MTS=Ammonia?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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MTS=Ammonia?!

I just laid a substrate of MTS capped with the existing gravel about 5 days ago and now my nicely cycled tank now has a constant presence of ammonia! I'm doing large water changes twice daily and it's still at .25. It will jump to 1ppm in less than 24 hrs. How long will this go on? I cut back from two to one daily feeding. I have 2 female bettas, 3 cories and an apple snail in a 12 gallon planted tank with a biowheel filter turning over 150GPH. I also started dry ferts. Can they contribute to ammonia?? My nitrate was off the chart but I guess that's normal with water column dosing. The water changes knocks it down to 0 but of course I'm pouring my ferts down the drain. With all the MTS and dirt tank talk, this situation really should be talked about more. I would have gotten eco complete. Sheesh! I'm really liking my old low-tech setup at this point.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 08:41 PM
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No ammonia from ferts.

Assuming you didnt mess up your biofiltration on the filter then it will probably only be 4-5 days till your ammonia reads 0.
It depends on how large your bioload was before, the autotrophic nitrifying bacteria double ever 20-24 hours and heterotrophic double every 8 or something like that but aren't as efficient at nitrification.
If you had a huge bioload before it wont take long, if your bioload was very small it could take over a week.

Keep doing daily water changes and if you are concerned for your livestock you could throw some zeolite in the filter.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Chlorophile,
I kept my biowheel running with an airtstone while I redid the tank so I shouldn't have lost any bacteria. The temp dropped a bit but it didn't get below 70. The stock is the same as before the change, I just added more plants. Will zeolite alter my pH? Is that like the ammo carb chips in the milk carton? Nevermind I googled it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 09:02 PM
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Was it actual MTS? MTS per the attached sticky on this forum?
Did you do anything with the existing gravel cleaning wise?
Any chance you had taken tests prior to the change?
How long before the change did clean the filter?
Was the substrate change done all at once and tank reset in one day?

Tring to figure out the weak link
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Mineralized Topsoil. I purchased it from someone here on the forum. It was rich, dark, clean, compacted slightly moist soil with a separate supply of red clay, ash and dolomite. I prepared it with tank water and applied it per the MTS sticky by Aaron. I tossed the existing gravel in tank water to loosen the debris and put it back in the tank. I test this tank everyday because it's only been running since November and I know how fast things can go downhill with a small tank. It cycled in about a 6 weeks and before adding the soil, I had consistent readings of 0 ammonia. Yes, I did it in one day, it's just a 12 gallon tank. I don't clean the filter, that's really not something you should do. But you know, you did just remind me of something that might figure into this! I removed the activated carbon when I started dosing the ferts. I'm going to put in a new cartridge and see if that helps. If recall correctly, carbon doesn't remove ammonia though, but that's the only other variable so I'll see what happens.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 09:27 PM
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What lighting do you have? If you have low enough light you don't need to be dosing much of any fertilizer chemicals. As far as ammonia is concerned, you probably should calibrate your ammonia test kit to be sure the readings mean anything. What fertilizers are you dosing?

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have low lighting right now, my 48W T5 will be here Monday. I use a couple drops every other day since I'm doing all these water changes. It's aquariumfertilizer.com Macro Micro mix. Recommended dose is 1-4 drops per gallon per day. The test kit is a new API liquid kit, it shows 0 out the tap and I have no reason to think it's not accurate. By new, I mean I bought it in November with the tank and it's the same test I've been using all along.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucantimagine View Post
I have low lighting right now, my 48W T5 will be here Monday. I use a couple drops every other day since I'm doing all these water changes. It's aquariumfertilizer.com Macro Micro mix. Recommended dose is 1-4 drops per gallon per day. The test kit is a new API liquid kit, it shows 0 out the tap and I have no reason to think it's not accurate. By new, I mean I bought it in November with the tank and it's the same test I've been using all along.
If you add co2 to make the water have a ph below 7 that ammonia turns into ammonium which is plant food and your problem goes away.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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@ Steve...sweeet!! Right now it's about 7-7.2. Does that also work in general for a pH below 7 or only with the addition of extra CO2?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I set up my CO2. I read that trapping the bubbles can help get more gas absorbed into the water so I have the bubbles collecting in a plastic bowl turned upside-down. Does that make sense? lol I used a piece of chop stick for a diffuser since my real one hasn't arrived yet. Hopefully this will help my fish deal with the ammonia situation.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 10:31 PM
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@ Steve...sweeet!! Right now it's about 7-7.2. Does that also work in general for a pH below 7 or only with the addition of extra CO2?
Co2 lowers ph.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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I got that part. I was asking if that is also true for low pH without CO2 or if it's a reaction specifically with the CO2 that converts the ammonia to ammonium.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 02:41 AM
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I got that part. I was asking if that is also true for low pH without CO2 or if it's a reaction specifically with the CO2 that converts the ammonia to ammonium.
Acidic ph will cause NH3 to convert to NH4+.
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