Might also want to check the expiration dates. You usually don't have to worry about them, especially if you just recently bought them, but you never know- it's something worth checking if anything. Some of the products will expire within two years while some of the others will expire 4+ years. I forget which, otherwise I'd tell you specifically -.-;;; But yeah, see about checking that as well!
Those readings are pretty wild O.o;
Have you properly cycled your tank? Usually what happens is once the tank goes through the nitrogen cycle, the nitrate eats up the other stuff so there shouldn't be any ammonia readings or nitrite readings... unless the cycle is crashing, then you'll see readings like nitrite and/or ammonia.... but even then, I don't imagine ammonia would be that high.... Also, what's your tank size and stock? Really not sure about the bucket, but it could also be the culprit if you don't know all the 'specs'...
Wait, 4.0 Ammonia ppm! The only suitable, comfortable, and ideal ammonia level for aquatic animals is 0 ppm for ammonia. Check your kit to make sure it's not expired, and I suggest buying a separate bucket for changing your water or getting an Aqueon Water Changer, that way you don't have to risk poisoning your fish from a painting bucket. If you have a tank over 2.5 gallons with a filter (per fish, if more than 1), I would recommend doing a 50% water change. Some people might disagree with me but if you have a filter, all the beneficial bacteria is in there, and it will stay there as long as you don't change the cartridge. Next, I would test your water again to see if the ammonia has gone down.
Oh yeah, that's a good point, bettalover!! It totally slipped my mind today, but when I was scrounging around the web about fish related stuff, I came across a forum where this one guy had a reading of 8ppm ammonia!
He was using API Ammo Lock and apparently that stuff can give false readings even if you're using the master kit to test your water.... It might be as simple as changing your conditioner and/or whatever products you've been adding to your aquarium.
Edit: Personally, Prime seems like the overall best dechlorinator. Not only does it do everything you need it to do for your water, you won't have to worry about false readings (save for a bit of ammonium that can possibly be in your tap water) AND you get more bang for your buck- it's much more concentrated so in comparison to using 1 tsp to a gallon, Prim only takes 1mL per 10 gallon; So essentially 2-3 drops per gallon!
Last edited by Draug Isilme; 02-22-2012 at 10:09 PM.
My stuff is brand new and the dates are good for a few years still. I waited a few days before testing. Its a 1 gallon, I have this tank and will get a different one in a few months. It has a filter and a light. The live plants seem to be dying as well. I didn't use my bucket yet. Just bought it from home depot. UNUSED by anymeans. Will regular changes fix this?
Okay, so it doesn't sound like the testing kit, which is good ^.^ Still would help to know what kind of water conditioner and/or other chemicals you've used for your tank; as I've stated before these things can be known to give false results depending on what they are. How long have you had your tank exactly and how frequent have you changed the water?
Also as far as the plants go, what kind of light bulb are you using? And what kind of plants do you have exactly? Sometimes it can be as easy as changing the light bulb or the plants just aren't suitable for the conditions you have depending on the maintenance and the species of plant (like anacharis is a great low light plant, but there are different types of anacharis that do better in cold water and some are more suitable with warm water)... Regular changes are definitely a must, especially with smaller tanks; they actually require more responsibility/maintenance so it definitely helps to keep up with water changes religiously....