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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my tank set up for over a year, maybe two. I rarely test my water, my fish are doing great. No deaths, well other than the jumping of two orange hatchet danios the other day. Everyone looks good, my rosy tetras are even spawning. I tested my water the other day PH 6.5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Ammo 1!! But everyone looks good, no distress, nothing. So I check my tap and I get a reading of 1ppm. I use Prime for my water changes so I add alittle extra to some tap and check agian. I use the API test kit and for 0 ammo it should be yellow, well it shows up more of a yellow/orange color. Green indicates ammo, it def. wasnt green. So I am assumeing that the Prime nutrulized the ammo. What I am no sure about is if the positive test is Ammonia or Ammonium.

What should I do? Leave it be and keep an eye on things? Add more Prime to nutrilize the ammo? Is too much Prime bad for the plants and/or bacteria seeing as it says it takes care of ammo, nitrate and nitrite. Any suggestions would be great, and hopefuly put my mind at ease.

Thanks,
Anna
 

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You may have a false positive test result when using your test kit and water with Prime in it. It is most likely saying that the ammonium is ammonia as you mentioned.

Salicylate Ammonia Test Kits for freshwater and saltwater are less likely to give false positive results than Nessler-type freshwater test kits when you use Prime, Amquel+, Ammo-Loc and some other dechlors.

Seachem recommends their Ammonia test kit when using Prime.

From: http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/MT_Ammonia.html
"This kit measures total (NH3 and NH4+) and free ammonia (NH3 only) down to less than 0.05 mg/L and is virtually interference free in marine and fresh water. Free ammonia is the toxic form of ammonia (vs. ionized Ammonia NH4+ which is non-toxic) and thus it is much more important to keep an eye on the level of free ammonia in your system. This kit is based on the same gas exchange technology that is used in the Ammonia Alert™ and thus is the only kit on the market that can read levels of free ammonia while using ammonia removal products such as Prime®, Safe™, AmGuard™ and any similar competing products. The other kits (salicylate or Nessler based) determine the total ammonia by raising the pH of the test solution to 12 or greater. At this high pH all ammonia removal products will breakdown and rerelease the ammonia, thus giving you a false ammonia reading."

http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/Prime.html
"Nessler based kits will not read ammonia properly if you are using Prime®... it will look "off scale", sort of a muddy brown (incidentally a Nessler kit will not work with any other products similar to Prime). A Salicylate based kit can be used, but with caution. Under the conditions of a Salicylate kit the ammonia-Prime complex will be broken down eventually giving a false reading of ammonia (same as with other products like Prime), so the key with a Salicylate kit is to take the reading right away. However, the best solution ;-) is to use our MultiTest: Ammonia™ kit... it uses a gas exchange sensor system which is not affected by the presence of Prime® or other similar products. It also has the added advantage that it can detect the more dangerous free ammonia and distinguish it from total ammonia (which is both the free and ionized forms of ammonia (the ionized form is not toxic))."

More info:
http://www.practical-pet-care.com/archive.php?2004033108170393
"Nessler test kits measure the total amount of ammonia in the water including "bound" (non-toxic) and toxic ammonia. Salicylate test kits measure just the amount of toxic ammonia in the water. Since, as aquarests, we're usually more interested in what is toxic we tend to lean toward the salicylate test kit. Also, depending on the water conditioner you choose to use, you may find one more useful then another. It depends on what you want to measure."

"Usually you only get false reading on products that claim to turn ammonia in to non-toxic ammonium. That is because the tester still reads the ammonia but supposedly the ammonia is no longer toxic, BUT how do you really know if you truly have ammonia or ammonium?? You then need a Salicylate tester.

Did you test you tap water ALONE, untreated? Many get an ammonia reading in their regular tap water."

"Nessler reagent testers may give false positives with some kinds of conditioners where Salicylate tester will not. There has been some recent discussion about the banning of Nessler testers. I don't know what has come of it. It contains mercury and can be dangerous."

A more detailed explanation: http://nippyfish.blogspot.com/2006/08/ammonia-test-kits-nessler-vs.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the links, I will check them out.

When I do my water changes, my bucket is 3 gallons. The bottle says to use 1ml for 10 gallons, so I put about 1/3 - 1/2 that dose. I tested my tank, plain tap and treated tap.

Results;

Tank - 1ppm
Plain Tap - 1ppm
Treated Tap - 0ppm, *I think*. The color was orangish/yellow. Yellow is 0ppm, Green (light to dark) is 1ppm and up

When I treated the tap to test I added more Prime than normal. I think what I am going to do is test the tank, tap, and varius amounts of treated tap again and see what I get.
 

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Does your tap water contain chlorine or chloramine?
 

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does your city's waterworks add chloramine?
You might be registering NH4 because of it. As long as you're adding prime, you're fine.
 

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My water supplier changed to Chloramine a few months ago and I started getting readings of Am at 4+ppm. I am on DI water now. Man, I HATE Chloramine
 
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