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[APD] RE: Ammonia and Soil Substrates

Hopefully this will be my last post on this subject.

Rachel wrote:
> Steve Pituch has discovered that chloramine is responsible for fish deaths
> in a tank with soil based substrate. But on Jan 2 he posted:
> "As a control, I did the same water change on another tank that has a
> gravel/laterite substrate and the ammonia was zero after the water change.
> The fish were energized after the water change instead of distressed
> (dead)."

I based my statement on frustration and lack of knowledge. After putting up
with occasional problems like this for over a year, I guess I was desperate
for a solution.   The laterite based tank has been set up for about 6
months, while the soil substrate tank has been set up for two weeks.  I have
had problems with the laterite tank also as far as occasionally distressing
fish and killing them.  The only trend I was getting was that it happens
much more frequently in the winter, colder months.   I did have an ammonia
spike for a few days immediately after I setting up the soil based tank.
Again, I killed fish at that time.  I am used to waiting only a day before
introducing fish to a newly set up soil based tank.  This worked a few weeks
previous with the setting up of my 7.5 gallon bowfront with a soil
substrate, but it didn't work this time with the 125 gallon tank.

With the 125 gallon soil based tank the fish were healthy before the water
change and the ammonia reading was zero, and after the water change the
ammonia reading was positive, and the fish were sick.  With the laterite
tank the water change was performed on another day, and the ammonia readings
were both zero before and after the change.

Just now I took ammonia readings of both tanks and the tap water.  All three
readings were positive.  This doesn't correlate with my previous
experiences.  Although I was only using my cheap ammonia test kit for
zero/positive information,  I no longer consider the ammonia test kit

In addition I just performed a 50% water change on the 125 gallon soil based
tank.  I used 30 ml of Tetra Aqua - Aquasafe.  The fish were never fazed.
They kept eating throughout and after the water change, the first time I
have ever seen this behavior.

I hate having to admit to being so dense but when Roger Miller suggested
chloramines as the cause, being ignorant of the subject I did some research,
and my findings were confirmed by Wright Huntley's e-mail.

Believe it or not the same Corpus Christi LFS still sells the de-chlorinator
that doesn't sequester ammonia even though _they_ should know there are
chloramines in the water.  They also must sell a lot of fish.

So Rachel, the cause of my problem was due to my own ignorance and
chloramines in the water.  My previous hypothesis was incorrect.  I have
absolutely no factual information that suggests that my problem had anything
to do with the type of substrate in the tank.  Even the Subject line of this
e-mail is misleading and incorrect.  Just to think that I my original post
might have discouraged someone from trying a soil substrate upsets me.

It is a relief to not have to worry about killing the fish, and knowing I
can now just enjoy the tank.

Thanks to all,

Steve Pituch

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