Ammonia Level wont drop.

  • #1
I have a Seachum Live ammonia and ph alert device in my tank right next to my thermomator. It is indicating that my ammonia level is at .2ppm for the past two days. On day one I did about a 20% water change, and yesterday I did more like a 50% water change. The frist water change I used what was left of my stress coat to treat the tap water. The second I went and bought Prime and used that to treat the tap water. After noticing that the device still showed the ammonia at .2ppm I added a little Prime directly to my tank today. And it is still showing ammonia at .2ppm.

What can I do to fix? More water changes? More Prime directly into tank? Or just give it time to come down on its own?

30 gal, 2 bichirs, 2 chinese algae eaters, and 7 ghost shrimp, plants and rocks.

Thanks in advanced!
  • #2
welcome to fishlore!!!

Prime won't remove the ammonia, just detox it for 24 IF you have it in there, it will still show up...if you have a test kit, id test it and not rely totally on your alert device...ive seen them go wrong more times than may be fretting for nothing...good luck!
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks! I was worried because when I first bought the ph and ammonia alert it said that my ammonia level was at a safe <.02ppm and it was that way for about a week, now it is at .2ppm. Since I bought them I have added two new plants(dwarf hairgrass) and the ghost shrimp, but I read that shrimp do not add to the bioload so I didnt think they would bring ammonia. I did get a little of the water from the Petland store I went to inside of my tank. But it was very minimal and I would think the water changes would have remedied that.

That's good news though that it may just be a false reading, what is the best test kit you'd reccomend? The fish, shrimp and plants all look fine. Its my gut that's killing me lol.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Additionally is there any test that you don't have to read the colors of the strip? I'm never comforatable with those because it says to look at certain parts at this amount of seconds and another at this amount of seconds. Are there any absolute test where there is no mistake about the readings?
  • #5
Test strips are notoriously inaccurate. Get ahold of an API master liquid test kit, that'll do ya.
  • #6
What are your nitrate levels? If you are having a problem with ammonia and your nitrates are staying really low, then you may be having a mini-cycle. The best thing to do is daily water changes with prime until it works itself out. Your tank has only been running for a couple of months and hasn't become established yet. I would go ahead and run both filters (from your other thread). Once a balance has been achieved, I would begin to slowly transfer small amounts of media from the more established filter to the newer one.
  • #7
To piggyback on what Shawnie said, I think Prime converts ammonia into much less toxic ammonium, but test kits generally cannot tell the difference between ammonia and ammonium so you may be reading .2ppm ammonia when in reality you have .2ppm ammonium.
  • #8
Good morning,

I use the SeaChem Ammonia Alerts in both of my tanks as a back up to the API (liquid) Master Test Kit below:

Once you have added the Prime or chemical to detox your levels, wait 24 hours to test for more accurate results.

SeaChem Ammonia Alerts states that even when a chemical is used to remove ammonia, the Alert will still read true.

"The presence of the free ammonia is detectable continuously with a response time of about 15 minutes. Response to decreasing ammonia is slower, requiring about 4 hours to go from TOXIC to SAFE on removal of ammonia." From:


I have moved your thread from Freshwater Beginners to Aquarium Water/Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle section of the forum.

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