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Ammonia levels, so confused....


AC Members
I have a 6 week...65 gallon aqueon tank and have fish in it. Danios, corrys, plecos, tetras, ram chiclids.....all are doing fantastic. However, usign API test drops, I keep reading an ammonia .25 to .50 readings. I have done frequent water changes but to no avail on the Ammonia changing. I have added freshwater plants as well as bags of bio balls to the Aqueon Quiet Flow 75 filter. I have also used the Prime instead of "Water Conditioner" and have used the AmoGuard. My Ammonia levels never change. My fish show NO signs of stress, spots or redness. Petland has the same readings on my sample....Nitrite is 0...Nitrate is 5...my water is clear and i feed the 28 fish once a day..can anyone grace me with their wisdom?
Are you testing before or after a water change, or some other time?
and what are you using for a dechlorinator

and have you tested your water straight from the tap


AC Members
I have tested my water straight from the tap...and all is ok. I have tested before and after water change. I test the water every day, regardless. I have switched to Prime from Water Conditioner.


Global Moderator
Staff member
Could be from chloramine being used as opposed to chlorine as a disinfectant in your tap water. You should be able to pull a water report from your municipal water supplier to verify.

Prime will break it down into a small amount of ammonia that should get processed into nitrate very quickly in an established tank.


AC Members
I, too, would suspect chloramines if you're on city or other municipal water supply. Straight up chlorine water treatment is becoming more & more rare. I did have it on the east coast in 2 locations.

Prime will "lock up" the ammonia for 24-48 hours in a less harmful form. Have you tried testing 2 days or so after a water change? Most of the readily available ammonia tests will show .50-1 ppm if you have chloramine whether it's "locked up" or not. The Prime, etc, will allow your beneficial bacteria to "cycle" the ammonia...if your tank is fully cycled. After only 6 weeks it might not be quite done yet but you should be getting close. Did you ever see nitrite? Or maybe you didn't test enough to see it...

With your numbers I'd say you're tank is ok but keep an eye on all those parameters & change water as needed. Any ammonia or, worse, nitrite is harmful to fish.


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
What is your ammonia reading before your WC?


I'm jumping on the chloramine bandwagon. My water tests *always* show .25 ammonia. Every single time. After years of having fish, I'd imagine my tanks are cycled. My tanks, as of Saturday before I did a water change, showed .25, 0, less than 5 on one and 10 on the other for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, respectively.

The last time I started cycling a tank though, I had higher ammonia readings. Now if I start a tank, it'll probably not do so, because I have enough media from my existing tanks that I can pull to seed with. Had to do that with my betta, because he wasn't liking my 55, so I pulled the prefilter I was using (AC 20 sponge cut to fit over the intake) and threw that into the AC 20 I put on his tank, and monitored water every day for two weeks. Ammonia never looked higher than .25, but did daily water changes until I started seeing nitrates.


AC Members
Thank you everyone for your wisdom, it is all appreciated! My Ammonia readings are the same regardless of when I test it. I am checking into the chloramine in our water. My thoughts were that after we did a filter change something wasnt right as that is when the Ammonia readings started. I wiggled the filters and all this white stuff came out. Our tank has been milky since and our Nitrite is now reading .25 - Nitrate is still 5 and the Ammonia is still .5

Could it be that when I changed the filter pads two weeks ago, something happened and they were not put in properly and therefore "stopped" theoretically working? Just a thought. Maybe I interrupted the tank cycle? :rolleyes:


AC Members
Yeah, if you change out too much filter media at 1 time, bad things can happen to some of the beneficial bacteria. It's best to just rinse it out in old tank water after a weekly water change & put it back in the filter...& at least with a new-ish tank. Squeeze the daylights out of it, lol. You can also do that in dechlorinated tap water if it's really gross.

You don't need to change the filter media at all...well, almost never. Eventually it does get "worn out" but not for months, or even years if you're even kinda careful.

What brand & size of filter are you using?