Cycling stalled and now ammonia is spiked

Jared Lowe

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Paul sand - References for that statement please

Sincerely Lasse
Tolerance of un‐ionized ammonia in live feed cultures of the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa Dana (Research study)

That study looks at higher tolerance of copepods, but you are also correct this research is mostly dependent on copepod types/species some do better under different conditions just like different corals. If they are alive there is a 50/50 chance levels won't be dangerous enough to harm fish, but it could be a resistant species of copepod too.

Just like so much in our hobby no clear answer... :(
 
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Snarbleglarf

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What type of dechlor is being used for the tap water? Some may need increased dosage for chloramine.

I believe the statement about die off from the new live rock is probably valid
I have been using prime as a dechlorinator since I can use it with my freshwater tank as well
 

Bayareareefer18

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I have been using prime as a dechlorinator since I can use it with my freshwater tank as well
Prime was always my go to for FW as well. Good stuff. Seachem does state that a double dose can be used safely in the presence of high levels of chloramine

You can also aerate your wc water for 24 hours prior to use
 
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BeejReef

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A lot of people would not recommend cycling with a pair of clownfish. You're also playing with fire running tap water in a reef tank.
Even so, after a month, the tank should be plenty cycled to support two clowns. I would think that 1) the use of prime (instead of a bottle of bacteria) and/or 2) using tap water are your major variables.

Like Lasse notes, prime binds ammonia, it does not remove it. I don't know first hand, but I've read a number of posts where Prime and/or Ammo Lock are suspected in killing off good bacteria. Likewise, chlorine and chloramine both break down into ammonia, so you've really put yourself in a box. Both your on-hand remedies (prime and water change w tap water) will only delay, and likely intensify, your issue.

Invalid testing results are always a possibility, but you have two factors suggesting your ammonia should be going up, so I'd tend to trust them. Please get some distilled water and get some water changes accomplished if u can.
 
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brandon429

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Prime skews all testing, meaning you never had free ammonia. has that been covered

this is now linked to the microbiology of cycling thread that says no cycle ever stalls.

additionally, post pics. free ammonia systems are cloudy water, smell, the fish dart and hover gasping for air.

**there is no mechanism in a normal surface area reef tank where trace amounts of free ammonia in the tenths ppm remains daily, while a majority of bioload is nitrified. I'm about to start a thread so we can bring that to the forefront, we'll go ten pages on a ghost ammonia thread with nobody calling that out. systems that lack the surface area to regulate a given bioload, running daily in place here, crash overnite and go full cloud/death.

they do not ever maintain a .25 or a .5 consistent free ammonia, especially in the presence of fish that are about to look and behave totally normal in pics, w clear water.
 
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Snarbleglarf

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A lot of people would not recommend cycling with a pair of clownfish. You're also playing with fire running tap water in a reef tank.
Even so, after a month, the tank should be plenty cycled to support two clowns. I would think that 1) the use of prime (instead of a bottle of bacteria) and/or 2) using tap water are your major variables.

Like Lasse notes, prime binds ammonia, it does not remove it. I don't know first hand, but I've read a number of posts where Prime and/or Ammo Lock are suspected in killing off good bacteria. Likewise, chlorine and chloramine both break down into ammonia, so you've really put yourself in a box. Both your on-hand remedies (prime and water change w tap water) will only delay, and likely intensify, your issue.

Invalid testing results are always a possibility, but you have two factors suggesting your ammonia should be going up, so I'd tend to trust them. Please get some distilled water and get some water changes accomplished if u can.
Should I be using bacteria as a dechlorinator instead of prime Or be doseing bacteria to replace what the prime could have killed? What product do you use while doing waterchanges?
 

BeejReef

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Should I be using bacteria as a dechlorinator instead of prime Or be doseing bacteria to replace what the prime could have killed? What product do you use while doing waterchanges?
I was just researching this...

from Seachem's website...

I am using Prime® to control ammonia but my test kit says it is not doing anything, in fact it looks like it added ammonia! What is going on?


A: A Nessler based kit will not read ammonia properly if you are using Prime®... it will look "off scale", sort of a muddy brown (incidentally a Nessler kit will not work with any other products similar to Prime®). A salicylate based kit can be used, but with caution. Under the conditions of a salicylate kit the ammonia-Prime® complex will be broken down eventually giving a false reading of ammonia (same as with other products like Prime®), so the key with a salicylate kit is to take the reading right away. However, the best solution ;-) is to use our MultiTest™ Ammonia kit; it uses a gas exchange sensor system which is not affected by the presence of Prime® or other similar products. It also has the added advantage that it can detect the more dangerous free ammonia and distinguish it from total ammonia (total ammonia is both free ammonia and non-toxic ionized forms of ammonia).

I'm noob as well, but Prime says it does not remove ammonia, it make it not toxic to your fish. It also makes it very difficult to accurately determine your ammonia levels. You're in the dark on the state of your cycle.

Most peeps looking to hasten a fish-in or a fishless cycle will use a bottled bacteria. Prime is most often used when you're setting up a tank in a hurry, see an ammonia spike, and have to take immediate action.

I'm regurgitating advise I've heard, so anyone can feel free to correct me, but the best practice, by far and away, is not to use tap water, conditioned or otherwise. Maybe a well, maybe rain-barrel water, but municipal water is a real crapshoot.

