Need Help Determining Cause of Ammonia Spike

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optimisticdingo

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Today I conducted my weekly 10% water change on my 116 Gal Red Sea Reefer 450. I've got a ton of algae growing in the tank (Cyano, Dinos, and Bryopsis). During my water change I attempted to manually remove as much of the algae as I could and while doing so I noticed all of this white stringy stuff start floating around the tank. Once again, I attempted to suck as much of it out as possible. I figured these were dinos that had detached or something like that.

After changing the water I turned off all of the lights to begin a 3 day black out for Dinos and did another dose of Vibrant. When doing so I noticed my Foxface absolutely freaking out and trying to jump out of the tank. I immediately tested for ammonia and nitrite and found that I was having a HUGE ammonia spike. I had about 4ppm judging by my API test kit. I caught all of my fish and transfered them to a bucket for about an hour and treated the aquarium with Seachem Safe. After a few minutes I retested and was at 0ppm ammonia.

I try to vaccum my sand bed every time I change my water. I can't remember if I vaccumed it the last time but I'm pretty sure I did. Is it possible I just released a gas bubble that poisoned the water or was it something with the algae and the weird white stringy things that caused the spike? Any ideas?
 
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I dont know what it was but ammonia isnt created instantly and it isnt in the sand bed. That's hydrogen sulfide you can stir up and release... Proteins and organics break down to ammonia but it takes time. So think back to anything that happened hours or a day or 2 before you noticed the ammonia spike.
Dead fish. Overfeeding something like that. Or your biofilterfilter crashed and isn't converting ammonia so it built up.
In which case it will do it again.
 

vetteguy53081

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Your ammonia readings will be higher right after a water change. Test again after 12 hours. You’re likely getting a false reading.
what test kits are you using?
Additionally, add some liquid bacteria to allow bacteria to do its function.
vibrant will do very little with cyano and Dino. Blackout is at least 5 days with addition of 1ml of liquid bacteria during the day and 1ml per10 gallons at night
 
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optimisticdingo

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I dont know what it was but ammonia isnt created instantly and it isnt in the sand bed. That's hydrogen sulfide you can stir up and release... Proteins and organics break down to ammonia but it takes time. So think back to anything that happened hours or a day or 2 before you noticed the ammonia spike.
Dead fish. Overfeeding something like that. Or your biofilterfilter crashed and isn't converting ammonia so it built up.
In which case it will do it again.
I haven't been feeding all that much since I only have 3 fish in the tank. I had a midas blenny die like 2 weeks ago but never saw an ammonia spike as I removed him immediately after he died.
 
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optimisticdingo

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Your ammonia readings will be higher right after a water change. Test again after 12 hours. You’re likely getting a false reading.
what test kits are you using?
Additionally, add some liquid bacteria to allow bacteria to do its function.
vibrant will do very little with cyano and Dino. Blackout is at least 5 days with addition of 1ml of liquid bacteria during the day and 1ml per10 gallons at night
So if it wasn't ammonia that caused my fish to absolutely go berserk then what caused the behavior? Water was temperature matched, salinity was the same, and pH didn't swing
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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You had a false alarm. Here’s several pages of em.



to this day, all of them still believe it was real


non digital test kits have this strong of a hold on us. Put animals back


non digital test kits over report actual tiny spikes, case closed.


also from the thread: nobody’s fish or animals die, its always just a test alarm only. Above is a collection of symptomless ammonia poisoning (ie it did not occur or your whole tank would be dead)
 
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optimisticdingo

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You had a false alarm. Here’s several pages of em.



to this day, all of them still believe it was real


non digital test kits have this strong of a hold on us. Put animals back


non digital test kits over report actual tiny spikes, case closed.


also from the thread: nobody’s fish or animals die, its always just a test alarm only. Above is a collection of symptomless ammonia poisoning (ie it did not occur or your whole tank would be dead)
So what caused the fish to panic and try to jump? It was respiration super hard as well. Was it just stress from the water change?
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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The classic rebuttal to my five pages of proof / 40 examples of clean water, open coral happy fish is that the reader blanked their test on drinking water and had zero ammonia, therefore the symptomless claims must be correct.

