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Ammonia Toxicity


toothless

90% of ammonia tests test for total ammonia-nitrogen. Total ammonia-nitrogen is comprised of ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4+). NH3 is "free-ammonia" and is highly toxic to fish and other animals. NH4+ is "bound-ammonia" and is totally harmless. Both kinds exist in the aquarium simultaneously. Depending on the pH and temerature of your water, You can safely have a specific amount of ammonia on your test kit without it being toxic.

The chart below shows you the maximum amount of ammonia that is, or can be in the ionized form NH4+ (ammonium), according to pH and temp. In short, you are "allowed" to have this much ammonia without it being harmful to your fish:

View attachment: pHchart.jpg

If you regularly test and find ammonia on the test results, something is amiss and investigating is in order.

I hope this helps! :D

Paul

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Hi Paul..how are you? I have a question - I thought I remembered reading on the board somewhere that using water treatments, I think it is Amquel (no?) that helps with ammonia will give a false reading - is this true? As I try to cycle my new tank, I want to make sure my water tests are accurate - should I refrain from using the "Amquel" or any "Water conditioners" that help with Nitrites, Ammonia, etc., ?

Much thanks,

New (maybe should be Confused) fish Mom

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Yes, when using regular amquel, ammonia test kits that have two bottles will give a false positive reading.

I suggest using Amquel PLUS or Prime for detoxifying ammonia and its counterparts. They use sodium thiosulfate as the detoxifying ingredient and are compatible with single dropper test kits ANd reagent test kits with 2 bottles.

Paul

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The chart below shows you the maximum amount of ammonia you can have in your water, according to pH and temp, without it being harmful to your fish:

post-1193-1126410719_thumb.jpg

cool.

And after all this time I thought you should ALWAYS have "zero" ammonia.

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Thanks toothless! For the life of me i could NEVER get rid of my low 0.18 ammonia levels but my tank has a relatively low temp of 58 degrees so it seems to be fine. I got a lot of ease from reading that chart

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Pandemonium and AlexRowe,

Sorry for the delay in posting, I hadn't been to this part of the forum in a while. However, you guys definitely SHOULD strive for absolute 0ppm for ammonia. If its not, at any given time, then one of two things is wrong:

Either your bio-filtration rate is not sufficient enough for the bio-load your goldfish are putting out OR your ammonia test is faulty (or isn't compatible with your dechlorinator/detoxifier). To figure out wich one it is, I suggest that you test your tapwater BEFORE you add dechlorinator, but after it has sat our for at least 24 hours. If your reading is absolute 0ppm then test your tapwater immediately after you draw it from the tap and dechlorinate it. If it is still absolute 0ppm, then it is your bio-filtration that is not up to par.

What is the name/brand and size/model of your filter/s? Any bio-media or sponges or anything?

How many fish and how big are each of them (body length only)?

Can you describe your waterchange, filter and tank maintenence regime?

What is the brand and type of test kits for ammonia?

What is the name of your dechlorinator?

If you read this, post back soon and I'll do what I can to help you figure it out.... :D

Paul

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Woodsroad,

I viewed about 5 different sources for ammonia toxicity charts and each and every one was pretty much identical. There was a 0.1 difference between two of them on a couple slots in their charts but thats not really enough to be worried about (IMO).

Is there a descrepancy I should be worried about or something? :huh: If so, let me know, I definitely don't want to be perpetuating any false information............

Paul

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