100% Water Change

jackalexander

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So in my previous thread, I had an ammonia issue that was out of hand. As suggested, I did a 100% WC and now i’m wondering when I should start adding fish back. If anyone has suggestions, let me know!
 
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brandon429

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The only way we can reliably use API, Red Sea, and even Salifert and Nyos ammonia test kits is to arrange a three-part reading below, to show motion vs the classic "zero" ammonia which doesnt occur in reefing. Updated $300 seneye kits show active nh3 ammonia at all times; in the thousandths ppm as the unifying theme in posts. these testers above cannot read like that, their ideal is set to zero when indeed .00x is the real reading.


they overreport in the majority of cases

you have to use math charts to discern nh3 from them (the only parameter we need to know in reef tank cycling is nh3 control) but that doesnt matter we have an easier way where all the common ammonia test kits as they read can be used to reliably cycle a tank and pick a safe start date based on proof.


1. when you think a tank has been cycled, and you haven't dosed ammonia in a while, if your ammonia reads low range to any degree, take the first picture of that reading. If your ammonia is reading very high range at the time of assessment, change out all or most of your cycling water, you want only a light degree of ammonia indicated by the tester for picture #1 of a three-part picture set of oxidation motion. After your water change, take picture #1 we are going to boost up over that, then come back down to that level as cycle proofing.

2. add liquid cycling ammonia to the reef water a few drops at a time, wait 5 mins and test, until you drive up the color from pic one to the next bare degree you can discern up. specifically do not make the vial turn dark green. its your original color, up just one tiny increment of light green, the least you can drive it up to be different than pic #1. Take the second picture of that reading, of the three-part series.


3. post a third ammonia measurement pic in 24 hours, if it matches pic 1 you are cycled and if it doesnt, wait longer before fish. the motion of the changing ammonia proves the cycle, not a zero reading. that's the right way to use non seneye testers. We see some motions down take 48 hours this too is max time allowed, no movement after 2 days = not ready yet
 
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Jon Malkerson

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I heard in one of Dr. Tim’s video that different bacteria will grow at high levels of ammonia than what we want in a reef tank. I’m not sure how to solve that problem or if it can fix its self?
 
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jackalexander

jackalexander

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Jack the only way you are going to get a hold of your tank is to choose one persons method and not blend it with others. Sampling for popular ideas on cycling will have you waiting weeks for something you can use to move forward because the hobby is in a new phase of cycling rules and few have a clear direction ready

which is not all bad, with weeks more wait it will be uber - ready. waiting never hurt anyone but I know it will get you honked at in the chick fil a line. where everybody is supposed to be nice.

we never heard back from you in our stuck cycle thread, I think your tank would be easy to fix up.

*we listed a way you can proof your cycle before adding the fish back, using your api kit. no guessing required. after the water change you'd take ammonia reading before adding anything else and post pic 1

then add liquid cycling ammonia a few drops at a time, wait 5 mins and test, until you drive up the color from pic one to the next bare degree you can discern up. specifically do not make the vial turn green. its your original color, up just one tiny increment of light green

then post the second pic of the slight increase sample reading.

post a third pic in 24 hours, if it matches pic 1 you are cycled and if it doesnt, wait longer before fish. the motion of the changing ammonia proves the cycle, not a zero reading. that's the right way to use api.
Will do, add the liquid cycling ammonia directly to the tank?
 

brandon429

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yes but only w no fish in it

if the fish is there, he's your confirmation and would be burned by adding more ammonia. if he's there swimming after a full water change, or even before one, you are fine and can just proceed on.

if no fish you'd add the ammonia a few drops at a time into the tank yes, then wait about 5 mins as it mixes and take a new reading for pic 2

only when it goes up just barely, snap that picture of it and we can see if it moves down tomorrow or by next day latest, allowing red sea or api 48 hours to indication motion down is also acceptable
 
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jackalexander

jackalexander

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yes but only w no fish in it

if the fish is there, he's your confirmation and would be burned by adding more ammonia. if he's there swimming after a full water change, or even before one, you are fine and can just proceed on.

if no fish you'd add the ammonia a few drops at a time into the tank yes, then wait about 5 mins as it mixes and take a new reading for pic 2

only when it goes up just barely, snap that picture of it and we can see if it moves down tomorrow or by next day latest, allowing red sea or api 48 hours to indication motion down is also acceptable
34E07A73-E289-49E5-95A7-2756A094F3B2.jpeg

These are my results, first time testing in 24hrs after full WC
 

adobo

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I heard in one of Dr. Tim’s video that different bacteria will grow at high levels of ammonia than what we want in a reef tank. I’m not sure how to solve that problem or if it can fix its self?

