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Old 02-22-2014, 12:35 PM   #1 
sainthogan
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ammonia in tap water!!

What is the best way to reduce ammonia or lessen its effects in tank water when the tap water contains quite a bit of it? My tap water used to have only .25 ammonia, then I noticed my fish getting VERY sick. I ruled almost everything out, tried medication, tried frequent water changes, the only thing that sort of helped was bottled water. I finally tested my tap water again, and the ammonia levels are in between .5 and .75!!!! Yikes!!! Please help!! My tap water is killing my fish (not to mention all of my plants)!! I can't afford 4 gallons of bottled water a week. It costs $2.50 per gallon where I live - so a minimum of $10 a week to change the water in my tanks, I can barely afford to put food on my table right now!

I drink filtered water, but I've heard that doesn't remove ammonia. Help!
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:46 PM   #2 
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What are the specifics of your setup? Size, filter, etc


I'm not a plant person but plants consume ammonia as food, so that may not be what's killing them.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:32 PM   #3 
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Both tanks are 5 gallon. I had to turn off the filter because neither fish can swim very well any more. The plants in both tanks are dying. And my house plants are dead or dying as well. I believe that there may be more issues with my water than just the high ammonia, but the town says everything is fine. I don't know where to go to to really have my water tested in depth without pointing fingers at the people in charge of keeping our water clean.
Also, the building I live in is very old, and does have old pipes, we've had to have a lot of sewer and pipe work done in the past several years, but our landlord insists that the water is fine. Although, at one point a few months ago, he lost a lot of fish as well for no reason that he could find. When I mentioned to him the problem I was having with my fish, he just scoffed and said it was coincidence. Not to mention that many of the humans have been sick off and on as well.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:38 PM   #4 
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ammonia in tap water!!

I suppose it's possible to have an inherent problem with the water. That would be unfortunate, but be glad your tanks are small - you can buy RO water for water changes. Lots of people maintain healthy aquariums while waiting longer than a week to change the water.

Te water company should be able to furnish a report for you.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:47 PM   #5 
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Like I said before, bottled water here is VERY expensive. We can't even get RO water here. We only have the option of distilled water and spring water for purchase at our grocery store. To get water delivered to us, is something I really can't afford right now. Also, to ask for a report from our water company, would imply that I don't trust what they told me in person. I live in a small community of 300 people, everyone knows everyone, and implying that I don't trust someone at the town level, could be very bad, especially since the person in charge of treating our water is a very upstanding citizen who is highly respected by everyone here.
Do you know of any private companies that test water for a relatively low price?
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:49 PM   #6 
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Oh, I can tell you though, that our water is very naturally high in both arsenic and fluorine. Always has been, I have been told that those levels have not changed in decades.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:51 PM   #7 
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Can you find a bottle of Prime or Ammo-lock around? They will at least make the water non-toxic for your fish if ammonia is the only problem, and are way less expensive than using bottled water.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:55 PM   #8 
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I can order it on Amazon, closest pet store is 2 1/2 hours away.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:59 PM   #9 
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Your best bet is to use prime and cycle the tanks. You said your fish both have issues swimming, so I would get sponge filters and an air pump (love the jw fusions). Sponge filters are cheap and create minimal current, but provide effective biological filtration. Using prime in the water will detoxify the ammonia by locking it up in a different molecule for 24-48 hours while the filter takes care of it.

I would think of ways you can get a report without implying you don't trust them. Explain your situation, say that just because it's fine for people doesn't mean it's ok for fish. IMO it's not worth the health of you and your animals and plants.

Amazon.ca or .com has good deals on the filters and pump.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:59 PM   #10 
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Yikes! Arsenic WILL make both people and plants sick. Lots of ammonia isn't good either. If you are using Prime as your water conditioner, that should neutralize the ammonia and any heavy metals, but you may need to up the dose. Do you have that and/or is it feasible for you to get some?

Water testing is expensive…you might be able to give the health authorities (county or state) an anonymous tip that lots of people, house plants, and pets are sick or dying and it might be the water…just a thought.

I know what you mean about the small town issues! Very frustrating!
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