Even if it works fine for you, the municipality can change how it is treated. Unless you're in to reading the fine print on the back of your water bill.

How big is your tank? In-home filtration or buying water from a LFS are common solutions.
 
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brandon429

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can you post a full tank picture

we are looking for:

-cloudy water, with a light bad smell. You'll know quickly if its stinking
-fish that behave abnormally, not swimming or acting normally
-the tank has to be running a total of 12 hours or less. cascading ammonia events, from a lack of surface area and/or bac, register overnite as a total loss. there is no small increment of free ammonia that persists in a reef tank, that never happens.

There are certain physical characters you can see, without a test kit, that determine if you have ammonia or not. I saw only one person mention the non test proofing on page 1/nice call man. this is a no free ammonia tank.
B
 
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brandon429

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Snarbleglarf

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can you post a full tank picture

we are looking for:

-cloudy water, with a light bad smell. You'll know quickly if its stinking
-fish that behave abnormally, not swimming or acting normally
-the tank has to be running a total of 12 hours or less. cascading ammonia events, from a lack of surface area and/or bac, register overnite as a total loss. there is no small increment of free ammonia that persists in a reef tank, that never happens.

There are certain physical characters you can see, without a test kit, that determine if you have ammonia or not. I saw only one person mention the non test proofing on page 1/nice call man. this is a no free ammonia tank.
B
I will add a pic as soon as I get home, other than that, the fish seem to be acting normally other than hanging out in one area of the tank and there isn’t a bad smell coming from the tank either.
 

brandon429

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hey can you tell us where those copepods might have hitchhiked into the tank> did you use any pre established live rock

tracing out ammonia yes/no off biology clues alone and then comparing results to test kit readings might just be the most fun post venture in reefing glad to read your thread details here. our hobby is going through a real reckoning right now, about how we all view what bacteria do vs what test kits say.


One thing is certain: google images shows about a million cycling charts, and they're all the same date regardless of origin that's interesting to consider vs the claim of a stalled cycle. no google charts allow for that, you'd think there would at least be a single one out of a mil lol
 
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Snarbleglarf

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hey can you tell us where those copepods might have hitchhiked into the tank> did you use any pre established live rock

tracing out ammonia yes/no off biology clues alone and then comparing results to test kit readings might just be the most fun post venture in reefing glad to read your thread details here. our hobby is going through a real reckoning right now, about how we all view what bacteria do
My tank is a 40 breeder with a 10 gal homemade sump.
So when I first set up the tank about a month ago I bought one piece of live rock from my lfs to put in the display and a bunch of smaller pieces for the sump then about a week ago I went to the same lfs and bought 7 more pieces of live rock for the display one of which was housing an Aiptasia which I swiftly removed after identifying it and yesterday I noticed the copepods all over my tank glass. Since I have been using tap water until I can afford the RO/DI water regularly I also added 2 seachem Purigen packs to my sump to help with the nitrates that come from my tap water, I added them about a week ago as well. Yesterday I tested my chemicals using my api test kit and it read
Ammonia 1.0
Nitrite .50
Nitrate 40
I tested my chemicals today and it shows
Ammonia 2.0
Nitrite 1.0
Nitrate 40
 

brandon429

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I am 1000% certain this is a no ammonia tank and that benthic animal verification is an awesome way to predict the presence of bacteria. happy :) and whats most fun is how we go from uncertain to locked down certain you can add some zoanthids right now lol

they say only bad things happen fast in reefing, but if someone else already built (cured) some live rock to the point it includes tenants, and you just move that to your home, its instantly ready which is why your test bioload didn't die, why the water stayed clear, and why we don't need to add bottle bac.

the non cycled portions of your tank, any dry areas, simply do not matter as the live portions can handle your current bioload, and more. anything you dip into that tank that was a formerly dry surface from here on out gets fully cycled within a mere few days by association alone, no other boosting needed.
 
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Snarbleglarf

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can you post a full tank picture

we are looking for:

-cloudy water, with a light bad smell. You'll know quickly if its stinking
-fish that behave abnormally, not swimming or acting normally
-the tank has to be running a total of 12 hours or less. cascading ammonia events, from a lack of surface area and/or bac, register overnite as a total loss. there is no small increment of free ammonia that persists in a reef tank, that never happens.

There are certain physical characters you can see, without a test kit, that determine if you have ammonia or not. I saw only one person mention the non test proofing on page 1/nice call man. this is a no free ammonia tank.
B
Here is the picture of my tank

154A7DCD-812F-443F-82F0-D7AE424C1627.jpeg
 

brandon429

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looks great and really clean start. that sand, if wet before adding, was another 4.4 billion nitrifier cells as well...was that wet pack sand? even if not, clearly the live rocks are enough for day to day needs or the system would have fast-crashed due to lack of surface area/and or bac/fast when those fish were added. any bottle bac added to suspension, good insurance but in my opinion we can't use ammonia/nitrate/nitrite testing here due to the water prep conditioner. don't need em anyway

you can add some corals if you want, they're low bioload. I would wait to add more fish until you choose a disease prevention design/approach which in some cases stalls all fish purchases a while as the other parts of the tank build up
 
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