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Ammonia Tiration Via Ph Adjust In Tanks?


Guest Oranda Man

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Guest Oranda Man

Ok, I might be wrong in thinking this, but...

Would ammonia concentrations affect the pH? :huh: Granted that the fish produce ammonia as waste, but it is in small concentrations that are comprised of 0.xx% ammonia and xx.xx% water. Since ammonia is a simple base, would you not be able to neutralize some of the ammonia by adjusting the pH down?

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Ammonia comes in two forms Ammonium (NH4+) which isn't toxic and ammonia (NH3) which is toxic. Both pH and water temperature affect how much of the toxic form of ammonia is present in your water. Higher pH and higher temp result in a higher proportion of the total ammonia being present in its toxic form (NH3). pH has the largest effect on ammonia toxicity. So if you have low pH and low temps, higher total ammonia can be present without it being as toxic as at higher pH and temps. Here's a set of tables that let you see how much of the ammonia is in its toxic form based on pH and water temp.

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The thing with trying to adjust pH down, is that depending on how well buffered your water is, that can result in pH swings which are a bad thing.

R/O water mixed with regular water could work for that... the thing is with lower pH e.g. between 6.5 and 7, your pH would tend to move down over time, cuz the biofilter uses up bicarbonates and produces acids as it converts ammonia to nitrAte. During cycling if you're doing plenty of partial water changes to keep ammonia and nitrIte under control, that's do-able... however in a cycled tank, it's better to have stable pH and enough buffering to keep it from slipping down between partial water changes. Also, from what I've read, nitrIte is more toxic at lower pH, so one would need to move pH up into the mid-high 7s when nitrIte started showing.

The ammonia binders e.g. amquel or prime work fine for helping to keep ammonia in its less toxic form. Tho, if your water isnt' well buffered, amquel will crash your pH.

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