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Old 10-21-2013, 11:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Baddog671 View Post
My HOB (single unit but dual medias) was only in use about 6-7 weeks before it was the cause of my excessive nitrite levels. I blame that on my poop machine Pleco. Like I said, my ppm was off the charts and one day out of frustration I did SIX 50% WC within 24 hours and it didn't lower my nitrite levels at all. Cleaned the filter and then my test vials were immediately clear blue instead of Barney purple to deep plum purple. I disassemble the pick up tube and clean it thoroughly, and pull out the propeller to clean as well. The media bags I put in a 5 gallon bucket of old tank water and gently squeeze them and whisk them around. Turned that clear 5g of water to nasty brown. Whether I lost any BB is kinda irrelevant, since my situation improved drastically
Awesome!!! I'm totally gonna try that my next WC!!! This sounds promising!!!! Thank you so much!!!
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:14 PM   #22
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What size tank is this?
It's a 20 gallon long. But now that I learned plecos are poop factories it makes sense . And I'm saving up money for a larger tank of that was gonna be your suggestion.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:03 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Hatachimog View Post
i heard somewhere that there is another type of ammonia test that will rule out the false positive ammonia test. Any idea the name?
I think what you're looking for is Seachem Ammonia Alert. It stays in your tank and only reads ammonia (NH3) and not ammonium (NH4+) where most test kits read both. I definitely recommend it, but give it a few days to get accurate. It's $9 where I live and works for a year.

Here's a quote from Seachem's FAQ that's helped me understand the relationship between free ammonia and ammonium(ionic ammonia) a little bit.

"The Ammonia Alertôonly measure free ammonia because that is the harmful form. Ionic ammonia cannot harm your fish. However, as pH rises, a greater and greater percentage of the total ammonia will be converted from ionic ammonia to free ammonia, so knowledge of total ammonia is also important."
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:43 PM   #24
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I think what you're looking for is Seachem Ammonia Alert. It stays in your tank and only reads ammonia (NH3) and not ammonium (NH4+) where most test kits read both. I definitely recommend it, but give it a few days to get accurate. It's $9 where I live and works for a year. Here's a quote from Seachem's FAQ that's helped me understand the relationship between free ammonia and ammonium(ionic ammonia) a little bit. "The Ammonia Alert™only measure free ammonia because that is the harmful form. Ionic ammonia cannot harm your fish. However, as pH rises, a greater and greater percentage of the total ammonia will be converted from ionic ammonia to free ammonia, so knowledge of total ammonia is also important."
Awesome. Thanks for the suggestion. That's what I was looking for. Guess it's back to the store!

I checked my carbon pads and they were both as green as Kermit the frog so I took them out and rinsed them [in some tank water I removed from the tank], they have no odor at all so I didn't replace them this time around
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:15 PM   #25
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Mine were nasty brown. Yummy :p
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:39 PM   #26
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Mine were nasty brown. Yummy :p
Yeah, brown is more Accurate. Lol

UPDATE: I actually replaced my penguin carbon media (don't worry my bio-wheel is untouched ) and my other HOB has a special bacteria wall bio-holster as well which allows me to replace both carbon pads (the Penguin and Aqueon)with no worries. I'm gonna test it soon-like in an hour. For the record my penguin cycles 200 gallons an hour and my other I think does 20 gallons/hour (it's smaller and I actually used it in my little 10 gallon at first.) I have a 20 gal/long
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:52 PM   #27
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Forgive my ignorance but I don't think you should ever read any ammonia after you've cycled unless you are constantly mini cycling. If I were you, I'd take a vial into my LFS and get them to test. Could be your test kit is screwy. I'd also get rid of the carbon. As I understand it, carbon should be replaced every month regardless of its look or smell due to the fact that it will leech contaminates back into your tank. Unless you're cleaning meds out, I would simply not run it as its minimal benifits outweigh the risks. I'd replace that out with some bio-material. Depending on the model of HOB filter I've had success in cutting the top of the carbon cartridge and dumping that out, you can then replace with filter floss or other bio-packs.

Good luck!
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:00 PM   #28
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Forgive my ignorance but I don't think you should ever read any ammonia after you've cycled unless you are constantly mini cycling. If I were you, I'd take a vial into my LFS and get them to test. Could be your test kit is screwy. I'd also get rid of the carbon. As I understand it, carbon should be replaced every month regardless of its look or smell due to the fact that it will leech contaminates back into your tank. Unless you're cleaning meds out, I would simply not run it as its minimal benifits outweigh the risks. I'd replace that out with some bio-material. Depending on the model of HOB filter I've had success in cutting the top of the carbon cartridge and dumping that out, you can then replace with filter floss or other bio-packs.

Good luck!
-SF
Whoa! getting creative! i actually think that's a really good idea! i never thought to just cut the top of the carbon filter and put my own stuff in it. The my LFS has an entire wall dedicated to filters so i'll keep an eye out for the floss, any suggestions as to the best kind? is it the same as dental floss- dumb question i know, but worth a shot. i haven't added any meds to my tank,as my fish are all 'bright eyed and bushy tailed' no slime, no wounds, no signs of dropsy, no nothing! -knock on wood!
someone earlier suggested an NH3 test strip because the API test kit tests for both NH3 and NH4, and i could be getting the high reading from the NH3 instead of the Free Ammonia, which is the bad kind, is that right?
The last time i took it to my LFS everything came back perfectly normal. Based on my fish behavior I think everything is fine.
As a side note i feed my pleco a piece of Seaweed every other day, and when i took out the carbon pads they seemed to resemble the color of that. i wonder if that could be causing a problem as well?
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:03 PM   #29
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I'm pretty sure it's not the test kit, because you said you measured your tap water and got a result of 0 ppm, meaning that your test kit should be ok. The other thing that can cause false positives are chloramines in tap, but you've already ruled that out.

Let me make sure I've got this straight: 20g long tank, ~2 months old, two filters?

What media do you have in the filters? What make/model of filter?
Have you always used a dechlorinator?
Are you changing your filter cartridges?
Have you added anything else to the tank at all?
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:11 PM   #30
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1) If your filter has carbon in it, don't bother cutting it out. It's not going to hurt anything, and will not be adsorbing anything in a matter of weeks anyway, so it's entirely a non-factor. As you already have suggested, it's a decent home for bacteria, which is not something you necessarily want to sabotage at the moment.

2) Regarding ammonia. NH3 = ammonia or "free ammonia", NH4 = ammonium, which is markedly less toxic. Ammonia test kits measure total ammonia (NH3+NH4), whereas most 'ammonia monitors' measure only NH3. NH3 and NH4 rapidly interconvert, with the relative ratio being proportional to pH (higher pH means more NH3).

3) Don't trust what the LFS says. They're usually either the same technique your using (liquid tests) or a less accurate test like a strip.

4) Filter floss is actually polyester fibers, often sold either in pet stores as filter floss or in crafting sections as quilt batting.
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