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  • Ammonia spike after water change?

    Today I did a 50% water change and, as usual, treated the tank with a double dose of Prime before refilling the tank. I noticed afterwards that my SeaChem Ammonia Alert showed a positive ammonia level. I double-checked the result with a Mardel ammonia test strip which confirmed the result. The ammonia level is now returning to normal. I am assuming the ammonia spike is due to mulm at the bottom of the tank being stirred up during the water change (although I do my best not to stir things up too much). I do not want to expose my fish to any appreciable ammonia levels. Is there a trick to keeping this from happening? How hazardous is this to my fish? Since my plants are doing so much better (i.e., not rotting away), there's not much stuff to vacuum up. Any ideas appreciated.
    "Water which is too pure has no fish." Ts'ai Ken T'an

  • #2
    Might be the dechlorinator, how long does it last and what ppm's do you read?
    Also, the tap sometimes, often times, uses the Chloriamines......so that's what you might be reading...........but the Prime etc is binding it till bacteria can work on it and plants can remove it.

    Seems likely that's what's happening.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    www.BarrReport.com

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    • #3
      Try a subsample of the tap water in glass and repeat.
      You should get a positive reading for NH4 if so.

      Regards,
      Tom Barr
      www.BarrReport.com

      Comment


      • #4
        It must be the chloramines, then. I use Prime dechlorinator and I go through a 250 ml bottle in about a month and a half (I have a 55 gallon and a 5 gallon tank). I just did the tap water test and got a slightly higher result (1 ppm) . Our water authority does add both chlorine and chloramines to our water, in such large quantities that our LFS recommends double dosing dechlorinator, particularly after heavy rains. I will not worry about it unless the ammonia level does not drop to zero in 24 hours. Thanks for the help.
        "Water which is too pure has no fish." Ts'ai Ken T'an

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        • #5
          I think I have read that the ammonia tied up when you use Prime will still show on an ammonia test. If you are double dosing you shouldn't need to be concerned at all. You seem to be using Prime much faster than I do. I dose a 45 gallon and ten gallon tank, at water changes, per the bottle instructions, and it lasts close to a year for me - same 250 ml bottle. Each water change on the 45 gallon tank takes only 5 ml, and on the 10 gallon only 1 ml.
          Hoppy

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          • #6
            Well, no need to blame the mulm then

            Simple test showed where it was coming from.

            Regards,
            Tom Barr
            www.BarrReport.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by VaughnH View Post
              You seem to be using Prime much faster than I do.
              You're right, the last 4 months is probably not a good indicator of future use. I had three other tanks (they're gone now) plus a quarantine tank (not set up right now). I also used up a bunch of Prime when I converted this 55 gallon to a planted tank, due to a substrate issue which required me to drain the tank--twice--and move all the livestock into a 20 gallon for two days. Finally, I am getting to the point where I can actually start to enjoy the fruits of my labor!
              "Water which is too pure has no fish." Ts'ai Ken T'an

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gingerinaustin View Post
                Today I did a 50% water change and, as usual, treated the tank with a double dose of Prime before refilling the tank. I noticed afterwards that my SeaChem Ammonia Alert showed a positive ammonia level. I double-checked the result with a Mardel ammonia test strip which confirmed the result. The ammonia level is now returning to normal. I am assuming the ammonia spike is due to mulm at the bottom of the tank being stirred up during the water change (although I do my best not to stir things up too much). I do not want to expose my fish to any appreciable ammonia levels. Is there a trick to keeping this from happening? How hazardous is this to my fish? Since my plants are doing so much better (i.e., not rotting away), there's not much stuff to vacuum up. Any ideas appreciated.
                I too have noticed a nh3/4 spike after a water change, after switching to Prime, spoke to the lfs operator and he confirmed it is a correlation with the Prime, as he has done water changes (both large and small %) tested immediately and got an ammonia positive test. I did however note that after a hour there is NO measurable NH3/4.

                This unnerving episode happened about 6 months ago and no fish casualties of yet. I don't believe this product produces/contains ammonia, but rather has something to do with the test reagents. I have left a post on seachem.com's forums awaiting a reply to confirm this. Hope your fishies are doing well, I have noticed no ill effects of the "positive" NH3 test results after h2o changes (50%weekly + 10ml of prime)

                Tom, Vaughn, Greg:
                what do you think?

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                • #9
                  One advantage of not doing testing is that things like this don't bother you. I'm not bothered.
                  Hoppy

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                  • #10
                    Yes, but a simple one time test did answer the question so we know for the future.

                    It's fine to test, and few do it until there's a problem.
                    Not cause they are curious and "want to learn" as so many claim.

                    If nutrients really are something folks want to learn about, and algae etc, why don't more induce algae, or try to on nice clean algae free tanks and measure the nutrients then?

                    If you do not have a control, it's really just guessing.
                    you can only do so much with observations alone.


                    Regards,
                    Tom Barr
                    www.BarrReport.com

                    Comment

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