Is Ammonia in my tap water causing fin rot?

devsi

I’ve been going through fin rot with my fish for the last few weeks. My male Betta is still pretty bad, even after salt baths, medicating and more frequent water changes.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out the cause. We did start cultivating Daphnia, and thought it was maybe the yeast. But it has been weeks and still no improvement.

So, I did the usual routine of getting a container of water, treating with Seachem Prime and leaving for 12-24 hours (depending on if I’m doing the change the same night or the night after) with a heater.

Before changing his water, I tested the incoming water and got the following:

Ph - 7.6 (same as tank water)
Ammonia - 0.5ppm (tank water is 0ppm)
Nitrite - 0ppm (same as tank water)
Nitrate - 5ppm (same as tank water)

As the tank is only 25L and I was changing ~40%, I’m thinking it’s the Ammonia that might be doing it, because it’ll be shocking him going from 0ppm to something higher (whatever 0.5ppm diluted in the rest of the water would be) all of a sudden.

Does that theory track? Do I need to do lower water changes (~10-15%) with this in mind?

Thanks!
 

Fishstery

I’ve been going through fin rot with my fish for the last few weeks. My male Betta is still pretty bad, even after salt baths, medicating and more frequent water changes.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out the cause. We did start cultivating Daphnia, and thought it was maybe the yeast. But it has been weeks and still no improvement.

So, I did the usual routine of getting a container of water, treating with Seachem Prime and leaving for 12-24 hours (depending on if I’m doing the change the same night or the night after) with a heater.

Before changing his water, I tested the incoming water and got the following:

Ph - 7.6 (same as tank water)
Ammonia - 0.5ppm (tank water is 0ppm)
Nitrite - 0ppm (same as tank water)
Nitrate - 5ppm (same as tank water)

As the tank is only 25L and I was changing ~40%, I’m thinking it’s the Ammonia that might be doing it, because it’ll be shocking him going from 0ppm to something higher (whatever 0.5ppm diluted in the rest of the water would be) all of a sudden.

Does that theory track? Do I need to do lower water changes (~10-15%) with this in mind?

Thanks!
It is completely fine to age your new water for 24 hours given you use a heater to get it up to temp like you said, however with using seachem prime this is not necessary as it works immediately. You can even dump the tap water in first and immediately add prime to the tank itself with no issues (although I err on the side of caution and like many people don't do it this way). I just add a bit of prime to my gallon jugs and then fill with tap water so the prime gets nice and mixed in there and use the water right away. Again the way you are doing it doesn't hurt anything, but isn't really necessary. As for the ammonia, it would be better to do multiple smaller water changes than one larger one with ammonia present in the tap. I would also double dose prime for any incoming tap water from now on because the ammonia is present. While prime doesn't actually remove ammonia, it does bind it into a less toxic form making it less harmful to fish. That doesn't mean it still isn't toxic so take that with a grain of salt. Alternatively you can use distilled or RO water for water changes from now on if available to you, or consider buying a faucet filter to dechlorinate and remove toxins instead although will have an operating cost for replacement filters in the long run.

It's a definite possibility that Ammonia present could be causing his finrot, or at the very least prevent it from healing well. Are you using test strips?
 

devsi

It is completely fine to age your new water for 24 hours given you use a heater to get it up to temp like you said, however with using seachem prime this is not necessary as it works immediately.
Oh ok! I thought aging for 24 hours was good as it allows the chlorine and other nastiness to evaporate?

