PH and Ammonium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
Bhu
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PH and Ammonium

Hello

Can someone please explain if there is any relationship between ammonium and the PH please.

My tank is nicely cycled over a year and has not had any ammonium for over 10 months. My PH is normally around 6.4

I recently added 500g of biomedia plus (the orange one) into my filtration as extra filtration keeping my existing filtration as is.

Now my PH has gone to 7.4-7.6 and the ammonium is on 0.25 to 0.5 and won't go away with water changes I did 100% 2 days ago and 50% yesterday and this morning I tested again and the ammonium is approach the 0.5 again

I have contacted the store I got the biomedia plus from who said it can cause a raise in PH but that things will return to normal... They also reassured me that no contaminants could have got to the media there or at the factory it was made. It's not a cheap media and supposed to be the best at biological filtration for nitrate as well eventually! I rinsed it well in RO water very little came off just a bit of dust then it ran clean. Added it to the aquarium via air hose filtration for a slow flow rate sat inside the aquarium and bam this has happened...

The aquarium is 46ltr and low bio load with plants and boxwood.

Any suggestions (apart from taking the media out much appreciated

Also what is it with ammonium and PH? Rest is fine no nitrite and nitrate at an all time <5 lol
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 08:45 AM
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NH4 lowers pH.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Is my aquarium biology trying to naturally lower the PH then?

Nothing else has changed my top up water is RO and has zero ammonium and PH of 6.4. I use an RO buffer in it as well.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:14 AM
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Hi Bhu,

For now the new media appears to be the reason for the pH increase.

NH4, ammonium is for the most part non-toxic. NH3 is highly toxic and in fact lethal at levels that are often below our ability to measure. NH3/NH4 is a conjugate pair the pH and to a lesser degree the temperature tell us the percentage of each.

Under acidic conditions that is to say below neutral pH of 7 almost all of ammonia is ionized, it is ammonium, quite safe. Over a pH of 12 (I will have to double check this, the old brain isn’t what it should be) it is virtually all un-ionized it is NH3. Above pH 7 NH3 begins to appear and what may have been harmless, even valuable as far as the plants are now a concern.

I hear all the time folks that turn off there CO2 at night then find dead critters want to blame anything except ammonia for the deaths. If I recall correctly each full point rise in pH raises the NH3 concentration something like 10 times. What is the pH drop many aquarists strive to achieve when they turn on the CO2? You guessed it a full ph point drop.

Ammonia is now and always has been the number one killer in aquariums, in my ever-humble-opinion.

The lack of Nitrates with the total ammonia reading being up indicates the tank is not cycled.

Anyway what passes for my brain has gone on strike, if you are interested I will pick this up again later.

Reminding folks these are only my humble and unworthy opinions based on my experience and research filtered through my addled brain, I mean no offense to anyone.

Joe
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Last edited by JoeRoun; 09-03-2014 at 10:16 AM. Reason: concentration
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
NH4 lowers pH.
This is not a good statement. When ammonia (NH3) is dissolved in neutral water, it produces a basic solution (pH over 7), as it is a weak base. So if you add ammonia during a fishless cycle, pH will rise.

A certain % of the ammonia will auto-ionize into its an-ion and cat-ion parts :
2NH3 <-> NH4+ + NH2-

This equation is dependent on the pH of the water. If the water is basic, it will soon become toxic to fish....i.e. the equation is pushed to the left If your water is acidic, more of the ammonia will be in its NH4+ form...i.e. the equation is pushed to the right, more with decreasing pH. And the NH4+ ion is less toxic to fish than NH3. Most test kits measure the combined NH4+ and NH3.

There must be something in that biomedia that gives off ammonia. Possibly also something that affects carbonates. Do you have a link to this product ? Has your KH changed ?

Humans may rule the world...but bacteria run it..
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all this wonderful information! It's a real help for me, to get my head around it I will need to re-reading it a few times

This is the media here

[Ebay Link Removed] ok this was removed so go to ebay and type biohome media plus 500g it's orange and easy to find...

And I made one of these exactly as the video...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OIrQ_RWGRKI

Looked too good to be true not to make one

I'm really sure that the tank has cycled as I have plenty of live critters in there fish shrimp snails and feed if anything over feed and then do water changes accordingly. I have no algae blooms or issues anymore and just get the occasion dreaded green circle dots on the glass it is planted with amazon swords and a couple of lily bulbs all growing well. No co2 infused at the moment and haven't for several months.

Any further advice and information much appreciate. I'm 100% sure it's this media but just don't know what to do! Did another 50% water change today. Still NH3/NH4 showing around 0.25, zero nitrites and nitrates 5 or below. The PH is now ok at about 6.6 before it had gone blue colour indicating 7.6 and over!! All these tests are with API liquid tests well in date by 3 years.

