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Old 03-25-2013, 02:05 PM   #1 
Otterfun
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FYI : Ammonia in Tap Water remedy

Hi,

Came across this while surfing:
http://bettalatethannever.jimdo.com/overwhelmed/

PROBLEM: There is ammonia in your tap water
Ammonia, and other chemicals such as cholrine, are added to city water systems to kill bacteria and make the water safe to drink.

SOLUTION: Unfortunately, there isn't one (aside from moving)
However, it is important to know the state of your tap water, as this will determine how effective water changes are at removing ammonia.
  • Remember that the reading given by your ammonia test kit is the concentration of ammonia in the water
  • As long as the concentration of ammonia is lower in your tap water than in your aquarium, water changes using your tap water will lower the overall ammonia level in the aquarium
EXAMPLE:
1 PPM ammonia in your tap water
2 PPM ammonia in your tank (yikes, your fish are dying!)
Perform a 50% water change
Ammonia in tank reduced to 1.5 PPM
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:30 PM   #2 
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Many water systems now use chloromine to help stabalize chlorine. Chloromine does not evoporate off like chlorine so ageing the water does not work. Not all water conditioners do an effective job of neutralizing it.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:32 PM   #3 
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But no matter what ... it will never drop below 1PPM with 100% tap water. If your ammonia is at 0 in your tank, and you do a 50% water change, you are still coming up to .5ppm in your example.

If you have ammonia in your tap water, the only truly safe option is to use Prime, AmQuel, etc. - and/or have plenty of live plants. I'd suggest both!
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:34 PM   #4 
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If you cycle it'll be fine. If you plant well it'll be fine. Prime is only effective for 24-48 hours, you'd go through a lot of conditioner. The lower your pH the less toxic the ammonia is, so 1ppm at pH of 6 and 1ppm at pH of 7 has a huge difference in toxicity.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:37 PM   #5 
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Yes, sorry ... my mention of Prime and Amquel, etc, is assuming a cycled and/or planted tank, where Prime will be effective until the bacteria cleans the water.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:12 AM   #6 
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This is a random question, but is it safe to use Prime for water changes in tanks that have previously had other treatments used in them? I'd been using some Jungle stuff, but I bought some Prime to switch over to, and wondered if it would be safe to "mix" the two like that in the water?

(Not using both at the same time, just having used the other previously, and starting to use the Prime on the *new* water being added after the water change.)
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:54 AM   #7 
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You wont have any problem switching over they wont have a bad chemical interaction or anything. Use the prime at 2 drops per gallon on the incoming water and your good to go.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:27 PM   #8 
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Thank you so much! :)

And on the tapwater with ammonia, if you use the prime on it, won't that cause the existing ammonia to become inert/chemically unproblematic for the fish, so then you could essentially have 0ppm? I know that Prime evaporates after a day or two, but if it's already converted all the existing ammonia, and there is no new ammonia going in, wouldn't that keep the tap water at 0?

Or does the ammonia end up reverting *back* after the 24 to 48 hours?
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:46 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Fish View Post
Thank you so much! :)

And on the tapwater with ammonia, if you use the prime on it, won't that cause the existing ammonia to become inert/chemically unproblematic for the fish, so then you could essentially have 0ppm? I know that Prime evaporates after a day or two, but if it's already converted all the existing ammonia, and there is no new ammonia going in, wouldn't that keep the tap water at 0?

Or does the ammonia end up reverting *back* after the 24 to 48 hours?
Prime binds to the ammonia temporarily. Once the Prime is "gone," the ammonia is unsafe again. It doesn't convert it in any way ... not really, anyway. It still should be processed by the beneficial bacteria in a cycled tank.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #10 
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Adding Prime into the water turns NH3 (ammonia) into NH4 (ammonium). Ammonium is much less toxic to fish, and they can survive in higher levels of it. Your test kits will still read the same levels, as they read both NH3 and NH4.

If your tank water is basic (pH over 7) the ammonium doesn't stay in this form. I won't go into a chemistry lesson, but basic water causes the ammonium to change back into ammonia.
If your tank water is acidic (pH under 7), ammonia will actually take the form of ammonium, even without Prime. So if your tank is very acidic, Prime does very little work as the work is already done.

This is not a straight cut from 6.9 to 7.1 with pH values...
For example, if you have 4ppm of ammonia/ammonium total...
-At pH 6.5: 1ppm ammonia : 3ppm ammonium
-At pH 7: 2ppm ammonia : 2ppm ammonium
-At pH 7.5: 3ppm ammonia : 1ppm ammonium
(again, imaginary values to help you see the pattern.. but you can see in most tanks, your readings are a mix of ammonia and ammonium.)
In basic water, Prime is going against what the ammonia/um naturally wants to do and binds it, but it cannot hold like this forever. Just imagine Prime fighting to keep it as ammonium, the more basic your water, the less time it is able to do so.
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