How Do Bacteria Handle A Once Per Week Ammonia Boom?

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Mom2some

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So due to our city system using chloramines, my tap water current has 4.0 ammonia in it (as of testing last week). My tank has been stuck at 0.25 ammonia for a couple of weeks, which is what lead me to re-rest my tap water (it has been 1.o ammonia this summer). Now, today the tank is finally testing a clear "0 = no ammonia" again.

Leading me to my question... it is my understanding that the beneficial bacteria multiply or die in relation to the quantity of ammonia in the tank (the bioload). Well, once per week my tank gets a HUGE jolt of ammonia... but my tank seems to handle it in about 48 hours (24 hours when the ammonia levels are less). Do we think the bacteria multiplies and then dies back each week, or does it just sit dormant? Just curious, I don't know that the answer should change my fish keeping.

I think ideally I would do two smaller water changes to decrease the jolt of ammonia, but that isn't possible right now (and I think that mathematically ends up changing less water over all). Once per week is what I can manage, so I tend to do 50% (I was doing 70%, but then cut back when I noticed the ammonia seeming residual in the tank).

CindiL and others... your thoughts?
 

lifequitin

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If I were you I wouldn't rely on my filter bacteria during high loads of ammonia. Nitrification bacteria needs long time to multiply because of that reason we are waiting weeks sometimes months to establish a cycle. Keeping your PH less than 7.0 and having lots of nutrient hog plants like water wisteria can help. Lastly, some filter media like zeolite may adsorb ammonia.
 

TexasDomer

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While it may be 4 ppm out of the tap, when you're doing water changes, it should only be around 2 ppm in your tank, not 4 ppm, as you're diluting it by half (assuming a 50% water change; a 25% water change would add ammonia to the tank for a tank total of 1 ppm, if I can do my math correctly). It makes sense to me that the bacteria population size changes during the week, but since you're not really getting the tank to 4 ppm ammonia, I don't think it's a huge change (and I don't think you're adding a "jolt" of ammonia when you consider how it's diluted out).
 

iZaO Jnr

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Mom2some said:
So due to our city system using chloramines, my tap water current has 4.0 ammonia in it (as of testing last week). My tank has been stuck at 0.25 ammonia for a couple of weeks, which is what lead me to re-rest my tap water (it has been 1.o ammonia this summer). Now, today the tank is finally testing a clear "0 = no ammonia" again.

Leading me to my question... it is my understanding that the beneficial bacteria multiply or die in relation to the quantity of ammonia in the tank (the bioload). Well, once per week my tank gets a HUGE jolt of ammonia... but my tank seems to handle it in about 48 hours (24 hours when the ammonia levels are less). Do we think the bacteria multiplies and then dies back each week, or does it just sit dormant? Just curious, I don't know that the answer should change my fish keeping.

I think ideally I would do two smaller water changes to decrease the jolt of ammonia, but that isn't possible right now (and I think that mathematically ends up changing less water over all). Once per week is what I can manage, so I tend to do 50% (I was doing 70%, but then cut back when I noticed the ammonia seeming residual in the tank).

CindiL and others... your thoughts?
Many of the tanks I install for people with such water conditions, I often install a 'pre-filter' solution for them.

While high ammonia can be solved easily, introducing it in such quantity weekly will stress an entire ecosystem, not only your bacteria cultures.

Look up ways to do this... There are so many options (I can guide you through ideas should you like).

Otherwise, I'd recommend running smaller, more frequent changes... However, I'm really not a fan of these kind of ideas.
 
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