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Hidden Walrus 12-12-2012 01:10 AM

Ammonia in tapwater
My tapwater is testing .25 - .5 for ammonia. I tested it because though I am getting nitrates and I believe my tanks are cycled, my tanks still have very low ammonia readings at times, (like .15 - .25) according to my API test kit, but the numbers never go up or down. Figuring it was chloramines in the water, I used API water conditioner at chlormamine-removal strength and retested but the results were the same. What can I get to remove the ammonia? I've heard Prime will remove it but then I've also heard it still shows up on the test kit even when treated. And why would Lake Michigan sourced city water have any ammonia in it anyway? Is it harmful to me?

Darkblade48 12-12-2012 03:28 AM

If it is indeed chloramine, then the API water conditioner will simply break the chlorine-ammonia bond; technically, the chloramine no longer exists (as I believe the API water conditioner advertises that it can "remove chloramine"), but there is still ammonia.

The ammonia will register on your test kit.

If you use Prime, the ammonia will be detoxified (supposedly, locked so that it cannot harm livestock). I am unsure if it still shows up on test kits.

As for your water supply, it is likely not ammonia that is in the water, but chloramines, as you mentioned. This is what the ammonia test kit is probably detecting.

Diana 12-12-2012 07:58 PM

My tap water will test 1 ppm for ammonia. It is from chloramines.

Different test kits respond differently to ammonia, locked up or not, and different dechlor. There are several types of ammonia tests. The best answer is to use a test kit by the same company that makes the dechlor, and research to find out exactly what the test is showing you. Perhaps an e-mail to the company would clear things up.

When you buy dechlor for chloramines make sure it also locks up ammonia. Some just break the chlorine-ammonia bond that makes up chloramine, but then do nothing about the ammonia.

It is common for the ammonia to show up for a while after refilling the tank. The dechlor has locked it up, but (depending on the test kit) it is still showing on the test.
The nitrifying bacteria should get going on the ammonia, though, and remove it from the tank. 24 hours after the water change you should not still show ammonia.

I would be suspicious of the test kit if it is showing that a cycled tank cannot remove a fraction of a ppm of ammonia overnight. Can you take some water in to be tested, or get another test kit or even a different style of test?

Hidden Walrus 12-13-2012 03:31 AM

I believe my test kit is slightly innaccurate and may be reading 0ppm ammonia as .15ppm, because after I used Prime on the tapwater to lock it up, it showed .15ppm, same as the aquarium. The color of the water when I test is right between yellow for none and lime green for .25. The nitrates are rising slowly in the tank though so I think it may just be a false positive.

Darkblade48 12-13-2012 04:40 AM

You can also test your test kit (to ensure that it is working properly) on some distilled water.

Using that, you can also set a baseline level for zero ammonia.

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