Ammonia in tap water. Affecting 55g tank! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Kate6790's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 99
Question Ammonia in tap water. Affecting 55g tank!

Hello and thanks for reading,

Recently I lost 2 Denison barbs. I did a water check and my ammonia level was at .25 ppm. Thought this was strange because my water is normally perfect. I did a 50% water change and cleaned my canister filter. Today I noticed that my bala shark was gasping for air at the surface so I checked my ammonia again. It was at .5ppm. Now this is really strange. So I test my tap water and it's reading 4 ppm. So now I can't do water changes to get the ammonia down so I resorted to some ammonia remover that goes in the filter.

This tank has been established for 6 months. I do regular water changes and tests, but never had high ammonia before. I let the water from the tap sit out for 15 mins before I tested it. Also I do not have city water. My water is from a well. Why would my tap water suddenly have ammonia in it? What can I do to filter out the ammonia?

Thanks again

~Kate
Kate6790 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 05:13 AM
Planted Member
 
Greystoke's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 239
Temporary quick solution is to lower the pH to well below 7 (use teaspoons of white spirit vinegar), keep the pH there. That will turn all the ammonia (NH₃) into harmless ammonium (NH₄⁺)

The ammonia probably comes from the chlorination procedure in your water department. Contact them to find out for sure.

They will probably tell you - in the kindest possible way - to jump off the bridge.

No matter. Many people have to deal with this. I filter all my tap water through a (DIY) activated carbon filter. Works like a charm, although I'm starting to collect rain water in a few day's time.

Hope you found this useful.

Regards
Cor
Greystoke is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 06:34 AM
Algae Grower
 
Lynrem's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Falconer, NY
Posts: 122
I'm sure someone is is going to jump in and say it's from agriculture contamination (manure) . Which is one possibility but not the only one. Faulty septic systems and over fertilization (N) of lawns account for more "contaminated" wells then farms do.

Also what is you weather like? Just like your tank, the soil has bacteria converting ammonia but the soil temps need to be 50* or above for that bacteria to come out of winter dormancy and it takes a while for it to "cycle" just like your tank. If you just had a had a snow melt or "soaking" rain it could be moving nitrogen compounds from the soil into your water. Some sources could be manure, septic, fertilizer, decaying organic matter and others.

I would guess that your well probably has late winter/early spring spikes yearly you just haven't noticed until you started check water for the fish. You will want to keep a check on your well because not only is it bad for the fish - it is bad for YOU. You should have you well checked by you county health department and they should be able to direct you from there.

3 Gal Betta Tank | 10 Gal Shrimp/Fry Tank |
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Lynrem is offline  
 
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 07:49 AM
Planted Member
 
Greystoke's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynrem View Post
I'm sure someone is is going to jump in and say it's from agriculture contamination (manure) . Which is one possibility but not the only one. Faulty septic systems and over fertilization (N) of lawns account for more "contaminated" wells then farms do.
If that was the case, then it would more likely be nitrate pollution, NOT ammonia. Ammonia in tap water suggest the use of chlor-amines as a disinfectant, and I'm not sure if that is actually allowed in that area.

But then of course you could be right.

Regards
Cor
Greystoke is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Kate6790's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 99
Wow this is all very useful information. Thanks so much for the input. I never would have thought about those factors affecting my well water. I do live about a half mile away from a cow farm. Lucky us in the spring time! Also temps did rise above freezing last week (we've been having temps in the teens which is unusual for this area) and most of the snow has since melted. So both things could be the reason for the sudden spike in ammonia.

I am going to call the health department today to come check my well. For now I will keep the ammonia remover in my filter until I can get a water purifer for my tap. This morning when I checked the tank the bala shark looked 100 times better. He was swimming around normal and not gasping at the surface. I didn't get a chance to check the ammonia before I had to run out the door for work but I will test it again when I return home.


Thanks again! you've been very helpful

~Kate
Kate6790 is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 01:03 PM
Algae Grower
 
Lynrem's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Falconer, NY
Posts: 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greystoke View Post
If that was the case, then it would more likely be nitrate pollution, NOT ammonia. Ammonia in tap water suggest the use of chlor-amines as a disinfectant, and I'm not sure if that is actually allowed in that area.

But then of course you could be right.
First thing you need to realize is this is UNTREATED well water (from a private well). So any reference to water treatment as the cause is irrelevant.

Nitrate is the normal long term pollution for well water from nitrogen sources, but in early spring like conditions ammonia can easily leach into water wells before it gasses off. This is normally a short term problem happening only under certain weather conditions (cold- not freezing- after a prolonged period of freezing, wet, with plants not actively growing)

3 Gal Betta Tank | 10 Gal Shrimp/Fry Tank |
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Lynrem is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 11:45 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
A good well will not be affected much by what happens to the ground above it. The water will come from an aquifer deep underground, where it has arrived after a very long time percolating down from areas probably far from the well itself. But, not all wells are good, and some do leak surface water into the pipe. If you treat the water with Seachem Prime, or equivalent, before or while adding it to the tank, most of the ammonia should be neutralized.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 02:13 AM
Planted Member
 
Greystoke's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynrem View Post
First thing you need to realize is this is UNTREATED well water (from a private well). So any reference to water treatment as the cause is irrelevant. . .
I stand corrected
I have no experience with well water, but I am astounded by the fact that the water is left untreated.

Regards
Cor
Greystoke is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-03-2014, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Kate6790's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greystoke View Post
I stand corrected
I have no experience with well water, but I am astounded by the fact that the water is left untreated.
Its one of the best parts about living in the sticks. Natural water from ground that is basically pure. We do have a simple filter before the water comes in the house to remove certain toxins, but the water isn't chlorinated or treated with any chemicals.

The well was probably dug in the 70's, so I'm sure theres some sort of leakage some where. When I tested the water this morning it was back down to zero. I am going to continue to test it daily over the next couple of months and record temps and rain fall. Im really curious as to how much that will actually affect my tap water.
Kate6790 is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome