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Old 09-22-2015, 11:24 PM   #1 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Not sure what to do - high ammonia in tap water

A little over a week ago I rescued a betta, that I named Kai, from Petsmart. I planned on eventually moving him to my office at work once I made sure he was OK. The only thing I had on hand at was a 1 gallon hospital/quarantine tank. So I put him in that tank at home and ordered him a tank for my office. The new tank gets here tomorrow and his new heater gets here Thursday. I was hoping to let everything run over the weekend and transfer Kai on Monday.

However today in anticipation of everything I took my test kit to my office and tested the tap water. The ammonia tested at between 1-2 ppm! I obviously can't put him in water with that high of an ammonia level. So now I am left trying to figure out what to do from here. As I see it these are my options...

1. Do a fishless cycle on the new tank so that the bacteria will bring the ammonia down to safe levels. I was planning on cycling the tank but was going to go the fish in route. My main problem with this is I have no idea how long it will take to cycle the tank and until then he is in the small 1 gallon tank that is a pain to heat. 2. Bring water from home. I have well water at home and for the most part, other than some PH issues that may or may not be due to the water, my well water is pretty good. So I could fill gallon jugs up with water from home and use those for my tank at work. Not sure how much of a hassle this could get to be though. 3. This is really an adjustment of the first option, buy a bigger tank to keep him in at home while the tank is cycling at work. The main disadvantage of this is spending the money to buy a whole new tank setup that I won't be using after I transfer him to my work. With my dog having emergency surgery Friday, money is a bit tight right now.

So, which of those sounds the best? I keep going back and forth on what to do. I just want the best for Kai and don't want to move him to, or leave him in, a situation that is going to hurt him.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:38 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Use Seachem Prime to detoxify ammonia until the ammonia can be processed by your biological filter assuming your tank is cycled.
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Old 09-30-2015, 06:58 PM   #3 
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There are chemicals you can buy from pet stores and online that eliminate ammonia. You can get some of that then put it in the water and test it to see if it worked. If not, you can use the water from your house or you can buy water in 1 gallon jugs from the store to use.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:20 PM   #4 
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Location: Philadelphia
Two drops of Seachem Prime per gallon will detoxify 1.0ppm of ammonia for about 24 hours. If you are showing an ammonia level as high as 2.0ppm out of the tap, I would dose with 3-4 drops per gallon daily until you can get the tank to cycle. You can safely dose Prime up to 5 times the normal dosage.

As long as you are willing to test daily and do water changes as needed a fish-in cycle is a definite possibility. Prime will protect the fish until the biological filter can process the ammonia in the tap water. If doing a fish in cycle with the tap water still makes you nervous then by all means bring the tap water from home just to play it safe.

This will help get you started,
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:01 PM   #5 
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I fill gallon jugs and bring in water from home for my office fish.
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Old 10-01-2015, 06:07 AM   #6 
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I did a Google search and found this

It's a long read but very informative. Try adding some
Carbon to the filtration. I know many enthusiast swear that carbon does nothing. But carbon does help break ammonia bonds.

Ohhh yeah and and seachem prime works miracles. Sea hen stability can also help you build healthy bacteria.
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:40 AM   #7 
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Location: Philadelphia
The problem with activated carbon is that is only effective for about 48 hours. I think zeolite would be even more effective at removing ammonia in an emergency situation than carbon.
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