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Old 12-16-2011, 09:01 PM   #11 
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Location: Texas
Thanks OFL. Bought Jungles 30pk Ammonia test strips that failed the test and they sent me 2 bottles of 100 both in Tetra's Ammonia test strip and their 6n1 test strips. I've already figured out they make pretty good guide lines when working to tell you to pull out the test kit to see whats up since they are more exact. Noticed with API after the time passes that the test tubes should be read the color doesn't get any darker like it does in test strips. Will get the reagent KH/GH test kit and later when I need the other replaced may go with theirs.

Yes I've heard and read up about Prime but haven't priced it so good to know you get more bang for your buck which is what I want. So it's on my list of things to order this week-in.

I thought tannins did make water softer thus lowering the GH, but I don't have a clear picture of how they all interplay with each other.

*****I honor your opinons, but you lost me on IMO...too many risk due to being unstable!!!!!
Was that about trying to lower pH to make the ammonia more ionized thus not the toxic gas type or about using the Oak leaf tannin?

***Not up on what R/O/DI is. Bought some spring water tonight to see what that test's out as, but I can't afford to start buying water. Priced coastal today which was $16.50 a bale, sure glad I stocked up back when it was $9 and $10 for the winter and onto May's second cuttting. Car got it's second water pump/etc. for $400 then had to turn around and replace all 4 tires since 1 blew out coming home from the VA and the rest where over 10 years old. So money is tight while I try to put some back into saving in case the water well goes out.

*****Got your plant list and depending on price and if you can order them on the net I'll be getting some soon.
Will they need additional fertilizer or have enough ammonia to live off of?
Do you know a good reliable cheap source I can order plants from?
Yeah more research, haven't even done enough on the 2 I have now :).

Oak leaf tannin I wouldn't mind the leaf litter except I need to get a bigger hose to sypthon something like that out, but that would be only after there are enough plants to keep any ammonia in check. In my livestock (donkey & mule) tank I use to keep goldfish in it year round to keep mosquitos down. They would have a lot of leaf litter between cleaning the tank. Biggest one got to be about 6" before I guess the coons got it due to low water level and they where hungry.

Right now I have small mud puddles outside and the temps have hit the hi of 50 in the day, LOL cold to me. Have a small bag I collected on a rainy day and let dry out before bagging them, but will grab a bunch more since I don't care to go out in the cold hunting them. Pretty much around all year round unless the wind blows them off. Lost several trees the past few years though. Tallest one went down in a wind storm out in the field. New one is coming back where 2 had been before they died. Good to know I can just get them at any time of the year.

As teenagers we had a family fish tank and I had one with guppies and my brother had betta's. He read up on them and got them to mate and had hatchlings, but I don't remember what happened from there except a lot of cups where bought. I do remember it was very interesting to watch letting the man do all the work, but I doubt I will get into breeding them. Sounds like you have it down pat though and a neat setup. One in your avatar is very nice, but have to admit I've never had a red one. Highly partial to blue :). Last time I had guppies I got over populated with them and could take them to a pet shop to find new homes.

If adding Prime and the plants you mentioned fail to do the trick on my ammonia problem I'll slowly one by one set up filters and cycle the 5 gal plastic containers for each betta and later get some 5 gallon glass aq so I can see them. I might chance a 10 gallon divided to keep costs down (initial and electricity), but I've seen too often what happens if fish get past store bought dividers years ago. Have some old tanks in storage I can't get to, but they might need some glass replaced and definately the silicone. We use to replace glass or silicone and never ran into problems with 5 or 10 gallons but they set outside to make sure they didn't leak before coming in :). In the long haul I do plan on getting them in 5 or 10 gallons even if I do solve my current ammonia problem. Hopefully when we make it out of the drought that will not be an issue. Last time I had betta's 13 miles from here on a water well there where no close neighbors with livestock in smaller pastures like there is around here. I'm up on a hill so I doubt my 2 are adding much to the problem. Still think I recall now having had a piece of driftwood I had in the trash can I used to cure their water in.

