My tap water has ammonia in it, how do I deal with this?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Akeath, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. AkeathValued MemberMember

    Well, my tap water suddenly has about 1 ppm ammonia in it, I called the water company about it they said they are now using chloramine, and that leaves the ammonia in the water as a side-effect. :;fru Didn't even warn me... RIP Panda Cories.
    Obviously, I can't use this water as is for water changes. I have 3 aquariums, a 75 gallon, 10 gallon, and 5 gallon.

    So, my question is, how do I get rid of this ammonia so I can do water changes? Is there a product I can use that will get rid of it, or a filter for the sink, or would I have to buy an RO unit? I don't want to buy the water at a store by the gallon just because I use so many gallons of water, I need about 30 gallons of fresh water a week to do partial water changes on all of my tanks.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    What dechlorinator are you using? Seachem's Prime will take care of your chloramine. My local water also contains chloramine and with Prime, I have no issues.

  3. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Prime is a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia for 24 hours. If you treat your tank water with it as you are adding it, then your cycled tank should be able to process the ammonio within the 24 hours the Prime is keeping your tank safe, in my opinion. Made by Seachem.

    edit: lol, ninja'ed by harpua.

  4. CHoffmanFishlore VIPMember

    A cheap and simple solution would be to use Prime and as water conditioner. It detoxifies ammonia and makes it safe for 24 hours. If your tank is cycled it should be able to, pretty quickly, remove the ammonia, transfer into nitrite and then to nitrate so really it's not to bad of a deal. I would do a w/c using prime then check after 24 hours to see if there is any ammonia in the tank just to make sure. IT stinks that it's there in the first place but I think that a cycled tank should be able to handle the load. IF it can't right at first it will eventually. You just need to be able to add Prime.

  5. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Lol, 3 identical opinions... I guess you should try Prime. ;)
  6. AkeathValued MemberMember

    Thank you for the quick replies, everyone.
    I went up and got the Prime, I'll try it tomorrow, which is when I am scheduled for a water change anyway. My tanks have all gone through fishless cycles and been running for quite a while, so they have nice strong biological filters. It sounds like this will work fine, and its a much cheaper and simpler solution than I was expecting, too.
    Thanks again!
  7. CHoffmanFishlore VIPMember

    Awesome!!. It's always good to find out it won't be as expensive as you Hope all goes well for you. :D
  8. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Akeath. Some great responses above. Something else you may want to consider if you haven't done it already. You can always add more bio media to your filter or even hide it somewhere in your tank. The more surface area you have in the tank the better off your tank will be. I have all of my filters stuffed full and I also have sponges hidden with in the tank.
    Best of luck and keep us posted.
    Tip...wait 24 hours after adding Prime to test for ammonia.
  9. lorabellWell Known MemberMember

    I had to add my:;2cents......when I first started...I found the same MADE my water company come to MY house and do an entire test.....for ALL CHEMICALS....seems funny now...but I was in a major panic...not even for ourselves..but for my houseful of animals...I was panicked because of my tanks and my exotic birds...all is well...and with the use of Prime...I have never had an issue.....just thought I'd share
  10. btate617Well Known MemberMember

    Like everyone said Prime will fix your problems.

    A good reminder for everyone, lots of water companies are switching to chloramine (which they don't make a big deal about it, however if you dig they will tell you in a very small corner of your local news paper) and many water conditioners will do nothing against it.

  11. susankpNew Member

    chloramine problem child

    Hi, I've been following the thread of discussion on chloramine in the water. I used to have both fresh water and salt water tanks so I understand the delicate balance and the high level of enjoyment of fish. I just wanted to pop in and tell you something more about chloramine. We have been studying chloramine for the past 2 and 1/2 years and fighting to keep it out of our drinking water. It creates byproducts that are highly toxic to humans.

    I am not sure at this point whether filtering the monochloramine out of the water protects animals and fish from the deadly byproducts including NDMA and hydrazine to name just two.

    However, you should be concerned for your own health as well. Choramine leaches lead from pipes, literally 'eats' ribber and elastomer fittings, and does not dissipate or boil our of water. A number of massive fish kills have been reported in the US and Canada as a result of main breaks in chloraminated areas. One killled everything down to the earthworm, one killed protected steelhead trout and another in Canada killed thousands of species of salmonids and invertibrates.

