Help needed please!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by shrimp, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. shrimpValued MemberMember

    So today I went out and bought a test kit for my freshwater aquarium. I get the 10 gallon aquarium on Saturday 11/17/12 and let it just run with nothing in it until Wednesday 11/21/12 when I got 4 Zebra Danios to help cycle the tank. So today I tested the water pre and post a 10% water change. Heres my results

    pH pre : 7.2 - 7.6 ppm
    pH post : 7.6 ppm
    Ammonia pre: .50 - 1.0 ppm
    Ammonia post: .25 - .50 ppm
    Nitrate: 0 - 5.0 ppm
    Nitrite: .25 - .50 ppm

    So I'm going to take a huge guess and say the tank isn't cycled yet due to the high levels of Ammonia. I plan on reducing feeding and doing water changes every other day! How does this sound?
  2. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Daily or every other day waters are a good idea.

    Be patient.
    Cycling can take 6-8 weeks.

    It's odd that you're getting a nitrate reading already or even a nitrIte reading.

    What water conditioner are you using and what test kit did you get?
  3. shrimpValued MemberMember

    The conditioner is Prime for freshwater and salt water, and the test kit is API freshwater master test kit.
  4. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Yeah....after a week with fish the nitrite and nitrate results don't make sense to me.

    No sense in testing ammonia right after a water change when you use Prime. Wait 24 hours for a truer reading.

    Have you tested the tap water?
    Are you using any other additives?
  5. shrimpValued MemberMember

    The only reason I checked the ammonia after the water change with the Prime is to make sure the levels dropped so it was a bit safer for the fish. I did test the tap water and no nitrites or nitrates were found in it.
  6. geminichick_90Valued MemberMember

    my guess is that your water source has both nitrites and nitrates in it. Mine has very high nitrites and low nitrates
  7. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Maybe someone else will have some ideas then.
    I'm far from an expert on water chemistry.

    Best advice I can give is be patient and keep up with the water changes.

    You've got a ways to go. :)
  8. shrimpValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much, but I want to just make sure that the water chemistry results I got are safe for the fish?
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    There is an incompatability between Prime and the API liquid based ammonia test kit. If you test your water within 24 hours of having added Prime it will read positive for ammonia no matter what.

    I would recommend testing your tap water to see if it contains any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. If your water reads all 0's, then I suspect something has gone wrong with your testing. It usually takes about three weeks for ammonia to start being converted into nitrite, and then an additional three weeks for the nitrite to be converted to nitrate. So unless you used a bacteria additive like "Cycle", you should be reading 0ppm nitrite and 0ppm nitrate (assuming your tap water has 0ppm nitrite and nitrate).

    The only water chemistry results that are safe for the fish are 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrites along with moderate nitrates (ideally under 20ppm but definitly under 40ppm)
  10. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I was under the impression that Prime only gives a false positive in that the liquid salicylate api ammonia test reads Total Ammonia Nitrogen and doesn't differentiate between free and bound ammonia. Since Prime essentially converts free ammonia nh3 to ammonium nh+4 you'll get a false positive in that the ammonia is still there, just in a less toxic form temporarily.
  11. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, that's how I understand it as well.

    Even if there is no actual ammonia in the new water, there are likely chloramines, which are broken down to chlorine and ammonia by the water there will still be ammonia.

    That's the difference between the regular test kit and the mardel ammonia reader (the in tank thing). The in tank one only measures NH3, which is why the scale is so much smaller than the regular test kit.
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I use Amquel+ which like Prime detoxes ammonia. Here is a snippet from their instruction sheet:

    Compatibility of AmQuel Plus with water test kits: since a significant number of water test kits for aquarium and pond keeping are inaccurate, this is an important issue for those trying to make water tests.

    AmQuel Plus is compatible to use with those water quality test kits on the market that are fully effective (see note below), except for the ammonia test kits that use Nessler reagents that read in shades of amber or yellow, and the oxygen test kits that use Winkler reagents. Residual AmQuel Plus and its reaction products are incompatible with the Nessler and Winkler type reagents, resulting in false, high ammonia and low oxygen concentration readings.

    Ammonia test kits using Salicylate-type reagents (reading on a colorimetric scale from yellow to green to blue green) are appropriate for accurate test results.
  13. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I don't think anyone uses Nessler type kits anymore, at least not en masse. The API kit which is the standard now is a salicylate-type, so the incompatibility issue doesn't apply to it.
  14. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hey jetajockey, welcome back.

    I wondered about that.
    There was another thread recently that we touched on this.

    According to seachem silica based test kits are not compatible with prime.
    API is salicylate based.
    I looked up the two and found them to be different.
    Then I got a headache (all that chemistry stuff does that to me lol) and stopped reading. :p

    That doesn't change the fact that after using Prime (or anything that binds ammonia) you should wait 24 hours to test.

    I didn't understand most of this but it was interesting anyway:


    From the seachem website linked above:

    It's confusing!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012