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    Thread: The Importance of Ammonia monitoring in Mature systems

    1. #1
      Seneye's Avatar
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      The Importance of Ammonia monitoring in Mature systems

      This article was written for the Aquarium hobbyist but equally applies to the Koi hobby to, I hope you find the information both interesting and relevant.

      Do you monitor Ammonia in a mature system? Probably not?


      We have long followed a path in this hobby that once you have cycled a tank ammonia is never an issue. I have had many a forum battle on this exact topic, but wait, isnt ammonia the first chain in the denitrifaction cycle? So it is being produced even though your tank is mature.

      So what happens if you have been slightly over feeding? or a fish died while on holiday and was slowly consumed? You have not been monitoring ammonia so by the time that ammonia spike has irritated your fish gills then been broken down to the final stage about a week later to Nitrate you now test your nitrate and wonder why its risen? You can not have a nitrate spike without an ammonia spike sometime shortly before, the two are directly linked.

      So why do we not monitor Ammonia to give us an early warning of impending Nitrate spikes which are far harder to deal with?

      Ammonia is passed from the gills of fish in their urine, also rotting food and decaying plant matter are contributors of ammonia.

      It exists in two forms in the aquarium and the first step is to understand the difference between ammonium NH4 and free ammonia NH3.

      NH3 (ammonia) is a gas and sometimes called toxic or free ammonia. It is the unionised form of NH4. NH4 (ammonium) is a nontoxic salt it is the ionised form of ammonia. NH3 and NH4 together are often refered to as total ammonia nitrogen (TAN). So as you can see from above NH3 is the nasty toxic element that needs monitoring.

      The seneye device only measures toxic free ammonia NH3 and the seneye connect appliaction allows you to look at free ammonia between 0.000ppm and 0.500ppm. The seneye.me website stores all the ammonia history from your device and displays the readings in ppm.

      Ammonia test kits mostly measure TAN especially if they are marked as an NH3/NH4 test kit. The measurement is done by changing the pH of the water sample; you may have noticed how ammonia test kits normally have a small bottle marked harmfull corrosive. Using NH4 temperature and pH to accuratly work out how much NH3 is present is very very difficult click here to find out why.

      PH and temperature have a great effect on the ratio (equalibrium) of NH3 to NH4. As pH changes upward more NH4 will turn into NH3 and vice versa. This is often a surprise to people but as an example a 1 point change in PH gives a 10x change in NH3 levels.

      As the PH drops lower the the amount of NH3 gets lower and lower. If you look at the screen shot photo posted here you will see a spike in our maturing system where we purposefully lowered the pH, you will see at the exact same time there was a dip in ammonia, before both going back up.

      This exercise alone shows how accurate and how important the Seneye system is at monitoring and reporting back the real time health of your biological system in your tank!



      To expand further the importance of monitoring Ammonia in a mature system. The open question remains, why also monitor NH4 as it is harmless?

      If you have a worry or problem with NH4 then it is often a good idea to understand more about it.

      NH4 (ammonium) is a nontoxic salt, it is the ionised form of toxic ammonia NH3. It is useful to understand that in the aquatic environment NH4 is not toxic, however it does have the ability to instantly change to NH3 with a change in pH and or tempertaure. This is why people often worry about high levels of NH4 when they do water tests, as NH4 accumulating is not harmful in its self it does have the ability to change to NH3.

      Using traditional methods free ammonia (NH3) is very hard to measure so normally people measure non-toxic ammonium (NH4) in the aquarium and pond and use this as a guide to safe levels of NH3. In true terms NH4 is a nontoxic substance in the aquarium, however due to the equilibrium which occurs between NH3 / NH4 at a given pH and temperature it is better to measure NH4 as an indicator of NH3 than nothing at all. Interpretation of NH4 to estimate NH3 is most often done by a chart supplied with the test kit or by a calculation online. If you are using these methods as a guide to NH3 in the aquarium do not expect it to exactly match your seneye. All measurements devices and test kits will have some error and when you are using 3 different measurements in a calculation a small inaccuracy on each can heavily skew the result. The calculations and look up tables do not take into account ionic strength or air pressure which can both influence the NH3 / NH4 balance.

      A seneye device will measure deadly NH3 directly, if you have a seneye reef device you will also get an NH4 widget on your seneye.me dashboard. To provide this we do a calculation derived from the known pH, temp and NH3 reported by your seneye device. For the same reasons stated above it should only be used as a rough guide.

      Please note: Ammonia and ammonium (NH3+NH4) together are usually described as TAN or total ammonia nitrogen. Often test kits measure TAN not NH4 or NH3, this can make accurate NH3 calculations even harder.

      Looking at the screen shots below you will see the direct relationship of the NH4 level and pH level, as pH rises the NH4 level drops.



      For information about where to purchase Seneye in North America or to stock Seneye in your store please email info@seneye-usa.com


      Why leave it to chance or waiting for a Nitrate spike when the Seneye Monitor can warn you way in advance so you can take appropriate action. NOTHING ELSE on the market can offer this, not to mention the built in PAR meter, temperature monitor, pH monitor, O2 display and level warning. ALL FOR $199!!!!

      contact us for North American sales and support info@seneye-usa.com for all other areas support@seneye.com

    2. #2
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      Gotta say, this looks cool. I think I'll be checking into this.

      Doug - out
      See Our Pond http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...ond&highlight=

      Blank Check Project - Helping those who stand on that wall. www.blankcheckproject.com

    3. #3
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      Is the $199 for an entire system?
      V

    4. #4
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      Hi,

      For $199 you get the Seneye Pond monitor that connects to your PC via USB, there are 15 meter extension cords available also. If you have both QT and pond to monitor, you would need two units for two systems.

      But for optimum performance we recommend the Pond "pack" this comes with the following

      Seneye Pond monitor
      Seneye Web Server
      Wifi extender
      Equipment dry box for putting all your electronics outside and keeping them dry.

      This kit is priced at $399. The initial outlay insures you have full access to monitor anywhere where you have internet access your highly expensive Kois water quality health throughout the season. Importantly when adding new fish into quarantine to monitor any ammonia spikes or if over wintering, and in the main pond to keep tracks on overfeeding and general filter health. When we consider how much is spent on the fish themselves the equipment cost to protect them really becomes negligible.

      If you require further information especially where to purchase please let us know


      Michael Hall
      North America Accounts Manager
      Seneye North America
      www.seneye.com
      613 491 0938
      info@seneye-usa.com

    5. #5
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      Other Sites Sale prices are our everyday prices.
      Vice President Oregon Koi and Watergarden Society


    6. #6
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      We are Pleased to announce That Pond Market now has full stock of the Pond Packs as well as Kodama, two valued dealers carrying the product for you.

      This is of course on top of the amazing work Bill at Cascade is doing with Seneye.

      We can also announce that as of this week "Your Pond Farm" a very respected Distributor to Pond stores across the USA especially the Eastern States will be supplying all their stores with Seneye, so even more great Koi and pond stores will be carrying the brand shortly.

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