Ammonia reading 0.25 ppm - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ammonia reading 0.25 ppm

I planted my tank (20g high) on Thursday (70+ stem plants, Java moss, various crypts, dwarf sag) and hooked up my Hagen CO2 canister, added Bio Spira on Friday, mixed all my Greg Watson fertilizer solutions Saturday morning (I'm beginning to feel like a junior chemist), and added 1 snail and 3 otos to my tank in the evening. Readings this morning indicate 0.25 ppm ammonia . . . does this mean the Bio Spira didn't work?? My fish seem to be fine, all stuck to various leaves eating away, but I keep watching them for signs of distress. Yesterday a fine brown "dust" started showing on some of my larger-leaved plants (I assume brown diatoms?) so I thought it would be nice starter food for some critters. For this amount of ammonia do I need to do a water change or is this a normal range? I thought using the Bio Spira would prevent any ammonia or other bad things from showing up.
Tests this morning show:
pH = 6.6 (last night before lights out, 7.0)
Ammonia = 0.25 ppm
Nitrates = 5 ppm
Nitrite = 0
GH = 19
KH = 8
Phosphate = 0.25 ppm
CO2 = 60 ppm

High CO2 readings may be because the Eco-Complete is messing with my KH (and GH) readings. Tap water readings for both KH/GH are 4.

Should I be using an airstone at night after lights out to dispel the CO2? I don't know how much lowering of pH is considered a "crash."

Sorry for the long string of questions - I feel like a nervous mommy over these fish. I want to give them a nice home, not make their lives hell.

Thanks,
Becky
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 12:56 AM
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Does Medford use chloramine in the water? And what water conditioner did you use? Many times you will get a false positive reading with most water conditioners when they break down chloramine.

Also I would not sweat the CO2 readings if you are using color based test kits. But I would do 50% water changes till you get the kH and gH more in line with your tap water.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Right now Medford water is coming from Little Butte Creek, a fast-moving rural stream, so no chloramine is used. Sometime in the next month they will start taking from the Rogue River, so I know there will be chloramine in that. I'm using Prime as a water conditioner. I bought a 1 oz. bottle of Bio Safe by Marineland when I read on the Bio Spira instructions not to use a water conditioner that binds heavy metals. However, the stuff didn't just smell bad on its own, it made my water smell bad as well, and the smell lasted, so when I did a 50% water change yesterday I used Prime.

I just hope I'm not doing irreversible damage to my little otos with that ammonia reading; I know it's supposed to be at zero. I've had them 24 hours now and they seem to be doing fine; eating that brown dusty stuff and slurping on an algae wafer occasionally; their color is good and they're active, so I'm hoping they're okay. By the way, does that 0.25 ppm ammonia reading mean the Bio Spira didn't work?? According to them you can add Bio Spira to treated water, add fish, and it's good to go.

I've had messages from a lot of folks on the boards saying the odd KH/GH readings may be from the Eco-Complete. My GH started out at 33! before I did a 50% water change. It was 15 after the change, and today it's at 19. I'm doing an experiment with some cups of tap water - one with Eco-Complete and one with a piece of rock like the ones I have in my tank, to see if the GH and KH change like my tank water. In the meantime I will keep doing the water changes. I think I need to invest in a Python . . . even for a small tank like this, carrying water one gallon at a time gets old, and I can't do more than a gallon jug at a time with one hand (other used to deflect water). Almost makes me wish I still had a kid or two living at home. Almost . . . heh heh.

Thanks,
Becky
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 03:35 AM
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Medford Water Commission says that they treat the water from the Springs with Chlorination. I'm betting that they actually use chloramines. You really need to call and ask. I have used Bio-Spira in the past and never gotten an ammonia reading.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 07:23 AM
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Isn't Prime supposed to neutralize ammonia as well?

I've never used it but I remember reading somewhere that the instructions say you can even use it just to get rid of ammonia in a cycling tank?

If that's the case, maybe dose some more prime. The other option is that your test kit is no good. Perhaps have your lfs test some of your tank water for you to see if they match your results?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 01:41 PM
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Prime breaks down the chloramine but will give a false positive test for ammonia. It will also control ammonia but still give a false positive.

See the Prime FAQ http://seachem.com/support/FAQs/Prime_faq.html
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