That's good to know though, thanks! I'd have to use quite a few kettles to get the temp right, as I can only use a cold water tap (whole house is hooked up to a water softener and I have to use an outside tap), so leaving it might actually be less effort :)
You can even dump the tap water in first and immediately add prime to the tank itself with no issues (although I err on the side of caution and like many people don't do it this way).
This is what I used to do when I was dealing with multiple small buckets. I got myself a dustbin so I could stop :)
As for the ammonia, it would be better to do multiple smaller water changes than one larger one with ammonia present in the tap.
Thanks for confirming!
I would also double dose prime for any incoming tap water from now on because the ammonia is present.
Is it safe to double the dosage? I assumed it would do harm if I added more than the bottle says?
While prime doesn't actually remove ammonia, it does bind it into a less toxic form making it less harmful to fish. That doesn't mean it still isn't toxic so take that with a grain of salt.
Makes sense! Thanks!
Alternatively you can use distilled or RO water for water changes from now on if available to you, or consider buying a faucet filter to dechlorinate and remove toxins instead although will have an operating cost for replacement filters in the long run.
I'll have a look into it, but I'll more than likely do the smaller water changes method :)
It's a definite possibility that Ammonia present could be causing his finrot, or at the very least prevent it from healing well. Are you using test strips?
Thanks for confirming! I'm using the API Master Test Kit, as I heard right the test strips aren't as accurate.

Appreciate the reply/help :)
 

Fishstery

Oh ok! I thought aging for 24 hours was good as it allows the chlorine and other nastiness to evaporate?

That's good to know though, thanks! I'd have to use quite a few kettles to get the temp right, as I can only use a cold water tap (whole house is hooked up to a water softener and I have to use an outside tap), so leaving it might actually be less effort :)

This is what I used to do when I was dealing with multiple small buckets. I got myself a dustbin so I could stop :)

Thanks for confirming!

Is it safe to double the dosage? I assumed it would do harm if I added more than the bottle says?

Makes sense! Thanks!

I'll have a look into it, but I'll more than likely do the smaller water changes method :)

Thanks for confirming! I'm using the API Master Test Kit, as I heard right the test strips aren't as accurate.

Appreciate the reply/help :)
Aging water does in fact remove the chlorine, which back in the old days was how people "treated" their water before water conditioners like prime were common. But prime removes the chlorine so you could do one or the other and achieve the same result. So letting the water sit when you have already dosed it with prime doesn't do anything extra as the chlorine is already removed.

It is virtually impossible to overdose prime. On seachems website they have a FAQ forum where they have a chart posted on how many times to overdose in emergency situations based on how many ppm of ammonia is present in the water. They recommended up to 4x 6x 8x etc overdosing when ammonia levels are really high. So it is confirmed by seachem that overdosing prime has no adverse affects. I don't measure the prime when I treat my water change water, so I'm probably 3x or 4x dosing it per gallon. I've done this for years with no problem! Many people on here overdose prime when dealing with ammonia and nitrite spikes when fish are present. I usually double dose or more anyways because there's no way of me knowing exactly how much chlorine or chloramine is in my tap at any given time of the year (like sometimes the water authority flushes the lines which leads to more potent chlorine being used)

You are right that test strips can be inaccurate so we can trust that your ammonia readings are correct. I would definitely just start doing smaller more frequent water changes and double dose new incoming water with prime.
 

Flyfisha

Hi all,
A little information that is just to try and help everyone .

Yes it’s often written on line that any ammonia is toxic. And yes a cycled tank has no ( almost no ) ammonia but.

This chart has been mentioned before by me and many older wiser members have said the numbers are a little conservative . The true safe level of ammonia for a given PH and given temperature may be slightly higher than this chart.

In short devsi at 26 degrees with a PH of 7.6 the ammonia you are measuring is harmless ammonium.
Only if the temperature changes or the PH changes do you need to be concerned.


2DCB4A1B-02F6-46E4-BDC9-06E16D375F4D.png
 

leftswerve

Word of caution, Prime detoxifies ammonia for 24hrs, after that it is ammonia again. If you add it to water that is aging for 24hr, then the use of prime is null for the ammonia detox properties.

IMO your problem is not enough/or larger water changes.
 

Fishstery

Word of caution, Prime detoxifies ammonia for 24hrs, after that it is ammonia again. If you add it to water that is aging for 24hr, then the use of prime is null for the ammonia detox properties.

