.25 ammonia reading from dechlorinated water, fish bowl, and cycling tank.


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I'm very confused.

I've got a 5 gallon tank that's cycling to be home for a betta fish. Yesterday I made the mistake of looking at the bettas at Petsmart, and found my betta soulmate. I know I might catch a little heat for it, but I just couldn't leave him like that...
...So I bought a bowl.

I know it isn't a good home, but for the moment it's better than the tiny, dirty cup he was in. But I digress.

So, today I test his bowl water for ammonia just to see if any had bloomed up already. I got a reading of .25 ppm.
I also tested my cycling tank to see where we were, and also got a reading of .25 ppm.
Out of curiosity to see what a negative ammonia test looks like, I tested the water that's been sitting for a few hours, dechlorinated with Prime, that I was going to use for a water change for the bowl. It read .25 ppm, too.

I tested the bowl, tank, and bucket again. Same results. How is that possible? I obviously must be doing something wrong, but I have no idea what it could be. Help??


  • Thread Starter
  • #3
It's readng .50 ppm. Shouldn't the water conditioner have taken it to 0?
Prime does not remove ammonia, it only detoxes it for 24hrs, even in it's detoxed state you would get a positive test, and Prime can mess with the test results, so you should wait 24hrs to test after using it.

Did you use the same light source to read the test? It shouldn't be higher than the other 3 samples.

And sorry I forgot to say in my first post, Welcome to Fishlore!
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Oh, I see. So even though the fresh stuff is reading .25, it's safe for the fish? Does that mean the fish bowl is also safe at the moment?

And yes, I did use the same light. The sample from the faucet is definitely higher than the other three.

And thanks for the welcome!
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Strange that the readings are different. Prime will be your best friend with ammonia in your tap. When you do waterchanges from now on I would add a double dose of Prime for the whole volume of the tank.

Are you doing a fishless cycle then? The bowl is as safe as a bowl can be, but I would do daily large water changes on it until the tank is ready.

Once a week, until the tank is cycled be sure to change all the water out of the bowl and do small ones daily.
if it were me...

I would do a 100% water change in the 5 gallon tank, then put the Betta in there are cycle with the betta.

My reasoning is:
1. The 5 gallon tank will be heated (right?, if not it needs to be).
2. Doing daily partial water changes with Prime in the 5 gallon is no different (to the fish) than doing them in the bowl (except that your changing more water, but since there is more water the ammonia will not go as high daily)
3. The betta really need the room that the 5 gallon affords him. The bowl is just too small.
I would sugest using TSS if you move the betta, doing a fish in cycle with ammoina in the tap takes consiterably longer, after a certain point the ammoina in your tap would stall the cycle with the daily waterchanges.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Thanks so much for the advice, everyone!

I will be doing daily water changes, and once a week clean everything like solatarianknight suggested. I agree that a bowl is no place to keep a betta for very long. He's been enjoying the space, little as it is, but I'm very much looking forward to putting him in a proper home.

Thanks again, everyone

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