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Old 11-20-2011, 07:33 PM   #21 
BunnyCates
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ok THANKS! Wasnt planning to stick him in there until tomorrow anyway, I am worried about this new heater. Omgosh, new digs are stressful!
LOL!!!
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:09 PM   #22 
kfryman
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Should I get a test kit or is it just recommended?
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:23 PM   #23 
bahamut285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfryman View Post
Should I get a test kit or is it just recommended?
It is somewhat strongly recommended. You don't HAVE to get one but if something happens to your fish/tank it is useful to have those numbers to diagnose a potential problem
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:18 PM   #24 
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Originally Posted by bahamut285 View Post
I tested it with my liquid kit and my strip kit.
The results are, if you hadn't guessed, the strips are horrendously inaccurate. I tested nitrITES and nitrATES because it is an established tank.
I don't want to get off on the wrong foot here, but there is nothing wrong with test strips unless you get a batch that don't work which is exactly what you seem to have done. That you should take up with the manufacturer and believe me in manufacturing you can even end up with a test kit that has faulty chemicals to do the test yet hopefully that doesn't happen as much anymore. Last I worked in manufacturing it's not quality that is sent out the door, only qty and from what I have read it was not the only company doing that.

I ran into the same problem just recently with Ammonia test strips and when it read dangerous levels of ammonia in my tap water and a newly opened bottle of distilled water (not used for the fish) I contacted the manufactuer and they are sending me some more strips. I also have the API Master test kit, but just for quick checks while trying to get a tank cycled and check on the betta's water I got them. Due to an injury I didn't want to mess with the API Ammonia test to check against the test strips and by the time I had called them I had done all the trouble shooting they would have had me do. LOL, yes I even tested that store bought water for Bettas and it read high in ammonia too with the strips. I would still recommend everyone having a master test kit, but for quick checks the strips are handy after you have tested them out from the readings you get with a master kit to make sure they are working right. Some in a bottle may be faulty, that is why a master test kit comes in handy so if you get a reading that says something is to high you can double check it and also make sure the chemicals in your test kit are working right.

From extensive reading since I'm running with a high pH and having free/gaseous (NH3) toxic ammonia building up really fast I have learned more about the toxic ammonia. Toxic ammonia cannot be converted from the non-toxic ionic (NH4+) ammonia=ammonium (ionized ammonia) in acidic <7.0 pH, yet going acidic if gone too far will burn the fish. As the pH rises (alkaline) the (NH4+) ammonia which is not harmful converts to the (NH3) toxic ammonia and if it lowers the toxic NH3 get converted back to NH4+.
They can adjust to a high pH, but if it is converting to toxic ammonia daily from it (and not the fish) then bringing the pH down so you can go longer without water changes is worth while when they live in 2 gallons or less.
A master test kit and most read total ammonia=NH3+NH4 so you will always have a reading with them no matter what state they are in (ionized=safe or gaseous=toxic). A Seachem Ammonia Alert warns you only of the gaseous kind that is toxic so it seems handy if your running with a high pH.

I would rather get my pH down so all this conversion stops me from having to do daily water changes due to toxic ammonia since all 4 of mine swim in 2 gallons. That is why I'm looking into using the Oak tannin which will help bring the pH down along with tinting the water to a more natural life style for them along with having good antibacterial/fungal properties, acclimating the fish as the changes are made going up or down in pH. Also on the forum I've learned about Prime (neutralizes ammonia) which should help if it's cost effective which Betta Bowl Plus is not for larger homes with water changes, if it also prevents the ionized ammonia from converting back to toxic/gaseous ammonia if the pH rises.

I am no expert but this is what I have gathered from all my readings and the betta's I had in the past in 1 gallon tea jars only had a 100% water change once a week along with turkey paster taking out waste every couple of days, thus I probably used a chemical to keep the pH down since that was well water off the same aquifier as mine is now. All 7 of those lived long full lives in bare homes and never seemed unhappy, though my new crew is getting better and bigger homes. I would rather naturally bring the pH down with the Oak tannin than have to use pH down and test to see it stays in the same range since I am not curing up as much water at a time as I did in the past.

