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Old 07-23-2012, 03:06 PM   #1 
jaela
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Ammonia in our tap water!

Hey friends,

I go to school in California, but this summer I went back to my family's home in Kansas, and I've been trying to help my little sister set up an aquarium.

Our first mistake was getting her fish (black mollies, zebra danios, ghost shrimp, a black mystery snail) from Petsmart -- I can't stress enough how terrible they were to us, and how poorly they were keeping their fish there. One we got them home, we realised that two of the fish were already sick, and despite our best efforts to nurse them back to health, they both died.

Now we've lost two more fish and one of the ghost shrimp. Though the tank has been cycled, we would sometimes get confusing ammonia readings. One day we saw that the ammonia was high, did a 50% water change, and tested again to find the levels were hardly any lower at all!

Today we tested our tap water and were horrified to find we've been putting water into the tank which has a .5ppm reading, straight out of the tap.

I've heard that using filtered water isn't good for fish, but we're looking for some other option. Obviously we can't keep using tap water with this much ammonia in it without doing anything.

We're looking for a low-cost option to get water for these fish that won't be harmful to them. Please, we really want to save the remaining fish. Does anyone have any ideas?
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #2 
MSG
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What are you using to test the water?

.50 ppm ammonia isn't that bad. If your tank is fully cycled, the good bacteria can easily process the NH3 in no time.

Why did you buy the fish from the store if they looked sick? I've walked out of the store plenty of times empty handed when I feel something isn't right.

What kit did you use to test the water?
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:37 PM   #3 
jaela
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Originally Posted by MSG View Post
.50 ppm ammonia isn't that bad. If your tank is fully cycled, the good bacteria can easily process the NH3 in no time.

Why did you buy the fish from the store if they looked sick? I've walked out of the store plenty of times empty handed when I feel something isn't right.

What kit did you use to test the water?
The employee who got the fish from the tanks for us didn't let us choose which ones we wanted, and they didn't particularly notice that they were sick right away -- it wasn't until we got them home that it was very clear that one of them had a swim bladder problem, and another was extremely lethargic. Please keep in mind that we are both young women with anxiety disorders, being helped by a male employee, in a public place. We were put in a position in which it's not as easy to stand up for ourselves as it would be for some people. Frankly, I'm really not interested in being chastised. I just want advice on what to do going forward.

We're using the API freshwater master test kit.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:13 AM   #4 
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First off, I didn't mean to offend you & had no idea about your anxiety issues.

My apologies, but remember when you use forums, don't take anything too personal.

I'd rather people be honest, than BS me.

  • Filtered water from a Brita/Pur type system is fine. I think you read about NOT using distilled water.
  • Distilled water is usually deficient of minerals and using that instead of tap, will sort of leech minerals out of your fish. Over time it will harm the fish, maybe lead to it's demise.

Usually with a Betta, especially a PS affiliated store, they WILL give you the option to choose a fish to your liking because Bettas do have specific features, colors & temperaments.

  • Also Petsmart has a 15 day return policy. If you're afraid to approach the manager, call the store first & ask to speak with the manager of the store on the phone if that helps.
Explain to the manager the employee that sold you the fish, forced you to pick out & now that you're home they're sick and you don't have the experience to nurse them back to health & you would like to return them for store credit for a future purchase at the store.

Another helpful idea is to find out when they get their next shipment so you can choose a betta you REALLY want.

  • If the selection they have look unhealthy & diseased, don't buy one.
  • Stores are designed to make you buy on impulse/emotions without thinking things through.

If you're still nervous, bring a friend with you that you TRUST to negotiate with the manager.

  • Oh BTW, what fish do you have left? Be specific.
  • Also when you say the Ammonia level was high. What was was your actual test results?
I would recommend filling an empty cooler water bottle with water for the fish tank, condition it & leave it out for a day or two before you actually need to use it.

The smallest cooler bottle I own is a 3gallon one, but it gets kinda heavy when it's full. I just weighed it, 20lbs.

  • If there is some ammonia in the water, some of it will evaporate out.
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