Water Parameters Question

Grammywms

Member

NC122606

Member
Grammywms said:
Is it to be expected that the ammonia level is 0.25 the day before water change?
What test kit are you using? If you are using API Freshwater Master Test kit then expect to a little shade of green in there. I could not seem to get it to exactly yellow 0 but I got it tested at my LFS and it was fine.
 
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Grammywms

Member
I also use the apI freshwater test kit. I use spring water with Prime and have a 5 gal. tank with one betta and one nerite snail. I do weekly water changes and gravel vacs. I have 2 miramo moss balls and 1 anubias. I was under the impression that having plants would take care of the ammonia. Should I be concerned or is it normal to have some ammonia by the time a water change is due?
 

johnbirg

Member
Hi,
Are you using a filter and if so what type is it?
If you are not using any filtration it's likely that you will get ammonia due to insufficient BB in the system to deal with the fish waste. Any ammonia is harmful. Plants only remove some nitrates and phosphates which are the product of ammonia being broken down into nitrites and then nitrates by the BB in a properly cycled tank. If you do not have a filter you will need to do frequent large water changes and use something like Seachem Prime to minimise any ammonia.
Hope this helps!
 

Dechi

Member
In a cycled tank, there will be no ammonia. Ever. Unless there is an unusual problem or mistake.

Any level of ammonia is bad. And if you have any, you’re not done cycling and you need to take care of that. Many threads on how to cycle a tank on the forum.
 

mattgirl

Member
In a fully cycled tank 0 ammonia is best but it seems like a lot of folks never see a true 0 when using the API Ammonia testing solution.

Have you had your nitrite spike yet? If so has it gone back down to 0? Are you seeing any nitrates now? While cycling, first there will be ammonia and then both ammonia and nitrites. Eventually the nitrites will drop to zero and you may or may not still see ammonia. At one point you may get a reading for all 3 (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) all at the same time. When the cycle is complete you will see 0 ammonia +/-.25, 0 nitrites and some nitrates.

Since there are living creatures in this tank water changes should be done to keep the ammonia down as low as possible.
 
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Grammywms

Member
I do have a filter with Seachem matrix and a prefilter sponge. It has been cycled for a year. I use seachem Prime with my weekly water changes. When I test, I never have nitrites. Nitrate level is 5.0.
 

johnbirg

Member
Any new plastic ornaments added recently?
 
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Grammywms

Member
Nothing new. I don't have any plastic in my aquarium. Just silk and live plants.
 

johnbirg

Member
I think it may be that the old problem of not being able to actually get a zero reading for ammonia with the test kit is to blame. Many people experience this and get worried but you have nitrates so the BB is doing its job. If your fish seems happy I wouldn't do anything differently as it is probably just the test kit.
 
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Grammywms

Member
He's a happy active fish for sure. I've learned everything the hard way at the expense of my first betta, bless his tiny heart. I was totally ignorant regarding keeping a betta. Never heard of nitrogen cycle. Pet Smart fish "expert" even told me I didn't need to do a water change but once a month. Within 2 months, my betta Ruben was sick. That's when I joined FishLore and learned everything.
 

johnbirg

Member
That's great to hear. I really think you don't have anything to worry about. Just monitor your nitrates and do a partial water change if they get to around 40. If you then do a 50% change that will take them back to 20. If you do this your fish should have a healthy life.
 

Donthemon

Member
Dechi said:
In a cycled tank, there will be no ammonia. Ever. Unless there is an unusual problem or mistake.

Any level of ammonia is bad. And if you have any, you’re not done cycling and you need to take care of that. Many threads on how to cycle a tank on the forum.
Or over stocked. Or not proper media to house the beneficial bacteria.
 

johnbirg

Member
Donthemon said:
Or over stocked. Or not proper media to house the beneficial bacteria.
Tank houses 1 Betta and a nerite so not overstocked. Filter is using matrix plus a sponge prefilter so should have plenty of BB and it has been running for a year. Really should read the op's info provided!
 

mattgirl

Member
Grammywms said:
Is it to be expected that the ammonia level is 0.25 the day before water change?
Since all of my tanks are cycled I don't routinely run the ammonia test but when I do I always get a reading of 0. If I should ever run out of testing solution and have to buy more that may not be the case. It seems more and more folks are reporting a lingering .25 reading for ammonia.

Have you always had this same reading or is this something new?

