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Old 01-02-2013, 12:23 AM   #1 
beacon
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my cruddy tap water

I have been using bottled water (very expensive) for my fish. I decided to try and use some tap water, experimentally.

I took it and ran it through the brita filter, then set it out for 24 hours to age. I put it in my fish tank (100% change) along with some API Tap Water conditioner.

Next day I measured the ammonia with a strip and found it was showing ammonia, though still in the "safe" range. This is in a very small 1/2 gallon tank.

My other fish, who are in bottled water, showed NO ammonia on the test strips.

So I decided to do another 100% change for this tank and add some Prime and see if it does better. We'll see.

I tested the aged water by itself and it too showed ammonia, though still in a "safe" range. What this means is that the tap water is breaking down to ammonia even with NO fish in it.

This really sucks. I won't drink the tap water here for years now and it only proves I was right not to. This is an annoying problem.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:12 AM   #2 
Butterfly
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call your city's water supplier/source?
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:36 AM   #3 
guardianfyre
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Find out if your water company uses chlorine or chloramine. If they use chloramine, then the ammonia is a bi-product and there's nothing they'll do to fix it. If they use chlorine, you should let them know about the ammonia in the water because it decreases the ability of the chlorine to disinfect the water (thus allowing the bacteria the chlorine is supposed to kill to survive and possibly harm you). With chlorine treated water, the ammonia may be present because of fecal pollution (eww...), humic rich soil (usually in areas of heavy forestation), or cement mortar (sometimes used to bind cement pipes together...not generally used for incoming water. Cement pipes are usually waste water pipes.)
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:47 AM   #4 
AyalaCookiejar
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I have dealt with ammonia in my tap water with a combination of cycling and Seachem Prime. However it's impossible to cycle a 1/2 gallon... With daily water changes which would probably be a good idea with a 1/2 gallon anyways, Prime would work fine.
I also don't trust the strips and there is really no amount of ammonia that is "safe". A liquid test kit would be more reliable.

Btw, bottled water deprives your fish of essential nutrients that the tap water contains. Not only is it expensive, but its really not that great for the health of your fish.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:10 AM   #5 
beacon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guardianfyre View Post
Find out if your water company uses chlorine or chloramine. If they use chloramine, then the ammonia is a bi-product and there's nothing they'll do to fix it. If they use chlorine, you should let them know about the ammonia in the water because it decreases the ability of the chlorine to disinfect the water (thus allowing the bacteria the chlorine is supposed to kill to survive and possibly harm you). With chlorine treated water, the ammonia may be present because of fecal pollution (eww...), humic rich soil (usually in areas of heavy forestation), or cement mortar (sometimes used to bind cement pipes together...not generally used for incoming water. Cement pipes are usually waste water pipes.)
You hit it on the head. They use chloramines. I called them and the guy said that chlorine was found to be a carcinogen (in large doses in mice) and so they moved to chloramine plus chlorine so they could use less chlorine. I would have hoped the API tap water conditioner could have helped this, but it seems not. Maybe prime will help.

What I noticed is the bottled water does not require a 100% change everyday, even in the small tank. I can go 2-3 days. It's Arrowhead Spring water. Costs a ton to do this, but they have been fine with it.

I just thought it was terrible that there was ammonia in the water even without fish in it. Very NOT pleased with that
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:28 AM   #6 
AyalaCookiejar
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Prime neutralizes ammonia for 24-48 hours. Very few conditioners do this. Most spring water contains those essential nutrients, but many bottled water types say spring water when they really aren't spring water... Why? I couldn't tell you, lol.
You also wouldn't need a 100% daily change. Just partial changes would work as long as you do at least one or two 100% changes a week. Something that small usually needs quite a few water changes.

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 01-02-2013 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:57 AM   #7 
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Chlorine is probably the most common and well-known chemical used to reduce bacteria growth in water used by humans. However, water companies in recent years have turned to using a chemical called chloramine. Don't confuse chlorine with chloramine, they are completely different. Now this is where the ammonia comes into the equation. Chloramine is made up of chlorine and ammonia.

Prime neutralizes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia.. so that should help. Your conditioner doesn't work on ammonia, just removes chlorine and neutralizes chloramines (and detoxifies heavy metals). I recommend using Prime and tap water - by using bottled/filtered/spring water you are doing a disservice to your fish in the long run as it does not contain the healthy minerals your fish needs, that you find in tap water.

Ammonium is not as reactive or harmful as ammonia, but it often gives a positive reading on tests.. you will often get a false-positive when testing after using certain water conditioners - Prime being one of those that give false-positives for ammonia as it "turns" ammonia into ammonium.
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