Relentless Ammonia!

For awhile now, my water tests have been coming out consistent so I haven’t been testing it frequently. I did a 20% water change a little over a week ago and the following Monday, started my goldfishes on a new diet ( When I tested the water on Wednesday, I got ammonia readings of 1.0 ppm. This is strange because my tank is cycled and the only thing I should be seeing is a rise in nitrates. I immediately attributed the ammonia reading to the new diet. Blood worms and brine shrimps get pretty messy so I’m not surprised that it would pollute my water.

I immediately did a 10% water change. The next day, I tested the water and got the same results so I did another 10% water change. On Friday, the ammonia was still reading 1.0 ppm. So, I did a 30% water change. Saturday I fast my fishes so I’m hoping that would help with any ammonia issues. I was wrong! Sunday I got the same reading so I did another 10% water change and today when I tested it, it looked a little higher than 1.0 ppm. So… I did a 20% water change. I’ve been doing small water changes every day and nothing is bringing the Ammonia levels down!

I started to feel defeated and was worried about what would happen to Zoro, Nana, and Freddy when Chae and I leave for our ski trip. I won’t be here to do water changes! I’m grateful that my brother agreed to feed them while we’re gone, but asking him to also do a water change is a bit much! I had imagined the horrifying call I’d get from my brother when he discovers them belly up, “I’m sorry Kim, they’ve gone to Fishy Heaven.” 😦

API Products

I’m not sure what prompted this, but I decided to do a water test on my tap water. More specifically, my tap water that has been conditioned with API Stress Coat+ and a tablespoon of Aquarium Salt (in 5 gallons of water). I also did a water test on the water from our RO filter.


The results SHOCKED me. The test tube on the left is my conditioned tap water and the test tube on the right is water from our RO filter. Our tap water contains ammonia. At least I know that our RO filter removes ammonia. So, mystery solved! The reason why I wasn’t able to get the ammonia readings to go down was because I was putting ammonia back into my tank! I’m still a little mortified as I’m writing this post.

When we first set up our fish tank, I tested our tap water and only trace amounts of ammonia showed up. The results were very similar to the RO water. Our RO filtered water comes out of a small spout and it takes a really long time to fill up a 5 gallon bucket. It also gets extremely hot after about 5 minutes (or less). Since the readings were coming out similar to tap water, I decided to use tap water. Tap water comes out of the faucet much faster and the water stays cool the entire time.

If you look at the photo below, the spout to the right is our RO filtered water. Just to give you an idea as to where it’s located and what it looks like 🙂


It looks like I’ll be doing a fairly large water change tomorrow. I have one 5 gallon bucket filled with RO water that I hope cools by the time I do the water change. I’ll have to pick up some distilled water from the store tomorrow. I hope I can improve the water quality before leaving for the ski trip.