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
 
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Reefinatl

How did the snail keep surviving all these fish destroying insults

do soft corals normally hang on through that too, the ones open in the pics back a few pages after you guys asked for them to check for big picture details?



curious about frequency you encounter this condition
lets see something you've assessed prior on the matter, a reef tank that couldn't handle free ammonia and cuc lived while fish died, how that was measured etc



Your concern over too little surface area I thought was reasonable. the only reason am detracting is from the practice of removing surface area in hundreds of tanks in our rip clean threads, we can spot the ones where there's risk, they aren't using rock. I didn't think my experience would sway you, so was asking more for your own experience to be shown in something readable.

what ive linked so far are jobs with other tanks, claiming free ammonia, and we keep updates going after the job is done- to check for outcome patterns.

Ive seen messing around with two year old sand kill reefs, fish, but not lack of surface area.
Perhaps the snails survived by escaping the water. They seem to be selectively taking dips into the water as I bind ammonia. Hanging out up top, clinging to the glass and equipment. My tank is rimmed and my ATO can’t entirely fill it to the brim.
 
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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.
 

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sde1500

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Perhaps the snails survived by escaping the water. They seem to be selectively taking dips into the water as I bind ammonia. Hanging out up top, clinging to the glass and equipment. My tank is rimmed and my ATO can’t entirely fill it to the brim.
an interesting theory for sure. I know certain snails I've had in the past loved to hang out up above the water line at times.
 
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Well, the clear stringy thing fell off the clownfish and he’s looking far better than expected. Disease or perhaps something that was just caught on his dorsal fin? That’s a first for me, so I’m obviously concerned.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Well, the clear stringy thing fell off the clownfish and he’s looking far better than expected. Disease or perhaps something that was just caught on his dorsal fin? That’s a first for me, so I’m obviously concerned.

Can you answer my question about the nature of the RO/DI water?

If you are suggesting that the salt mix did it, it is important to get that correct.
 
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Can you answer my question about the nature of the RO/DI water?

If you are suggesting that the salt mix did it, it is important to get that correct.
The RODI that was tested and not showing any ammonia level was produced within minutes of the mix. I let it run for a couple hours to fill about 20 gallons, mixed it, then poured a small bowl to test just the RODI. So no, it wasn't the same batch, but was produced just minutes later.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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The RODI that was tested and not showing any ammonia level was produced within minutes of the mix. I let it run for a couple hours to fill about 20 gallons, mixed it, then poured a small bowl to test just the RODI. So no, it wasn't the same batch, but was produced just minutes later.

What is the TDS of the RO/DI now? What was it then?

Your location is "Madison". Is that Wisconsin? If so, they claim to not use chloramine which makes the water less likely of a source if you use the Madison Wisconsin public water supply.
 
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Wow, this has been quite the read...

I'm confused on the timeline of events. I saw mention of moving rocks and messing with the sand bed. Did those things happen before or after the fish died?
Before. The sand was just a gentle sifting, looking for a possible dead/creature. The rocks came out the day before 3 more fish died. In hindsight I regret not putting them back in immediately after testing.

EDIT: Well, my tang died, then I did the invasive stuff, then 3 more fish died. So that was done in the middle of this whole mess.
 
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Unfortunately I don't have an answer, but I very seriously doubt the cause was ammonia in your salt mix. A healthy reef should be able to handle a small ammonia addition from a 10-20% water change.

A major disturbance of your bacteria population from messing with things, a different contaminant in the salt mix, impure source water, disease brought in by new additions all seem like more likely culprits. You're probably seeing higher ammonia now from disturbing things and the recent die off.
 
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since you provided the difference between the salt mixed water and the water source of the mixed water, the test says ammonia is either from the salt or the test tube. i cant even think the salt mix would be manufactured that way. you had two batches (months apart) of the same brand salt producing the same (similar) ammonia readings - and this wasnt even discussed by any other hobbyist. I would say, where you store the salt seems to be the problem. this is a crime solving... find the clues

by the way, the tank doesnt look 2 years old...
 
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since you provided the difference between the salt mixed water and the water source of the mixed water, the test says ammonia is either from the salt or the test tube. i cant even think the salt mix would be manufactured that way. you had two batches (months apart) of the same brand salt producing the same (similar) ammonia readings - and this wasnt even discussed by any other hobbyist. I would say, where you store the salt seems to be the problem. this is a crime solving... find the clues

by the way, the tank doesnt look 2 years old...
I'm dispensing it right out of the bags, no container. I opened a new bag and it tested the same. Tank is two years old and looked quite nice at one point. I don't disagree that what you're looking at looks like a starting point. It has become just that.

IO RC seems to have enough ammonia in it to cause problems in a tank that's suffering other issues. I have no doubt some people use it without issue, but I'll be switching brands.
 
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since you provided the difference between the salt mixed water and the water source of the mixed water, the test says ammonia is either from the salt or the test tube. i cant even think the salt mix would be manufactured that way. you had two batches (months apart) of the same brand salt producing the same (similar) ammonia readings - and this wasnt even discussed by any other hobbyist. I would say, where you store the salt seems to be the problem. this is a crime solving... find the clues

by the way, the tank doesnt look 2 years old...
That’s because most of us don’t think the salt is the issue lol
 
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