The Secret On How To Test Ammonia in Water Without a Test Kit!

Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by

Do you want to know how to test ammonia in water without a test kit?  Well, you’ve come to the perfect article to teach you!  Ammonia levels are something every aquaponics keeper should know about.  

If your ammonia levels exceed a certain reading, the life of all your fish is threatened.  This is why they have designed special test kits to monitor the presence of ammonia in your tank.  However, there is a way to test ammonia in water without a test kit. 

We will teach you how to do it here.  

Technically, any readable measurement of ammonia is considered dangerous for your fish tank.  When you use a test kit and get a reading of about 0 mg/l, you need to clean out your tank.  Of course, the best way to keep ammonia levels in check is to keep a very clean and balanced tank.

This article will overview the top techniques for keeping ammonia out of your tank.  It will also teach you how to test ammonia in water without a test kit.  However, if you can afford to buy a test kit, it is the most accurate option for understanding your ammonia levels.

Keep reading to learn all this important information to make your fish tank a success! 

How Can I Detect The Presence Of Ammonia in My Tank?

The best way to manage every fish tank is to carefully observe the environment on a daily basis.  This will allow you to notice any changes in the tank’s ecosystem and fish’s behavior.  If you watch your fish every day, you will be able to easily detect if something changes.

Nitrites and Ammonia occur when organic particles decompose in the tank water.  The organic material can come from plant pieces, fish excretion, or uneaten food left in the tank to rot.  When the organic material is not processed by beneficial bacteria, it is in the form of ammonia. 

Ammonia is toxic to all living things. Once it breaks down, the Ammonia turns into Nitrite. Nitrite is harmless to your tank.  However, if it remains in the form of ammonia, your fish will die.

This is why we need to be sure to manage the ammonia levels in your tank.  

If you want to test ammonia in water without a test kit, you need to simply look at your tank.  If you notice certain characteristics in your fish, it is a likely sign that you have ammonia in your tank.  Some things to look for are loss of appetite, lethargy, any kind of damage to the gills, or signs of stress. 

How Can I Detect The Presence Of Ammonia In My Tank

Learn more about: How To Use An Api Ammonia Test Chart

Often when there is too much ammonia in the tank, the fish will sink and stay at the bottom.  If you don’t notice your fish swimming around with a lot of energy, this could be an ammonia sign. 

The longer you leave ammonia in your tank without taking action, the worse the symptoms in your fish will become.  Sadly, this will eventually lead to death if you don’t do anything to fix the issue. 

How Can I Reduce Ammonia From My Tank Water Naturally?

The best way to remove or reduce ammonia in your tank is to take out the water and replace it with clean water.  Since the ammonia builds up inside your water, the fastest way is to simply take the dirty water out.   This is especially important to do if you have a serious ammonia problem.  

If you think the ammonia issue is mild, you can try to filter and cycle your water with beneficial bacteria. The bacteria will consume the nitrate and convert it into nitrite which is ok for your tank.  

In the future, be sure to not overfeed your fish because this is one of the main causes of ammonia in your tank.  According to the API Ammonia Test Kit Manual, “Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water.” Also, remember that fish feces contain some level of ammonia. 

However, if you have a properly working filter, it should be enough to keep ammonia levels in check.  The main issue comes in when you have an abundance of organic material left to decompose in your tank.  If you avoid this, then you should never have an ammonia problem.  

Overall, the best way to test ammonia in water without a test kit is to observe your fish to see if they display any of the aforementioned symptoms.

If you really want to know the exact ammonia levels, you will need to use a test kit.  They are available in any aquarium store.  But, if you notice any lethargy in your fish you can assume that there is ammonia present.  

Respect your fish and keep a clean ecosystem for them to be happy!  Good luck.  Feel free to comment and ask questions below!

Read more about: Does Ammonia Kill Plants


How can I test my water for ammonia at home?

The most accurate and best way to test your water at home is to use an API ammonia test kit. These kits are ready to use and available at any aquarium store. To use it, you simply need to take a 5ml water sample and drop 5 drops of the tester liquid inside. Then you need to compare the color of the water to the chart that comes with the kit. It will tell you if any presence of ammonia is detected in your tank. Try to test your tank on a weekly basis to prevent any major ammonia build ups from occurring.

How do I know if there is ammonia in my water?

One way to know if ammonia is in your water is if you notice any strange behavior in your fish. This includes lethargy, lack of appetite, fish floating at the bottom, or strange marks or discoloration on the gills. If you notice any of these, take action immediately.

How do you remove ammonia from water naturally?

The best way to remove ammonia from water naturally is to remove all the water from your tank and replace it with new water. Remember to always pay attention to the water source.

How do I know if my aquarium ammonia is high?

The best way to know if your ammonia level is high is if your fish are not as active as usual or if they stop eating. Another way is if your fish float at the bottom of the tank and do not move around.

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