Elevated Ammonia

Gwcreefer

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My tank is going on a year old now. Havent checked ammonia since I cycled it, but did put in a seachem badge in the sump just to keep an eye on it. It has always been yellow, never seemed to change. I went to my LFS to let them do a water test, they have a spin disk and I just like to double check my tests against theirs. It showed my ammonia was .4. Came home and tested it again, I have a salifert kit, and it showed about .25. I dont over feed, only a few fish and small cuc. I tested my salt mix barrel and it showed about the same, about .25. Checked my ro barrel and it showed 0. I use IO reef crystals. I got a bag of just IO salt just to see if it would also mix up with ammonia. I mixed a 2 buckets of both just to see if maybe my salt barrel might be the problem but they both had ammonia after I mixed them.

Right now everything looks good in the tank, my ammonia hasnt really dropped, nitrite is 0, Nitrate 0, Phos. .02.

Could my RO/Di have some type of reaction after mixing, raising the ammonia?
Should I contuine using IO?
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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we expect a difference in reading in the reef tank undergoing respiration and waste production and the expected clean water sample, that type of benchmark does not apply here.

it is not possible in any setting for a 1 yr reef tank to have any cycle issues, end of story.

your numbers above are being reported as nh4, convert them to nh3 and you will see why all your tank looks perfectly.


reef tanks do not run zero ammonia nh4, that's part of the old rule set which is now banished. Your cycle is ok because your tank is ok day to day, there are no broken, starved, or partial cycles.


Hey can you post a full tank shot please/we are about to study your post in 4 different cycling threads and we're pic driven, fish and water and coral details-driven, not test kit driven in our studies of updated cycling rules.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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here is the updated ruleset to guide your tank, this runs all reef display tanks (quarantine and hyposalinity systems don't apply)

you don't need to test for ammonia and nitrite in a display reef once it's cycled

that rule alone would have circumvented your stress in the matter. There is only 1 natural cause for a reef display that can't control ammonia, that has ever been logged in reefing, and that's a multiple fish kill where fish are left to rot in the tank. Ammonia rises badly only after a fish kill event, it cannot rise before, and even if you still test it that's fine just know your nh4/3 conversions (reefing only cares about nh3 all those meters except the badge above reads as nh4, and even the badge has zero input on your cycle if it's not displaying safe levels and you can account for your fish)

I did not state loss of biofilter by people putting medications into the tank, or power outage crashes, those are unnatural events.

when left to run as normal, without insult, it is impossible for your cycle to be broken and a full tank shot picture is going to show myriad details that the cycle is safe.

*please can you post a picture of your tank plus today's alert badge reading

if it's misreading I have a thread I'd like to link yours to (a thread where for ten pages folks refused to agree a 1 yr tank was cycled just fine, bc an alert badge showed gray vs yellow)
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I would probably not respond to a test kit result of 0.25 ppm total ammonia in an established reef tank. Too much risk it is error, and not enough benefit to lower it. Corals may even prefer it.

Higher values, or for sure accurate 0.25 ppm, yes, I'd act.
 

seabear

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they have a spin disk and I just like to double check my tests against theirs
I'm not sure how accurate those kits actually are. They are used to provide fast results for multiple tests. IDK, it could even be a calibration error.

Freshly mixed saltwater can contain measurable ammonia levels due contaminants in magnesium chloride (or calcium chloride). It's normally within a safe range (0 to 0.25ppm total ammonia). I've had Reef Crystals test up to 0.25ppm before; however, not all batches will mix to this high of a level.

It's really nothing to worry about. Your biofilter should be able to process it fine.
 
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Gwcreefer

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Actually, this is the first time I've tested for ammonia and nitrite since it has been cycled. I put in the badge just in case, I figure if something went bad that should give me enough warning. I got a little worried when I got the .4 reading from the LFS. I did have a hard time getting GHA under control for about 6 months. I had added flux rx at 6 months in with no luck getting rid of it. Second guessing myself for adding it and thought that might of did something. I put in 2 urchins, and they cleaned it up in 2 weeks.
 

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For what i've read from seachem their alert test only NH3 while normal test go for NH3+NH4 following this calculator https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/FreeAmmonia.php even if was .4 nh3+nh4 actually your nh3 was only 0.026 that's why the alert is yellow.

I'm pretty sure it works like that, but i'm a noob and i am more than happy if someone corrects me since i've doing my reading following this approach.

1665619957188.png
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Thank you so much Gwcreefer

That's a pass alert badge yellow/ safe.




Let's say you posted nothing in the description beyond the pic, and we work back to known tank conditions with zero description, only pics. This is my call:

You mentioned gha, very expected in new tank aging and maturation but also a direct visual proof of cycling... that detail begins the proofing for your cycle. I can see small amounts on frag rack and pump outflows. This is no critique, everyone reading will agree that's a great looking reef tank

The trace algae in the pics are visual benthic proof of your entire tank being cycled, your rocks were in the water the whole time like any other cycled reef.

Any surface that sat underwater long enough to host new benthic algae growth has exceed the time underwater that cycling charts show to be cycled for the crucial parameters.

That's why rocks covered in algae are cycled rocks, and that doesn't account for plant uptake by the actual algae

Algae rocks are compound ammonia scrubbers in that way

Your surface area stack, mid water, mimics every other pico, nano and full sized reef in scale that we see online for twenty years. Small variances tank to tank don't change outcome: if we swirl wastewater over those algae rocks, ammonia stays in control #1 rule of wastewater treatment science and reef tank cycling science.

So that means people who run seneye machines, today's best- reading nh3 hobby meter in my opinion, have documentation from their tanks that apply to yours, even though you don't have a seneye. Because we all mimic the rock stack mid tank we all get really tight controls on daily nh3 averages.

Nearly all seneye reefs using correct slide prep and a running meter reports that setup with light algae rocks, carrying fish and coral + daily feed everyday in the range of .001-.006~ nh3


We know you're cycled due to what the sum total of ten thousand other reefs just like yours running seneye report at the same age interval, and there were no stalled readings, none.

Also factor fish position... no struggle for air at the top, or laying half dead. Even distribution in clean bright water, open corals.

Your cycle is perfect, and cannot be undone. You have a really really helpful thread here to help others who struggle with what ammonia should be in a year old reef


Only the tank pic matters, not the readings. Don't add anything to the tank for assistance, your cycle is done locked and set

Any daily variance in ammonia is expected in respiring systems, it's presence here is good not bad.

This cycle is deemed in perfect condition, that's why things look so well.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Fish disease is the real test. That's what all 1yr reefs are at greatest risk from based on searchable trending for what kills fish in year old reefs. Your tank looks fantastic.
 
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