Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Ammonia, pH, Acclimation (and more)?
Sorting through some old notes today, I found a clip from a thread that raises a question I've wondered about, but never got around to asking.
In it is described an experience from someone who ran a LFS. He received shipment of fish, which he was too busy to properly deal with right away, so he opened the bag and put in an aerator. This resulted in the rapid death of all the fish!
He goes on to describe what he thinks happened. The water in the bag was laden with both ammonia and CO2, accumulated during the shipment. The CO2 was dropping the pH enough that the ammonia was held in the weakly toxic ammonium form. By adding the aerator, he drove off CO2, which raised the pH, and converted the ammonium back to strongly toxic ammonia.
If so, then this might also happen with a shipped fish if you do a drip acclimation, with CO2-unenriched tank water that is naturally high pH. Even if death doesn't result, it could cause some stress, which is better off avoided.
Obviously, adding a dechlorinator that's effective against chloramines, and therefore ammonia, is a good idea.
So how much should one use in relation to the recommended normal water change dose, in order to detoxify the highest amount of ammonia that might conceivably be present? In a small water volume, is it possible to dose too much, so that the dechlor itself might have a toxic effect?