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DataGuru

Ammonia Toxicity

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I just finished pulling together a short summary on ammonia toxicity and how pH and water temperature affect the amount of toxic ammonia (NH3) in your water.

http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/AmmoniaTox.html

Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Is it understandable?

Easy to use?

Anything not look happy?

etc.?

Thanks!

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its too late here for me to look at properly. promise to give it a read through tomorow :)

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very informative and easy to understand. so i take it unless youre in the yellow or red bands you dont need to worry? hope this can be pinned somewhere for future reference. i get 0 readings for ammonia so if i were to use the chart would i look under .25 just to keep an eye on ph and temperature anyway? my tank is at 79-80f and the ph is at 7.4 so giving me a toxicity reading of .004 or below.

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I didn't put 0ppm total ammonia cuz that would be 0ppm of the toxic form (NH3) across the board regardless of temp or pH.

I dunno how worrisome .01-.19ppm NH3 would be. I'd be happy with staying within those levels if I were cycling a new tank. Perhaps I should make it more clear in the narrative that one shouldn't be seeing ammonia at all unless you're cycling or something else is making your biofilter bugs unable to keep up with ammonia production.

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I had checked this out at another post, and I think your data is very informative. I never realized my PH and temp could affect ammonia levels this much.

I would like to see it pinned for new members to check out.

Robin

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Thanks Robin. Yea, that would be cool. It's really changed how I give advice about handing ammonia. :)

Edited by DataGuru

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Wow, who would have thought ammonia could be fatal at .25ppm? :o I always generalised that over 2ppm was dangerous. :unsure:

That information presents a good argument for maintaining neutral or 7 - 7.2 pH level instead of aiming for an optimum pH of 7.5 - 7.8 as I was inclined to do. It also supports maintaining lower temperatures instead of heating to 76-80F as some experts suggest.

One question, what is the difference between a Nessler test kit and a salicylate test kit?

I also think your article should be pinned in the top section of the forum where it is easy to find.

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I cycled my tank at pH of 7.8 and temp of 78 and with 1ppm ammonia on average, my goldies did ok with around .036.NH3 for several weeks. I kinda think goldies are less sensitive than the salmon I found data on. So far, I haven't found any studies with goldies or koi.

Yea, it's changed the way I help people when they're cycling.

One lady had just moved her koi inside and had ammonia reading at 6ppm. Before I'd have freaked out and advised bunches of partial water changes and amquel to get ammonia down below 1ppm. Her temp was only 70 and her pH was 6.5, so actually that 6ppm total ammonia was less toxic than what my goldies lived thru with only 1ppm ammonia. I advised her to keep an eye on pH and use baking soda if needed to keep it around 6.5-6.8 till her ammonia started coming down. trippy!

I used to advise using baking soda to keep KH/pH up so not to risk a pH crash if their tap water is lower in buffering capacity. I don't any more, but encourage more of a balancing act. Don't want to let pH crash, but keeping it lower during cycling is a good thing. and for those whose pH is high, using amquel and water changes to keep total ammonia low is essential. I'm not sure there's any good way to lower pH for a newby who is already overwhelmed with all the stuff one has to learn. and if pH is above 7.8, lowering temp isn't going to help much.

The dilemma with temp is that the biofilter bacteria grow faster at higher temps. I have to wonder if that matters tho if your pH isn't high and the ammonia is less toxic at lower temps. So what if it takes longer if ammonia isn't at toxic levels.

The really cool part is being able to look at your pH and temp and see what range of ammonia is tolerable during cycling.

I'd have to go read back up on the ammonia tests to get real technical. The nessler tests have one bottle of reagents and they raise pH in the sample really high. I think that results in the bound ammonia being freed back up, so it shows up on the nessler test and gives a false reading. The salicylate tests are two bottle tests. I don't remember how they work. Different reagents that don't mess with the bound ammonia.

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It sounds complicated but it isn't really once you understand basic tank chemistry but if I had read this when first starting out I would have been overwhelmed :)

I'm using a one bottle test kit, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals NH3/HN4, now you're freaking me out:) More info please, if you can.

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Yea, it's amazing how much there is to about this hobby.

Yea, that's a nessler ammonia test and won't give accurate readings when using amquel, etc. Last time I looked around via Google I found like 3 different pages that described how nessler tests work. I'll be darned if I can find any tonite. I'll keep an eye out for that info and will post it when I find it again..

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Is Prime Ok or are they all the same when it comes to test kits? (thanks Betty, I do appreciate all the effort you've put into this thread)

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I don't think nessler tests give accurate readings with prime either.

You're welcome. The more we know, the better we'll be at keeping our goldies healthy and happy. :)

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good effort..

but usually temperature is an easy thing to control.. the scary thing that crept in quietly that can wipe out the tank completely overnight is the combination of Ammonia and PH...

u may have learnt about how goldfish love to live in water with high PH.. but do you know that ammonia is most toxic with high PH?? Ammonia starts to become toxic after ph 8.0.. any higher the PH goes, the more toxic the ammonia is.. even the lowest level of ammonia at very high PH can wipe out the tank and even pond overnight...

at the right PH, when ammonia is not that toxic, ammonia doesn't kill instantly but will burn your poor goldfish.. and the degree of burns will be affected by water condition and temperature is one of them..

cheers

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oh, tat explains why my fishes are still ok even when the ammonia levels are high from one of the topics i started before fi5hkiller.

so why not we use pH-down instead of pH-up lotions to keep the danger levels of ammonia lower in our tanks? :yeah:

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ah, there it is.

this was the topic i started about the question on high ammonia levels that didnt kill my fishes.

maybe you are right on the lower pH level... :huh:

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I'll bet it was your pH that saved your goldies.

Did you ever get a pH test?

If not, I think you need to, because if your pH was low enough to make 8ppm ammonia not toxic, your water probably isn't well buffered.

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indeed the low ph saved ur fishes.. but ur fishes could have suffered burns.. which leaves them black spots after the burns (sign of recovery)..

this also indicates that the fihes are living in great discomfort.. high ammonia which burns them and the water not hard enough to provide them the comfort they need.. Imagine such environment is like a room, lacking ventilation, and smoky.. how comfortable can u get?

so the toughest part about keeping goldfish is the balancing of the water parameters.. I never recommend adding chemical to change the parameter.. I also recommend buffering through natural resources such as coral, shell, etc.. natural resorces only makes the environment as natural as possible..

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I also recommend buffering through natural resources such as coral, shell, etc.. natural resorces only makes the environment as natural as possible..

using corals and shells to buffer the water? i tot its not a good idea to use corals? why do you recommend that? :huh:

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When pH drops below 7.5, crushed coral or crushed oyster shell dissolve and release calcium and magnesium which increases general hardless (GH). They also release carbonates which increase the buffering capacity of your water (KH). They need to be placed in a high water flow area (e.g. in a filter basket or a mesh bag). I'd encourage you to do that given you don't know your pH and your fish survived 8ppm ammonia (which means your pH was probably very low).

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*bump*

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Been thinking and would this work the same for tropical fish?

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