What's really weird is that I have some eSHa dip tests that show the PH still at 6.4 the KH at about 3 to 6' and GH <6' also nitrite zero and nitrate <10 as well as a digital PH tester which also shows the PH at 6.4-6.6

So what I'm wondering is if this media has minerals that are messing with my API test kit? As the RO water I use to top up with, once the conditioners are added is perfect PH 6.4 and zero ammonium via the API tests.

So I'm very confused and not sure what to do! Further comments, advice appreciated...

Last edited by Bhu; 09-03-2014 at 11:57 AM. Reason: sp.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 11:50 AM
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Are you capping the test tube with the cap or your finger?

Also I read a post not long ago where it was determined that the declornator being used was the cause for the .25ppm, so what declor are you using?
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Of coarse the plastic cap to mix.

Don't use tap water so no chlorine. Only use RO and this water comes out with zero NH3/NH4 when tested with the same kit.

I believe the RO I run uses a carbon base dechlorinator not 100% sure but very sure that no chlorine gets through. The water comes out medically clean at 1ppm. I then use a RO conditioner and add my neutro plant feed as well. This water also tests perfect zero Nh3/NH4 PH 6.4 zero nitrite zero nitrate.

Bump: Sorry just to clarify above when I mentioned the word ammonium it was referring to the API test for NH3/NH4 so not sure which one it's detecting.

Bump: Also no fish have died so that's a good sign so far

Bump: Lastly forgot to mention that I run my tank at 29-30'C
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 12:06 PM
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29-30'C= 84-86'F I only run mine at 80'F (26.6'C)

It may be that once your bio media becomes matured the PH will again drop.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I have some warm loving critters. Helps to keep them more active and also banishes white spot without need of medication.

Yes I'm thinking that this media will settle down a well. The PH has already dropped back to near normal now with water changes and just the NH3/Nh4 issues at around 0.25
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 12:48 PM
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Did you possibly add the new biomedia over top of existing biomedia?
This would/could smother some active biomedia IMHO
Would be enough active bacteria elsewhere in the tank, but that which was smothered and deprived of oxygen, will need some time to re-establish IMHO
Could be reason for slightly elevated ammonia reading.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Nope it was made as the youtube video with fresh biohome plus there was BB added as well.

I basically just wanted to know what was happening, why the PH rise and presence of NH3/NH4 all of a sudden...
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
Nope it was made as the youtube video with fresh biohome plus there was BB added as well.

I basically just wanted to know what was happening, why the PH rise and presence of NH3/NH4 all of a sudden...
first I am assuming you are referring to this "stuff"

http://www.tynevalleyaquatics.co.uk/...dia/4573387630

Biohome plus..

Unless there was some freak interaction, I see no reason it would increase your ammonia in the tank..

You have some Nitrates so some things are working as expected.

Did you make any other changes particularly to the ground? BTW: what are you using for "dirt"?

It is possible your major, continuous water changes may be hurting the efficiency of your bio-conversion by depleting Nitrate.

If nothing is dying or gasping for air, "I" would probably allow a bit of time and maybe just add some ammonia lock compounds... like Prime.

Shifts in pH can affect the bacterial balance. You may have just killed a lot of de-ammonia bacteria w/ pH swings.. but a higher pH should favor the common bacteria.

Sorry, just throwing a few thoughts out there.

Counter-intuitively you may be trying to do too much in as short period of time..

BTW: I don't particularity trust the API ammonia test...

It's never good to panic..

Stuff looks like terra cotta clay based ..and having "trace elements" may have affected the pH esp. if you have low buffering ability..though your tests don't really show that.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 03:13 PM
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To move the new into the filter, perhaps you took some old media out ? If that's the case, that's the explanation (loss of parts of your filter bacteria). Time will fix that, as bacteria colonize the new media.

Humans may rule the world...but bacteria run it..
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hi jeffkrol

first I am assuming you are referring to this "stuff"

http://www.tynevalleyaquatics.co.uk/...dia/4573387630

Biohome plus..

That's the stuff!!!

Did you make any other changes particularly to the ground? BTW: what are you using for "dirt"?


No other ground work just added an extra filtration system


Counter-intuitively you may be trying to do too much in as short period of time..

Sure the PH has now come back to near normal I think the NH3/4 will too

BTW: I don't particularity trust the API ammonia test...

What to use then?

It's never good to panic..

Well said That's exactly what I did lol

Stuff looks like terra cotta clay based ..and having "trace elements" may have affected the pH esp. if you have low buffering ability..though your tests don't really show that.

That's what happened and why I want to find out the relationship between NH3-4 with the PH but I think things will be back to normal soon its meant to be the bees knees of filtration

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghia View Post
To move the new into the filter, perhaps you took some old media out ? If that's the case, that's the explanation (loss of parts of your filter bacteria). Time will fix that, as bacteria colonize the new media.
Nope was a whole new filtration added to the aquarium as well as existing one left in place and still running.

Also I added 10 x bb into the new filter set up which is loads of bacteria
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