware of what you read on these boards before you research it yourself. Although I don't believe most posters would intentionally give you bad information, some suggestions could contribute to problems one may be having.
Though I wouldn't have included the "these boards" in your comment, that is true of all things on the internet. DO NOT take a single peice of advice for the truth! Research many different sites/forums/threads before taking action.

Randy

P.S. Prime (dechlor product) is highly recommended by MANY menbers of this site. It will make the NH3/NH4 non-toxic, but still allow it to be used by your bacteria. IE binding NH3/NH4 and making is unusable is not a good thing. Your bacteria still needs it to feed itself.
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