Video:How to Test for Ammonia in Freshwater Aquariumswith Dan Thornton
Ammonia in your freshwater aquarium tank can be deadly to your fish, which is why testing the water is important. Watch this how-to video from About.com on how to test for ammonia in your home aquarium.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Test for Ammonia in Freshwater Aquariums
Hi, I am Dan Thornton, owner of Reef Encounters in Erie, Colorado and I am here today for About.com to talk about how to test for ammonia in fresh water aquariums.
Two Forms of Ammonia in Freshwater Tanks
Ammonia is going to exist in your aquarium in two forms, ammonia, or the unionized ammonia, and it is the unionized ammonia that is really the most dangerous. The shift between the two can go back an forth. The total ammonia can be more of either one, and the shift is mainly affected by the alkalinity of your aquariums. Tanks that are more acidic tend to tolerate higher ammonia levels than tanks that are more alkaline.
Testing for Ammonia in Freshwater Aquariums
Your test kit that you get, is only going to test for the total amount of ammonia. An aquarium that is established should not have any ammonia from a regular aquarium test kit. Sometimes, if you have just fed a lot of food you should see a tiny amount, but it should be gone within an hour, or two. Ammonia generally affects fish by damaging their gills in fresh water aquariums. It can cause death very quickly, and sometimes with fresh water fish, it does a small amount of damage, and they might not die overnight, or that day, but you may start to lose fish a couple of weeks later. Generally you are only going to see ammonia when you are first starting up your tank, or when you are trying to cycle your aquarium.
There are several different types of ammonia test kits, you have to read the instructions because each test kit is a little bit different. There is some that you use a dip stick that you dip inside the aquarium water. There is some that you use a test tube with a dip stick, some that you use a test tube with drops. With this one you have to shake the test tube though for a full minute. No ammonia. This was an established tank, so we won't see that. It's a good idea to keep track of your tests and keep a little log book.
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