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Old 02-14-2013, 11:12 PM   #21 
colorxmexravyne
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The ammonia reading is sitting steady at .25 ppm, nitrites are 0 and nitrates are 5. I'm guessing the soil is leaching ammonia a little faster than my plants can absorb it. Still hesitant about putting my fish in the tank; I think I'll wait another week and see what happens.

I saw your tank a little while ago, Aurie. I love the driftwood. I didn't want to have to deal with tannins and fungus/mold growing on driftwood so I opted for a fake log, haha.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:42 AM   #22 
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My driftwood finally got that slime off it and its perfectly fine. I wish I could get my hands in some manzanita though
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:45 AM   #23 
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consider cycling the tank for a few weeks as you would any other tank. The decomposing soil is your ammonia source so let it run its course. If you keep fiddling with it, it only prolongs the process.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:50 PM   #24 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurie View Post
My driftwood finally got that slime off it and its perfectly fine. I wish I could get my hands in some manzanita though
I had to google what manzanita was but that looks so cool! I'm guessing it's hard to find?

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consider cycling the tank for a few weeks as you would any other tank. The decomposing soil is your ammonia source so let it run its course. If you keep fiddling with it, it only prolongs the process.
The only thing I've done to my tank since I set it back up was move the amazon sword over a bit. Otherwise, I haven't touched or added anything because of the ammonia readings. I was just perplexed why I even *had* ammonia readings in the first place because 1) my tank was fully cycled before making the switch to a planted tank and 2) my tank is 95% stem and floating plants that I *thought* were supposed to consume all of the ammonia. I assumed that it had something to do with the soil though, so thanks for confirming that.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:13 AM   #25 
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Rotting plant material will cause ammonia... whether that is from your plants or your substrate, it can produce it faster than your plants or bio filter can handle it.

Plants don't immediately remove free ammonia (NH3) either.. they will use up any ammonium (NH4) present first.

Also, if your tap water containes chloramines (most do now) and you are using prime you will get "false" positive results for ammonia using the API test because prime converts the chloramines into ammonium (NH4). Using Seachem's Ammonia Test kit or Ammonia Alert will give you an accurate reading of your harmful free ammonia (NH3) instead of the total ammonia that the API kit tests for.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:23 AM   #26 
colorxmexravyne
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Rotting plant material will cause ammonia... whether that is from your plants or your substrate, it can produce it faster than your plants or bio filter can handle it.

Plants don't immediately remove free ammonia (NH3) either.. they will use up any ammonium (NH4) present first.

Also, if your tap water containes chloramines (most do now) and you are using prime you will get "false" positive results for ammonia using the API test because prime converts the chloramines into ammonium (NH4). Using Seachem's Ammonia Test kit or Ammonia Alert will give you an accurate reading of your harmful free ammonia (NH3) instead of the total ammonia that the API kit tests for.
Awesome info! I'll look into getting Seachem's ammonia test within the next week. Thanks so much!
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:35 AM   #27 
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I'm a big fan of the Ammonia Alert myself.. some Petsmarts carry those. The concept is the same as the test kit except it can be read "any time" (the kit has to be read at 15 or 30 minutes) - you will read a lot of reviews where people claim they are inaccurate but I don't think most of those understand the difference between free ammonia and total ammonia, so when what their alert shows doesn't match their API (or strip test) they assume it's defective, but it's most likely not, it's just measuring the harmful free ammonia, not the total ammonia (which can be higher for a number of reasons).

I have one in every tank and mine work very well... I see an almost immediate change when I feed my frogs for example, because their frozen food contains (and I'm sure is producing) ammonia, but it drops off within a couple of hours of the frogs eating as the bacteria in the filter are busy converting it, and the alert can differentiate between very small amounts of ammonia (the "alert" level is only 0.05, "alarm" is 0.2, and "toxic" is 0.5ppm), where as even with the API test kit, it can be difficult to tell if your test is really as green as .25ppm, or somewhat less... and of course you really don't know what portion of that reading is actually harmful.
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