Ammonia spike

CornishCrustyCorals

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So I've had a tank that's had a massive ammonia spike and killed 3 fish. Its a frag tank that I've had running for about 6 months.
At first I had a scooter blenny I'm the tank and a couple cleanup crew it's only about 10g so didn't keep much in it.
The lid I had on the tank got broke one day and during the couple days I didn't have a lid the blenny jumped.

This is where I think my problem started.

A week went by and I didn't feed the tank and noticed my nitrates bottom out so quickly went and got 2 banghai cardinals put them in and fed them regularly and watched the nitrates come back up.

Ive noticed this tank has a low ph around 7.8
One of the fish didn't make it but I presumed I had 2 males and didn't think much of it. The other had been fine eating well. All corals looked fine.

The only thing I thought was an issue in the tank was a small patch of cyano in the front corner of the tank but it was black in colour which was odd to me.

Time went by and I had purchased a wheelers goby for one of my other tanks and decided to place it in this small tank just to watch it for a month to make sure it doesn't get sick etc before adding it to my bigger system.

Had it about 3 weeks and it went from being very active to dead in the space of a couple hours. When a fish dies in a tank I have always got it out soon as I see it then done a nice 50% water change so that's what I did. 3 days later the last banghai died.

Now I know I should have tested before but it wasn't until the banghai died did I test for ammonia and there was a small amount.

That was yesterday. I removed all my CUC and moved it to one of my other systems.
I did another 25% water change and also added a large rock from my oldest system so should have been filled with good bacteria but today the ammonia is off the scale high.
I have removed all corals so it's just rock sand and water now I've started adding bacteria.

Could the low ph have been killing my bacteria and when I didn't feed the tank for a week also killed the bacteria off. I've never had a tank just spike ammonia really high without having something be dead In the tank and the ammonia is still rising without anything in the tank so I'm guessing the ammonia increasing is the bacteria dying.
 
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brandon429

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I believe this is disease and not any form of ammonia issue.

reasons why: safe stated ph (yay for chats Dan)

-already running system, those don't have ammonia spikes with living fish, ammonia spikes only come from degrading fish or medications admin which doesnt apply here, you'd remove any rotting fish

-if your tank couldnt handle ammonia it would collectively look like an organism in kidney distress: marked issues, cloudy water, death of most the setup vs selective to fish (disease)

all the corals in the system frag tank count as habitable surface area for contact in wastewater and although its possible to overcome a frag tank dilution and surface area with fish loading, Ive never seen it done not ever once.


**I bet this is not a seneye ammonia measure, its non digital. (misreads or responds to unstated dosers like Prime rarely reported, often reported as nh4 vs nh3 levels of ammonia and we dont care about the former.

I have never seen a setup that has coral ever fail to control an intended bioload, not ever, not once. I've seen fifty pages of api and red sea misinterpretations, though.
 
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brandon429

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all the best troubleshoots for ammonia start with a full tank pic to find confirming or excluding details, we dont need to see non digital actual test read.


we usually get out pages before people mention prime but I'm learning to ask for it more often up front. directly causes ammonia to register high/ a known test adulterant.

we just wrangled up that ammonia :) post pics of the tank if possible, open corals and clear water is very telling.

nitrite does not matter and is also affected by prime, not anything went wrong with the cycle its fish disease we would begin with vs arrive at.

I rarely accept someone's stated param or pH measure as accurate, its just fun to report the lower ranges are even more protected from free ammonia vs the high pH systems/ 8.2 and even if you reported 8.3 I would not think this is an ammonia event at all, not ever.

gross overfeed events and dead rotting fish don't count: overcoming a biofilter with an easily reversed condition we can see without a test kit is not the same thing as losing bacteria, or running too little surface area for a given bioload.
 
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CornishCrustyCorals

CornishCrustyCorals

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I believe this is disease and not any form of ammonia issue.

reasons why: safe stated ph (yay for chats Dan)

-already running system, those don't have ammonia spikes with living fish, ammonia spikes only come from degrading fish or medications admin which doesnt apply here, you'd remove any rotting fish

-if your tank couldnt handle ammonia it would collectively look like an organism in kidney distress: marked issues, cloudy water, death of most the setup vs selective to fish (disease)

all the corals in the system frag tank count as habitable surface area for contact in wastewater and although its possible to overcome a frag tank dilution and surface area with fish loading, Ive never seen it done not ever once.


**I bet this is not a seneye ammonia measure, its non digital. (misreads or responds to unstated dosers like Prime rarely reported, often reported as nh4 vs nh3 levels of ammonia and we dont care about the former.

I have never seen a setup that has coral ever fail to control an intended bioload, not ever, not once. I've seen fifty pages of api and red sea misinterpretations, though.
Oh OK so as the tank is now empty I should probably just dry it out and start over? And I'm guessing I have potentially infected the system I moved the corals and cuc into. The fish that died didn't show any signs of disease maybe it was a internal thing?

It was a crappy api test kit but it definitely showed ammonia as I can use the same kit on my other tanks and they are yellow but this tank shows extremely dark green
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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prime causes that. we dont know what causes the initial misread, I have ten threads where api runs green in a running reef though, and it prompts similar concerns as well

here's one, this is entirely too dark to be accurate for a huge surface area low bioload reef, its a misread. it should be yellow with light green, not mainly green at nearly 1 ppm. even after conversion to nh3 I find this too dark. Right now in the api comparison thread coral coral is posting true yellow api pics for a running reef, that does not seem to be a misread. in both cases the tanks ran fine, only the non digital test kits ranged


now that the system is taken down the folks in the fish disease forum would consider any remaining fish to be potential vectors and should be quarantined and assessed for issues for the proper time before setting up a new tank. At no time have I ever seen any setup that was able to run days with corals and fish become unable to manage daily ammonia loading, so I can't see this as being a likely candidate for that.
 