You definately do need to do water changes/cleaning more often in smaller homes yet it should not be daily unless you have a high pH which will make any ammonia even in you tap water become toxic much faster than with a lower pH.

Do correct any of my information if it is wrong, I don't want to mis-guide anyone.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:35 PM   #25 
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Hello BlueStar,

My apologies for the late reply, as I'm right in the middle of exam season, haha.

To be honest, if I could have my way, I would be using live probes such as the ones in my lab at school to be monitoring these levels, LOL. As for the strips vs. API master kit. If you have the strips already, it's not a big deal. If your fish is sick and you need to check your levels for the Emergency Thread, strips are fine. However if you have the extra cash, it's worth your while to get the master kit purely because it is cheaper in the long run.

However the difference between them is that the API kits are salicylate based, which means it can tell the difference between total ammonia (includes both forms) and toxic ammonia. At least...according to their website that is. I have never worked with salicylate based materials because I use something different at school.

From what I can gather, you have four 2 gallon tanks that are accumulating ammonia quickly, yes?

That entire paragraph about reducing your pH to reduce toxicity, the toxicity of ammonia increases with increasing pH and increasing temperature, yes. However I personally wouldn't recommend "lowering your pH" just to solve your ammonia problems, even though chemically it would work.

The pH of my water is up at 8.2 and I have no problems with ammonia after using Seachem Prime. pH is a very tricky thing to change and keep stable if you do not have the right chemicals, which is why it is not recommended.

Is the ammonia coming from your water source?

What ammonia levels are you getting and what is the temperature and pH of your tanks?
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:09 AM   #26 
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I don't think the API test can tell between free ammonia and total ammonia present. As the pH in my wild betta tanks is so low (around 4.0 - 5.0) there's no chance of a cycle existing, it's not uncommon for there to be some ammonia present. However, even though at such a low pH this is converted to the less harmful ammonium, the API liquid test kit still picks it up as ammonia.

I have a test kit by Seachem, and that has two separate methods of testing that allow you to monitor both free and total ammonia.

Personally, I would not deliberately bring down the pH and think this will effectively stop ammonia toxicity. Ammonium can still be harmful based on the temperature of the water and amount of it present. I would certainly not let my bettas be continually exposed to it, as I have noticed it still does have some affect on the health of my fish.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #27 
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bahamunt285 I thought my testing days where way over (been in your shoes), but seems like the fish have put me back to testing and I've never liked trying to match up colors to those charts.

I have heard about those expensive probs I wish I could afford, but guess my water that sat about 18 hours and tested by Petsmart only registered as being hard as a problem which is the same even 90 miles from my home. No local fish stores anymore, one that was here closed down.

I bought the API master test kit, but due to cycling a 2.5 gallon aquarium for guppies I bought Jungle strips (30pk) for quick tests. I found out pretty fast the ammonia strips where not working, called the company and they said they would send me some Tetra ones to replace it after I faxed them the receipt. Well this morning they came in. Yes they sent me 100 of the ammonia test strips and a 100 of the 6 in 1 test strips. I wanted to buy Tetra ones, but they didn't have them at Wally World so I ended up in the Jungle 30pks. Pretty nice and hopefully they will tip me out if I need to crack open the API master test kit which was my reason for getting them while cycling a tank for guppies.
Later testing several other water sources against the kit & strips I found the 5 in 1 test strips said the pH was higher than the kit, matched all the 0 readings of nitrite/nitrate but if some existed they came up with different numbers than the kit. The strips are the only source I have for testing KH/GH now but most of those readings on betta water where all maxed out, guppie tank read below max in the end of it's cycle. Yep I'll buy another kit for just KH/GH. Thus I conclude the Jungle 5n1 strips are not reliable enough to base things on, but are a good warning to use your test kit if you pick up any nitrite/nitrate readings on them. Just for the betta's in a unfiltered heated tank that gets regular changes the 5n1 are worthless for since it's always been 0 nitrite/nitrates, but the tank I have cycled does registered it so for a quick check they will come in handy on it. I agree long run the kits are the cheapest to use, but a few strips around when having a cycled tank will help for quick test in-between regular testing with the kit.

