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Old 02-28-2011, 07:02 PM   #1 
Boogs
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Ammonia in well water! Please help!

I noticed that my male crowntail looks as though he has some fin rot coming on or blackened tips on his tail from ammonia. Upon looking more closely and watching him, I have noticed that he is slightly bloated near his belly. His gills seem slightly red though it is hard to tell with his dark coloring and he has stress stripes. I tested his water again which I just changed yesterday and the day before and noticed that the ammonia was high again! Upon checking the well water that I get from the tap, I found out where the ammonia is coming from. This quick dip strip has the ammonia level as between .5 and 3 (stress and harmful)! I grabbed some ammonia clear from the local walmart because it was all I could get to and used a double dose because of the high ammonia.

I plan on going to talk to someone at the LFS tomorrow. Will he be alright for the night? I have put some aquarium salt in the tank but the cycle is not yet set in the tank. I am afraid to do a water change since I know there is ammonia in that water. What else can I do? Will the bloating go away and should I fast him?

He is in a 5 gal. Temp is 76. 1/2 tsp of aquarium salt per gallon was added. 50% water change yesterday and 100% day before. I have been doing daily changes back and forth since I noticed some strange scales on his head several days ago. Nitrate and Nitrites at 0. pH is 6.8. Alkalinity is 100. He has only been eating 2-3 pellets twice a day. Usually 2 in the morning and 3 at night. He is alone in the tank.

Also, I noticed that he was laying on the gravel at a few points today and this is the first I have seen him do this. Please let me know what you think!

I do have a 1 gal critter keeper if I need to move him. Suggestions?
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:08 PM   #2 
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Well, you might want to consider buying bottled water. You could try Prime to take out some ammonia. It might work on .5ppm, but I doubt it would do too much for the 3ppm. Better than nothing, though, if well water is all you can use. I have heard that there is a downside to using ammonia clear before a tank is cycled.

Something about locking the ammonia where the bacteria can break it down, but if the bacteria isn't there...I don't know, but it might be better than just leaving him in high ammonia. It might have a negative effect on the cycle, though. Just a heads-up. Maybe you can look into that.

Hope this helps! Keep us posted!
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #3 
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Thanks for getting back to me small fry. I was concerned about the effects on the cycling of the tank, but to be honest, I will get another one and cycle from scratch if need be. His health and well-being should be my utmost concern. I will be going to a better store tomorrow and seeing what they think. I'll try getting another test kit to see if mine is horribly off too. I seriously do not like the idea of ammonia in my water!

I will definitely keep you posted.

*edit*
Oh and I am considering bottled if need be. With regular non-distilled water, will he still have the minerals he needs?
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:29 PM   #4 
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I am going to go ahead and skip his nightly meal and leave things as they are. He is not staying to the bottom and is swimming around. He does have moments of jerky motions which concern me, but I am hoping OFL will chime in with some thoughts in the morning. I will be a lot closer to the LFS at work tomorrow, so I can head over there after 1pm to stock up on whatever is recommended.

Here's hoping he is hanging in there with me!
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:32 PM   #5 
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I cannot remember the correct type of water that I usually get in an emergency. If you get it from walmart it has a blue cap. You definately don't want to get distilled (due to the lack of minerals), but I think you knew that.

Once you find the water you should probably test it for pH, chlorine (if you have a test for that), and other things. You may want to slowly introduce the new water after you have tested it to make sure that your betta isn't shocked by the new water chemistry.

API has a good 130 test ammonia test kit for $10 at Petsmart. Those are alot more accurate than the strips, and alot cheaper, too.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #6 
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Oooh, excellent! Thanks for the tips. I'll check for that ammonia test kit and work on another source of water in case mine turns out as bad as it seems. I'll be sure to test it all before using it. Thanks again!
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:02 AM   #7 
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With your pH and temperature like that, your ammonia should not have been that toxic. Nitrite would be more dangerous in any level than ammonia in acidic and near cold water. Double check temp with internal glass thermometer and parameters with API liquid kit.

Check this toxicity table developed by my friend.

Ammonia Toxicity
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:04 PM   #8 
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Lupin,

Thank you soooo much. I forgot about factoring in the pH and temp. I got that API freshwater master test kit and you are spot on. The nitrites are high and the ammonia is not there. That is part of the cycle, yes? I'm going to definitely bring those down with a water change. I am going to test my source water and check back in. Any suggestions on if keeping him with fresh daily water changes and some aquarium salt will help the black tips on his tail?

Oh, I did get another thermometer as well so I am going over all the parameters again.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:18 PM   #9 
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Ok ammonia is fine so those test strips are crap and going in the trash. I'm going to recheck all the other parameters to be sure of what I'm looking at and see where I should go from there. Thanks for the help again Lupin!
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:16 PM   #10 
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No problem! You were right in dosing salt. It helps neutralize nitrite's toxicity. Water changes will help reduce nitrite.
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