I think the Dr Tim's video was referring to the nitrifying bacteria that is found in sewage treatment plants. I think that is orders of magnitude different in terms of levels of ammonia.

I am not giving you personal knowledge of how the stuff works - only parroting what I recall from the Dr. Tim's videos:
If your ammonia levels exceed 5ppm, it can stifle the cycling process. The recommendation at that point is to do water changes to get the levels back to 2ppm. After that, you wait.
 
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brandon429

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That appears as .5 ammonia but we know it’s not, you just changed the water. Perfect illustration of api over read. Even if fish is in the tank, you don’t have ammonia above thousandths ppm. whats keeping it from rising to lethal levels is bacteria on the rocks
 
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jackalexander

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That appears as .5 ammonia but we know it’s not, you just changed the water. Perfect illustration of api over read. Even if fish is in the tank, you don’t have ammonia above thousandths ppm. whats keeping it from rising to lethal levels is bacteria on the rocks


The other two params aren’t helpful to know for the same reasons, accuracy

but with pics 2 and 3 and a day or two we will be able to use api to show motion or none. If your fish is in the tank then we would not do the three picture verification. The living fish is the proof the tank is fine, not the testers that give wrong readings.

if no fish is present, then the motion up/down of the ammonia alone will proof the cycle.
So I should add just a few drops of ammonia and wait 5 minutes, test again and send a picture of the results?
 

brandon429

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we would do those steps above knowing the fish isnt in the tank from post #4 its the best way


nice thread, you are on your way to clearly discerning the cycle status. gotta get pic #2 just lightly deeper green on the ammonia kit than above but not hard green or we'll have to wait until monday to see something

by changing out your water, you removed any suspended bottle bac from the water column floating around, and are now actually testing only the bioslicks attached to your rocks, the real filter.
 
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Fritz

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Send that 2nd pic once you can discern a color difference from your first pic. Your first pic is your baseline. Your 2nd pic will show known elevated levels of ammonia, because you added it yourself. 24 hrs later your 3rd pic will either look like your baseline 1st pic, meaning the ammonia from the 2nd pic has been processed or it will still look like your 2nd, elevated ammonia pic, meaning you aren't cycled quite yet.

This is simply brilliant btw. Haven't seen you post this method before Brandon, maybe I missed it or did you just figure it out?
 
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jackalexander

jackalexander

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Send that 2nd pic once you can discern a color difference from your first pic. Your first pic is your baseline. Your 2nd pic will show known elevated levels of ammonia, because you added it yourself. 24 hrs later your 3rd pic will either look like your baseline 1st pic, meaning the ammonia from the 2nd pic has been processed or it will still look like your 2nd, elevated ammonia pic, meaning you aren't cycled quite yet.

This is simply brilliant btw. Haven't seen you post this method before Brandon, maybe I missed it or did you just figure it out?
okay awesome, thank you for the much needed advice. I will go ahead and try to get the ammonia levels slightly up and send a picture!
 
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jackalexander

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we would do those steps above knowing the fish isnt in the tank from post #4 its the best way

you would only post pic #2 if it meets the change criteria from that post, it might take a couple rounds to get the tester up a bit before you take the second pic

nice thread, you are on your way to clearly discerning the cycle status. gotta get pic #2 just lightly deeper green on the ammonia kit than above but not hard green or we'll have to wait until monday to see something

by changing out your water, you removed any suspended bottle bac from the water column floating around, and are now actually testing only the bioslicks attached to your rocks, the real filter.
will do, I will send the 2nd picture ASAP.
 

brandon429

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this will be very helpful for others to see, a clear calibrated test set. I dont recall one with such clear pics as we have so far. nice one, very helpful to see how to get API to work
 
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jackalexander

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this will be very helpful for others to see, a clear calibrated test set. I dont recall one with such clear pics as we have so far. nice one, very helpful to see how to get API to work
3FB22508-74FA-4E73-9493-9DFFD4DDCBF1.jpeg

It’s dark out so it’s hard to get a good image but I was able to raise my ammonia to about 1-2ppm. It took a few tries.
 
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