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.

168426979_3789554974446868_3184096659993372410_n.png 169469175_943549413142283_754375814307983494_n.png
 

NeonRabbit221B

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My guess is that you are reading bound ammonia but shouldn't stop a biofilter from processing it.

Honestly holding back any advice or thoughts beyond that.
 
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Don’t suppose you’ve peroxided your rocks have you?
Update: The clown is alive and has a clear stringy thing coming off his head. His behavior is lethargic but he’s able to swim. Corals look worse than they did this morning.
Sand looks very clean also.

Edit - what was the reason for removing rock?
 
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bReefedBaker

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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
After reading your post I decided to check out the InstantOcean Reef Salts packaging.
It does state on there: “Free of nitrates and phosphates and higher in magnesium and calcium.”

I believe if it was Ammonia free it would say it as well on their packaging. There may just be a trace amount of ammonia in it, but it doesn’t mean there’s more than your BB can handle.

I was also curious to do a test on my tank water and do a test on my premixed saltwater. Both showed a “merky” Oppm yellow. I’m not the least bit concerned and I’m new in the hobby. “I look at it like the positives outweigh the negatives here.”
 
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MnFish1

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You cannot IME measure ammonia - with ammolock - forget about it. Unless you're just playing around . Every0ne has told you this. right? You asked for advice - you have it - stop measuring - just wait. Right - I mean - this is getting old - part of the story - piece by piece - not the original post - which was 'ITS THE SALT'. Lets get real here. Something is not right if you're supposedly doing continuous water changes.
 
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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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MnFish1

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After reading your post I decided to check out the InstantOcean Reef Salts packaging.
It does state on there: “Free of nitrates and phosphates and higher in magnesium and calcium.”

I believe if it was Ammonia free it would say it as well on their packaging. There may just be a trace amount of ammonia in it, but it doesn’t mean there’s more than your BB can handle.

I was also curious to do a test on my tank water and do a test on my premixed saltwater. Both showed a “merky” Oppm yellow. I’m not the least bit concerned and I’m new in the hobby. “I look at it like the positives outweigh the negatives here.”
Curious - did the IO Reef say 'free of chlorine' or 'free of mercury' or free of radioactive xxxx'. No - TO ME there is no evidence at all that this relates to IO - having read entirely all of the pages
 
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Don’t suppose you’ve peroxided your rocks have you?

Sand looks very clean also.

Edit - what was the reason for removing rock?
No peroxide. I removed the rocks to test them for leeching ammonia from perhaps something rotting. It was out of desperation convinced something was making mass ammonia. I keep the sand very clean but normally just skim carefully off the top layer while siphoning.
 
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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..
That’s a totally bogus reaction to me posting test with new equipment. You notice I didn’t panic over the ammonia test this time and instead posted the result, while observing my clownfish looks ok? Looks like I’m learning huh? Upgraded test kit result has been asked of me by probably a dozen people, thus I ordered them and provided the info that was asked of me. At no point have I dismissed recommendations, lied about the running timespan of my tank or lied about changing water. You’re welcome to logoff as you’re clearly done helping and I do appreciate your contributions.
 
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My guess is that you are reading bound ammonia but shouldn't stop a biofilter from processing it.

Honestly holding back any advice or thoughts beyond that.
This seems logical. I got about the same test result just now, about 7 hours after the initial red sea test. I’m going to change as much water as I can (probably 35%) and retest. I will also stop all dosing as I just can’t imagine it’s helping at this stage.
 
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I don’t know the answer but I know who I can ask. How amazing would it have been if someone experienced could have investigated my problem instead of my going yolo mode. I’ll look into it, thanks.
My thought is there might be someone willing to come take a look at all the things going on. Trouble shooting easier in person, not saying to keep asking here. Just another idea to help get your tank back on track.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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Testing ammonia with any sort of ammonia binding agents will render non-sense results so I don’t trust the 8+ reading for your actual tank. I wouldn’t change any more water or dose anything for 48 hours. Does the clown and coral still look stressed?
 
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Testing ammonia with any sort of ammonia binding agents will render non-sense results so I don’t trust the 8+ reading for your actual tank. I wouldn’t change any more water or dose anything for 48 hours. Does the clown and coral still look stressed?
Yeah the ammo-lock/test reading issue is definitely a noob trap, in reflection. I'm not panicking about ammonia and I'm open to the idea there's no ammonia.

The clown is stressed but not constantly huffing. She seems to be holding on pretty well but not as chipper as normal.

