Thanks, that kit does look like what I want. It's not as easy/convienient as the API test but will keep us better apprised of the free ammonia and help us track down & eliminate any causes that come up.Luniyn said:The Ammonia one out of the 2 will do it. Seachem is the only company that I have seen that does it. Here is the info from their site. It seems it has both test kits included so it can do just NH3 and both NH3/NH4+, but it's the only way I see it sold.
If you've ever added Prime, AmmoLock, Amquel, etc. to a tank to detoxify existing high levels of ammonia the Seachem test does come in handy. Unlike free ammonia, that bound ammonia formed by Prime, etc. can take weeks to be converted by bacteria. It really confused me on the last tank I cycled - I added AmmoLock & Prime to tie up 2-3ppm ammonia & save my cycling fish, and after a while I still had 2-3 ppm ammonia in the API test, but no nitrites and 40ppm nitrates. When I got the Seachem test it showed 0 free ammonia, and I knew the tank had cycled.Luniyn said:No problem. By the way, don't bother with Seachem's in tank monitor card thingy. I saw one at my local pet store and gave it a try. I think it might have been out in the store light too long as it never changed. And I know I have ammonia in my tank as it's still in the beginning of the cycle process. Besides the API master kit has never failed me for testing yet, and I use Seachem's Prime in my water which gets rid of the free ammonia before I even add the water to my tank anyway. So I didn't find much use for it.
In everything that I have read, this is not true. In fact unless you are forcing all of the NH3 (free ammonia) to become NH4+ (ionized ammonia), most of the ammonia in your tank is already NH4+. The difference is only that NH3 is a dissolved gaseous form that can easily pass through the fishes gills getting into it's system. The NH4+, however, can not exist as a gas and so it can't get into their systems and is thus considered to be non-toxic. Although at high concentrations NH4+ can burn the fish like acid, so it's still not good to have a lot in your tank.Terry said:If you've ever added Prime, AmmoLock, Amquel, etc. to a tank to detoxify existing high levels of ammonia the Seachem test does come in handy. Unlike free ammonia, that bound ammonia formed by Prime, etc. can take weeks to be converted by bacteria.
Actually it's not as rare as you might think. Chloramine is simply chlorine mixed with ammonia, so if your tap water has chloramines in it then you have ammonia in your tap water. In fact if you only use AquaSafe, NovAqua+, or other products that only remove chlorine, then you will notice they say that they break down chloramines. They do not get rid of chloramines, they only break apart the bond of the chlorine and ammonia. Then they remove the chlorine but leave.... ammonia. So if you have chloramines in your tap water (which more and more cities are switching over to using over plain chlorine every day) then by using anything but Amquel+ or Prime (or other related products) you are only adding more ammonia to your water with each water change.Terry said:But, it's rare to get ammonia in tap water - do you really have ammonia in your tap water?
I don't think anyone really has all the answers as to what's going on! I guess they just know some things work. I always wondered about the claI'm on prime that it can detoxify nitrites by adding an overdose of Prime (5 times as much dosage I think?). How does it do that? I guess SeaChem doesn't even know. I just hate adding a lot of things to the tank if I don't know what they're doing (or possible side effects). If I can find that recent info. on the chloramines I'll post it in here.Luniyn said:I'm not sure even Seachem knows how it works... lol. If you look at their , at the bottom it says that they didn't even know that Prime would detoxify nitrite and nitrates. It was only after getting tons of reports from users that they found out that it does. However, it's my understanding that it binds it as a by-product that is equally digestible by the bacteria. The one thing that I did find was about the original Amquel (not the plus version) and how it got rid of the ammonia. They aren't talking about the Plus version as it's not patented yet, but they say it works in much of the same way.
As for the chloramines, yes it is a compound of ammonia and chlorine, however, just like chlorine (though at a much slower rate) it will eventually remove itself from water. During this process it's possible for the compound to become unstable and allow the chlorine to burn off while the ammonia remains. This will result in a positive ammonia test right out of the tap. Also due to all of the other chemicals that are in our "fresh" water supply, just like using Amquel+ or Prime, it is possible that certain chemicals are combining to break the chloramine bond and the result is free ammonia out of the tap. Messed up I know, but definitely a reason to get bottled water!
Yep... well at least they can here in the US, not sure if they have restrictions in other parts of the world. And yes as you said they use chloramine because it's more stable, in other words it won't just go away if you leave a bucket out for 24 hour like chlorine will. It will eventually degrade though and that is why you can find ammonia in your tap water, because the bond between the chlorine and ammonia broke up. Either naturally or because of the introduction of another chemical that was more attractive to one the chlorine part of the compound. So it split apart to join that other chemical leaving the ammonia all by itself. The best way to find out if you have it in your tap is to test for ammonia right out of your tap. If you get a positive reading then you have something contributing to it.tan.b said:...how do you know when you start getting chloramine in your tap water?...can they just change over one day and not tell us?
I found very little info about aqua plus other then it says it gets rid of chlorine and chloramines. The only question I have about that is how? They don't mention getting rid of ammonia, so how do they "get rid of chloramines" without dealing with the ammonia? They may simply be breaking the bond of chloramine which makes it chlorine and ammonia separate. Yes that is in fact "getting rid of the chloramines" but then it will only deal with the chlorine and not touch the ammonia. I'm not saying that it's not working as they state, it's just that I'm leery about their wording. Also it says it has a "sedative effect" to help against stress, that also bothers me a bit as it sounds like they are drugging the fish. I'm not sure if Prime or Amquel+ is available in the UK, but I have heard of another called "Safe Guard" from a company called King British, that does mention getting rid of the ammonia after breaking up the chloramines. Not saying go out and buy it, but just voicing a concern. If the bottle you have says something different then the very little I could find on the web then that is a different story.tan.b said:I use "nutrafin aqua plus" which tackles both so its no major concern.
LOL... and that's the bottom line of this entire thread! ;DTerry said:While the practice is sound, I still feel better about putting 10 cents of conditioner in with my water changes... it is so cheap I figure I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I wouldn't count on the rain water as a good source of bacteria - at least not the kind we want. In that quote I posted I think the gentleman was guessing on that one. Since bacteria are everywhere in the air, no doubt some land on a rain drop, but I have my doubts they're the type of nitrifying bacteria we want in our tanks. There was also a heated discussion in that thread (which I got involved in LOL) where someone said it would be good to throw soil in the tank as soil has a ton of nitrifying bacteria. I have no doubt it does, but again - it's not the kind we want. If it was that easy there would be no need for products like Bio-Spira, Bio Zyme, etc. Based on the above quoted information, tap water may be the best source of the bacteria we want, but very few get through the water treatment plants, and they multilpy very slowly. Anyway, I'm WAY off topic now!tan.b said:WOW!!! glad I didnt ask on that forum!!! very informative though! ;D
well, as you guys said, for the sake of a few pence, and my piece of mind, I'll keep adding my de-chlorinator too!! dare I even ask whether rainwater is suitable as that should have loads of bacteria and no chlorine? does it carry pathogenic bacteria though?