IMO your problem is not enough/or larger water changes.
Oh yeah that is actually a very good point brought up. I didn't consider in that factor because I don't age my water. I would imagine depending on how long this tank is set up, their bacteria colony will eventually adjust to be able to consume the additional ammonia during the water changes given they are kept more frequent than once a week and smaller in volume, however in your case OP I would add prime in directly before dumping the water into your tank if you are still going to let it sit for 24 hours. 24 hours of letting tap sit will evaporate the chlorine on its own but not the ammonia. So just make your new water like usual but add prime right before you are ready to use the new water. I would wait 24 hours after the water change and test your ammonia and let is know what you have. If your bacteria can manage to consume the extra ammonia in that time then you will be okay with using your tap.
Hi all,
A little information that is just to try and help everyone .

Yes it’s often written on line that any ammonia is toxic. And yes a cycled tank has no ( almost no ) ammonia but.

This chart has been mentioned before by me and many older wiser members have said the numbers are a little conservative . The true safe level of ammonia for a given PH and given temperature may be slightly higher than this chart.

In short devsi at 26 degrees with a PH of 7.6 the ammonia you are measuring is harmless ammonium.
Only if the temperature changes or the PH changes do you need to be concerned.


2DCB4A1B-02F6-46E4-BDC9-06E16D375F4D.png
Interesting thought I have not yet heard of anyone suggesting this on the forums I'm apart of. I assume these are just roundabout numbers? Because there's not a really good way to calculate in for a certain sensitivity of a species. Certain fish are more sensitive to ammonia and also inverts as well. So I would think that this notion should be taken with a grain of salt, and would differ on a case by case basis perhaps?

Are you insinuating that at a certain ppm, pH and temperature combination, ammonia is no longer toxic?
 

devsi

Aging water does in fact remove the chlorine, which back in the old days was how people "treated" their water before water conditioners like prime were common.
Ah ok, that's interesting, thanks!
But prime removes the chlorine so you could do one or the other and achieve the same result. So letting the water sit when you have already dosed it with prime doesn't do anything extra as the chlorine is already removed.
Oh I see! Now just to find an easy way to heat the water and I can streamline even more of the process :D
It is virtually impossible to overdose prime. On seachems website they have a FAQ forum where they have a chart posted on how many times to overdose in emergency situations based on how many ppm of ammonia is present in the water.
They recommended up to 4x 6x 8x etc overdosing when ammonia levels are really high. So it is confirmed by seachem that overdosing prime has no adverse affects. I don't measure the prime when I treat my water change water, so I'm probably 3x or 4x dosing it per gallon. I've done this for years with no problem! Many people on here overdose prime when dealing with ammonia and nitrite spikes when fish are present. I usually double dose or more anyways because there's no way of me knowing exactly how much chlorine or chloramine is in my tap at any given time of the year (like sometimes the water authority flushes the lines which leads to more potent chlorine being used)
Do you have a link to that chart please? I found https://seachem.zendesk.com/hc/en-u...-5-x-the-recommended-amount-of-Seachem-Prime- but the one you're referencing sounds a lot more comprehensive.

You are right that test strips can be inaccurate so we can trust that your ammonia readings are correct. I would definitely just start doing smaller more frequent water changes and double dose new incoming water with prime.
Got it. Thanks!
In short devsi at 26 degrees with a PH of 7.6 the ammonia you are measuring is harmless ammonium.
Only if the temperature changes or the PH changes do you need to be concerned.
Interesting! Do you have the source for this by chance? I'd like to read more on the topic.
Word of caution, Prime detoxifies ammonia for 24hrs, after that it is ammonia again. If you add it to water that is aging for 24hr, then the use of prime is null for the ammonia detox properties.
Oh! So that could very well be it as well! Thanks!
however in your case OP I would add prime in directly before dumping the water into your tank if you are still going to let it sit for 24 hours. 24 hours of letting tap sit will evaporate the chlorine on its own but not the ammonia. So just make your new water like usual but add prime right before you are ready to use the new water.
It doesn't sound like, other than the heating element, there's no good reason to even let it sit for 24 hours if I'm using Seachem Prime?
 