Thanks for all the great info, my hopes are up that I can naturally get this under control now without trying to mess with adjusting pH, etc.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:46 AM   #12 
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Sorry about that.....what I mean by too many that unless you get the KH/GH down the pH may not be stable and along with the pH swings you will have ammonia/ammonium can be hard to get the mineral content in the water down if not impossible-especially in small cutting your well water with RO water(reverse osmosis) is just about the easiest way but can get expensive and why I suggested Prime and live plants...cheapest and easiest IMO.... are the Bettas tolerating your water now...are they having problems.....

If you have any places that sell ponds, pond supplies, goldfish, Koi...they usually will have both the naja grass and water lettuce
Online-I have always recommend sweetaquatics, however, a recent post told us they have moved and having some plant issues right now
Another good place to get plants are local aquarium clubs-I can't remember what state you are in to look them up for you-but in the back of most aquarium magazine there is a list

With both the liquid reagent and have user error...especially with the API brand if you don't follow the direction to the "T"...time sensitive as are the strips....and then with the nitrate #2 bottle reagent that can sometimes settle causing skewed readings if not shook up well enough before use....

I am of the belief that fish keeping doesn't have to break the bank in order to successfully keep them-while there is nothing wrong with those that can spend a ton of money...I don't...lots of ways to do it with a little imagination and common sense.....research-always and trial and error sometime too.....
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:22 PM   #13 
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RO is out of the question, know that expense. So yes Prime and plants are the best ideal and on my list, but can't get them soon enough.
Thus comes another question:
Prime is only going to bind/detoxify the harmful ammonia up for about 48 hours since it is designed to let a filtered cycled tanks bacteria do the real clean up. If I had a lot of plants like you suggest they would clean the ammonia up in a non-cycled tank. But I need a quicker solution than that to help until the plants kick in.

Shouldn't I be investing in some Ammo chips or something that absorbs the ammonia thus removing it until I get plants going that can do this in my non-cycled homes? Reason you don't use this in a cycled tank is it will take the ammonia food away from the good bacteria and destroy the biological filter (your cycle).
Think I have read the basis of that is what cat litter is made of. Could I buy some cat litter (plain clay and no odor control), rinse it off (stuff is highly dusty) big time through a strainer and put it in the bottom of my tub I use for drawing up water, treating it with conditioners, heating and letting it set until the next time I need to do a water change?
At that rate how bout it being the gravel for my tanks LOL?
This would only be used as a short term quick fix until I can get plants going good enough to take the binded ammonia from Prime out of the tap water.
All 3 of my dark blue betta's seem to be doing okay though DaddyO (oldest one) quit building bubble nests when I ran out of the Betta Bowl Plus that neutralized ammonia. Quit sure it is affecting all of them though.
FancyDan (CrownTail) also a blue male never did much making a bubble nest (one I bought thinking it would die). He went throw a month of medication to since he was in filthy water and his tail fins where affected.
Not sure if the third blue one is a male or female, it flares at the males all the time. Named BlueGirl, but that may change to BlueBoy :).
One I know is highly being affected by it was one that is a light color. He lost a lot of his fin either to fin rot or biting. I treated him for over a month and his fins are growing back but I highly suspect ammonia is affecting him more due to his light color. He has the most character than the rest and is quite a show off. He has also had one bad case of SBD after a water change, thus he will be handled with kit gloves (very carefully) for now on.
So I need to get this resolved pretty quick.

Well stumbled on a Fort Worth (90 mile 1 way) club selling some plants doing research on the ones you suggested but was so tired I only saved the link to check out more one. Unless someone in it is closer then if I have to go that far there are plenty of pet shops up there. Found some other locations selling them also, but I never buy anything from new locations without checking them out with the BBB.
Locally outside of a small college town and the only fish store closed down. Some do sell pond supplies, but I've never seen the fish or plants. Another town 30 miles away may have such sources since they have a Lowes and Home Depot, but no Petsmart/co yet.

