Ammonia in INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS

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First off, I'll just say I'm one sad fish dad. One by one my fish and corals are dying. It's my first reef and my 5 fish were buddies for 2 years. Not a single death until this week.

INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS crashed my reef with ammonia. I didn't believe it at first but the tests feel conclusive.

The picture with 2 tubes:
Left: RODI+salt mix (from a pitcher of water with a drop of AmmoLock)
Right: RODI+salt mix

The picture with 1 tube:
Just RODI

Is it in my bucket? Nope, I tested it with a clean pitcher, exact same result. Nothing else touches the water prior to testing.

I have 2 boxes of mix that were ordered several months apart. One brand new, the other about 4 months old. They BOTH produced the same result (as seen in the pic).

All of the tests were done to water that was tank-ready, salinity and temp on par. I'm happy I didn't dump it into the tank but that also mean I'm just letting it die until I get new salt first thing tomorrow. I really hope AmmoLock and bacteria additives can save what little is left (1 clown and a few frags).

My tank is currently testing better than the right tube and worse than the left (forgot to take a photo but it's somewhat irrelevant in this thread).

My question is, how is it possible INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS could produce 0.7ppm ammonia seawater? They're just selling poison? Is that not the point when doing a water change, to remove bad stuff while introducing good stuff?

It was traumatic to watch it crash after enjoying it to the max, stuck in a small apartment downtown during a pandemic. However I realize other reefers have incurred much bigger losses and my heart goes out to anyone who has to go through it.

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Lowell Lemon

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Suggested chain of events given the OP's statements.

1. Rise in temp recorded. This does lead to lower oxygen in the seawater. Not sure the level recorded is high enough to be a factor. It can cause an increase in protozoa that live on all fish which can become pathogenic.
2. Tang distressed and breathing hard. Lower oxygen level could lead to death in a compromised fish.
3. Dead fish raises ammonia level starts a cascade of other fish and invert deaths. Levels increase.
4. Live rock removed and sand stirred. Possibly leading to a lower ability to process ammonia from dying fish and inverts. Increases the cascade instead of converting waste.
5. Uses fresh saltwater mix immediately which can prevent off gassing and stability of the mix. 70% water change was it?

Not sure if I have the sequence right but from this outline you can see a possible cascade of events that could have accelerated the loss instead of slowing the loss rate. This reminds me nothing good happens in hurry. It is a good reminder to work the problem first before reacting. Lower the temperature and increase oxygen to buy time to study the problem. Then proceed in a slower controlled manner. Try to think of the synergy of the many players in the system. Fish, bacteria, corals, inverts, live rock, all have a place in that ecosystem.
 
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MnFish1

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This has literally become a 'joke thread' IMHO. Every piece of advice has been met with some reason why it is not correct. The entire thing entirely - looking at a supposed 2 year old tank with clean sand and clean rock and 4 frags - also suggests the same. I would hope this thread would be closed @revhtree because every possible advice has been given to the OP. AFAIK. This is Turing into a repetitive non-helpful mess..
 
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Your results will have a lot more validity if you use a test that isn't API. The API ammonia test is notorious for reading ammonia present when it isnt.
I also understand that can be the case, however the tank crash and death seems to confirm it for me. It's also the same test kit I've used for almost 2 years while everything was healthy and the tests showed only a tiny hint of ammonia. Nitrites are testing almost zero and ammonia remains at about 0.5 in my tank. A 70% water change last night (hoping to get out the ammonia) caused more death. Dosing AmmoLock wakes up the dying fish for several hours and seems to wear off and they go back to looking terrible.

However I will get a different kit to confirm. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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While I agree that API isn't the most solid test your tested ammonia seems much much darker than tests I have done. Can you smell the ammonia in the mixed water or salt itself?

I would run through the standard checks and make sure its no something else. Voltage, contaminates, ect and def get it checked with a reputable test kit. Going to tag a few people to see what they think.

@Randy Holmes-Farley @brandon429
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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I would also dose prime, add air and fine some premixed SW (not from the store you bought it)
Contact IO with the lot number and cross post it here.

Crazy... Never heard about ammonia contaminates but it seems you got a very bad batch... Sorry for your losses.
 
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While I agree that API isn't the most solid test your tested ammonia seems much much darker than tests I have done. Can you smell the ammonia in the mixed water or salt itself?

I would run through the standard checks and make sure its no something else. Voltage, contaminates, ect and def get it checked with a reputable test kit. Going to tag a few people to see what they think.

