Is Zero Ammonia Really Possible?

Rovert

Premium Member
I just placed an order with IPSF and after clicking the button noticed their guidelines are ammonia/nitrite need to be zero. Been seeing a number of posts suggesting here and elsewhere that zero ammonia is not only nearly impossible to achieve (if you have any marine life at all) but not even desirable. Anyone care to opine?
 

GimpyFin

Active member
To me, even a little ammonia hanging around would not be desirable. Corals can tolerate it a little better than fishies, but as long as your bio filter is adequate, ammonia should get broken down as it's produced.
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
What @reefing102 said is correct. Ammonia is always produced, it's just rapidly converted.

I've been dosing ammonia (just a few drops each morning) for about 6 weeks now in my 50 gallon frag tank instead of dosing nitrate. I don't have any fish but the corals appear to love it and all my cuc are as happy as ever. My ORP went from 250 to constantly over 400 but I don't understand the connection other than to think that ammonia is food for something good since ammonia itself is supposed to lower ORP.
 

HumbleFish

Dr. Fish
Premium Member
I think many systems experience brief spikes of very low ammonia, before it gets converted to nitrite --> nitrate
 

Rovert

Premium Member
OK, so if prevailing thought is that some ammonia serves a positive biological function, what level (in ppm) would y'all say is acceptable?
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
OK, so if prevailing thought is that some ammonia serves a positive biological function, what level (in ppm) would y'all say is acceptable?

In a mature system the only way you would have measurable ammonia is if it exceeded the capacity of your biological filter in the moment you tested it. In other words it would be a moving target. Having said that, I would think 100ppb (.1ppm) would be safe as a guess but trying to maintain a positive ammonia reading would ultimately be damaging to live stock and not a good idea.
 

Genetics

Hands deep in water
Team RC
Premium Member
For all reasonable measuring devices in this hobby ammonia and nitrite should be undetectable. Either you set up a new tank recently or you have something dying off in the tank where the nitrifying bacteria haven’t yet compensated for. Third option is test kit is bad or contaminated.
 

Rovert

Premium Member
For all reasonable measuring devices in this hobby ammonia and nitrite should be undetectable. Either you set up a new tank recently or you have something dying off in the tank where the nitrifying bacteria haven’t yet compensated for. Third option is test kit is bad or contaminated.
The fourth option: I have a Seneye probe that measures NH3 to 3 digits accuracy. ;-)
 
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