Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #233

> > It is possible that your water is treated with chloramine rather than 
> > chlorine.  In this case, the dechlorinator will break the chlorine-ammonia
> > bond and you will have ammonia in the water.  This will eventually be
> > converted to nitrates by your bio-filter.  However, before that it will
> > stress your plants and your fish, neither of which can handle free ammonia.
> > 
> Hmmm... I disagree slightly with this suggestion. I would suggest purchasing
> a chloramine test kit FIRST. You may find the amounts of chloramine present
> in your water to be negligible. I found none in my tap water and almost no
> chlorine however, the water here is not typical of water elsewhere. I don't
> know the correct procedure for dealing with chloramine as far as plants are
> concerned however, ammonia is GOOD for plants in that it provides the
> ammonium ion at medium to low pH (why pH should not be high in plant tanks).

Hello Steve:

The chloramine test is a bit pricey.  However, a phone call to your water
utility chemistry department will quickly confirm whether chloramine is
being used.

As I said, neither plants nor fish will handle free ammonia(NH3). Some (not all)
plants will utilize the ionized form (ammonium=NH4+).  Fish do not tolerate 
ammonium either, however.

> I don't know what Amquel will do so I would be very leery of adding this. 
 Amquel will react with the ammonia after breaking the chlorine bond and
 produce a stable polymeric compound with the ammonia.  Kordon will be
 glad to send you a "white paper" if you are interested in the chemistry.  

 Also, the compound will still be used by the nitrifying bacteria and result
 in nitrates. 

 I am also leery about chemicals, in general, but this one is mostly 

 I'm sure there are other commercial preparations which perform similarly.

> Perhaps there is some treatment that can be performed on chloramine water 
> BEFORE you add it to a tank such as aging it one or two days. 

Chloramine is extremely stable and will not dissipate to any extent in one 
or two days.  This is one reason why it is used in water treatment.

> Even better 
> would be to use rain water, distilled water or water from an RO unit. 
In many parts of the US, rainwater is not suitable for aquariums due to 

> Anyone with practical experience in dealing with chloramine?

It is tough to deal with because the only cheap approach is 
convert it to chlorine plus free ammonia. The chlorine is easily removed,
but the ammonia isn't except to be eventually converted to nitrates
which can cause problems with algae. 

* Nick LaRocca		  	e-mail:	nickl at css_sed.monmouth.army.mil	*