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Chloramine is in the tap water in my county. It was said that it cannot be removed by letting the water sit, like with chlorine. What would be the best and easiest way to remove the chloramine. I have heard of vitamin C. Are there some other type of tabs or such that can be used?

 

Thanks a lot.

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The aquarium fish industry's chloramine removal device: Sodium Thiosulfate. You can buy it in crystal form and mix your own solution. To mix solution: 16oz Sodium Thiosulfate per gallon of distilled water. 1 cup of solution will treat 1000 gallons of water with chlorine/chloramine 2ppm. Adjust your mix appropriately to your water chemistry.

 

Change water, don't just add it. Remove 25% of your water and replace it with new, treated tap water. This will cut your ammonia and nitrite levels by a quarter. You can do this every 48 hours until your readings are 0ppm. Sustained low level exposure to fish of both ammonia and nitrite will deteriorate their health and will result in death. Water quality is essential for fish success. Fish success is essential for plant success. I wouldn't add more fish yet. You have a nitrification cycle happening, the presence of nitrate in your system is proof of that. But the culture is not yet large enough to process all of the waste that is being produced. I would wait on more fish until your ammonia and nitrite read 0ppm consistently for at least a week with no water changes. The water changes will remove your nitrates as well, but right now your water quality and fish health are more important than nutrient production. Be patient, let it cycle.



Adam Garrett-Clark said:

Thanks for that TCLynx,

I'm not sure if I'm still in the initial stages or not but, my water levels are really low right ow due to leaks and eaporation and I'm not sure if I should put more tap water in or keep hoping it'll rain soon. 

My system is about a month old. I cycled tap water for almost 3 weeks before I dropped fish in ( I do have chloramine in my water). With fish in its been about a month. Maybe 3 weeks actually. The majority of my first crop of goldfish accidentally got spun through the pump and out the otherside within the first couple days. So their bodies may have spiked the ammonia levels in the beginning. THe second batch of fish has steadily died off one by one, every couple days one fish will float to the top. I'm now down to 3-4 goldfish my ammonia and Nitrite levels are still at 0.225 ppm and the nitrate is at 5 ppm. And I recently started sprouting a bunch of snap peas inside the growbed. If I add tap water now will I screw things up? do you think I should add some more fish?

TCLynx said:

With Chlorine you can simply leave the water to off gas to get rid of it but that doesn't work with chloramine.  But in a well matured system adding up to 5% in top up water right from the tap isn't a bit deal.  It is only with a brand new system that adding treated water is going to be an issue.  Like if you have ammonia present in large amounts and you add a lot of chlorinated water you will wind up creating chloramine which will slow or stall the bacteria and take weeks to go away so during initial cycle up, make sure to deal with treated water properly or it could really mess you up.

thanks Tim. That helps a lot. 

One more question:

What should I do if the last 4 fish in my 55 gallon tank die? Would it be benificial to the nitrate culture to continue to let it cycle without fish? or should I add more fish at that moment? Or should I change the water and start again?

It is near impossible to cycle a system without fish in it. The reason being that there has to be a consistent supply of ammonia to feed the nitrosomonas bacteria. Once all of the ammonia is processed to nirite, with no fish present in the system, that culture begins to die (and it dies quickly). Water changes will reduce toxin levels and keep your fish alive while maintaining a constant flow to the biological filter/bacteria culture. Once your system is cycled completely, add fish slowly. The bacteria will grow to process the waste that is being produced, The larger your bacteria culture, the more waste is being processed, the more nutrient you are creating. The bacteria culture is the vital player in the system. If you upset your bacteria base, everything else in the system will suffer.

Also, increase aeration in your system if you have it (an air stone). Heavy aeration can help to degas the ammonia and nitrite and increase dissolved oxygen.

Adam, your ammonia and nitrite levels are so low... that they're not responsible for the deaths of your fish...

And water changing, while it will reduce them to zero... will also remove any nitrates available for the plants...

As Tim said... it will also basically stymie the nitrification... and upon reintroducing fish... you'll just have a "mini-cycle" take place anyway....

 

If your remaining fish die... you can keep your plants going with some seasol... and if you wish to bump the nitrifying bacterial colony.. then you can add some urea (small amounts), pure ammonia, or humonia... as per "fishless cycling)...

 

Sorry Tim... but "fishless cycling" is entirely possible... and often the preferred practice by many aquaponicists.. and aquaria, and pond peoples...

Cycling with fish is also possible, with regular testing, and controlled feeding....

 

If your remaining fish survive... then just add more fish back in... monitoring your ammonia and nitrites... and ceasing feeding if they spike...

 

Nitrites can be mitigated by salting to 1ppt....

I can only offer the information that has been presented to me from my teachers and through my experience. I have never met anyone in the fish industry who cycled a system with ammonia, urea, or anything of the like. The closest I've ever heard was the transfer of small portions of biological media from a cycled system to a new one. I have read about fishless cycling, I've just never tried it myself or come across anyone who has successfully done it. I will try it on my new system and hopefully have excellent results. In regard to water chemistry, any reading of ammonia or nitrite is harmful to the fish. Telling anyone that levels are acceptable is like saying that a little bit of acid rain won't do any harm. I may be new to aquaponics, but I am well versed in water quality and fish health. Ammonia at 0.1ppm will begin to burn the fish's gills, destroy the mucus membrane, and cause hemorrhaging (when fish look pink). Nitrite at 0.1 over a prolonged period will cause nitrite poisoning which can cause irreversible damage to the liver and/or suffocation because nitrite binds to the haemoglobin in the blood. Salting will buy you time because is inhibits osmosis from occurring at a normal rate through the fish's scales, but it is still being processed through the gills. Lower your levels and take your time. Once your system is cycled, nitrate production will not be a problem.

