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Old 03-03-2013, 11:08 AM   #21 
sarahspins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
Those Seachem Alert things. Are those the stick-on devices you install inside your tank? You find them accurate enough?

Seachem also makes liquid test kits that can tell the difference between ammonia and ammonium.
Yes... the sensor material on them is the same as the little disks that come with Seachem's ammonia test, which I had been using before, but it's nice to just be able to glance at the tank instead of having to wait 15 or 30 minutes to read the test (I'd usually get distracted and forget, then have to start over) - I don't expect any ammonia in my tanks since they are cycled, it's more for peace of mind (I did cycle a new tank recently and was dosing it with ammonia and that one definitely showed ammonia, and it was fun watching it go back to 0).

A lot of negative reviews on those seem to be from people who don't understand the difference between testing for free and total ammonia or aren't testing any other water parameters (nitrites and nitrates). I am confident that they do in fact work just fine.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:52 PM   #22 
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I think I can get the ammonia alert device through my local petsmart since they have it online. I'll see. Now would be a good time to get it in and tested since I know ammonia will be happening.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:32 PM   #23 
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Okay, so here's the water test AFTER Sunday's 50 percent water change:


Okay, so I'm using Prime, so some of that ammonia will likely be the harmless type. However, next question. Why is my ammonia seemingly doubling or more AFTER my water changes? I wasn't reading this much before ever. ( granted, I wasn't completely in sync with the water test directions, but I was shaking the bottles, so my previous ammonia readings shouldn't have been that far off.)

As far as I can tell, I did a 50 percent water change today and had no affect on ammonia whatsoever (though the prime will convert it, I know). I knocked the nitrites and nitrates back a bit. But it just seems like things should be better instead of worse after such a big water change, right?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:45 PM   #24 
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Doesn't your tap water have ammonia in it?

I have found that my tap water has fluctuating levels of ammonia. However, since our tap water is ground water and it depends on the amount of pollution in the ground (like when the farmers dump pesticides all over the place and it soaks into the ground or stuff gets washed down storm drains.. I think).
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:49 PM   #25 
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Oh and FYI. The water test was done about an hour after the water change.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:52 PM   #26 
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Tap water treated w prime is shown in first pic in post 18 on page 2. Is that a 0 or a .25 reading?
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:13 PM   #27 
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It doesn't look like 0 to me.

It can be hard to tell because I never saw exactly what a 0 reading looked like until after my first tank cycled because of the ammonia in my tap... If that makes sense. A reading of 0 is obvious.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:36 PM   #28 
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Okay, so I'm using Prime, so some of that ammonia will likely be the harmless type. However, next question. Why is my ammonia seemingly doubling or more AFTER my water changes? I wasn't reading this much before ever.
You most likely have chloramines in your tap - the amount will not always be consistent from day to day, or even based on time of day (it's all up to how much is added to your water at the plant). Some days you may have more, some days less. Prime converts chloramines into ammonium (NH4), which will show up in your total ammonia test which is testing for both NH3 and NH4... which is why you may often have a higher "ammonia" test result right after a water change than you do before.

A 0 ammonia reading is a bright sunshine yellow - it's not greenish at all. When you have 0 ammonia it's obvious.

Last edited by sarahspins; 03-03-2013 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:07 AM   #29 
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Thanks! Now I understand that. Is there something else I need to be adding other than Prime? I'm going to get one of the seachem ammonia alert deals!
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:49 AM   #30 
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I think Sarah's observations are accurate and her explanation is close enough for jazz.

Prime breaks chloramine into chlorine and ammonia. It detoxifies (encapsulates?) the chlorine, then converts the ammonia to ammonium, leaving a slight, green ammonia/um reading.

Thanks for the overview on Seachem's Alert product, Sarah. Glad it's functionally accurate.

The ratio of free ammonia (NH3) to ammonium (NH4) is pH dependent. The higher the pH, the higher the free ammonia. The lower the pH the more ammonium. It's also effected by temperature, but less so.

Here's a chart you can use to determine how much of each is present in your tank.

Ammonia Toxicity

Sorry I can't find the programmable version, but this ought to do.

Last edited by Hallyx; 03-04-2013 at 06:54 AM.
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