Can I dose nitrifying bacteria to keep ammonia down?

SharkRacer

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A couple months ago, I set up a 13.5 Fluval observation tank that to house fish between LFS and my display tank.

2 months ago I did a full cycle with Dr Tims and then added a batch of fish: 3 cardinals, a 6-line and a flame angel. (Yes, I now know this was too many)

For 3 weeks everything was great. Then I had an ammonia spike to 2+ (unfortunately I was out of town when this happened). When I returned, sadly the flame angel had died but I successfully transferred all the other fish to the DT and they are doing great.

Since then I’ve just been letting the tank run hoping the ammonia levels would die down. They didn’t. I add a new filter media from my display tank and waited two weeks and still nothing improved.

I just did a 80% water change and ammonia levels are down to .25.

I’m ready to try again and get JUST a flame angel but am worried the same thing will happen.

so what are my options for keeping ammonia levels down? Since the tank is ready for chemical treatment if needed, it has no sand, and no live rock.

Can I add something like Dr Tims weekly to counter the ammonia? Or if I attempt to keep it down solely with water changes, how frequently and how much water should I change?

Thanks! I really don’t want another fish to die so any help would be appreciated.

3BD87874-5C1A-4441-A213-0D780A978107.jpeg
 
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SharkRacer

SharkRacer

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Once the tank is cycled as long as you maintain a ammonia source it will continue to stay cycled .
This wasn’t the case with mine. It was fully cycled and at zero and after the big spike has not returned.

Could the ammonia spike have been so much that maybe I need to do the cycle all over again?
 

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This wasn’t the case with mine. It was fully cycled and at zero and after the big spike has not returned.

Could the ammonia spike have been so much that maybe I need to do the cycle all over again?
A large spike could trigger a cycle or
What was once called “ mini cycle “

same idea to setting up a new tank and dumping too many fish in at once .
There isn’t enough bacteria to process that amount of ammonia. Which will only feed more bacteria . But it takes time to colonize enough .
Depends on volume of tank ,
 

bert236

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a great product you can dose is called nite-out. The store I work at uses it to treat our big koi tanks and it does wonders.
There is literally zero need for any product for this situation. With just one fish in 13.5 gallons it should never require anything to keep the ammonia at non toxic levels after being cycled.
 

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A couple months ago, I set up a 13.5 Fluval observation tank that to house fish between LFS and my display tank.

2 months ago I did a full cycle with Dr Tims and then added a batch of fish: 3 cardinals, a 6-line and a flame angel. (Yes, I now know this was too many)

For 3 weeks everything was great. Then I had an ammonia spike to 2+ (unfortunately I was out of town when this happened). When I returned, sadly the flame angel had died but I successfully transferred all the other fish to the DT and they are doing great.

Since then I’ve just been letting the tank run hoping the ammonia levels would die down. They didn’t. I add a new filter media from my display tank and waited two weeks and still nothing improved.

I just did a 80% water change and ammonia levels are down to .25.

I’m ready to try again and get JUST a flame angel but am worried the same thing will happen.

so what are my options for keeping ammonia levels down? Since the tank is ready for chemical treatment if needed, it has no sand, and no live rock.

Can I add something like Dr Tims weekly to counter the ammonia? Or if I attempt to keep it down solely with water changes, how frequently and how much water should I change?

Thanks! I really don’t want another fish to die so any help would be appreciated.

3BD87874-5C1A-4441-A213-0D780A978107.jpeg
The observation you shared are not making sense. If the system was not cycled before adding fish, the observations make more sense. Was some caring for the fish while you were out of town?
 

Jedi1199

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A couple months ago, I set up a 13.5 Fluval observation tank that to house fish between LFS and my display tank.

2 months ago I did a full cycle with Dr Tims and then added a batch of fish: 3 cardinals, a 6-line and a flame angel. (Yes, I now know this was too many)

For 3 weeks everything was great. Then I had an ammonia spike to 2+ (unfortunately I was out of town when this happened). When I returned, sadly the flame angel had died but I successfully transferred all the other fish to the DT and they are doing great.

Since then I’ve just been letting the tank run hoping the ammonia levels would die down. They didn’t. I add a new filter media from my display tank and waited two weeks and still nothing improved.

