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Hi all,

I was reading about the EI Dosing method over on tom barr's website, and I came across this little bit that stuck out:

"Ammonium (NH4+) at low levels have been the primary causative agent for algae blooms in terms of an "excess" nutrient. This is why a planted tank using CO2 with moderate to high lighting cannot have enough nitrogen supplied by adding progressively more and more fish to the tank without getting algae blooms. It does not take much ammonium to cause the bloom. If you add NO3 from KNO3 you will not get any algae bloom, if you add even 1/20th of the ammonium you will get a very intense algae bloom. This test can be repeated many times and ran again and again with the same result. Adding NO3 will not induce the bloom. See if you can prove this to yourself."

My local water company uses chloramines to clean the water, and testing straight from the tap using an API test kit shows .25-1 ppm ammonia. When I do my 50% water changes, I use Prime to condition to treat the water. From what I understand, Prime will remove the chlorine and turn the ammonia into the non-toxic ammonium. Am I eternally doomed to be fighting back algae? Does anyone out there have to deal with the chloramine issue and have an algae-free tank?
 

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http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?p=2198

Prime does not convert ammonia to nitrates. The bacteria does. And chlorine is converted to chloride, not nitrate. You are correct, if you have a decent ammonia level in your tap water, then you will always been getting a certain level of ammonium in the tank during water changes and the addition of Prime. However, whether or not .25-1 ppm is considered "excess" I don't know. Healthy, growing plants will eat that stuff right up, so the concentration of it will certainly not build up over time.
 

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Thanks for your reply Chrona :icon_smil

Do the plants take in the ammonium directly or must it be converted into nitrate first? Is there a preference for one or the other?

These small amounts of ammonia remain in my water for up to 3-4 days after a WC, so if I'm doing a weekly WC, I pretty much have ammonia in the tank all the time :icon_frow

The fish don't look or act stressed, so I think they're ok. It still bothers me having ammonia in the tank (for the fish and the algae it may be causing!)
 

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Thanks for your reply Chrona :icon_smil

Do the plants take in the ammonium directly or must it be converted into nitrate first? Is there a preference for one or the other?

These small amounts of ammonia remain in my water for up to 3-4 days after a WC, so if I'm doing a weekly WC, I pretty much have ammonia in the tank all the time :icon_frow

The fish don't look or act stressed, so I think they're ok. It still bothers me having ammonia in the tank (for the fish and the algae it may be causing!)
Ammonium is actually the preferred nitrogen source for plants. As for 3-4 days, it sounds like the plants are not doing too well or are growing too slowly. 0.25-1ppm should easily be able to be absorbed in 24 hours. In my 10g with 28 watts and DIY CO2, I have to add 5 ppm nitrates every other day just to keep it steady at 15ppm. And the bacteria should be able to break down whatever the plants don't take in well within that period of time too. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the ammonia test kit is faulty or something is screwing with the results. Many ammonia binding products are known to cause false-positive readings (especially Amquel, but Prime does it too). Did you test the tap water before or after you added Prime? Perhaps have the LFS double check the test results.
 
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