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    Thread: Toxic Ammonia Tester

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      Toxic Ammonia Tester

      Hello, After 13 yrs. I had ammonia this yr. after a ton of spawns. I added some ammonia remover, but now it still reads I have ammonia. Could someone please help me with a test kit that only tests toxic ammonia and not total? This is driving me nuts--Fish are so hungry-they are jumping up to grab the leaves off the plants. I have been feeding them very little-but I have to get back to yellow on my kit.

      Thank you for any help

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      --Steve
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      Quote Originally Posted by libralady View Post
      Hello, After 13 yrs. I had ammonia this yr. after a ton of spawns. I added some ammonia remover, but now it still reads I have ammonia. Could someone please help me with a test kit that only tests toxic ammonia and not total? This is driving me nuts--Fish are so hungry-they are jumping up to grab the leaves off the plants. I have been feeding them very little-but I have to get back to yellow on my kit.

      Thank you for any help
      This is a pond and will these show only toxic ammonia, not the total? I have an ammonia test kit, but after adding in the ammonia remover-test kit still shows green

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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Thanks. Will these work in a pond and test only the toxic ammonia, not the total? After adding the ammonia remover, I still get a green reading

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      Yes, they read only "free ammonia" (NH3) which is the toxic kind. Total ammonia is NH3+NH4.
      --Steve
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      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      Seachem also just came out with a drop test for just the toxic ammonia and sold separate from the kit..
      Last edited by trapper; 1 Week Ago at 11:52 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by trapper View Post
      API also just came out with a drop test for just the toxic ammonia and sold separate from the kit..
      Do you have a link?
      --Steve
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      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Do you have a link?
      Actually I edited to say that it's Seachem that makes the drop test. I don't have a link but found it in a general search a few months ago and ordered it, it also can check for total ammonia as well..

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by trapper View Post
      Actually I edited to say that it's Seachem that makes the drop test. I don't have a link but found it in a general search a few months ago and ordered it, it also can check for total ammonia as well..
      Okay, I've seen those.
      From what I've read it looks like these aren't a drip test but just a glorified test strip... no?

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...SIN=B0002A5XFU

      Got the package and read the instructions; the procedure as described is very simple:
      You put a sample in the little well (they hold about 1ml), pick up a disc with the forceps, rinse it with clean water, and put it in the well.
      After 15 minutes you read disc color against scale (marked 0-6ppm) or after 30 minutes (same scale marked 0-3ppm).

      So...open the jar of discs & notice there are some crystals on top of them. Maybe the storage solution has dried out? Pushed down on the sponge at the bottom of the storage jar--seems to be saturated; maybe this is how it's supposed to be.

      I made 2 samples, one full strength and one diluted 50/50 with RO water and put the discs in according to the instructions.
      After 15 minutes the color across both discs was very patchy; difficult to read.
      Waited 30 minutes for the full change; hoping the color will be consistent.
      Guessing that the top side didn't get enough exposure to the sample, I looked at both sides--nope both are patchy; can't really tell what the color is.

      Next I tried to hold the discs down with a piece of plastic cut from a vinyl hose--maybe if I leave it in an hour it will give a readable result?
      Guessing the color will eventually equilibrate? After another 30 minutes there is no improvement.
      Maybe take a photo each time & calculate the mean color with the GIMP?
      Or mentally ignore the still-yellow parts of the disc & try to imagine what the rest of the color is?
      Seriously?

      Sorry--I can't use this; wasted my fifteen bucks. Going back to the Hach test. It costs a little more for the refills, but at least it's readable.
      Is this review incorrect? Is it actually a drip test or is this not the one you're referencing?
      I'd love to find a reasonably priced NH3 drip test.
      --Steve
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      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      I think it's worth mentioning that, although a bit pricey, the Seneye monitor does read NH3 along with a few other parameters
      that are handy to see on a continuing basis:

      Name:  Image1.jpg
Views: 88
Size:  59.8 KB

      Just fwiw...
      --Steve
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      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      I think it's worth mentioning that, although a bit pricey, the Seneye monitor does read NH3 along with a few other parameters
      that are handy to see on a continuing basis:

      Name:  Image1.jpg
Views: 88
Size:  59.8 KB

      Just fwiw...
      Unrelated - have you ever noticed your ammonia jump from 0.001 when you install a new slide? Mine showed 0.001 for its last 2 weeks of life. Then when I installed a new one, it jumped to 0.07+. I emailed Seneye and they said this was due to debris building up on the slide and sensors. Sure enough, when I notice the ammonia levels drop to "unrealistically" low levels like 0.001~0.003, I take the slide out, rinse it in pond water and clean the sensors. Almost immediately the ammonia readings jump back up to ''normal'' levels.