I just did a 80% water change and ammonia levels are down to .25.

I’m ready to try again and get JUST a flame angel but am worried the same thing will happen.

so what are my options for keeping ammonia levels down? Since the tank is ready for chemical treatment if needed, it has no sand, and no live rock.

Can I add something like Dr Tims weekly to counter the ammonia? Or if I attempt to keep it down solely with water changes, how frequently and how much water should I change?

Thanks! I really don’t want another fish to die so any help would be appreciated.

3BD87874-5C1A-4441-A213-0D780A978107.jpeg


This makes no sense. I suspect a false reading, or a faulty test kit.

Cycling simply doesn't work this way. Once cycled, its done, there is no reverse gear on this rig.

The ONLY thing that can spike ammonia is a huge addition of an ammonia source. dozen new fish, a hunk of dead meat ect ect.

It is more than proven that even a can of water left alone will cycle. The bacterial strains are airborne. The fact your tank had already cycled and given the surface area you have tells me that you are getting a bad reading from your test kits (one of the reasons I never use ammonia tests)
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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All you need to do to shore up this tank for its intended use:

youre low on surface area, not bacteria, and the ammonia readings you’re reacting to don’t matter in context knowing the easy fix.

this is an observation, non medicated tank, so you shouldn’t be low on surface area above because no meds are going in you may use the correct amount of live rock vs barest possible, no need to set up a sparse surface area system like a medicated qt that can’t use live rock and must use plastic media

you simply buy six more of those white rocks you have there, and add, and your tank doesn’t need to ever be tested for ammonia again. Reasons why: all post cycle -display reefs- don’t require ammonia testing after the cycle because surface area to volume and bioload ratio will always be fine. ALL post cycle display reefs maintain their filtration capacity if kept WET

feeding isn’t required to keep a living filter, water is

that’s an anthropomorphic tendency aquarists share, that we are the determinant of what adapted water bac in water can do. These bacteria self seed, self feed, into all systems in a home given only time which you’ve had plenty of


dont add more bottle bac


ghost feed if you want, because it’s unfathomable that these organisms can attain feed unless we will it :) or you can learn to trust water bacteria in water and never assess them again once six more white rocks are added to the tank.


I would tell you to get a seneye but those aren’t needed in reefing, they’re only used to provide cycle concept proofs we already have on file, relayed to you here


add rocks, do nothing else. In ten days contact theyre contact cycled in the tank and won’t uncycle as long as water is in the tank.


if you ever lose a fish again, it won’t be due to ammonia rising it’ll be a disease loss first
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Jedi nice call agreed, the bacteria get in multiple ways even if we don’t add

Dr. Tim once told me in a chat, long about page 3-12 ish lol can’t recall in Dr. Reef’s huge bottle bac thread, that the prep water we use isn’t sterilized and is a major source of cross contamination of cycling bacteria strains. By simply handling non boiled water in a home, heated and circulated and open to exchanges within the home vs sealed off, we get a free of charge complete bacterial mess in whatever fluid we handle


adding six more rocks simply ends any bad ammonia dynamic you’re concerned about and also:

we expect api to read .25 on your system even after the addition, it’s why I said cease testing on all -display reefs- the surface area we see in pics after six more rocks are added is your proof, no further verification needed.

to the side of natural and constant inputs of bacteria and sustenance into a tank within a home, the actual existence of fish and food in that tank has placed organic stores in the crevices of that system such that any filter bacteria would live years and years totally unfed on those reserves alone. Bacteria attain feed in ways we don’t imagine. Give your bac simple real estate for them to set up shop, they don’t need your feed at all.
 
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Jedi1199

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All you need to do to shore up this tank for its intended use:

youre low on surface area, not bacteria, and the ammonia readings you’re reacting to don’t matter in context knowing the easy fix.

this is an observation, non medicated tank, so you shouldn’t be low on surface area above because no meds are going in you may use the correct amount of live rock vs barest possible, no need to set up a sparse surface area system like a medicated qt that can’t use live rock and must use plastic media

you simply buy six more of those white rocks you have there, and add, and your tank doesn’t need to ever be tested for ammonia again. Reasons why: all post cycle -display reefs- don’t require ammonia testing after the cycle because surface area to volume and bioload ratio will always be fine. ALL post cycle display reefs maintain their filtration capacity if kept WET

feeding isn’t required to keep a living filter, water is

that’s an anthropomorphic tendency aquarists share, that we are the determinant of what adapted water bac in water can do. These bacteria self seed, self feed, into all systems in a home given only time which you’ve had plenty of


dont add more bottle bac


ghost feed if you want, because it’s unfathomable that these organisms can attain feed unless we will it :) or you can learn to trust water bacteria in water and never assess them again once six more white rocks are added to the tank.