no


that sample drinking water we know had none.


a reef tank always has some, it’s never zero, and after TAN conversions (nh3 discernment of the total reading) your actual ammonia is less than a tenth of what’s stated


then if we apply error correction for color tube reference chart approximation, or interference from reaction dosers like prime, and every seneye reading shown, we can see the test was a false alarm
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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We wont be able to assess the past event


do a water change, put them back, nobody can rule out alternate poisoning from vibrant use or other additives

Not that vibrant is poisonous


it’s the decaying algae and targets that can be we think and other unknown interactions. Vibrant is not loss free we have a ten page thread of it killing corals. Not usually fish though.

even legit small ammonia spikes pass in five minutes, it’s done now let’s see the fish back in clean water. Buried in there is a 20 page thread on dosing liquid ammonia into full blown reefs, more than you might have caused by five times over, tracked on seneye, and it resolves in ten mins or less.


any ammonia event you created resolved in ten mins. It is flatly impossible for anyones reef to have a sustained ammonia spike from an unapparent source
 
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optimisticdingo

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We wont be able to assess the past event


do a water change, put them back, nobody can rule out alternate poisoning from vibrant use or other additives


even legit small ammonia spikes pass in five minutes, it’s done now let’s see the fish back in clean water.
The fish have been reintroduced into the tank. The foxface is super stressed but we will see how he acts in the morning. My black freshwater molly is hiding as well. I guess I can observe in the morning. Thanks for your help
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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How is fish disease ruled out / legit clue hunting question here


labored breathing is a common symptom in the disease forum


how did you protect the system from disease what’s your protocol

see how quick we moved away from free ammonia having any factor here, thats awesome. My columbo meter is pointing a squiggly eye at fish disease as best candidate so far


false ammonia alerts aren’t a big deal by themselves, it’s that they cause us to stop looking for the real candidate as the risk.
 

Rmckoy

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The fish have been reintroduced into the tank. The foxface is super stressed but we will see how he acts in the morning. My black freshwater molly is hiding as well. I guess I can observe in the morning. Thanks for your help
Interested to see how long the molly lasts .....

Was it sold to you as a saltwater molly or did you acclimate it to salt ?
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Disturbing sandbed is a strong risk too, Rm knows a big thread on that type of fish stress.
 
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optimisticdingo

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How is fish disease ruled out / legit clue hunting question here


labored breathing is a common symptom in the disease forum


how did you protect the system from disease what’s your protocol

see how quick we moved away from free ammonia having any factor here, thats awesome. My columbo meter is pointing a squiggly eye at fish disease as best candidate so far


false ammonia alerts aren’t a big deal by themselves, it’s that they cause us to stop looking for the real candidate as the risk.
All fish in the system went through a full copper QT, Prazi, fed food soaked in Metro and Bendazole.

I bought the fish from Dr Reefs Quarantined Fish. All of my inverts and corals we're QTd as well to avoid tomont transmission
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Ok sand then he he


dang nice preps. 89% of me assumed you put petco fish in along with dr Tims

oxygen and ph not linked per chem forum.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Do you want to do a deep cleaning and start fresh, here’s one in your exact size tank:




not an understatement: in that thread, the deepest cleaning of a reef you can find on the entire internet exists. None is deeper. Who rip cleans a 120 five times in one thread? One heck of a science bro, that’s who. :)
 
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optimisticdingo

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Ok sand then he he


dang nice preps. 89% of me assumed you put petco fish in along with dr Tims
Nope lol. I've lost 2 tanks worth of fish to parasites. ICH my first time through and Velvet my 2nd time. After that, my whole method has changed.

I probably jumped to ammonia too early in this instance but it was the only water parameter that wasn't in check.
 
RAP
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