    Enjoy your beautiful fish.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010
  12. CandymancanValued MemberMember

    I need to bring this thred back to life. I have the same problem, my tank is cycled completetly 0.00 ammonia and nitrite's but my nitrates are 120. My tap water also has 1.0ppm ammonia in it cause of the chloramine.

    Im doing water changes everyday but im concerned that doing these water changes to remove my nitrates isj ust adding more nitrates back in the water by the ammonia. Ammonia turns into nitrites then nitrates.. So im not solving this problem at all..

    I dont know what to do because there is no way im using bottled water it will be to expensive. Prime doesnt solve this problem either, cause i need to remove the nitrates not "detoxify" ammonia and chloramine.
  13. TanaValued MemberMember

    Has anyone used or heard of Ultimate? I use it for my pond and it is also for use in aquariums, fresh or salt.


    CHLORAMINES: These substances are formed from the reaction
    between chlorine (or hypochlorite) and ammonia or ammonium compounds
    in water. There are three substances which can be called
    chloramines. These are (1) monochloramine, NH2Cl, (2) dichloramine,
    NHCl2, and (3) trichloramine, or nitrogen trichloride, NCl3. The formation
    of these compounds are relatively easy to understand if one looks at the
    ammonia molecule, NH3, which consists of a central nitrogen atom, N,
    with three hydrogen atoms, H, attached. Any or all three of the
    hydrogens can be removed in a chemical reaction and each can be
    replaced by a chlorine atom, Cl.
    In water treatment the first such compound, monochloramine, is the
    most desirable due to its stability in solution and its ability to kill viruses,
    bacteria and other microorganisms. In actual practice, there is
    always a small percentage of the total chloramine content present
    as dichloramine, but never any trichloramine. The trichloramine is
    very unstable and rapidly decomposes to free nitrogen and chlorine
    (that's why one should never mix bleach and household ammonia (or
    ammonia-containing cleaners)).
    When dechlorinated with ordinary dechlorinators the chloramines
    release the bound ammonia into the water. In addition, the chloramines
    are resistant to dissipation, even when the water is strongly aerated.
    The removal, or destruction, of chloramines is called "dechloramination".
    There is only one substance which not only dechloraminates water, but
    is also stable in solution and nontoxic. This substance is found in
    ULTIMATE® and is protected by US and foreign patents.

    I don't know how accurate or true this is, just throwing it out there to see if anyone else knows of it and whether or not it would work properly.
  14. StatholNew MemberMember

    Actually, the ammonia in the water is probably a side-effect of the dechlorination process. Remember that chloramine is formed from the reaction of chlorides and ammonia. I'm not sure what's in Prime, but the most common dechlorinator is sodium thiosulfate (pentahydrate). It gets rid of the chlorine in chloramine by binding it into harmless salt. But the other half is inevitably ammonium hydroxide.

    The exact reaction with chloramine in water is (someone check my stoichiometry, here):

    Na2S2O3 +5H2O + 2NH2Cl -> 2NaCl + 2NH4OH + S + 2SO2 + 2H2O


    sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate + chloramine -> sodium chloride (salt) + ammonium hydroxide + sulfur + sulfur dioxide + water

    In other words, when you dechlorinate chloramine, you get several harmless things (salt, sulfur, and sulfur dioxide), but you also get some ammonia in NH4 form.

    There's really not much you can do about this except to get rid of the ammonia by the usual methods (or use something that will render it less toxic).

    As for the issue Candymancan raises:

    The conversion of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate is effectively a 1:1:1 process. That is, one "part" of ammonia is converted to one part of nitrite, and then to one part of nitrate. So let's say that you have a 10 gallon tank with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 20 nitrate. If you remove half of the water and replace it with your tap which has 1 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 2 nitrate (just for the sake of argument), then the final concentrations will be:

    0.5 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 11ppm nitrate

    This will eventually get converted into:

    0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 11.5ppm nitrate

    That's still better than where you started. In other words, as long your water changes are removing more nitrate than than they add ammonia, you'll come out on top. This should be the case unless you're keeping your tank's nitrate levels extremely low (like, <1ppm).
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010

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