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Old 07-25-2005, 10:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2005
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trystianity is a regular member
Question Ammonia in Tap Water

I wanted to start dosing my newly setup 10 gallon tank using Tom Barr's Estimative Index. I think I got everything in the article and I'm a chem student so dosing/calculating shouldn't be an issue. I do have one problem! I have 0.3 ppm NH4 in the water out of the tap. Sometimes it will be as high as 0.5 ppm. For fish health reasons I have been treating it with Seachem's Prime and it seems to be working well (no more losses). From what I understand of the product, it chemically binds the NH4 to a larger molecule, making it safe for the fishies but still available to plants/bacteria.

So assuming all of the NH4 is still available to my plants and is used up completely through the week or consumed by nitrifying bacteria, doing 50% weekly PWC I am going to be raising NH4 in the tank to 0.15-0.25 ppm every time I change the water. I am essentially dosing NH4 every time I do a water change whether I want to or not.

Am I being a bit too paranoid or is this going to affect my regular dosing schedule of KNO3? And/or is this going to cause problems? In the EI article Tom states that dosing NH4 will cause algae blooms. So far it hasn't been a problem in my lower tech setups (low light, no co2) but I am curious because this is the first time I'm venturing into the realm of high light and a lot of added ferts/co2.

Tank parameters (note that it has just been set up last week, no fish or anything yet and I am still messing around with a few things before I start dosing consistently, I am experimenting with the substrate so I wanted to see how it will affect the plants on its own before I add much):

Sorry, I'm a bum and I've been doing this for a while so I don't test much unless I absolutely have to

TDS - unknown
pH - 6.9-7.2
NO3 - nil
PO4 - not tested
GH - 12
KH - 7
Ca - not tested
Mg - not tested
CO2 - unknown, I age and pretreat my water so none by the time I use it

TDS - not tested
pH - around 6.2-6.5
NO3 - 10 ppm approx.
PO4 - not tested
GH - not tested
KH - 4
Ca - not tested
Mg - not tested
CO2 - 30 ppm
gall - 10
Wpg - 6
Fish load - nil
Plant mass - moderate for now until my cuttings really start taking off, will be heavy plant mass
Substrate - bottom: laterite, gravel, aquarium pharm root tabs, mulm from another tank; mid: aged and soaked Canadian spahgnum peat, gravel; top: gravel cap (gravel used throughout is inert 1-2 mm)
Fertilizer - other than KNO3 (stump remover) none added yet, just whatever is leeching from the substrate. Will be dosing individual dry fert chems. Plants are doing marvellously without so for now I'm not adding anything and seeing where the substrate alone takes me.

Question: How will 0.3-0.5 ppm NH4 in tap affect dosing according to the EI and/or what kinds of problems can I expect from the NH4 in my tap? If I can expect problems, does anyone have any ideas for combatting them?

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