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How Much Ammonia Is How Bad


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  • Regular Member

I finally got the API Master Test kit and the water levels in both tanks seemed pretty good to me:

Both are 0 nitrite, PH 7.4. Nitrate was 20 in the goldfish and 10 in the tropical tank, but both tanks were between 0 and 0.25 ppm. That's like what, 0.15 ppm?

That said, that was two days before the weekly big water change is due. Still gonna change some water now. I added some prime yesterday, just to make sure.

I know ammonia optimally is 0, but how bad is 0.25 ppm? Just trying to learn some more, so thanks guys! :)

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  • Regular Member

Hi Fang,

Stay up on daily water testing and water changes to keep your ammonia levels low. You want to get your ammonia levels to zero and keep it there.

Temporarily...you want a little ammonia in there during the break-in so the beneficial bacteria have something to feed on. A level of .25 to .50 is okay and only slightly stresses the fish. Your goal during this break in time is not to get it to "zero", just low. The idea of partial water changes of 25% is to get toxins to a tolerable level for the fish without shocking them. Avoid stress at any costs.

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Following up to Tay on the additional filter:

Over filtration can never be a bad thing. The more filtration the better with goldfish aka poop machines. We say at least 10x filtration but if you can get to 20x then so much the better. More filtration will eliminate your ammonia problems once your BB is established. ;)

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Also check out this chart on ammonia toxicity. How bad the ammonia is for the fish is also dependent on your pH and water temperature.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/35322-ammonia-toxicity/

My pH is around 8.2 so I can get away with less ammonia than you.

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I just wanted to add that you might want to run an ammonia test on some distilled water or something like that to get a baseline for the 0 color. I just recently got an API master kit too and zero on mine is a a teeny bit greener than the yellow on the card. I do have some ammonia in my tap water, so I had to figure out what zero really looked like.

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Those are all very helpful hints! So with that chart cometgirl had posted... with my tank having a ph of 7.4 and around 70 F I can get away with up to 1 ppm ammonia?

Not that I want to, I'm just trying to figure this out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

That's right, Fang. The chart is to show what ammonia levels that your fish can handle at those conditions, however we all know that zero ammonia has to be our final goal. ;)

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