pH and ammonia

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Hello!

I was wondering @Randy Holmes-Farley if you know at what pH would ammonia not cause an issue with a marine fish when shipping (in general as I know that not all marine fish are the same), and how fast this could be achieved? I would think it would take several hours for this to occur, if not a day.
 
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The question has no exact answer. Each lowering of pH reduces the portion of NH3, but, of course, how much that needs to be lowered requires knowing how much ammonia is added to the water during shipping, and exactly how sensitive the organisms present are to ammonia..
 
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The question has no exact answer. Each lowering of pH reduces the portion of NH3, but, of course, how much that needs to be lowered requires knowing how much ammonia is added to the water during shipping, and exactly how sensitive the organisms present are to ammonia..


Is there any information that you know of regarding levels of ammonium toxicity with marine fish? I know the salmon one you mention in your ammonia write up, but I was curious if you know any that give recommended numbers to stay under similar to how this one does for ammonia. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10499-015-9965-9?shared-article-renderer
 
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Is there any information that you know of regarding levels of ammonium toxicity with marine fish? I know the salmon one you mention in your ammonia write up, but I was curious if you know any that give recommended numbers to stay under similar to how this one does for ammonia. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10499-015-9965-9?shared-article-renderer

The article I linked gives my recommendation as well as that by other authors based on the type of data that is also in the article:

Ammonia Concentration Guidelines


Because ammonia's toxic effects appear at levels significantly below those that are acutely lethal (0.09 to 3.35 ppm NH3-N or 1.3 to 50 ppm total NH4-N at pH 8.2), and because some organisms in a reef aquarium may be more sensitive than the few organisms that have been carefully studied, it is prudent to err on the side of caution when deciding what concentrations of ammonia to allow in a reef aquarium or related system.

My suggestion is to take some sort of corrective action if the total ammonia rises above 0.1 ppm. This suggestion is also made by Stephen Spotte in his authoritative text, Captive Seawater Fishes.6 Values in excess of 0.25 ppm total ammonia may require immediate treatment, preferably involving removal of all delicate (ammonia sensitive) organisms from the water containing the ammonia. Some of the possible actions to take are detailed in the following sections listed below.
 

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Values in excess of 0.25 ppm total ammonia may require immediate treatment, preferably involving removal of all delicate (ammonia sensitive) organisms from the water containing the ammonia.

The complication is that the kits we have show all yellow as 0ppm and the first shade of green on the color cards is 0.2-0.25ppm. And so users interpret any visible green as ~0.2ppm when it's really not, and the detectable color change from yellow to something with a hint of green starts well below that.
Additionally, the total ammonia tests are also slightly sensitive to other forms of N (aminos etc).
Hence a bunch of people look at slight hints of green and decide it's unsafe, when it's really actually fine.
 
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The article I linked gives my recommendation as well as that by other authors based on the type of data that is also in the article:

Ammonia Concentration Guidelines


Because ammonia's toxic effects appear at levels significantly below those that are acutely lethal (0.09 to 3.35 ppm NH3-N or 1.3 to 50 ppm total NH4-N at pH 8.2), and because some organisms in a reef aquarium may be more sensitive than the few organisms that have been carefully studied, it is prudent to err on the side of caution when deciding what concentrations of ammonia to allow in a reef aquarium or related system.

My suggestion is to take some sort of corrective action if the total ammonia rises above 0.1 ppm. This suggestion is also made by Stephen Spotte in his authoritative text, Captive Seawater Fishes.6 Values in excess of 0.25 ppm total ammonia may require immediate treatment, preferably involving removal of all delicate (ammonia sensitive) organisms from the water containing the ammonia. Some of the possible actions to take are detailed in the following sections listed below.


I guess it would be rather hard to test just ammonium especially in shipping bags too. I don't currently have access to any test kit that would only measure ammonium.
 

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I guess it would be rather hard to test just ammonium especially in shipping bags too. I don't currently have access to any test kit that would only measure ammonium.

No need. Total ammonia is always a fine test, then measure pH to get free ammonia or ammonium.
 
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No need. Total ammonia is always a fine test, then measure pH to get free ammonia or ammonium.


This would questions stems from a small debate whereby another said that fish could have died from opening a the bag the fish was in from the lfs (for 45 mins) and slowly adding tank water as the ammonium would rapidly become ammonia. I was thinking that the amount of ammonium that the pH would not have dropped that fast to where a deadly amount of ammonium to ammonia would have killed the fish. I wouldn't think that pH would have dropped that fast in 45 minutes to where ammonia would not be a concern in the bag but a concern once opened
 

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This would questions stems from a small debate whereby another said that fish could have died from opening a the bag the fish was in from the lfs (for 45 mins) and slowly adding tank water as the ammonium would rapidly become ammonia. I was thinking that the amount of ammonium that the pH would not have dropped that fast to where a deadly amount of ammonium to ammonia would have killed the fish. I wouldn't think that pH would have dropped that fast in 45 minutes to where ammonia would not be a concern in the bag but a concern once opened

I think in 45 min, this is not a very likely concern. I doubt enough ammonia gets generated.

In overnight shipping, the pH drop may provide an important buffer against rising ammonia levels.
 

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