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Thread: Ack! Mystery ammonia spike!
07-28-2013, 09:03 AM #41
Well if you could reach through cyberspace and hit me over the head.
I am very sorry, there is an important detail about the measurement of the concentration of nitrate that I missed. There are actually TWO ways to measure it, as N and as NO3.
The limit set by the EPA - 10mg/L nitrate measured as N (only the mass of the nitrogen in the nitrate is counted, EXcluding the oxygens) - is equivalent to 45 mg/L NO3 (where the entire mass of nitrate is counted INcluding the oxygens)
Again I'm so sorry!!! I freaked out when I read your post saying your tapwater had 40-80ppm nitrate, read up on farm pollution contaminating water supplies in California, checked the EPA.gov website and saw 10mg/L and "blue baby syndrome"
Then I caught myself with further reading - some sites said 45ppm is the limit for nitrate in California, i thought no way that could be right, because states can only set limits stricter than federal, not looser. Then I finally figured it out: 2 different measures.
With any luck the nitrate level will be like 44mg/L and the utility doesn't have to do anything while nitrate stays high but just under 45. Ugh.
What inconvenience I have caused!!! I will be requesting a mod to ban me as I obviously am not qualified to give advice.
07-28-2013, 11:26 AM #42
IDK about the banning LOL - most people are banned because they cause problems - are argumentative, don't take advice given, start too many threads on the same subject, etc.
You are being apologetic - that's not a bad thing. When I 1st started here, I was not qualified to give anyone advice - we all start off learning, verifying information, doing research, etc. and then we cautiously start offering advice from everything we've learned.46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
07-28-2013, 02:06 PM #43
Okay, even if it isn't panic time, they still needed to be aware of it. It at least doubled in ppm in the last two weeks, and my snails have started reacting to something in the water. (They're staying clamped up tight, but if placed in treated bottled water, will open back up again.)
07-28-2013, 02:43 PM #44
Testing water in the tank... Nitrates level did not look good, even while I was shaking the bottle.
Yeah, 40-80 range. Same as the tap. What should I do? It doesn't look like a water change will make any noticeable different in the amount.
Would adding liquid CO2 boost the growth of the plants to hopefully keep up with the nitrates at least?
Last edited by Flyby Stardancer; 07-28-2013 at 02:49 PM.
07-29-2013, 07:00 AM #45
OK, after cooling off for awhile I realize just leaving would be immature and I ought to just face it and learn.
In this case a little knowledge was a dangerous thing.
When Flyby said her nitrate from the tap was 20ppm, I googled and found many articles about how California water was getting polluted by fertilizers and stuff.
Then she said nitrates from the tap went up to 40-80ppm. That sounded way too high, and when I checked the EPA website, it said the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) was 10mg/L (as Nitrogen) and it said that babies could turn blue and die from nitrate.
I didn't check what the "(as Nitrogen)" meant.
Being a noob in general wasn't the problem - I've been keeping fish continuously for 14 years. Joined this site 5 years ago.
The problem is, I was trying to solve a type of problem I have no experience with using only Google.
(I use Google to research things I have no experience with for myself all the time, but when giving advice to others, it should be held to a higher standard.)
Last edited by BIO-Linist; 07-29-2013 at 07:14 AM.
07-29-2013, 11:14 AM #46
046 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
07-29-2013, 07:02 PM #47
I know that the plants aren't growing to their full potential. There is something limiting the rate of growth and photosynthesis in the plants, and it's definitely not the availability of nitrogen. And it's not the light, because they did a good job lowering nitrates the day I did a double water change. So that means it has to be something in the water. Which means either CO2, or some other nutrient.
08-02-2013, 09:40 PM #48
I just skimmed through this thread and a though occurred. If I read right you started having issues with water quality a week or so after getting your fish right? and your using eco complete? From what I understand from some past research is that eco complete is an absorptive substrate due to its high cec level. I am not an expert, not even close but it occurred to me that these readings may have suddenly showed because your tank was never fully cycled, the ammonia may have been absorbed by the eco complete before the bacteria could colonize. If that were the case once the substrate stopped absorbing ammonia and other things you would get spikes in your reading.
Im probably wrong.
Hopefully you get things figured out soon
08-02-2013, 10:58 PM #49
Well, there was enough ammonia in it to cycle the tank some. I did get nitrites that became nitrates.
This morning's test showed lowered ammonia levels. Not 0, but yellower than the .25ppm reading. Today was water change day, and I hadn't cleaned the sponge in the filter since I put it in, so that got swished in the water I had vacuumed from the tank. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a minicycle from that.
On the other hand, my plants started pearling today. :)