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LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 04:08 AM

Ridiculously high ammonis, fish acting fine, new test kit..whats going on?!
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So, i have a standard 15 gallon, gravel substrate, osmocote caps deep in the gravel.
I just redid the substrate, i did have MGOPM capped with sand, but my ammonia was too high, reading .25 to .50, so i was doing daily wc's. The reason wqas i rescaped too much and brought the mix to the surface, where it leached ammonia.
I could tell when i needed to do a wc, cause the fish would race the walls. After the wc they would stop, until the levels rose again. It was too much, so i decided to go with what i considered a easier alternative.
I bought a large back of black gravel, and i emptied the entire tank, and re did it all. The filter media is all the same, so there was bacteria left, and i added my two adf and 5 least killis back into the tank. Everything seemed much better, no racing, the fish actually started to court each other, and play, acting normally, though staying in the back of the tank, and only occasionally coming out inthe open. I added five guppy fry, about two weeks old, and this helped bring the least killies out.
At this point, i wasnt testing the tank, cause i was running out of ammonia solution, and i figured it would be okay, but decided to test it anyways. It tested over 8PPM!!
I figured it had to be wrong, cause theres no way the fish would be acting normal. They would be belly up and myfrogs legs would be burning off. They freak at .25PPM, 8 would surely be death.
I ordered another test kit, and while waiting, a recieved my fish shipment, 6x sparkling gouramis, and 6x celestial pearl danios. My least killies, adf and the few shrimp i had in there were acting fine, so i added them to the tank. Everybody acclimated well, even the CPD who was stuck in a fold of the bag, during shipping, i received him that way, survived, even though i was sure he wasn't going to make it.
I received my test kit about two hours ago, and i tested all of my tanks, and ammonia readings were all great for the rest of my tanks, but this one. Again it read about 8ppm!!! I ren a second test, with on eof the new tubes, i thought maybe something was wrong with one of my old tubes, but nope, again, 8ppm.
All of the fish and frogs seem healthy, acting normal, no racing the glass, no abnormal anything. There is one thing, one of the gourami has a spot..a patch on her side that looks to be plaer than the rest of her, like she has no spots in that area.
Heres a vid of her:

Im not sure whether this was there when i got her, i tried to study them, but they would freak out whenever i got close to the container they were in, so i left em alone, to try not to stress them anymore.
I did just get them yesterday, though. Im not sure whether i should remove her, or let her be?

Anyways, the ammonia in the tank cannot be at 8ppm. And this is a new test kit, and the other tanks tested fine. What could be causing this? I am completely baffled!
I just did a 20% wc....

Cthulhu 01-31-2013 04:16 AM

What is your pH? I'll bet it is under 7
With a pH under 7, there is almost no ammonia (NH3) in the water, it's all ammonium (NH4+).
NH3 is toxic to fish but not NH4+.

If you want to raise your pH, you must first make sure you you get rid of all this ammonium, or as your pH raise it will turn into NH3 and kill your fish.

happi 01-31-2013 04:18 AM

what are the water parameter> temp? PH etc

i would say that your water is very soft with low PH 7< and that is why fish havent died yet. ammonia under PH of 7 is in ammonium form which is harmless to fish, as temp and ph goes up it becomes more toxic and will kill them.

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 04:26 AM

My temp is 76 and my ph is 6.4 Kh is about 2-3 drops and gh is about 1 drop. What does PH have to do with ammonia? I dont think ive ever heard of them being related..KH and GH yes, but not PH.
How do i get rid of this ammonium? How does ammonia turn into this?
Are there test kits for specifically NH3?

Dont i not want to raise my PH cause the fish all do well in low PH?
Im entirely confused!

happi 01-31-2013 04:44 AM


Originally Posted by LyzzaRyzz (Post 2404186)
My temp is 76 and my ph is 6.4 Kh is about 2-3 drops and gh is about 1 drop. What does PH have to do with ammonia? I dont think ive ever heard of them being related..KH and GH yes, but not PH.
How do i get rid of this ammonium? How does ammonia turn into this?
Are there test kits for specifically NH3?

Dont i not want to raise my PH cause the fish all do well in low PH?
Im entirely confused!

at this point i would not mess with the PH and KH, rasing the KH will results in higher PH and you will kill all your fish, as i said before once the temp and Ph goes up, all your fishes will be dead.

in low kh and Ph ammonia is converted into NH4 instead of NH3, plant use NH4, if you have many plants in the tank they will benefit from it.

quick info for you:

happi 01-31-2013 04:47 AM

i would increase the surface movement to bring in more oxygen in the water for the beneficial bacteria to grow. i think your tank isnt cycled correctly, normally when the PH is very low bacteria take longer time to grow.