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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      I think it's worth mentioning that, although a bit pricey, the Seneye monitor does read NH3 along with a few other parameters
      that are handy to see on a continuing basis:

      Name:  Image1.jpg
Views: 88
Size:  59.8 KB

      Just fwiw...
      Do you have a link for this monitor? I tried an experiment yesterday and it failed. : ( I am going crazy not knowing if I have ammonia still or what is going on, so I put 16cups of pond water in a bucket and got the green reading, then kept adding 1 at a time an 8 cup container and testing. I got to 5 times and was still getting the green reading. UGH! Then I took tap water with zero ammonia reading and added my Aqua Extreme to see if that gave me a green reading, as it removes and detoxifies ammonia. It still read yellow. How else could I check it? For me to get down to a yellow reading-I feel I would have to drain my whole pond and that's not really an option.

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      Quote Originally Posted by libralady View Post
      Do you have a link for this monitor? I tried an experiment yesterday and it failed. : ( I am going crazy not knowing if I have ammonia still or what is going on, so I put 16cups of pond water in a bucket and got the green reading, then kept adding 1 at a time an 8 cup container and testing. I got to 5 times and was still getting the green reading. UGH! Then I took tap water with zero ammonia reading and added my Aqua Extreme to see if that gave me a green reading, as it removes and detoxifies ammonia. It still read yellow. How else could I check it? For me to get down to a yellow reading-I feel I would have to drain my whole pond and that's not really an option.
      Do a Google search for Seneye. I bought mine on Amazon.

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      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by jcardona1 View Post
      Unrelated - have you ever noticed your ammonia jump from 0.001 when you install a new slide? Mine showed 0.001 for its last 2 weeks of life. Then when I installed a new one, it jumped to 0.07+. I emailed Seneye and they said this was due to debris building up on the slide and sensors. Sure enough, when I notice the ammonia levels drop to "unrealistically" low levels like 0.001~0.003, I take the slide out, rinse it in pond water and clean the sensors. Almost immediately the ammonia readings jump back up to ''normal'' levels.
      Yes I've noticed the same and good tip on the sensor. Honestly the slide is due to be changed today so I hadn't worried about it.

      Quote Originally Posted by jcardona1 View Post
      Do a Google search for Seneye. I bought mine on Amazon.
      Or: http://www.cascade-pond-supply.com/s...g-sc-1015.html
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by libralady View Post
      Do you have a link for this monitor? I tried an experiment yesterday and it failed. : ( I am going crazy not knowing if I have ammonia still or what is going on, so I put 16cups of pond water in a bucket and got the green reading, then kept adding 1 at a time an 8 cup container and testing. I got to 5 times and was still getting the green reading. UGH! Then I took tap water with zero ammonia reading and added my Aqua Extreme to see if that gave me a green reading, as it removes and detoxifies ammonia. It still read yellow. How else could I check it? For me to get down to a yellow reading-I feel I would have to drain my whole pond and that's not really an option.
      Try testing your tap water without adding any Aqua Extreme. If it's yellow there's no ammonia (NH3 or NH4) for the Aqua Extreme to "work" on.

      What do you have for a bio filter? What is your KH?
      --Steve
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      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Try testing your tap water without adding any Aqua Extreme. If it's yellow there's no ammonia (NH3 or NH4) for the Aqua Extreme to "work" on.

      What do you have for a bio filter? What is your KH?
      Well I guess that is why it failed. Is there a way to produce ammonia in tap to see if the Aqua Extreme stays in the water after binding? I hope you know what I'm trying to ask. Don't know how to word it. Also-I added Ammonia Remover from Microbe Lift to the pond last week--I still get a green reading.

      Something is off this year for sure. My waterfall is not as loud, if that makes sense. And the flow seems less. This is the first year my PH has been low-other years it has been blue-this year it is very low at 6.5 or so, with the ammonia. KH has always been a problem for my pond as city water is about 1 drop, I have never been able to raise it. Nitrites are 0 and Nitrates are 60 ( bright red, not brownish). I can't get my floaters to grow and the koi are ripping up all the other plants. So I should have 50% coverage now and have none.

      My system is a skimmer box with a Easy Pro TH-150 going up to the filter box that has 3 while sponges and 2 media bags of bio balls. We also have a pressurized filter with 3 sponges and the turn to clean it going into a pvc spill out for added aeration. In the large section under the bridge there is a Haku L-40 air pump with 1' diffuser. I am finding that I have to shut the haku off in order to let debris by into the skimmer. The pump doesn't seem to suck it by. I have attached photos older photos so you can see the area and head height. In the full pond photo the skimmer is on far right diagonal to the fire pit behind the tree.
      Name:  unnamed.jpg
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      You have a beautiful pond.

      You can "create" ammonia in the water just by adding ammonium chloride or even bottled ammonia from the store.
      To get a really exact sample it's easier to use ammonium chloride and a 2 liter bottle of distilled water with 6.3 grams
      of ammonium chloride and it will give you a 1000 ppm solution. You can then dilute it to 1 ppm by adding 1 milliliter of the
      solution to 1 liter (actually to be exact it would be 999 ml ) of water. But I don't think you need that... so it's just fwiw.