All in all, I guess my point is that the system shouldn't even be planted yet. First things first, get your cycle stable. Then add your plants. I know that everyone is all about trying to create a 'natural' system, but it isn't a natural system. It is based upon a natural system. I don't know of any natural environment where fish are populating a body of water at 1 fish per 10 gallons... or 100, or 1000 for that matter. These systems in nature are on a far larger scale than most of us would ever be able to produce. We use the idea and push it to its absolute limit. It isn't natural, but it is possible. And it does seem to be a healthier way to do it if you are willing to give equal importance and understanding to all of the components.

You're correct that even low levels of ammonia can become toxic to fish... at certain combinations of pH and water temperature...

 

And yes, prolonged exposure to nitrites can also be detremental, and eventually even fatal...

 

But the posters reading... < 0.225 ... are miniscule... and as he is nearing the point of being "cycled"... basically inconsequential...

 

You're also correct that "fishless cycling" is seldom utilised in aquaculture... but in kio pond (I should have stipulated), aquaria, and aquaponics... it more often than not is employed... in combination with seeding with biological media from an existing system...

 

Personally... I cycle with fish... from day one... and do so for all my clients... but I do so with knowledge...

 

I don't follow you regarding the the planting of plants though.... regardless of which method is employed to cycle... planting can commence immediately...

There's absolutely no reason not to do so... or at least none that I'm aware of...

 

And, yes.. stocking densities in AP are higher than in "natural" systems... and even low intensity naturally feed aquaculture...

 

But intensive aquaculture.. and RAS... often exceeds the "1 fish per 10 gallons" you quote...

 

I can't say that I qualify as a commercial or industrial Fish operation.  However, I've cycled several aquaponics systems.

I can say I will always prefer the fishless cycling method.  Trying to cycle with fish while also changing out water to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels reading 0, that has got to take a tremendous amount of water along with a huge amount of time.

Now using some already cycled media dose help big time.  But cycle up still takes some time no matter how you do it.  Using fishless cycling methods with urea, ammonia, humonia (pee) or whatever means you can let the ammonia and nitrite levels hang around at higher levels without killing any fish or needing to do lots of water changes that make it take much longer.  It is the low stress method (low stress for the fish who are not there and low stress for the person having to manage it.)

Even with fishless cycling up, one still needs to monitor water quality once fish are added to the system to make sure there are no spikes requiring water changes or feed modifications until the bacteria catch up.

I guess I should have clarified when I said 'fish industry'. I learned most of my aquarium and pond knowledge from koi distributors two decades ago. I don't know anything about commercial production of fish. I know a fair amount about koi, but as I just said, my information is dated. In addition, I don't believe that I quoted anything in my previous post. The 1 fish to 10 gallons was what I read was happening in aquaponic systems, not commercial fish production. Actually I have read AP stocking densities of 1/2lb of fish per gallon. I was taught that if you want to optimize growth for fish you stock as little as possible in as much water as possible. I understand trying to optimize production, but stocking densities like that sound an awful lot like factory farming.

The only reason I said to wait for planting was simple logic. It is easier to try to care for 5 living things in comparison to 50 living things. Putting the plants in the system right away is just another thing to look after. For someone who is new to the entire concept I can only imagine the increase in stress and confusion of wondering how each change is going to effect the other, what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong..... you get my point. Simplicity.

The crazy part is, I was just trying to help this guy save his fish. I know I have a lot to learn, which is a good part of why I am here, but if I feel that I can help I will always try to.

RupertofOZ said:

You're correct that even low levels of ammonia can become toxic to fish... at certain combinations of pH and water temperature...

 

And yes, prolonged exposure to nitrites can also be detremental, and eventually even fatal...

 

But the posters reading... < 0.225 ... are miniscule... and as he is nearing the point of being "cycled"... basically inconsequential...

 

You're also correct that "fishless cycling" is seldom utilised in aquaculture... but in kio pond (I should have stipulated), aquaria, and aquaponics... it more often than not is employed... in combination with seeding with biological media from an existing system...

 

Personally... I cycle with fish... from day one... and do so for all my clients... but I do so with knowledge...

 

I don't follow you regarding the the planting of plants though.... regardless of which method is employed to cycle... planting can commence immediately...

There's absolutely no reason not to do so... or at least none that I'm aware of...

 

And, yes.. stocking densities in AP are higher than in "natural" systems... and even low intensity naturally feed aquaculture...

 

But intensive aquaculture.. and RAS... often exceeds the "1 fish per 10 gallons" you quote...

 

And I really appreciate your help, Tim. Seriously thank you, Rupert and TCLynx, I really appreciate all of you guys weighing in. I'm learning a lot from all of these posts. Checked my levels today and I'm at 0.5 ppm ammonia, 2 ppm Nitrite, 10 ppm Nitrates and one more bloated floating fish. Not sure if I should have done this but I added a bit of tap water into the system, chlorine and all. I guess the consensus is that if the fish die, they wont have died in vain. Appreciate all the help.  

Ok... so you're a way from cycling yet.... just getting your nitrite spike...

 

Salt to 1ppt immediately, to mitigate against the nitrites (it may be too late, and the fish may have other issues)...

 

Don't feed... pump coniuously, and aerate as much as you can....

I should have mentioned that 10 days have passed in between the two water readings that I posted. I was assuming that I'm on the downward side of the Nitrite spike, would that make sense?

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