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 04:48 AM

Additionally, Ive been reading, and sometimes water companies add chrolamine to water instead of chlorine, which is basically chlorine and ammonia togethger? Thats what im getting.
The dechlor i use is API Super strength, and it clames to remove chlorine and says nothing about ammonia, so it shouldent turn the ammonia to ammonium.
Its the only think it put in the tank besides ferts, which are flourish comprehensive supplement, and osmocote tabs int he gravel.
When there was still MGO in the tank, i did add a small bag of Ammo-Carb to the filter, but the next day i decided to redo the substrate, so i removed the little bag. There is no ammocarb in the tank now. I read that the ammo carb works but turning the ammonia to ammonium, but if theres none left in the tank, how do i still have ammonium?
How do i get rid of this?

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 04:54 AM

My PH is the same in all of my tanks, and they are all readying 0 ammonia. so why is this tank different?
There are alot of plants in my tank, so they should be taking in the NH4, right? Then why are they levels still so high?
I do not plan on messing with my ph, or kh and gh. I dont need another thing to worry about!
My question is, why was i getting readings for .25 and .50 when i had MGO and now with gravel im suddenly having ammonium?

Cthulhu 01-31-2013 04:56 AM

Take a look at this

A pH below 7 means there are more H+ ions than OH-.
So when water is acid and already has lots of H+, extra H will tend to stay attached to NH4+.
When water has less H+ than OH-, H will detach from NH4+ and there will be more NH3.

happi 01-31-2013 05:00 AM

your osmocte is the main reason for those high readings, it happened to me once and looks likt it got you this time, read my thread for more details.

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 05:19 AM

Oh my jesus. my head hurts.
Okay, so ive read all the articles/ threads you guys linked. I think i understand what the difference between ammonia and ammonium is ,a nd some of the ways it can be changed. Some water conditioners do, ammocarb/ammolock change ammonia, being at a low PH can change ammonia to ammonium, and various other reasons.
Osmocote could be a reason, but i havent moved the substrate much since i put them in, and they were on the bottom glass. none of the capsules have been uncovered. In my 50 gallon, there are some uncovered pellets, and i have no ammonia in that tank.
Im confused on what is causing my ammonia to be turned to ammonium, when about a week ago, i was registering actual ammonia.

water changes should clear up this problem correct?
Should i squeeze my filter media from another tank into this one? the bacteria should help 'eat' the ammonium, right?

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 05:34 AM

As for the osmocote, i added 12 capsules, three rows of four, along the glass before i added the gravel.
I wish i could just hand this over to someone who knows their ammonia stuff, but my poor tank is stuck with just me dealing with it.
Im about to do a 50% wc, on top of the 20% i just did. Ill test after that.
I am utterly exhausted by this...

LyzzaRyzz 01-31-2013 05:57 AM

Also, just added an air stone to the tank, and the water immedietly starting suds....

DarkCobra 01-31-2013 11:03 AM

Forget about ammonia/ammonium/ions/whatnot for now. It's really more information than you need in practice. I'll simplify this for you, let's just all call it ALL ammonia.

At pH under 7, ammonia is essentially non-toxic. At ph over 7, ammonia becomes incredibly toxic.

Chloramines are chlorine and ammonia combined. Water conditioners that handle chloramines force ammonia into the non-toxic form, and they do this regardless of pH. But this is usually only temporary, lasting one or two days; during which time they expect your biofilter will have had ample time to remove the ammonia that came in with the water change. They are not a long term solution for large amounts of ammonia.

If you have high ammonia levels and low pH, then you're in a very tricky spot. Because if anything you do raises the pH past 7, then all that ammonia becomes toxic. And ironically, many of the things one might try to help will actually make things worse.

For example, if you have a lot of CO2 in your water, adding an airstone will drive off the CO2 and raise your pH.

Or if you perform a 50% water change, you've reduced your ammonia from 8ppm to 4ppm, which seems like a good thing. But if the water change also raises pH enough, then you have 4ppm of toxic ammonia on your hands instead of 8ppm of non-toxic ammonia. Of course, water conditioner will temporarily detoxify some of this, but it may exceed what a normal dose will handle, and it may not be obvious how much you need to add to handle it all. And if your pH doesn't go back down sufficiently before the temporary detoxification wears off, you're in trouble.

I would first remove the source of the excessive ammonia, which I agree is the Osmocote caps. Scoop them right out, including the surrounding gravel, so that you disturb the caps as little as possible in the tank. The caps and Osmocote can then be separated, the gravel rinsed and returned to the tank.

Then start gradually reducing the ammonia in the water through a series of small water changes, keeping an eye on your pH at all times.

Not much fun. But it's the only way, unless you absolutely commit to keeping your tank pH below 7 at all times for the many months it takes for the Osmocote to wear out enough that the biofilter can finally keep up. Which I consider to be a severe restriction. What if you need to medicate the tank, with something that requires 50% water changes? Accidentally overdrain the tank with a Python water changer? Or any other unanticipated circumstance? Better to solve the problem than to have it covered up, in my opinion.

Hope this helps.

aokashi 01-31-2013 11:40 AM

Ridiculously high ammonis, fish acting fine, new test kit..whats going on?!
lol seems like a bomb waiting to exploded. Ive gotten bettas from 16ppm Ammoniafied water. he was still alive>.>

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