It sounds to me like you have built a perfect home for your little guy so I don't think I would be concerned about that very pale shade of green you are seeing. Should it start going up any at all though it will be time to figure out why.
johnbirg said:
Tank houses 1 Betta and a nerite so not overstocked. Filter is using matrix plus a sponge prefilter so should have plenty of BB and it has been running for a year. Really should read the op's info provided!
I don't think Donthemon 's words were directed toward this tank in particular. I think it was just pointing out other things that could cause an ammonia spike.
 

Dechi

Member
mattgirl said:
In a fully cycled tank 0 ammonia is best but it seems like a lot of folks never see a true 0 when using the API Ammonia testing solution.
Hmm, I’ve never heard of that and it’s never happened to me in 10+ years. Unless you’re talking about the strips ?
 

mattgirl

Member
Dechi said:
Hmm, I’ve never heard of that and it’s never happened to me in 10+ years. Unless you’re talking about the strips ?
I'm talking about the ammonia test in the API Master test kit.

If you spend as much time as I do reading all the threads here on the forum you will see what I am talking about. I get a 0 reading with my testing solution but not everyone does. It seems more and more folks are coming here wondering why that last .25 reading for ammonia won't go down any farther. I think that is where the margin for error of +/- .25 comes into play.
 

johnbirg

Member
mattgirl said:
I'm talking about the ammonia test in the API Master test kit.

If you spend as much time as I do reading all the threads here on the forum you will see what I am talking about. I get a 0 reading with my testing solution but not everyone does. It seems more and more folks are coming here wondering why that last .25 reading for ammonia won't go down any farther. I think that is where the margin for error of +/- .25 comes into play.
I have asked Mike if we can put a sticky about the 0.25 reading which is concerning many new to aquarium keeping. Waiting to hear from him
 

Dechi

Member
mattgirl said:
I'm talking about the ammonia test in the API Master test kit.

If you spend as much time as I do reading all the threads here on the forum you will see what I am talking about. I get a 0 reading with my testing solution but not everyone does. It seems more and more folks are coming here wondering why that last .25 reading for ammonia won't go down any farther. I think that is where the margin for error of +/- .25 comes into play.
That certainly is cause for concern. Maybe the tests have become less reliable in the past years ?
 

JessicaSwanlake

Member
I've expirienced this as well in my tanks, it doesn't look like quite a 0.25 readings but there is definitely a bit of green mixed with the yellow so it doesn't look like it's quite at zero. At first I thought the issue was my tap water or my filter, but eventually I figured out it was the test after all of the other variables were accounted for.
 
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Grammywms

Member
Appreciate all the comments. Did testing today before scheduled weekly water change and ammonia was 0. Go figure. Nitrates were 10. Will check nitrates in 24 hrs to see if they come down. It gets confusing sometimes when I read that some people
say nitrates from 10-20 are ok, and some say there should be some nitrates in water. On the other hand. some people say 0 nitrates.
 

mattgirl

Member
Grammywms said:
Appreciate all the comments. Did testing today before scheduled weekly water change and ammonia was 0. Go figure. Nitrates were 10. Will check nitrates in 24 hrs to see if they come down. It gets confusing sometimes when I read that some people
say nitrates from 10-20 are ok, and some say there should be some nitrates in water. On the other hand. some people say 0 nitrates.
Hopefully I can clear up your confusion. In a cycled tank you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates.

Is it possible that when you read folks saying you should see 0 nitrates they misspoke and actually meant 0 nitrites? Kinda like above where you are saying your nitrates are 10 but you are going to check the nitrates in 24 hours to see if they come down. Normally the only way you will get the nitrates down is with water changes.
 

Dechi

Member
Grammywms said:
On the other hand. some people say 0 nitrates.
This part is not true. There should be nitrates in the tank. Nitrates come at the end of the nitrogen cycle and they are not dangerous to fish in moderate quantities. I like mine under 20 but most people will agree that it’s fine up to 40.
 
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Grammywms

Member
So I don't need to be concerned with 10-20? That's a relief.
 

mattgirl

Member
Grammywms said:
So I don't need to be concerned with 10-20? That's a relief.
Not at all. That is a number a lot of us shoot for.

You may have heard from some of the folks that insist that it is easy to grow one more bacteria in our tanks to remove the nitrates. Most of us never accomplish that so 10/20 to me is just about perfect.
 
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Grammywms

Member
Great. And that was the reading I took right before I did a 30% water change on my 5 gal. tank.
 
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