      But again, if you add ammonia to your tap water and add water conditioner to it expecting it to show no "ammonia"
      I don't think it will. Even if the Aqua Extreme worked perfectly by ionizing ammonia from NH3 (dangerous) to NH4 (not dangerous),
      the API drip test will still show green because even though the NH3 has been converted to NH4 that is not going to hurt the fish,
      will still test positive for ammonia. The API test can't tell the difference between NH3 or NH4. The Seachem Alert Card can.

      I understand your pond has been working great for many years, but I think there are a number of things you could do to
      make it work better. Rocks on the bottom are always going to make debris removal more difficult. I'd remove them all.
      A retro bottom drain to a mechanical filter and to a dedicated bio filter I think could do wonders.
      --Steve
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      You have a beautiful pond.

      You can "create" ammonia in the water just by adding ammonium chloride or even bottled ammonia from the store.
      To get a really exact sample it's easier to use ammonium chloride and a 2 liter bottle of distilled water with 6.3 grams
      of ammonium chloride and it will give you a 1000 ppm solution. You can then dilute it to 1 ppm by adding 1 milliliter of the
      solution to 1 liter (actually to be exact it would be 999 ml ) of water. But I don't think you need that... so it's just fwiw.

      But again, if you add ammonia to your tap water and add water conditioner to it expecting it to show no "ammonia"
      I don't think it will. Even if the Aqua Extreme worked perfectly by ionizing ammonia from NH3 (dangerous) to NH4 (not dangerous),
      the API drip test will still show green because even though the NH3 has been converted to NH4 that is not going to hurt the fish, it
      will still test positive for ammonia. The API test can't tell the difference between NH3 or NH4. The Seachem Alert Card can.

      I understand your pond has been working great for many years, but I think there are a number of things you could do to
      make it work better. Rocks on the bottom are always going to make debris removal more difficult. I'd remove them all.
      A retro bottom drain to a mechanical filter and to a dedicated bio filter I think could do wonders.
      Thank you! Where in a pond would you place the Seachem Alert Card? 4 yrs ago we took a lot of the rocks out on the shelves and bottom. We still have some on the sides as they are part of the structure? You would take out everything on the shelves? I have been vacuuming the sludge up, but it seems to stir it more than suck it. Something this year is dropping my PH and causing ammonia. What would do that? Maybe I should add lava rock in the waterfall? I know I need more plants in there. But they just eat them and the floaters won't grow. Do you think it's safe to use a plant supplement such as Microbe Lift Bloom and Grow or would that raise ammonia and lower ph? I also use Clay, enzymes, and PL. I may have to add something today for the PH as it was lower yesterday.
      On the bottom drain, How do they work and could I hook it to the pressurized filter I have for the pvc spill out? Do they come different sizes and what position of the pond would it go in? I am going to charge my camera and try to get a video of the fish in a few, see if anyone think they are stressed and do my tests again. I will report back.
      Thank You
      Last edited by libralady; 6 Days Ago at 08:44 AM. Reason: Answered my own question

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      Quote Originally Posted by libralady View Post
      Thank you! Where in a pond would you place the Seachem Alert Card? 4 yrs ago we took a lot of the rocks out on the shelves and bottom. We still have some on the sides as they are part of the structure? You would take out everything on the shelves? I have been vacuuming the sludge up, but it seems to stir it more than suck it. Something this year is dropping my PH and causing ammonia. What would do that? Maybe I should add lava rock in the waterfall? I know I need more plants in there. But they just eat them and the floaters won't grow. Do you think it's safe to use a plant supplement such as Microbe Lift Bloom and Grow or would that raise ammonia and lower ph? I also use Clay, enzymes, and PL. I may have to add something today for the PH as it was lower yesterday.
      On the bottom drain, How do they work and could I hook it to the pressurized filter I have for the pvc spill out? Do they come different sizes and what position of the pond would it go in? I am going to charge my camera and try to get a video of the fish in a few, see if anyone think they are stressed and do my tests again. I will report back.
      Thank You
      I place my Seachem Alert Card in my skimmer box. Also wanted to say be careful raising your PH when you have ammonia in your pond. The higher your PH the more toxic your ammonia will be to your fish. Once you have used ammonia remover and only have NH4, then it would be safe.
      Nancy



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      And once you have the ammonia under control you can raise and stabilize the pH by adding baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
      You need to get a drip test for KH to know what yours is now and how much baking soda to add. When you've got that, here's
      a calculator to help figure how much to add:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calckh

      The KH should be in the range of 120-200 ppm. I've read that pressure filters need a higher KH to function well so
      I'd get it on the upper side of that range.
      --Steve
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      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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