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Anne2k
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Ammonia test freakout - Question
« on: March 06, 2011, 08:11:47 PM »

Hi Folks! I'm new to the forum so forgive me if this is a common subject or not the right place to talk about it. I have quite a few tanks, some with tropicals and some with my fantastic fantail goldfish.

My older daughter (17) recently upgraded to a ten gallon guppy tank and it was neatly progressing through the cycling process when suddenly the ammonia test came back blue. Yes, blue. It's the API master test kit and the same test run on my tanks produces only normal results. When we run the test on her tank, it sample rapidly changes through all the stages of green and stops when it become a lovely turquoise color. Of course, I freaked when this first happened thinking there must be 50ppm of ammonia in the tank and promptly did a 75% water change. The test came out exactly the same. We've done this a couple of times and there is no change in the test results. That said, there are still about 8 guppy adults and 5 guppy fry living happily in the tank with no signs of ammonia poisoning. So my question is this: has anyone had this happen before? If it's something screwing up the test, what could it be? Any thoughts?

Thanks so much in advance!

- Anne
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nabi
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 08:32:24 PM »

Are you sure you are using the ammnonia solutions and not the pH  or nitrite test solutions ?  The ammonia chart only goes from light yellow to light green to dark green.

Also are you using API amno lock or similar chemicals? These can really mess with the test readings even if the levels are safe.

If the guppy tank has finished cycling and you did a 75% water change, then mostly likely the ammonia level is safe, even if the test readings show otherwise. 

Can you post the readings for pH, nitrite and nitrate so we can see if anything is messing with those readings too?

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Anne2k
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 09:58:16 PM »

I'll go retest the rest of the stuff and post it, but yes I am definitely sure I am using the correct solutions. Like I said, the same test run on any other tank in the house comes out exactly on the expected scale.
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Anne2k
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 10:24:18 PM »

Ok, I retested everything I have a test for and it came up with this combo in her tank:

PH: (using the high range test) 7.2
Nitrates: 20.00
Nitrites: 2.0-5.0 (I'd call it a 3.5ish)
Ammonia: Still blue

I attached photos of the test tubes against a white background and also a photo of the ammonia test by itself. I'm not sure if the color is quite right in photo but it's close. Again, the fish are really healthy including the teeny fry. It's got to be something in the tank throwing it off but we don't know what. I have used water conditioner but not ammo lock and everything I used on her tank I used on my main community tank in the same proportions which still tests fine.
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nabi
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 11:00:49 PM »

How old is your api test kit? Make sure you store it properly and out of direct sunlight or heat since it can speed up the breakdown of the chemicals in the test kit. A very old test kit or one that has been improperly stored can give false readings.

Since you have already have several established tanks , you can use some of the gravel and filter media from these tanks and put them in the guppy tank. That way the 10 gallon guppy tank doesn't have to go through the cycling process at all, because all the nitrifying bacteria will already be present.

I don't see how such few number of guppies can put out such a large bioload (according to the test results) after  several large water changes.  Since you said don't use amno lock or similar type chemicals, then perhaps something is wrong with the test kit.

Do know someone with a test kit you can borrow or maybe you can buy a another one? Also if you bring a sample of the water to the pet store, they can perform tests there also, which should give you a better idea whether or not your kit is accurate.
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Anne2k
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 12:10:07 AM »

The test kit is brand new and again, this exact kit is what I use on the rest of the tanks in the house and it gives accurate readings. Can a decoration or live plants cause this kind of thing to happen? She has a couple of different live plants (one grass and one ribbon plant) and some larger rocks that I don't know the origin of. The plants are new but the rocks she has used in many tanks before.

Thanks for your help btw Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: Ammonia test freakout - Question
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 02:22:18 PM »

Since the nitrite and nitrate is showing, I don't think you need to worry about ammonia anymore Smiley
At most, you could try buying some liquid bio-filter booster, also called beneficial bacteria in a bottle Wink There are lots of different brands out there, and it's a really good thing to have in stock, just in case Smiley I use one called "fluid filter media" made by EasyLife, I definitely recommend it since it made cycling my tank that much easier Smiley Even if it's cycled it may be good to add some of it now and then. You don't need to add any other water conditioner when using this one!
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