A claim from a non-chemist:
is an expression of mg
/L, so in other words, it is a relationship by weight. 1 PPM
of ammonia means that each liter contains 1 mg
of ammonia. With a molar mass of 17.031 g/mol (1 mol = 6.022 * 10^23 ) that means that that mg
of ammonia contains (6.022 * 10^23 / 17.031) / 1000 = 3.536 * 10^19 molecules of ammonia. When those molecules of ammonia get the three hydrogen atoms replaced by two oxygen atoms to become a nitrite ion, all of a sudden we have 46.0055 / 17.031 = 2.7 times the original weight (1 mg
) of nitrite in that liter of water, so now we have 2.7 PPM
of nitrite. Same number of molecules, but each one weighs more. When those nitrite ions get an extra oxygen atom added to turn them into nitrate, we now have 62.0049 / 46.0055 = 1.35 times more weight yet again, for a total of 3.64 PPM
Source: 1 ppm ammonia = 1 ppm nitrite = 1 ppm nitrate?
If this person's napkin math is correct, 1ppm ammonia converts to 2.7ppm nitrIte.
I can use this to make my own napkin math to estimate the TAN (total ammonia NH3
+ NH4) in my system, and then figure out my bad ammonia (NH3
The day I had .5 nitrites, my TAN went from 18 to 17.81
Next day I had 3ish nitrites, so we'll say I dropped 1ppm ammonia, to 16.81
Next day 5 nitrites, so we'll say I dropped another 1ppm, 15.81
Next day, well, nitrites are capped out. But surely the bacteria is doubled, so let's say I lost 2ppm ammonia, plus a little extra. Let's call it 13.5
We'll say based on the NH3
to NH4 math that the free ammonia (Nh3
) in my system is .37125
This should be toxic to my second-level bacteria. But, my nitrite eating bacteria ARE reproducing. I know this because I HAVE nitrates.
So what gives? This is the next part of the research.