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Thread: OK... This changes everything?
07-09-2013, 02:19 PM #1
OK... This changes everything?
I have been fighting to cycle a new aquarium, only to find out what I should have known from the start, my tap water contains 1.0 ppm Ammonia (confirmed by the API freshwater test kit). My bad. I really haven't had much time to process or research what this means for the cycling process or the best way to proceed. Every time I have had a reading of .50+ Ammonia in the tank during the cycle I have conducted a 50% water change, so I have actually dumped half a tank of 1.0 Ammonia water into the aquarium... or have I?
In the very brief reading I have done on the issue I saw a post that said a high level of chloramines causes Ammonia, and Prime takes care of the chloramines. I can confirm that where I live the water is saturated with chlorine because it comes out of the ground brownish. I don't know about chloramines, but I will find out. Does Prime rid the water of chloramines therby curing the 1.0 Ammonia issue?
The question is how to proceed short of having to go out and buy water at the LFS for every PWC! Is there an additive that people out there use with confidence under these conditions? What about the cycle issue? Here I am with less Ammonia in my tank (.25) than is present in my tap water (1.0)... but with the prospect of adding Ammonia with every PWC. The tank is not cycled yet because I not only have traces of Ammonia, but I have Nitrites which have spiked and seem to be on the way down (2.0). I haven't done a Nitrate test in a few days, but they were at about 10 last time I checked and trending up.
I am in need of doing a PWC. What should I do?
07-09-2013, 02:24 PM #2
07-09-2013, 02:27 PM #3Senior Member Red tailed catfish
- Join Date
- Dec 2010
Are you cycling with or without fish?
07-09-2013, 02:27 PM #4
Using a c0nditi0ner d0es take 0ut chl0armines and sh0uld be added anyway f0r every water change. I w0uld imagine that the bacteria in y0ur cycle w0uldn't kn0w the difference- amm0nia is amm0nia and it w0uld break d0wn 0nce the tank is cycled.When in d0ubt read it until it makes sense, then read it again!
07-09-2013, 02:29 PM #5
My tap has almost 1.0 of ammonia, too...my fish-in cycle lasted 5 weeks, but it DID get cycled...I still use my tap water for my WWC's with no problem...mind you, this is only a 10 gallon tank, but I don't think it should matter what tank size you have
07-09-2013, 02:38 PM #6
You should list your tank size and filter. The bacteria will eat the ammonia eventually but you need to make sure your filter has enough media to host it. It will grow naturally with a food source (ammonia) so don't worry about the level from tap as long as you add PRIME.
Congrats on your tank and good luck on a easy cycle! Read the stickies about cycling and you'll be fineCheck out my 55 Gallon, planted, Philly themed community tank! Rummynose and Cardinals, dwarf cichlids, plecos, shrimps
07-09-2013, 07:00 PM #7
Update: I have confirmed that the water in my area is treated with chloramines. Chloramines are a combination of ammonia with chlorine. This means my reading of 1.0 when I tested the tap water is accurate. Unlike straight chlorine, which dissipates fairly quickly when exposed to air, chloramines remain in the water, so the practice of letting the water sit for a day or two will not get rid of chloramines. Furthermore, adding a product that neutralizes the ammonia for a day or two will make the water safer, but will not do away with the ammonia.
All of the above means that there are clear implications on water maintenance well beyond the cycle period. Conducting PWC's in my area means I am adding ammonia to the tank at the rate of 1.0 ppm with each gallon, neutralized or not. The larger the PWC, the more ammonia I am adding. I guess that means that the bb needs to be strong enough to handle the fish bio-load, and the ammonia coming in with the water. I will need to take that into account in the stocking plan.
The fact that my ammonia tank reading is well below my tap water reading means the bb are doing their job. Having conducted about a week+ of 50% PWC's a while back and not having caused a spike in the ammonia makes be pretty confident about that fact.
From this point on I will dose liberally with Prime and reduce the number of gallons in the PWC's, doing them as needed. Any other suggestions will be welcomed.
07-09-2013, 10:59 PM #8
In my humble opinion, there is no need to reduce the amount of gallons in your PWC. The PWC is to remove nitrates, and the more water you take out, the more nitrate you take out. Doing larger water changes gets your beneficial bacteria used to handling that much ammonia. If more ammonia is present, more BB grows. This is also why (excluding right after fishless cycling) you stock fish in an established tank in smaller numbers, and not all at once. This allows the BB to increase and adjust to the increasing ammonia load.
I have .75 ammonia in my tap water and I do 50% WWC's.
My suggestion is to make sure you have enough filtration equipped with crucial filter media to house that BB, and continue with your water changes.
You are on the right path! It seems like you know what you are doing :)Tanks: 30 gal community and 10 gal shrimp/community
07-10-2013, 01:33 AM #9
" If more ammonia is present, more BB grows"
Yes, as long as the bb has somewhere to grow. A smooth tank with no porous areas beyond the filter media might have a tough time under these conditions. Having a finite area of porous properties for the bb to grown on limits potential bb expansion. I tend to agree with you and the poster that suggested additional porous areas for the bb to grow. I already have my filter packed with filter pads and ceramics. I assume that my subtrate and decorations are growing bb, and my filter has a sponge at the intake. These are all bb collectors. I may buy a few more ceramics and scatter them under the decorations to add surface area for the bb to flourish.
07-10-2013, 01:37 AM #10
That couldn't hurt :) Keep it up.Tanks: 30 gal community and 10 gal shrimp/community