I am really tired of buying stuff that will be useless . So I need to stop spinning my wheels and buy only what will work since money is running out. Monday I will either get my orders in or drive to the city if it's cheaper than shipping from several places.
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #14 
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A lot of times the aquarium club members will be located all over the state...join the web-site and and ask around...can't hurt.....

In the filtered tanks with an established nitrogen cycle the biological filtration will take care of the ammonia pretty fast-usually in less than 12h...but this varies...same with the active growing live plants....or re-dose the Prime every 48h as needed.....

While I don't normally recommend distilled water since it is void of everything including oxygen to support might want to try that or even bottled water and cut it with your well water to gain acceptable ammonia levels and this would give you at least 7 pH and lower GH/KH for tannins to help keep the pH at or under 6 to convert ammonia to ammonium-but instead of oak leaf I would use peat moss-get a 5gal bucket mix your waters-use pantyhose or something for the peat moss-drop this in the bucket along with an airstone on a larger pump to keep it churned up and oxygenated....

You being in Texas...are you still in a drought.....collect rainwater is another option......or keep buckets of water outside with lots of peat or leaves in it to rot and decomp-this decomp creates CO2 and can drive the pH down or inject CO2....

Good luck rinsing clay kitty will just end up with a slimy mess and using it alone as substrate can cause more harm than good unless you have a mass amount of active growing plants for the byproducts it will create. I have never heard of it having any affect on ammonia since it is mainly an Iron base-I use it in a 25/75% mix with potting soil in one of my tanks for the Iron content for root feeding rosette plants-the one I used 100% clay kitty litter for the substrate was a mess even with the inch of sand on top of it.... every time I pulled a plant it coated everything-so it didn't last long before I tore that tank down..its pretty funky when

Ammonia chips I have never used and don't know much about....sorry....
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:51 PM   #15 
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I did buy 2 bottles of Spring water. Have not had time to test it out to see if it would be much better, but will later tonight since they need some new water. Will slowly add water to their lock up bowls to adjust to the different pH etc. Past I bought 1 bottle of Betta Water for 911, but that would only be for a small container floated in the headed tank. When I first got them I did use half and half distilled water to my well water while in their little bowls but weaned them off of it going to bigger homes.

Have a 5 gal bucket, but no airstone/larger pump or peat moss. Do plan on getting an airstone bar and large pump for when they are needed, but not from Wally World. Will get that from where I end up getting Prime, etc. from.

May just go with some spring water to cut it down until I can get enough plants to do the trick and a product that absords the ammonia. Just found a link about ammonia absorbers for non-cycled use and if you use salt it will cause the ammonia to be released from the absorber. If I use this not in their tanks but the water prepared in another container I guess it can't be released in the tanks since the absorbers won't be in the tank. None are in salt right now anyway. As soon as the plants multiply/get healthy enough in another location I'll stop using the absorbers so there will be ammonia for them and use that both in the water I prep and their tanks.

Texas is still in a drought and not much rain has been occuring. I have been tempted to go to my livestock troff and get some of their water since it gets leaves/decomp in it and test that out, but haven't done it yet. Have another troff I'm not using, but problem with leaving them up to catch leaves/water is some animals drowning in them. Stock troff has pvc pipes so critters can crawl out. Cat litter ideal is highly out then.

Will check out that location later tonight so see if some of them are closer than DFW. Think the plant solution is the best solution. Won't worry about a higher pH if tap water ammonia is out before it hits the tanks. Next problem will be seeing if the tannin will soften the water some. Every night I'm dipping floating mineral blocks off the top of their water to feed them. Only started when I started using the Tetra conditioner.

Have some Stress Coat water conditioner from Wally World. Only states it conditions the water and has Aloe Vera. Going to the site it lists links to API but no match up of the bottle I have to their stress coat. Called them and left a message, but they never called back. API's does remove heavy metals and ammonia so guess I'll try that tonight as the conditioner until I can get some Prime.
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