Need Help Determining Cause of Ammonia Spike

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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I know I jump into saying it’s not ammonia pretty fast too/ agendas but really good thread. In my opinion a clean slate start sounds ideal



score a hundred gallons of water matching temp and salinity or as much as you can and you’ll be set


* do you have any open corals in the system now, indicating some of the current water is ok not caustic? If so, you can re use some of that water on the clean up
 
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optimisticdingo

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I know I jump into saying it’s not ammonia pretty fast too/ agendas but really good thread. In my opinion a clean slate start sounds ideal



score a hundred gallons of water matching temp and salinity or as much as you can and you’ll be set
If anything I'd like to possibly replace the sand bed at least. The dinos just aren't seeming to go away. However, that's why I was moving to the black out method. I don't think a rip and clean would be good at this point. We did that on this tank when we got it and re-cycled it. It's been up for about a month and a half so Id hate to have to start fresh. Plus, I don't have a home for my fish currently as my smaller tank is on a Fallow Period for Velvet.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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fifty pages of rip cleans and no recycle, you might have skipped the tap water step I’ll bet. By eliminating the clean start I don’t think you can find the causative here. We mainly wanted to chart the ammonia status still a good thread. That’s two million bucks of rip cleans, in no way would your outcome vary as long as you don’t customize the rinse portions using tap water, the most critical step for it all and the last thing anyone would ever do or consider :)
 
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optimisticdingo

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fifty pages of rip cleans and no recycle, you might have skipped the tap water step I’ll bet. By eliminating the clean start I don’t think you can find the causative here. We mainly wanted to chart the ammonia status still a good thread. That’s two million bucks of rip cleans, in no way would your outcome vary as long as you don’t customize the rinse portions using tap water, the most critical step for it all and the last thing anyone would ever do or consider :)
So is a rip clean just removing all of the sand bed and cleaning it? Also, does it seem like there is any immediate danger for my fish? I won't be able to do a rip clean until tomorrow if I decide to go that route
 
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optimisticdingo

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UPDATE
All fish have survived the night and are looking fine. Water parameters are totally normal this morning. Thanks, Brandon for the helpful information on how to clean the tank properly and the helpful knowledge on Ammonia spikes and false alarms.

I thought about this incident most of the evening and early morning and what I believe caused the incident was my cleaning of the sandbed. I believe that the white stringy bits that I was seeing floating around the water column were either Dinoflaggelates or Cyanobacteria that had been dislodged from the sandbed and became free-floating. My Foxface was swimming around during this time and I believe that some of this stringy bacteria got stuck in his slime coat, fins, etc., and caused him to panic and begin flashing to try and get the gunk off of him.

The evidence I have to support my claim is pretty slim but when I removed the fish from the temporary holding bucket I set up there was tons of brown slime and gunk that had come off of the fish. I'm not sure why I wasn't able to see it on the fish while they were in the tank but this is what makes the most sense.

Parasites aren't really an option since this tank was bleached before starting the cycle, and the only non-QTed fish that has been added was a freshwater molly which wouldn't transmit parasites from Fresh to Saltwater. Every other Fish, Invert, or Coral has undergone a QT period to ensure no parasites. Also, my Freshwater molly was added to be my Canary in a Coalmine and that fish has been totally healthy. If there had been parasites in the water, presumably, this fish would have already contracted the disease and served its purpose.

Thanks to everyone in this thread that helped me out with this! My wife and I were super scared that we were going to lose our fish which would have been a big deal to us. This is our 3rd attempt at starting our Reef tank. In the first two attempts we lost all fish due to parasites, Ich the first time and Velvet the second. If we failed a third time it was very likely that we were going to be throwing in the towel. So you guys really helped save us and keep us in this hobby. Thanks so much and I absolutely love the community of people that I've found in this hobby!
 
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optimisticdingo

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UPDATE 2
I went to do another water change tonight and the fish did the same thing. This time not disturbing the substrate or any of the algae. Turns out I grossly overreacted. When the lights go out in my tank the foxface can see his reflection and turns out he gets super ticked off. Mystery solved and crysis averted.
 
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PICK the Most Tested & Least Tested Parameters of your Tank (Pick 2)

  • Calcium (most)

    Votes: 43 6.3%
  • Alkalinity (most)

    Votes: 479 69.9%
  • Magnesium (most)

    Votes: 5 0.7%
  • Phosphate (most)

    Votes: 64 9.3%
  • PH (most)

    Votes: 66 9.6%
  • Nitrate (most)

    Votes: 67 9.8%
  • Nitrite (most)

    Votes: 3 0.4%
  • Ammonia (most)

    Votes: 16 2.3%
  • (least) Calcium

    Votes: 10 1.5%
  • (least) Alkalinity

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • (least) Magnesium

    Votes: 61 8.9%
  • (least) Phosphate

    Votes: 14 2.0%
  • (least) PH

    Votes: 36 5.3%
  • (least) Nitrate

    Votes: 12 1.8%
  • (least) Nitrite

    Votes: 200 29.2%
  • (least) Ammonia

    Votes: 261 38.1%
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