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Old 06-27-2013, 12:01 AM   #1 
ArrowheadShark's Avatar
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Ammonia level jumped after water change?

Here's the info on Shark's cage - before and after the changes it just went through, and the things that stayed the same.

3 or 3.5 gallon tank (I believe 3 flat, but I do not remember)
Shark (Obviously xD)
Heater permanently set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gravel+some rocks, sea shell.

Tiny sponge-filter with I believe carbon? Not sure how effective it was but it seemed to work, at least the sponge part. Had it for a while, but I needed a filter change-out and couldn't find a place to buy one, so I just kept rinsing it out.
Located below an east-facing window that recived not too-much light, so he wasn't in direct sunlight (there was a large sugar maple in front of the window)

--I went shopping and got the following:
Prime water conditioner (I was using stress coat before)
A Hydro Sponge filter for up to 10 gallons
two live plants: Java Moss and a little stem and leafy one I forgot the name of (>.<'' crud.)
I moved him into the living room, since he'd been tail biting and I think it stemmed from boredom+he was used to seeing me a lot, and now that I'm not at the dorms and at my friend Linda's for the summer, I've been out and about doing a lot, and he didn't often see me besides feeding time. Now that I'm conscious of this, I'm going to be spending more time with him, and the change in the living room I think will help him keep interested.

I did a water change before moving him and adding in his new sponge filter, which I rinsed. Also, Linda's water here is well-water, I have no idea the PH. He was doing fine before it seemed - I tested his ammonia level with a kit I just got today, and it read 0.25ppm.

A few hours after the change+plants, I checked it out of curiosity to see what it went down to...

...but it went up instead! I believe it reads 0.5ppm, though I could be wrong since I find it a little hard to accurately match the color in the test tube to the color on the stripe. Oh, there's another key detail - yes, I am using one of the test-tube testers.

I plan on doing an immediate water-change before going to bed, but this alarmed me. I have no idea the ammonia levels in the past, though I've not seen any burn marks on Shark and I do not believe any other symptoms - though recently, his fins have started curling, and I've heard people say that is either from cramped space (which is not the case here, I do not believe), hard water, or high levels of ammonia or long exposure to it.

I did slack on my water changes since I had a bit of a hectic week (hay making o_o), but I always did a 50% if not 75% once a week. I intend to move my schedual back to 5o% twice weekly, and I saw someone recommend a 10% daily...?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! I'm still such a newbie to fish keeping, and you guys on here have already helped me so much, so thank-you for your time and knowledge.

;-; crudwhatdidIdowrongI'msorryShark
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:40 AM   #2 
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Originally Posted by Fenghuang View Post
Alright, just tell me when you do get a picture.

I have never heard of plants raising ammonia. The new sponge filter, maybe, but unlikely... Test your tap water. Make sure there is not ammonia in the water itself. People have been having issues with this recently. The ammonia level should not have gone up that fast, and you said it did after swapping out 75 percent of the water? Sounds like a water problem... Do you use Prime to condition your water? It neutralizes ammonia temporarily.

Another possibility is that the test readings are wrong. Stress Coat can throw off readings, so if you use that, there may not actually be anything wrong with the water.

I've had Barti since March. He was a Walmart betta and most likely around 3-4 months old when I got him. He should be about 10 months old now.

Thank-you. I changed the water just in case, almost a 100% one this time. Shark is very angry at me in his little cup. I do use Prime as of... today. I just bought it. I just posted a thread asking about what's going on. I'm doing another test right now, after I've added Prime. I didn't think about the water conditioner changing the test results. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping there's not a problem with the tap - though you can bet what I'll be testing right after this one.

If there is an ammonia problem with the tap water... what do I use for water for Shark?? Buy bottled betta water? I don't have the liberty of a nearby pet store, or for that matter buying him water the rest of the summer. Crickets for my leo Bingo I can do. She doesn't need them weekly, and I can give her grubs. Shark is sorta in a really, reeeeally bad spot if I can't give him water o_o

Current test result for the ammonia testing I just did shows yellowish-colored water - not near as green as it was before. So was that really an ammonia spike? Do you think the ammonia just builds up that fast in his tank...?

I'm going to go test the tap water. I wish I had a 'control' to test - one that I could test and see the color of, knowing it had absolute zero ammonia. Then I'd have something to compare to; this is my first time comparing the test-tube liquid to the color chart, and I'm not sure how accurate I am doing on it, other than my last test was definitely green tinted, and close to the .5ppm color ._.' this one is still a bit green to me, not the bright yellow on the chart.

Edit: Just for the record, I am using an Api Ammonia test kit, for freshwater and saltwater.

Last edited by ArrowheadShark; 06-27-2013 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:52 AM   #3 
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If you are testing immediately after the water change, then it is possible to get false positives. The API kit does not differentiate between free ammonia and ammonium (which is actually created from the water change).

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Old 06-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #4 
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Because you changed out your filter (I don't know how long ago), the new filter does not have any BB so that could also be a reason for the spike, the BB has to catch up. I always lay the ammonia tube against something white like a paper towel, if I lay it next to the color chart it always looks tinged green to me.
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ammonia, build up, rapid ammonia build-up, well water

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