Confused About Ammonia Source.

Dhrogara

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Hi all. I have a new 10 gallon. Currently, stocked with 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 1 Male Betta, and 1 Zebra Nerite snail. I had completed a fishless cycle previously, but after adding the Betta I had a small ammonia spike. I figured it was either from the Betta or the SafeStart+. But just to be on the safe side I thought I should test my source water as well.

Now, normally when I am performing a partial water change I fill a 10 qt bucket with water, add the Tetra AquaSafe water conditioner, add a quarter teaspoon of proper pH 7 (my tap water is pretty hard), cover the bucket with a towel and let it all age a few days before putting it in my tank. I was adding SafeStart as well, but I did not this past time since I learned it also adds ammonia to the water. So this is the source of my confusion:

The water from my tank currently tests at .5 ppm for Ammonia, using the API Master Kit.
The water from the aged bucket tests at .25 ppm for ammonia.
The water straight from my tap tests at 0 ppm for ammonia.

Currently, the tank has 0 ppm for nitrites, and about 30 for nitrates (using Tetra Easy strips.)

How am I getting ammonia readings from my bucket, but not my tap? Is it from the conditioner or the buffer? Is it something that was in the bucket before? Is something wrong with my test kit? This bucket has been sitting for about 5 days now. Any help is appreciated.
 

Sarah73

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First, you dont need to let the water sit for a few days. It's just a waste of time and space. Second, what do you feed your fish and how much? Third, using a pH buffer really makes things worse with water. Could you get a water softener? It lowers the pH
 

musserump09

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Dhrogara said:
Hi all. I have a new 10 gallon. Currently, stocked with 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 1 Male Betta, and 1 Zebra Nerite snail. I had completed a fishless cycle previously, but after adding the Betta I had a small ammonia spike. I figured it was either from the Betta or the SafeStart+. But just to be on the safe side I thought I should test my source water as well.

Now, normally when I am performing a partial water change I fill a 10 qt bucket with water, add the Tetra AquaSafe water conditioner, add a quarter teaspoon of proper pH 7 (my tap water is pretty hard), cover the bucket with a towel and let it all age a few days before putting it in my tank. I was adding SafeStart as well, but I did not this past time since I learned it also adds ammonia to the water. So this is the source of my confusion:

The water from my tank currently tests at .5 ppm for Ammonia, using the API Master Kit.
The water from the aged bucket tests at .25 ppm for ammonia.
The water straight from my tap tests at 0 ppm for ammonia.

Currently, the tank has 0 ppm for nitrites, and about 30 for nitrates (using Tetra Easy strips.)

How am I getting ammonia readings from my bucket, but not my tap? Is it from the conditioner or the buffer? Is it something that was in the bucket before? Is something wrong with my test kit? This bucket has been sitting for about 5 days now. Any help is appreciated.
I would test your pH out of your tap. Proper pH 7.0 and other buffer products are made to add minerals back to reverse Osmosis water. Your pH out of that tap should be fine. I would let the bucket sit for no more then 24hrs. Pointless to let it sit for days.

Safestart is a bacteria booster
 

Mom2some

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The ammonia in the bucket might be residual or from the product.

Another vote to do a full test panel on your tap water & share here. Sounds like a nice tank.

FWIW: my source water can have up to 1.0 ammonia. My tank (most recent testing) cycled a 50% water change down to 0.25 in 12 hours. I just use Seachem Prime to keep it safe for my fish.
 
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Dhrogara

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Using the test strips for my tap water:

Nitrate: 10
Nitrite: 0
Total Hardness: at least 300... it reads off the charts
Total Chlorine: 0
Total Alkalinity: 300
pH somewhere between 7.8 and 8.4 at the moment, but last month when I was starting the tank it was testing at 8.4

So should I stop using the buffer? And if so would it negatively affect my fish since my tank's pH is now 7.2? Also should I be concerned that my water hardness is that high? The fish don't seem too bothered by it. I've used store bought water for my triops setups before since they won't hatch in mine, but I'd like to avoid the plastic waste as much as possible. Plus I don't want to stress the fish by changing the water source suddenly. Unfortunately an RO system is unavailable to me at this time.

I know I don't have chlorine, but I use the water conditioner cuz we have copper pipes, and although I'm not getting a copper reading from my tap, I don't trust it with my snail.
 

musserump09

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Test strips are unfortunately notorious for bening inaccurate. With that being said. How long have you had these fish? Problems?
 
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Dhrogara

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The first two rasboras I got roughly 3 weeks ago. The betta, my most recent addition, was about 6 days ago.

I bought the API test kit since it's more accurate, but I've been trying to use up my strips first. I will do a full reading with the API kit tonight though, just to see how it compares.

As for problems, my smallest rasbora was swimming with a tilt and sticking to the corner after I accidentally overfed it (spilled the flakes into the tank ) about two days after getting the betta. I ran a full water test and that's when I realized I had ammonia in my water (about 1ppm at that point). I thought constipation might also be the problem so I skipped feeding the next day and she's been better since then. She's shoaling and swimming back on the vertical mark again. I did daily partial water changes (-40%) for the next three days until the ammonia came down to where it is now. I'm concerned about the ammonia though since the rasboras' gills look pinker than they should be, but they are swimming fine, shoaling fine, breathing fine, eating fine from what I can tell. I just want it to clear up soon, though. But obviously that won't happen if I'm accidentally adding it into the tank every time I do a partial water change.

I did have two ghost shrimp in the tank when I got my first rasbora, but neither one survived more than a week
 

musserump09

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So everyone is new. Since you are using tap water treated with a water conditioner there is no need to add a buffer. Buffers are made for water sources lacking minerals to bring the nutrients back needed to hold certain pH.

Ammonia is constantly being produced and from my experience using a conditioner like seachem prime will save you from small problems. 1.0ppm ammonia would never build up since prime is concentrated to help convert instantly into non-toxic forms ready for your bacteria to feed off.

This conditioner also allows you to dose your tank directly before you add untreated tap water. No more filling up buckets and waiting days. This can be done in less then hour depending on how much maintenance is required.

So in conclusion haha... buy prime. Dose tank directly as soon as you get it. Then once a week resume your water change schedule using prime to treat tank. I does my tank 29gal. 3ml prime once a week at water change and never had issues.
 
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