I do all my kit testing in the kitchen and then empty them down the drain. The ammonia and nitrate testing solutions are a bio-hazards which require saftey measures. After I do the last test I fill the sink up with a bunch of cold water to run what didn't make it out of the U trap on out and then with a sink of warm water. Come to find out under the sink one of the drain pipes had come loose and water was in my catch bowls/pans. Think the bowl had some Mr. Clean in it for odor purposes. So if you have PVC drain pipes make sure they are connected good before you play with bio-hazard chemicals :). I had gotten most of the chemicals down the U pipe and it was only the tubs of water that backed up. Last thing I would want to do is empty them into a toilet and have that back up, so I'll stick with a sink.

Seachem site has the link to a pdf about ammonia on the Ammonia Alert pad page:
Total Ammonia=NH4=Non-Harmful Ion + NH3=ToxicGas
....NH3 & NH4 get converted back and forth to each other depending on the pH/temperature
....High pH most of the total ammonia will be converted to the toxic NH3 gas type
....Low pH most of the total ammonia will be converted to the NH4 ion type which is not harmful.

LittleBettaFish is right the API test only reveals total ammonia and not the toxic NH3 gaseous type. Seachem makes a kit that will test and give info on both NH3 toxic type and total ammonia thus you can know exactly the amount of both NH3 and NH4 present. All I have is their Ammonia Alert pad that registers the NH3 toxic ammonia at Safe being <0.02ppm, Alert being 0.05ppm, Alarm 0.2ppm and toxic 0.5ppm.
7.0pH/0 ammonia_Water from the water well right out of the tap warm or cold
8.4pH/4.0>8.0 total ammonia & at Alarm 0.2 NH3 harmful ammonia
_same water above 2 days later with no fish in it/untreated or heated.
8.0pH/2.0>4.0 total ammonia & at Alarm 0.2 NH3 harmful ammonia
_water drawn same time/set same time and treated with Tetra BettaSafe (suppose to neutralize the Ammonia)
Since my well water has ammonia in it if the water sets any amount of time and I must use heated water for the betta's my only choice to use this water is to try to bring down the pH (naturally with tannins) to make it a little longer before needing to change the water. I'm sure the drought plus a large amount of cattle below where my well water comes from all doing their business next to a fence line instead of spread out all over the pasture has had an effect on this. On the other side of the road that field of coastal was watered 24 hours a day through the drought until the weather made growing coastal end it. Guess he sold of a lot of the cattle also after that time or moved them elsewhere.

This article explains the effect of pH and temperature on toxic ammonia pretty good LittleBettaFish:
http://www.thekrib.com/Chemistry/ammonia-toxicity.html

bahamunt285 above answers most of your questions also on readings with the test kit.
For now all 4 betta's are in 2 gallon tanks heated to 78*. 2 are glass aquariums so I can see the fish and use them to treat them in if need be. 2 are sterlite plastic containers that can hold up to 5 gallons when I get this ammonia problem corrected so I don't have to change the water as often, but for now they are in only 2 gallons.
Plants:
2 glass aq have a less than 1" moss ball in each of them.
Have some anarcharis that have adjust to the water change in a 2 gallon glass jar (warm or cold not known) in a bathroom with 24 hour CFL (9w=40watt 550 lumens) light on for the past 2 weeks. I now need to cover them with a towel to adjust them to lower light since they are not shedding leaves as much which will be used to float in each tanks when they get there.
Tank water treated with Tetra's BettaSafe 4th day had pH8.0 & 8.0 total ammonia (longest they have gone without a change or ever will go until I get my water fixed).

I used Betta Bowl Plus when they where in smaller bowls during the summer which neutralizes ammonia, but ran out of it and it's not economical to use treating large quantities of water. When I got the Seachem Ammonia Alert telling me harmful ammonia was existing in my water I bought some Jungle Ammonia Clear tabs. Some of the water I had treated and let sit a couple of days had 1 tab (double dose as suggested which treats 10 gallons used for 5 gallons) put into it with a filter 2-10 gallons runing for aireation for over about 2-3 hours had the Ammonia Alert still telling me there was free ammonia still in the water so I trashed the water. Week later I used half a tab on the same type water and got the same result so that was trashed since I knew freshly drawn water had 0 ammonia from the test kit.

