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jccaclimber 01-17-2013 12:03 AM

Unknowingly dosing ammonia?
I live in a nearly hundred year old house in Indiana, so my local tap water is somewhat similar to a limestone slurry with some rust mixed in. Additionally my municipality uses chloramine. To dechlorinate I use Prime. Last fall I started using primarily RO water (reconstituted with GH booster). While things did start growing a bit better, I still am fighting BBA, and an occasional outbreak of long stringy algae. This seems to happen less if I do less water changes, but still fertilize.
My water coming out of the RO unit has ~1PPM ammonia in it. While the Prime does project the fish, is this still the equivalent of giving the plants (and algae) an ammonia dose every week? If so, are there any good ways to get the ammonia out of the RO water other than a DI or extra carbon stage? A while ago someone suggested running an airstone in my RO tank (125 gallon), but I am unsure how quickly that will remove the ammonia.

Tank stats:
On my display tank (75g) I dose EI with tons of CO2, and normally do a 50% water change every week. Lighting is two home-made T5HO bulbs, but with a really crummy reflector (aluminum foil). Most red plants only turn red at the very top of the water, so I doubt I have a ton of light. Filtration is Poret foam sitting in a sump (basically an HMF but in a separate tank).

GeToChKn 01-17-2013 12:50 AM

ARe you testing the RO water before or after prime? Prime will give a false positive on ammonia test after dosing. With a good RO unit, you shouldn't need prime if there is nothing else in the water.

jccaclimber 01-17-2013 12:57 AM

Testing before, although from my understanding with the API test it shouldn't matter. Seachem makes the claim that the ammonia/ammonium is bound in a form that makes it fish safe for 48 hours, but still available to the bacteria that break it down. It seems to me that if it is available to bacteria, that it will also be available to algae.
RO units don't remove dissolved gasses, including ammonia. I don't have a DI canister after the membrane, so it will pass through.

fplata 01-17-2013 12:58 AM

You do need a second carbon stage to remove the chloramine.

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jccaclimber 01-17-2013 01:05 AM

At this point I'm more curious about the bound ammonia/algae interaction. If I wasn't using an RO filter, I would still have tap water with Prime, which still results in bound ammonia, with or without the filter. Does this have an effect on algae?

It seems like a way to test this would be to take a cleanly running, higher light, tank in an area with no chloramine, and then dose the tank with ammonia and Prime at the same time.

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