I would tell you to get a seneye but those aren’t needed in reefing, they’re only used to provide cycle concept proofs we already have on file, relayed to you here


add rocks, do nothing else. In ten days contact theyre contact cycled in the tank and won’t uncycle as long as water is in the tank.


if you ever lose a fish again, it won’t be due to ammonia rising it’ll be a disease loss first

I disagree on the surface area point. Looking at the included photo, I see ample surface for cycling bacterial colonies. egg crate, glass shards, large rock and ornamental barrel are ALL surfaces for the colonies to adhere to. The egg crate alone has more surface area than everything else in the tank aside from the large rock.

Aside from this, there is simply no reason for an ammonia spike in this system unless it was an addition that was not mentioned. There are no fish in the world that could fit in a 13g tank that would spike ammonia to the level posted.

2 months ago I did a full cycle with Dr Tims and then added a batch of fish: 3 cardinals, a 6-line and a flame angel. (Yes, I now know this was too many)

For 3 weeks everything was great. Then I had an ammonia spike to 2+

THIS makes no sense!! There is no way this could happen. A tank that is stable just simply can't spike this way without an outside influence.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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If a tank is cycled, some sort of huge sudden ammonia addition can cause detectable levels but it should drop again.

Adding more bacteria when everything is fine is unlikely to provide a lasting benefit for a time in the unknown future when that rapid ammonia addition might happen again. The bacteria will only have numbers long term consistent with the ammonia they routinely get.
 
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SharkRacer

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hey everyone thank you for all the great feedback! A couple points of clarification:

1) I forgot to mention that my assumption about what caused the ammonia spike waf that I had the tank on auto feeder for 10 days (and stupidly I had added flakes to this as I was worried the fish would be underfed if it were just pellets)

2) that white “rock” is synthetic, specifically chosen so I can medicate this tank if needed
 

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hey everyone thank you for all the great feedback! A couple points of clarification:

1) I forgot to mention that my assumption about what caused the ammonia spike waf that I had the tank on auto feeder for 10 days (and stupidly I had added flakes to this as I was worried the fish would be underfed if it were just pellets)

2) that white “rock” is synthetic, specifically chosen so I can medicate this tank if needed

AANNNDDDD there we have the elephant in the room. Out of town, overfeeding, no water changes, ammonia spike, dead fish. End of story.
 
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SharkRacer

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AANNNDDDD there we have the elephant in the room. Out of town, overfeeding, no water changes, ammonia spike, dead fish. End of story.

I did mentioned I was out of town in the original post, and while I was gone I had a sitter checking on the tank every day (but yes, as you pointed out I did no water changes for 10 days).

The question is, what do I do now? Do I need to start the cycle over?

yesterday I did an 80% water change and moved a bag of bio media from my DT into this tank and ammonia is down, but not gone.
 

Jedi1199

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I did mentioned I was out of town in the original post, and while I was gone I had a sitter checking on the tank every day (but yes, as you pointed out I did no water changes for 10 days).

The question is, what do I do now? Do I need to start the cycle over?

yesterday I did an 80% water change and moved a bag of bio media from my DT into this tank and ammonia is down, but not gone.

What you didn't mention was the auto feeder and the flakes. ;)

Leave it be. All you need to do is kill the auto feeder and go back to what you were doing before. I wouldn't do any more water changes for a week or so and then, do about 20%. The cycle will catch up.

By changing 80% yesterday, you have undoubtedly removed not only most of the ammonia, but also most of the leftover food that caused the spike to begin with. The fish that have survived so far will be fine now that the ammonia is down.

Again, fast changes do more harm than good. The tank will settle on its own.
 

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