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Old 06-06-2006, 11:46 AM   #1
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Ammonia levels

Ok, I finally found an ammonia test kit (Ive never been able to find one anywhere).
Ive tested the water in my 5.5 gal. the day after I did a large water change and gravel siphon.... it read somewhere between 0 and 0.25.. it was hard to match the colour on the chart, but its more than just 0 Im sure.

I decided to put an aerator in the tank because I read that it may help with the ammonia levels.

If my ammonia is at that level the DAY AFTER I clean the tank, I wonder if it gets really bad by the end of the week. I do a 50 -75% water change every week.

I know everyone in this forum says not to use chemicals in the tank, but should I use an ammonia reducer? or is there something else I can do? why would the level be so bad?

Maybe this explains why Ive had unexplained "wasting away" deaths of two gouramis and a black molly.
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Old 06-06-2006, 01:27 PM   #2
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I would suggest you test your water every day to see if you can determine if there are any changes. I always do a test right before a PWC to see my levels "at their worst". Keep in mind that doing the gravel vac will kick up debris, which could actually raise the ammonia levels for a bit before they lower again.
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Old 06-06-2006, 01:50 PM   #3
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The debris would still be "kicked up" the next day?

And is it true that the smaller the tank, the harder it is to keep parameters good? Id like to switch to a 10 gal tank, but I just dont have a stand for it.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:01 PM   #4
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small tanks are hard to care for and get water conditions ideal, but it can be done with some piatence lol
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:06 PM   #5
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Yep the smaller the tank, the less water you have to dilute nasties like ammonia and nitrite...and the easier to overstock the tank (not saying that you are, just a general statement).
Small tanks tend to have more drastic changes more quickly than larger tanks.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:10 PM   #6
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kicked up debris today = ammonia spike tomorrow.

What do you use to declorinate your water ? If you use Prime (which is highly recommended by many people on this site) it will detox the ammonia and make it less harmful to the fish, while still being available to the good bacteria in your tank. A really teeny bottle will last you forever - its very very highly concentrated.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:11 PM   #7
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Ok so does the aerator help? the ammonia test kit instructions said it helps break down stuff and keep ammonia in check a bit more.

and should I get some ammonia reducer? The only thing i put in the water is the AquaSafe tap water treatment.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:33 PM   #8
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I wouldn't use an ammonia reducer - it will starve your good bacteria and then you'd be basically cycling all over again. Do ammonia reducer either. If the levels go above .25ppm then just do a PWC (without the gravel vac) to dilute it some.
Your best bet is to just do the tests daily and then do them right before your PWCs going foward so you can see if the parameters get bad with your PWC schedule.
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Old 06-06-2006, 04:21 PM   #9
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Ok... I just did another ammonia test, and since I put in the aerator, it definately hasnt gotten worse since the water change on Saturday, if anything it may be a bit better. Its definately not over 0.25. Ill do another one on thursday and then one on Saturday right before my PWC.

Also, my pH is at least 7.4 cuz my pH test kit doesnt go any higher...(I need to get one that reads higher values I guess)... but I read that sometimes pH can cause ammonia problems too. We have extremely hard water here... great if I had African Cichlids, but I dont lol.
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Old 06-06-2006, 05:09 PM   #10
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Oh - be very careful with higher pH levels - ammonia gets more toxic the higher the pH goes. I'd do another PWC now to get those levels down. Don't gravel vac, just remove water and replace. Its a small tank so you should be able to do a PWC in less than 15 minutes.
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Old 06-06-2006, 06:16 PM   #11
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One thing to do is test your tap water for ammonia. A color change when testing the tap water would mean you have chloramines in your municiple supply. Use only a quality liquid reagent kit. Until your tank is cycled, you can't get the ammonia down below the chloramine level with water changes. Food particles and other detrius that get in the test tube can also cause the kit to turn color. make sure you are not over reading the test kit. The AP two bottle test goes from yellow to light brownish for 0.25, hold the vial near or directly on a white background in good light.

Aeration will not remove ammonia or chloramines. Aeration will speed the removal of chlorine.
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Old 06-06-2006, 06:56 PM   #12
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Oh.... well doing a PWC to fix the pH wont work for me... the tap water is naturally that pH, and thats all I have.

The ammonia test kit I have is a TetraTest. I do have a pH reducer, but no one seems to think I should use it.

And my ammonia level right now is closer to 0 than to 0.25.
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:59 PM   #13
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Cool - that's not such a bad ammonia reading for a new tank. Don't forget to test nitrites also Just keep testing and do a PWC when the levels get to .25ppm

Don't use the pH reducer - fish are generally ok out of their ideal range as long as the pH is stable - those pH up and pH down chemicals could throw everything out of whack. I have high pH also (8.2 !) and my fish do ok. I do acclimate them for a very long time (90 minutes) because of it - I don't know if I have to, but I sure do feel better that way
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:50 PM   #14
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Oh, BTW, this isnt a new tank... I just have two new fish in it (the molly and guppy)... Its the ammonia test kit thats new.. it took me forever to find one, and its only for ammonia , not for nitrates.. I wish it tested both.

The darn ammonia test kit cost me $15 plus tax... grrr.. so I hope I dont need to buy a new one any time soon.

Also, do mollies like to gulp air at the surface a lot? this is my second molly who does that. The water isnt toxic, and theres lots of aeration.
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:01 PM   #15
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You can get yourself a master test kit with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH online at Bigal's or petsolutions.com for about $15 US.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:10 PM   #16
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Well I tested the ammonia level right before my weekly PWC, and its fine. So my unexplained deaths previously are still a mystery. The molly and guppy are still doing well and I will purchase a higher value pH test kit when I get to the store.. maybe thats the issue, I dont know.

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:30 PM   #17
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Glad to hear that all is well
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