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CornishCrustyCorals

CornishCrustyCorals

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The tank is clear, glass not so much the corals we're opening before I moved them today

20211206_232517.jpg received_323278199808262.jpeg
 

brandon429

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that is perfect, and not a snippet from a burnt reef overcome by nh3. it matches all other presentations (and test kit concerns) from this thread. we can produce misread examples over and over, I am still looking for one valid read found...misinterp of ammonia levels is very very common in the hobby. it sells oodles of bottle bac over and over, you can see how buyers would feel their bacteria are dead.

even if you lacked nh3 control we would not dose bac, we'd increase surface area. Surface area training is conveniently missing from all cycle training logs, and that benefits bottle bac sellers to ride the api doubt loop over and over, found on half a million pages of google search returns for "api misread"

even if they weren't misreads, they were misinterps.
 
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brandon429

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If you want to turn this into a purple coralline stacked reef with fish and corals I'd fallow it out and not dry, keep the biofilter in place which reduces incidence of dinos invasions.


if you just want a quick turnover frag tank, or a holding place for fallowing specimens to be destined for a different system, drying and recycling is way faster than 3 mos fallow.

that type of rock stack and ratio above is literally every nano reef on nano-reef.com for the last 20 years its a tried and tested scape/surface area. it will not be overpowered by common fish stocking + frags. pics really helped here, I thought it might be a bare no sand setup. that adds lots of extra surface area along w rocks. we have seen folks stack inside that setup ridiculous amounts of corals and fish, its on the site for searching. behavioral/territorial and disease markers will regulate fish, not lack of surface area or degree of bac I feel confident in saying, even though i do not own or have ran an api test kit :)
 
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CornishCrustyCorals

CornishCrustyCorals

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Yea it's not a full qt/frag system it's more of a monitoring system I started it as I had a hydroid problem and was making sure none of them made it onto frags and if they did they were easier to treat in this little tank then putting my hands in my bigger tanks.
Only kept fish in here as too keep some nitrates in the tank without having to dose this tank.
I will just fallow it then. I appreciate the help I really thought it was something with the biofilter as ammonia increased after I had removed anything that was dead. I didn't know prime would effect it like that.
 

brandon429

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and if something dead was given a little time to initially decay before you got to it, that's a legit reason for an initial spike. good system it'll work well for the intended goal.

if it helps in planning I would never ever think the ammonia spike preceded the fish loss unless some blast of food was put in, or a medication event to literally kill bacteria with measured and sustained antibiotics. i know u didnt have those happen/it takes that extreme to kill off bac seated in all that surface area.
 

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Could the low ph have been killing my bacteria and when I didn't feed the tank for a week also killed the bacteria off. I've never had a tank just spike ammonia really high without having something be dead In the tank and the ammonia is still rising without anything in the tank so I'm guessing the ammonia increasing is the bacteria dying.

No. When something dies, ammonia can spike in many tanks.
 

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So I've had a tank that's had a massive ammonia spike and killed 3 fish. Its a frag tank that I've had running for about 6 months.
At first I had a scooter blenny I'm the tank and a couple cleanup crew it's only about 10g so didn't keep much in it.
The lid I had on the tank got broke one day and during the couple days I didn't have a lid the blenny jumped.

This is where I think my problem started.

A week went by and I didn't feed the tank and noticed my nitrates bottom out so quickly went and got 2 banghai cardinals put them in and fed them regularly and watched the nitrates come back up.

Ive noticed this tank has a low ph around 7.8
One of the fish didn't make it but I presumed I had 2 males and didn't think much of it. The other had been fine eating well. All corals looked fine.

The only thing I thought was an issue in the tank was a small patch of cyano in the front corner of the tank but it was black in colour which was odd to me.

Time went by and I had purchased a wheelers goby for one of my other tanks and decided to place it in this small tank just to watch it for a month to make sure it doesn't get sick etc before adding it to my bigger system.

Had it about 3 weeks and it went from being very active to dead in the space of a couple hours. When a fish dies in a tank I have always got it out soon as I see it then done a nice 50% water change so that's what I did. 3 days later the last banghai died.

Now I know I should have tested before but it wasn't until the banghai died did I test for ammonia and there was a small amount.

That was yesterday. I removed all my CUC and moved it to one of my other systems.
I did another 25% water change and also added a large rock from my oldest system so should have been filled with good bacteria but today the ammonia is off the scale high.
I have removed all corals so it's just rock sand and water now I've started adding bacteria.

Could the low ph have been killing my bacteria and when I didn't feed the tank for a week also killed the bacteria off. I've never had a tank just spike ammonia really high without having something be dead In the tank and the ammonia is still rising without anything in the tank so I'm guessing the ammonia increasing is the bacteria dying.
You didn’t tell us about size of the ammonia spike.
 

brandon429

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in calibrated seneye tanks (where they aren't running just .001 at all times) users report ups and downs, peaks and troughs, merely off daily feeding events. ups and downs are common, reaching toxicity is so uncommon I cannot find a single verified event on the entire site not tied to fish loss before the spike. ammonia control can be the last thing we ever worry about in display tank reefing along with nitrite.


order of ops here: disease maladies killed the fish, not a preceding ammonia spike.
 
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CornishCrustyCorals

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Just a follow up.
That ammonia test result was gone 24 hrs later and I did move all the corals into one of my bigger systems which now I believe to be an even worse mistake.
Pretty dang sure it was a disease that killed the fish as now a day later from moving the corals between tanks I now have white spots all over the fish in the bigger tank.
Started a 3 day course of Oodinex as that's what I had to hand then il replace the carbon and run the UV. Thankfully everything still has a strong appetite
 
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