@Randy Holmes-Farley @brandon429
Can voltage cause ammonia? Contaminates...I'm going to do an inspection, however the only possible contamination in my new seawater is the container, which I've rule out (the tests were not from my tank). I use a typical white bucket and also tested in a clean container that I've never used before.
I really appreciate you putting the word out.
 
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Azedenkae

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The API ammonia test kit only really make 'false readings' up to 0.25ppm, and given that you got different colors for RODI vs. your salt mix, I think it is very clear there is ammonia in the salt. D:

Man sorry to hear, but also, that's pretty concerning.

For now, best thing is to dose Prime if you can. Especially if you end up still having to do water changes with that salt.
 
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The API ammonia test kit only really make 'false readings' up to 0.25ppm, and given that you got different colors for RODI vs. your salt mix, I think it is very clear there is ammonia in the salt. D:

Man sorry to hear, but also, that's pretty concerning.
Part of me hopes it's confirmed bad salt so I can forgive myself for the tank crashing. I'll bring a cup of freshly mixed seawater to the lfs tomorrow when I buy a different brand mix for testing.

I'm dosing AmmoLock, prime and a lot of bacteria. I can literally see the tank perk up for a few hours each dose. I know I'm overdosing but I have no way to remove the ammonia and it's probably 70% dead already. Everything dead is being removed immediately and overall the tank is very clean.
 
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Azedenkae

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Part of me hopes it's confirmed bad salt so I can forgive myself for the tank crashing. I'll bring a cup of freshly mixed seawater to the lfs tomorrow when I buy a different brand mix for testing.
Yeah have your LFS test it as well. While we wait for the test results from the LFS, what you can do is to mix some water with 3x the amount of salt. That way you have a solution with 3x the amount of ammonia, which should read 6x more than what you have. It does not have to be 3x, but presuming you measured around 0.7ppm, 3x would be around 2ppm, which should be a color relatively easy to see on the ammonia color chart. See how that goes.
 
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Suohhen

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The latest batch of Reef Crystal's I used definitely smelled like ammonia. Sorry this happened to you. Stuck in your apartment watching everything die trying to do what you can only to find out it is the salt. I appreciate you trying to be diplomatic about it but dang.
 
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Yeah have your LFS test it as well. While we wait for the test results from the LFS, what you can do is to mix some water with 3x the amount of salt. That way you have a solution with 3x the amount of ammonia, which should read 6x more than what you have. It does not have to be 3x, but presuming you measured around 0.7ppm, 3x would be around 2ppm, which should be a color relatively easy to see on the ammonia color chart. See how that goes.
That's some good science right there! I'll do it right now.
 
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Sarcazian

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Pretty crazy and is there any chance that your water had the ammonia in it?

I know that my local water has low TDS, but an insane amount of chlorine and ammonia in it. I normally only smell the ammonia once a good portion of the chlorine has been removed from things like a brita (wouldn't drink that water...) or the shower filter (aquasana).

My RC always smells the same and I just opened a new 5g pal a week ago.
 
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Pretty crazy and is there any chance that your water had the ammonia in it?

I know that my local water has low TDS, but an insane amount of chlorine and ammonia in it. I normally only smell the ammonia once a good portion of the chlorine has been removed from things like a brita (wouldn't drink that water...) or the shower filter (aquasana).

My RC always smells the same and I just opened a new 5g pal a week ago.
I don't believe that's the case. One of the pics shows no ammonia in the RODI and my cichlids are doing fantastic while both my saltwater tanks have ammonia.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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Reduce salinity slowly. Voltage can likely be crossed off the list but other contaminates are likely. I would run some media like carbon or polyfilter in addition.

Binding the ammonia can buy you some time but I would get some other salt ASAP and 100% WC. This is one of those odd ball issues that is 100% not on you. Fight like hell for reimbursement as they will likely only offer to replace the salt. Document losses, average price for livestock and be calm when talking to customer service.
 
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Yeah have your LFS test it as well. While we wait for the test results from the LFS, what you can do is to mix some water with 3x the amount of salt. That way you have a solution with 3x the amount of ammonia, which should read 6x more than what you have. It does not have to be 3x, but presuming you measured around 0.7ppm, 3x would be around 2ppm, which should be a color relatively easy to see on the ammonia color chart. See how that goes.
I tried the 3x test but it was inconclusive. The tube with 3x turned bright white. Definitely worth a shot. My guess is the kit assumes you're testing within aquarium safe SG.
 
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