Helping lower ammonia in my tank

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Jenndes23

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Dec 29, 2019
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Hi, I am very new to fish keeping and reading through things has been so hard. There is so much contradicting information on the internet. I came here in hopes to learn from more reliable sources from people who have been fish keeping for years!
I have had a 15 gallon tank for 6 months and just a week ago swapped it over to a 32.5 gallon tank. It is a fresh water lightly planted tank with 7 tetra glofish and 3 oto catfish. Since the very beginning I have been testing my water using the API kit and all my numbers have been good (I think 🤔) except for my ammonia which I can’t seem to get below 0.25ppm.

temp: 78f
Ph: 7.6
Nitrates: 0
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia: 0.25ppm

I do 20% water changes once a week: wiping the inside of the glass and siphoning the gravel and condition my tap water with the dechloronator and “cycle”

any advise would be appreciated. Hope I’m in the right place!
Jenn

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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Welcome to the forum!!

I don't think your tank has cycled since you are not seeing any level of nitrate. The reading you are getting for ammonia may just be due to the tap water depending on what your local water company is using for disinfection. Some dechorinator products for aquarium use will bind the harmful portion of ammonia that may be present in tap water and still leave it 'safe' enough for the fish.

Can you test your tap water using the ammonia test kit and report the results? Some tap water is treated with chloramine and you will see that when you test for ammonia.

What brand and model filter are you using on this tank?

Were you able to transfer the filter or any media from the 15G tank to the new 32.5G tank?

Did you transfer any other items from the old tank to the new tank?
 
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dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I wouldn't personally rely on the nitrate reading from the API kit...

But Dudley is right about the ammonia, it may just be detecting ammonium which isn't harmful to the fish but will be detected as ammonia by API (Prime, for example, will do this)

I don't think you are too highly stocked, so there is likely no problem if you are feeding accordingly. But it might be an idea to get a second opinion on your water tests and get a set of tests done at you local fish store.
 

Jenndes23

AC Members
Dec 29, 2019
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I checked the ammonia levels in my tap water and got the same reading as my tank, so my guess is that is why I’m seeing the results. Below are the pics of the chemicals I’m using and the ammonia levels from my tap water.
I had a fluval flex 15 gallon and now a fluval flex 32.5. I transferred the filters from my old tank? Most of the plants and 2 of the 3 decorations. Also about 2/3 of the original gravel.

I feed them flakes. A pinch of about what they can eat in 2-3 mins before falling. Obviously some does still fall into the gravel still.
Any advice on the ammonia with this new info?

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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Thanks for the updates!

Glad to hear you transferred some decor and the filter over to the tank.:)

Just continue to monitor the tank using the test kit and keep a log or journal so you have something to refer back to to see how the cycle is progressing.

I'm not sure how the Nutrifin Aqua Plus conditioner reacts with the API ammonia test kit, it may be just what D dougall stated in his/her post.

Some people do buy the API Ammonia Alert and hang it in their tank so they can differentiate between harmful ammonia and non-harmful ammonium.
 

Jenndes23

AC Members
Dec 29, 2019
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So if my ammonia is stemming from my tap water is that “non-harmful” ammonia? I’ve never had more ammonia than what I guess is already in my tap. Should I be doing something to my tank to get rid of what’s there?
 

Jenndes23

AC Members
Dec 29, 2019
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So if my ammonia is stemming from my tap water is that “non-harmful” ammonia? I’ve never had more ammonia than what I guess is already in my tap. Should I be doing something to my tank to get rid of what’s there?
Sorry... “ammonium”
 

dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Some water authorities are using chloramine as a disinfectant agent in water supplies and chloramine is generally a combination of chlorine and ammonia.

A water conditioner that treats chloramine, such as the brand you are using, temporarily binds the harmful ammonia portion for a couple of days to make it available to the good bacteria in your tank and filter to feed on. What the test kit is probably 'reading' is the non-harmful ammonium.

At this time I wouldn't worry about what you are seeing in your test result. I would test the aquarium every day about the same time of the day and if you see the ammonia test result start to increase, perform a 25% water change and add the correct dosage of water conditioner for the amount of water you are changing.

The API Ammonia test kit cannot differentiate between bad ammonia and non-harmful ammonium. A reading of 0.25 PPM ammonia may just be because the test kit can't tell the difference.

Does that help explain it?
 

dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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You are very welcome! Keep us posted on how your tank is doing and definitely ask as many questions as you need until you are satisfied.
 
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