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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

My 11 gallon tank is a full 3 month old. I'm sure the filter is cycled (nitrite spike and then went away at 1 month mark).

Plants are going fabulously.

However every week when I test water using the API test kit there is still ongoing low level Ammonia (0.25 ppm). Never goes to 0. I wonder if this is normal with Amazonia substrate?

I do have a thick layer of substrate esp at the back. However also over filtering it with at Oase Filtosmart 100 (rated 160 gph) so I'm surprised it takes so long.

Anyone has similar experience? Is it the substrate or something else in the tank? I've kept up maintenance, remove dead leaves, feeding very little... etc... And wonder if it is just the Amazonia or something else I missed.

Tank photo attached to show the substrate thickness.

1027377
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm using a mix of seachem matrix and some generic white ceremic rings that came with the filter, plus some purigen in a bag, about 100grams.

The reason I'm checking and wonder if I have Ammonia problem is because my few otos don't seem to be very happy. Got 6 3 weeks ago and a couple died, the remaining ones are very inactive and just hide all days. They do eat algea and wafer (and zucinni that I put in) occasionally, but most of the time just hide and hang on tank side for 4-5 hours at a time). During the first few weeks they were a lot more active.

Other inhabitants (cherry shrimps, 3 ember tetras, 5 cardinal tetras) all seem happy and active.
 

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+1 on the Api test. With Aquasoil your ph is probably below 7 even with co2 off? In which case most of the ammonia, if and that's a big if you have any ammonia at all, is in it's non (or less) toxic form.
 

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Moved this to the Substrate section of the forum for you since it's, you know, substrate-specific.

Looks like your substrate is substantially taller in the back of the tank. Did you use any material beneath the substrate to build up that height? Or is it just held up by rock work in front of it? If so, it's entirely possible that you could be seeing tiny spikes of ammonia/ammonium for that reason. I have this happen on the regular when I don't use material to build up slopes.

That said... I've also had these fortified substrates release for 3-4 months on the regular when starting new shrimp tanks. Have grown to find this a positive thing instead of a negative through the years. Allows all the good stuff to develop and grow in a tank before inhabitants move in. It's just the nature of the beast when working with low hardness acidic water - and in my case, low temps. I don't use API for Ammonia/Ammonium testing in shrimp tanks because of the false positives and problems reading their color charts. So it's not necessarily an API issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Moved this to the Substrate section of the forum for you since it's, you know, substrate-specific.

Looks like your substrate is substantially taller in the back of the tank. Did you use any material beneath the substrate to build up that height? Or is it just held up by rock work in front of it? If so, it's entirely possible that you could be seeing tiny spikes of ammonia/ammonium for that reason. I have this happen on the regular when I don't use material to build up slopes.

That said... I've also had these fortified substrates release for 3-4 months on the regular when starting new shrimp tanks. Have grown to find this a positive thing instead of a negative through the years. Allows all the good stuff to develop and grow in a tank before inhabitants move in. It's just the nature of the beast when working with low hardness acidic water - and in my case, low temps. I don't use API for Ammonia/Ammonium testing in shrimp tanks because of the false positives and problems reading their color charts. So it's not necessarily an API issue.
I had some lava rock at the very bottom but most of that height is Aquasoil, held up by the front-face rock work. So looks like it could be the soil still leaching Ammonia then.
 

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I had some lava rock at the very bottom but most of that height is Aquasoil, held up by the front-face rock work. So looks like it could be the soil still leaching Ammonia then.
If that's what's happening, you're probably at the tail end of things.

What are your other water parameters for the tank? Do you know your kH and gH? Do you have the same details for the water you use before you put it in the tank?
 

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I've never used this substrate before, but what about the water source? Have you checked the tap water for any ammonia? Just a quick test worth performing.

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