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[APD] Re: Ammona and Soil Substrates

Steven -

Many test kits measure both ammonia and ammonium. The conversion of one to
other wasn't really what I was getting at.

I think acid can react with something in the soil to release more NH3/NH4+.
I don't know if this is breaking stuff off of larger compounds, or having
hydrogen ions competing with ammonium for soil binding sites, or what. But
that's the only way I can explain the sudden presence of ammonia in my tank
just because I added some vinegar (which contains no nitrogen).

Incidentally, many cities add CO2 to tap water. I know many people whose
tap water pH goes up over a point if they aerate it for a while. CO2
treatment is a very effective way to reduce calcium carbonate deposits in
pipes, and it's not regulated as a contaminant.

However, if you've measured your pH recently and it's higher than your tank
pH, I agree that acid water can't be the problem.

While I don't understand the details well, I know that different ions
compete for the same binding sites on the soil. I wonder if your water now
contains some cation that displaces ammonium?

- Jim

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