Ammonia in INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS

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allsite

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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.

168426979_3789554974446868_3184096659993372410_n.png 169469175_943549413142283_754375814307983494_n.png
 

HuneyBear

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I had to stop even reading this thread at around page 6 because it’s just a self love fest reminiscent of RC. I can’t believe that this site is becoming RC 2.0 more and more by the day. OP I’m sorry to hear all of this and I refuse to read anymore to see what came of it.
 
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davidcalgary29

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Yes, just pointing out the absurdity of claiming what organisms can and cannot survive ammonia spikes as denial of its presence. A large and varied numbered of inverts rode that wave.

Best of luck to @allsite it's unfortunate how quickly things can go sideways in this hobby.
I cycled an IM40 Nuvo Fusion last December using QuikCykl ammonia as instructed (80 drops in total). I also used about 15 lbs of live rock. I didn't know it at the time, but a cerith snail hitchhiked in on one of the pieces, and just motored through that month-long cycle. I was at the maximal ammonia reading of 2 ppm for most of the period with my Red Sea kit (two of them, both newly purchased), and I'm sure that, at some point, it was much higher than that. A bunch of stuff (mostly pods and bristleworms) did fall off of the rocks and die, though.
 
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Cory

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I see a swing arm hydrometer. Id be suspicious of how much salt you added. That could also kill things quickly. Swing arms can be off. Use a refractometer or tropic marine floating hydrometer with a thermometer to measure salinity.

Also id like to see a nitritie and nitrate test to verify that high ammonia caused this. It will be elevated due to bacterial processes.
 
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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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allsite

allsite

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The evidence:
1. Rapid death of most fish
2. corals looking bad and zoas appear wiped out
3. Anemone is alive but tiny, unhappy at the bottom of the tank
4. Ammonia badge is detecting ammonia at the "alert" level, the first indication above clear
5. clown, the only remaining fish, is breathing very heavy, barely holding on
6. My API test kit appears to read higher and higher levels of ammonia from the same source of mix (junk)
7. My API test kit read VERY high ammonia at the time my fish died (8ppm) and now reads lower .7ppm (junk?)

Per my API test kit:
ph 8.2, ammonia .7ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate (almost zero), temp 79

I'm perplexed. I plan to just keep changing water until my new test kits arrive while dosing Prime. Hopefully tomorrow. Any suggestions for how I can turn the corner is appreciated.
 
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allsite

allsite

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I see a swing arm hydrometer. Id be suspicious of how much salt you added. That could also kill things quickly. Swing arms can be off. Use a refractometer or tropic marine floating hydrometer with a thermometer to measure salinity.

Also id like to see a nitritie and nitrate test to verify that high ammonia caused this. It will be elevated due to bacterial processes.
This is good advice. I order a refractometer and calibration solution. It will be here tomorrow.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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nice analysis

sliced any way we like it, this is one heck of a polarized thread. literally all causatives and all sides debated. about nine side discussion pm's generated its quite a topic.

this much passion is better than totally slow absent action forum. the freedom to stay, go, contribute, air grievances, investigate, consider reading links or disavowing them makes this so not reefcentral. its freedom within bounds. if you propose science a mod disagrees with on other forums, you get the boot. all knowledge is filtered through the mods.

here, they watch self-regulation in effect and some decent findings time to time. the market itself will clean out bad claims, low repeatability claims and this is the hashing in motion.

there were some disturbances here in this tank and some details near the end that made this a tricky troubleshoot that's not denied.
 
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allsite

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Things may be looking up. Today was the first day since the mass-death that my clown was not laying on the sand when I woke up. However the snail that was on the glass in earlier pictures has died.

How does one know when a zoa is dead? Should I get them out?
 
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Aqua Man

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Clown looks ok. Nem looks stressed but not like it’s melting. Some of Coral look mad but look like they could recover.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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That’s looking down then, snail was the mine canary.

you know we routinely just clean out nanos for new water, lower light intensity your current levels are burning corals it helps to rid contaminants, restore clean water in an easy access tank

agreed on salinity verification nice call.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Glad this isn’t a 110 gallon those are hard work to tame, a nano is easy. Look how cook just whip cleaned his big reef into shape, no delay no fanfare:



why this applies to current thread: after verifying basic reef params, that’s how to restart a tank without losing anything, new saltwater isn’t bad we can see. Cook adhered to the light ramping part that was crucial.

notice how little room for customization the plan allows, a full water change without cleaning sand would be opposite from that thread, a certain way of cleaning sand was used that should be a big hit here


it’s a big commitment for large tankers that’s for sure. Cook was resolved big time.
 
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lakai

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Test your pH. 0.7ppm total ammonia won't kill your fish that quickly or at all. If you did get a ammonia spike you should see a rapid increase in you pH to caustic levels. Thats what kills fish.
 
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