Fishstery

Ah ok, that's interesting, thanks!

Oh I see! Now just to find an easy way to heat the water and I can streamline even more of the process :D


Do you have a link to that chart please? I found https://seachem.zendesk.com/hc/en-u...-5-x-the-recommended-amount-of-Seachem-Prime- but the one you're referencing sounds a lot more comprehensive.


Got it. Thanks!

Interesting! Do you have the source for this by chance? I'd like to read more on the topic.

Oh! So that could very well be it as well! Thanks!

It doesn't sound like, other than the heating element, there's no good reason to even let it sit for 24 hours if I'm using Seachem Prime?
Nope no reason to unless it is easier for you to get a proper temperature match which kudos to you for doing, because not everyone understands that temp matching new water is important for your fish!
 

devsi

Nope no reason to unless it is easier for you to get a proper temperature match
I suppose easier is subjective to how I look at it :)

I can only water change one of my tanks at a time at the moment, because I only have one "spare" heater that I can leave in the dustbin for a good few hours to make sure it's the right temperature. That's without taking into consideration that I have to put the dustbin onto a dolly and then wheel it into my garage so it can sit with the heater in :D

Getting the temperature up with kettles may be more "effort", but it'll certainly be quicker in terms of time and less moving parts haha.

which kudos to you for doing, because not everyone understands that temp matching new water is important for your fish!

It wasn't something I knew about when I first started keeping fish (a few months ago), as my LFS just told me to put the water directly from my outside tap -> tank during a water change.

Thankfully that has been corrected :)
 

Fishstery

I suppose easier is subjective to how I look at it :)

I can only water change one of my tanks at a time at the moment, because I only have one "spare" heater that I can leave in the dustbin for a good few hours to make sure it's the right temperature. That's without taking into consideration that I have to put the dustbin onto a dolly and then wheel it into my garage so it can sit with the heater in :D

Getting the temperature up with kettles may be more "effort", but it'll certainly be quicker in terms of time and less moving parts haha.



It wasn't something I knew about when I first started keeping fish (a few months ago), as my LFS just told me to put the water directly from my outside tap -> tank during a water change.

Thankfully that has been corrected :)
Ah yes, the lovely LFS advice. Even at my LFS where I have a very good years long relationship with most of the employees, occasionally i hear them give advice to another customer that makes me pause for a second. I'm not an argumentative person and tend to just mind my business so I do not try to correct anyone especially since those guys have definitely been keeping fish longer than I have. Nonetheless a lot of advice i hear from fish store employees (or even worse from big box store employees) is quite questionable. Joining fishlore years ago is what taught me most of what I know today and also some bad trial and error on my part. Keep up with the forum and you will always be learning new stuff from fellow hobbyists :)
 

devsi

Ah yes, the lovely LFS advice. Even at my LFS where I have a very good years long relationship with most of the employees, occasionally i hear them give advice to another customer that makes me pause for a second.
We've got some truly terrible advice from our LFS. Thankfully Fishlore has helped me a lot in improving my knowledge enough to know when to ignore them.

mattgirl has helped me a tremendous amount.
I'm not an argumentative person and tend to just mind my business so I do not try to correct anyone especially since those guys have definitely been keeping fish longer than I have.
One thing I have learnt is keeping fish longer doesn't necessarily equate to equal knowledge. LFS employees around here don't seem to actually get any training.
Joining fishlore years ago is what taught me most of what I know today and also some bad trial and error on my part. Keep up with the forum and you will always be learning new stuff from fellow hobbyists
I'm usually here every day haha, I try and help others when I can.
 

Flyfisha

I don’t have the source for that information sorry.
It should be reasonably easy to find?
The results of one search.

Google Scholar

I am not going down that rabbit hole at 3.03 am Australian time .
 

devsi

I don’t have the source for that information sorry.
No worries :)
It should be reasonably easy to find?
Yep! I was just going to start with your source, if known.
I am not going down that rabbit hole at 3.03 am Australian time .
Haha surprised you're still awake!
 

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