From the above site I have noted:
78* tank, 4 days=8.0pH and 8.0+Total ammonia with their 77* temp showing 5.38% total ammonia would be gaseous toxic ammonia then mine was about 0.43 toxic ammonia-close to killing stage.
If the above was the same except I had a 7.0 pH their 77* shows .57% TA would be gaseous so if I have 8.0 TA then only about 0.0456 would be the toxic amount. Not good, but far better than close to the killing stage.
From the above you can tell I can't get by with the twice a week water change of 50% then 100% since their water is near toxic at 4 days. BTW the water change before the 4 days reading was also 100% and not 50% and if I recall right the water was drawn right before the change since the water that set was the water treated with Jungle's Ammonia Clear that got trashed for not clearing.

I will order some Prime as soon as I get my shopping list together since I have to order it on the net and see what results I get along with using tannins. The tank I cycled has gone from a higher pH down to 7.0 now (matches fresh drawn water).
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #28 
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I couldn't imagine anything worse than having ammonia in your source water. The usual method to remove ammonia from an uncycled tank is only going to compound the problem. Sucks that you have to deal with something like that. Ideally, in a cycled tank you would detoxify your source water with a product like Prime and let the biological filter deal with the rest.

I have read that site you linked to before, but am still iffy on consequences of long-term (weeks and months) exposure to ammonium.

For example, even with a pH below 6, a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a total ammonia reading of 1-2ppm, none of the fish in that tank are as healthy-looking as my others. I have had a few 'mysterious' deaths and have caught some of my larger fry scratching on the glass and substrate.

Although, it is stated that ammonium is not as toxic as ammonia, it is still something I would not be comfortable exposing my fish to for a prolonged period of time.

As I am currently using azolla and water wisteria to control ammonia in that tank (along with partial water changes), I was wondering if there was a similar method you could utilise to naturally filter your water. A couple of large plastic tubs chock-full of something like hornwort and duckweed might realistically be able to provide you with an ammonia-free water source. I know both of those plants are very good in the role of nutrient sponges, and just thought it might be something you might be interested in experimenting with.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:36 PM   #29 
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OFL gave me a bunch of great advice on plants and thinks with Prime and the right plants I may be able to get the ammonia under control naturally. Need plants that float since I'm not adding any gravel to tanks until I can get a vac or considering doing it until I can get the ammonia under control.

As for the NH4 non-toxic ammonia being harmful to them it probably is to some degree, but so is the air we are breathing that is polluted and now even China's pollution is in our air along with Japan's radiation :). Not to mention what has happened to all our water sources. A lady at Wally World told me to hold the bag of goldfish up as I walked out the door because the scanner would affect them. New one on me and no ideal if it is true, but I held them up just to play it safe.

I do use one of my 5 gallon plastic containers to get water ready for the tanks, but need to go bigger so I can cure more gallons for full water changes. I do like to have water ready to go ahead of time instead of drawing it fresh trying to match temps and all. Added your plants to the list of ones to get also depending on their requirements, costs and availablility. Think Petmart had them, but hopefully you can order them on the internet for reasonable prices since that's 3 hours of driving time plus time shopping. This time of year I have face the setting sun coming home where sun visors don't help on top of be home way before dark to get food slop ready to feed and the critters fed.

Appreciate the help because I hate trying to regulate pH about as much as I hate trying to match up the colors of the water tests on the cards. Rarely do the colors ever match the card LOL. More this way or less that way? Asked my dogs and they didn't seem to care, Asia got it right though since she is blind :). Now I'm on track for taking the natural way out and if that fails then I'll slowly get each into a cycled tank with plants that will solve the problem. Hopefully the drought is a big reason behind this on top of living in an area with more livestock around.
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Old 12-19-2011, 08:19 PM   #30 
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hey, I'm hoping somebody can get me an answer asap as I'm about to clean my bettas tank.
I have a 3.7L tank and I'm not sure how much water conditioner I should put it. I've tried googling it and going on the Nutrafin website, but I can't seem to find anything PLEASE HELP ME!!!

Thanks!
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