The coral looks very stressed, especially the zoas. Soft coral looks the best but just barely open. The anemone is sticking to the glass and is very tiny, not looking well. The remaining snail is alive but less active and near the top.

My mindset was to keep changing water and flush anything out but I'm happy to slow down if that's recommended. Can you explain the logic in not changing water for my understanding? Thanks.
 
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Hey reefers one last thing before I just ride it out, take it slow and hope for the best. As a newbie on this forum could someone advise me how to sunset this thread? There's a ton of value here, but it's mostly for me personally to pick through a couple more times and gain better understanding. Thanks all.
 
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Hey reefers one last thing before I just ride it out, take it slow and hope for the best. As a newbie on this forum could someone advise me how to sunset this thread? There's a ton of value here, but it's mostly for me personally to pick through a couple more times and gain better understanding. Thanks all.
Good luck with your tank. I think it will be fine. Give it some time and don’t sweat the small things. Happy Reefing!
 
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MnFish1

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That’s a totally bogus reaction to me posting test with new equipment. You notice I didn’t panic over the ammonia test this time and instead posted the result, while observing my clownfish looks ok? Looks like I’m learning huh? Upgraded test kit result has been asked of me by probably a dozen people, thus I ordered them and provided the info that was asked of me. At no point have I dismissed recommendations, lied about the running timespan of my tank or lied about changing water. You’re welcome to logoff as you’re clearly done helping and I do appreciate your contributions.
I dont think it was a totally bogus reaction - but it was probably too 'stern' of a reaction. The only point I was trying to make is it seems like you're still planning lots of water changes, testing, etc. I never accused you of lying about your tank, etc. So I apologize for sounding stern. Having said that, its my opinion that a combination of things lead to this problem. Mostly leaving half of your tank empty with less flow and oxygen, cleaning the sand bed at the same time, and then doing a huge water change with poorly mixed water. This alone may have stressed your fish enough (I believe you said at least the tang had some lesions the week before) to have developed a parasitic infection or bacterial infection due to a lot of reasons. IMHO, the 'cat is out of the bag'. The best thing now is to keep the tank stable - as long as the other parameters (alkalinity, salinity, temp, pH, PO4 are ok (as well as nitrate) are ok. There is no reason for more water changes (that I can think of). I also don't know if ammo lock affects nitrate testing. In any case, I do apologize for my tone. Please keep everyone updated on the progress.
 
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I dont think it was a totally bogus reaction - but it was probably too 'stern' of a reaction. The only point I was trying to make is it seems like you're still planning lots of water changes, testing, etc. I never accused you of lying about your tank, etc. So I apologize for sounding stern. Having said that, its my opinion that a combination of things lead to this problem. Mostly leaving half of your tank empty with less flow and oxygen, cleaning the sand bed at the same time, and then doing a huge water change with poorly mixed water. This alone may have stressed your fish enough (I believe you said at least the tang had some lesions the week before) to have developed a parasitic infection or bacterial infection due to a lot of reasons. IMHO, the 'cat is out of the bag'. The best thing now is to keep the tank stable - as long as the other parameters (alkalinity, salinity, temp, pH, PO4 are ok (as well as nitrate) are ok. There is no reason for more water changes (that I can think of). I also don't know if ammo lock affects nitrate testing. In any case, I do apologize for my tone. Please keep everyone updated on the progress.
All good friend. Nothing can change the fact you’re here helping. Things are finally looking up. I’ll spare the list of improved equipment and just say I have a screen porch of boxes to break down. I’m no longer getting zapped by the tank with new electrical, which is comforting. Equipment aside, the lesson for how to react to emergencies has very much set in. Back to regular weekly or biweekly maintenance with lights dialed back substantially. Clown is acting goofy again, dancing around when I walk past the tank. I’m resisting temptations to get the aquascape back how I had it, buy a fish etc, so I ordered another tank to keep me busy. I plan to do a build thread next for a unique nano frag tank. Basically the opposite of this thread. Build it up slowly while having fun vs the misery of losing it all quickly. I hope to see you there!
 
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MnFish1

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I don’t know the answer but I know who I can ask. How amazing would it have been if someone experienced could have investigated my problem instead of my going yolo mode. I’ll look into it, thanks.
I guess I will take a little exception to that - there are 15 -16 pages of people investigating your problem. Myself included. And IMHO your problem has been solved through this investigation. I spent at least a couple hours trying to get more information from you - as well as other threads here - as well as scientific articles. Brandon is quite experienced. I have over 40 years of reef tank experience. So - I hope you understand people tried to help you. And I again apologize for my somewhat stern comments yesterday.
 
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