To Change Water Or Not? Help

  1. Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    Cycled tank. 34 gallons.

    Today Tank: Ammonia =0.25, nitrates =20-40. I have been testing ammonia between 0 & 0.25 for over a month with no clear cause, so I have been ignoring it.
    So planning to water change (early for my weekly change, but I have time) but tested my source water &
    Tap: ammonia =1.0, nitrates = 10. (10-20?).

    In the past when my source water has had ammonia (0-4.0 at times over past 2+ years) my tank has been able to process it successfully in 24-48 hours.

    Just wondering if a water change is worth it. This is a higher nitrate reading in the source water than normal, it usually is like 5.
     
  2. Fanatic

    Fanatic Fishlore VIP Member

    Personally, I always change my water if there's a trace of ammonia, it's how I feel.
    If you have a quick process of ammonia into nitrates, there should be a big deal.
    You can always do a small water change, and detoxify the ammonia with Prime.

    It really stinks to have ammonia in your tap.
     
  3. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    Could be many possibilities. My tap has Ammonia, they add it to kill bacteria. To make up for it I double dose my tap water. If your tank always reads, then the water you add needs to be zero to make any difference in your tank. Otherwise your water change isn't going to make much difference in that respect.
    As far as your tank, is it overstocked? Your bioload could be to much for your filtration. Not so much flow but actual places for your BB. I had that in one of my tanks a few yrs ago. Couldn't get the tank to fully cycle with fish (I know not good) I upgraded my canister and within 2 weeks, my tank was fully cycled.
    Ph can also effect readings.Again many possibilities.
     




  4. OP
    OP
    Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    Thank you for the responses - my first instinct is also “water changes are always good”, but given my tap parameters I am not sure that is the case today . My tank is fully cycled - or was. This is not the first time I have had low level ammonia for no clear reason for a couple of months. I do not believe it is overstocked (1 angel, 1BNP, 3 honey gourami, 5 brilliant rasboras, 6-7 Cory’s, 2 mystery snails, 3 nerite snails - weekly 50% water changes), but maybe time to clean the filter again. @TexasDomer any thoughts on to change or not with the current parameters?
     
  5. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    What they put in tap water can have a wide range. I'm in Mass and when the snow melts and all the runoff from the roads get cleared my tanks act up. I do water changes every 3/4 days on all my tanks but only 1 a month rinse my canisters. Cleaning your filters are really the last thing you want to do when your cycle is off. As long as your PH GH and KH are fine, I'd personally dose with prime or better yet Ammo lock.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    I guess upon reflection a better summary of my question is... nitrates are at 20-40 (which normally means water change), but a water change won’t do a huge improvement since my tap nitrates are at 10. Is the slight improvement in nitrates worth the increased ammonia?
     
  7. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    Prime will take care of the Nitrates in your tap and tank, one dose will lower nitrates 40ppm. In the long run though it does sound like you may need more surface media for your BB to grow. That way when your tap water is reading high your system will be able to handle it. Do you have a canister or Hob's? Biomax or any ceramic ring I've found to be the best "home" so to speak for BB.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    @edevingo Can you please share what source you use for the claim Prime lowers nitrates? I know Prime binds ammonia & nitrites up to 1.0 for 24-48 hours, but I have never heard of it binding nitrates.
    I have a canister with rings - although I forget which brand exactly. The thing is, when my source ammonia is not high the beneficial bacteria will die back to meet the load of my tank on an average day. To date my canister & B.B. have always been able to manage the bumps in ammonia. It is not the residual ammonia which is my concern/question. It is the negative effect of addition of water during a change with 1.0 ammonia levels vs the benefit of somewhat reducing nitrates.
     
  9. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    I cycled a 60g tank fully stocked once. It was an emergency and almost lost my mind, stressing over my fish. Everyone made it thank goodness. Seachem support is where I got the info.
    I also used to throw my tank into a mini cycle every so often due to over cleaning. I still have to fight the urge sometimes to leave my canisters alone. Lol Needless to say, Prime, Ammo lock and Stressgaurd Where and still are always stocked in my cabinets.
    When I was cycling, I did end up purchasing a test kit that can differentiate Ammonia Vs Ammonium to make sure prime was doing its job.
    833747327e867d34fb91fc460ae98b28.jpg
     
  10. TexasDomer

    TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    Any nitrites in your tap? If not, I'd definitely do a water change. It's not just about lowering nitrates, but removing hormones, waste, etc. A double dose of Prime should take care of the ammonia.

    Prime will detoxify nitrates, but it won't remove them. And unless you have a denitrate filter or the like, your nitrates won't be consumed by your bacteria filter, as they put it.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    No nitrites in our tap water. Today or this weekend is normal water change time frame - so it will be happening regardless of source water parameters. Thank you all.