wierd issue

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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I do not know the answer, but I do think that the suggestion of degrading organics from the rock is certainly possible.

I would also note that nitrate may not be elevated, just ammonia and a bit of nitrite. 1 ppm nitrite can read with a nitrate kit as 100 ppm nitrate, even with zero nitrate.
 

Thespammailaccount

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so basically you are saying that anyone who buys dry rock should "cure" it? why is it that there are thousands of people out there buying and starting tanks with NOTHING but dry base rock and sand and none of them are curing it, to be clear there isnt isnt ANYthing live it is dry/base/DEAD, there should be absolutley NO reason to cure anything as there is nothing to "cure" with the exception to ammonia, nitrite and best guess is 15 nitrate after roughly 12 hours of setup. i appreciate the thoughts but lets just be real here why keep pushing the "cure" when as i thought i had clearly stated in the beginning this is dry/dead/base outside of the sand which was rinse, strained, filtered and picked through pryor to using it. would i say it could be the sand? sure but no way should ammonia and nitrite be off the chart on 2 different branded test kits in actually less than 12 hours ( went to bed at 4 am, checked the parameters when i got up between 3 and 3:30 P.M.

so again im wanting to know what could cause an ammonia and nitrite max out after less than 12 hours of being set up?
The reason why we cure rock (old previously used rock) is that the rock absorbs nutrients even though as you stated it is dead rock. A friend of mine bought some dry Pukani rock from a friend. During curing the phosphates were off the charts. The purpose of curing the rock is to in this case rid the rock of the phosphates so that you are not starting a tank with crazy high phosphates and then battling hair algae for years
 

andrewey

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so basically you are saying that anyone who buys dry rock should "cure" it? why is it that there are thousands of people out there buying and starting tanks with NOTHING but dry base rock and sand and none of them are curing it, to be clear there isnt isnt ANYthing live it is dry/base/DEAD, there should be absolutley NO reason to cure anything as there is nothing to "cure" with the exception to ammonia, nitrite and best guess is 15 nitrate after roughly 12 hours of setup. i appreciate the thoughts but lets just be real here why keep pushing the "cure" when as i thought i had clearly stated in the beginning this is dry/dead/base outside of the sand which was rinse, strained, filtered and picked through pryor to using it. would i say it could be the sand? sure but no way should ammonia and nitrite be off the chart on 2 different branded test kits in actually less than 12 hours ( went to bed at 4 am, checked the parameters when i got up between 3 and 3:30 P.M.

so again im wanting to know what could cause an ammonia and nitrite max out after less than 12 hours of being set up?
Before I begin, just remember, we're trying to help you here- all advice takes time out of our busy days, but we do it because we want you to succeed. Just keep that in mind ;)

I'm not sure what is going on with your salt mix or water, but I think you might have some confusion about live rock. The terms can be confusing, so this is completely understandable! For starters, new dry rock is often quarried, man made, or treated with a substance to remove the organics (e.g. bleach). All of these verisons of dry rock have very few organics.

Live rock is rock that is currently harboring nitrifying bacteria and other organisms. Dry rock can become live rock, but when live rock dies/is dried out, it is no longer the same as the new dry rock mentioned above. This is dried live rock. I'll admit the phrasing is difficult, but the concept is pretty easy to understand.

If you start with a dry rock that is devoid of life, you simply need to add life back to the rock. If you start with a dry rock that was previously full of life, you need to remove all the death.

To better understand why we are talking about curing, imagine you had a quantity of dry rocks without any organics, and when you started your tank, you dumped in a bunch of dead, desiccated fish. Clearly starting a reef tank while waiting for the fish to finish rotting isn't ideal. Inside/on the outside of the rock is the equivalent of dead/desiccated fish (in this case, dead mollusks, sponges, worms, bacteria, pods, etc.)

Lastly, marine pure is a biological media that can host nitrifying bacteria. It is confusing when people describe using a certain percentage of marine pure as an equivalent to live rock, but they are not aquascaping with it or putting it in their display tank. It is in it's own category, similar to ceramic media, bioballs, etc.
 
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lordraptor1

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I do not know the answer, but I do think that the suggestion of degrading organics from the rock is certainly possible.

I would also note that nitrate may not be elevated, just ammonia and a bit of nitrite. 1 ppm nitrite can read with a nitrate kit as 100 ppm nitrate, even with zero nitrate.

funny thing is
Before I begin, just remember, we're trying to help you here- all advice takes time out of our busy days, but we do it because we want you to succeed. Just keep that in mind ;)

I'm not sure what is going on with your salt mix or water, but I think you might have some confusion about live rock. The terms can be confusing, so this is completely understandable! For starters, new dry rock is often quarried, man made, or treated with a substance to remove the organics (e.g. bleach). All of these verisons of dry rock have very few organics.

Live rock is rock that is currently harboring nitrifying bacteria and other organisms. Dry rock can become live rock, but when live rock dies/is dried out, it is no longer the same as the new dry rock mentioned above. This is dried live rock. I'll admit the phrasing is difficult, but the concept is pretty easy to understand.

If you start with a dry rock that is devoid of life, you simply need to add life back to the rock. If you start with a dry rock that was previously full of life, you need to remove all the death.

To better understand why we are talking about curing, imagine you had a quantity of dry rocks without any organics, and when you started your tank, you dumped in a bunch of dead, desiccated fish. Clearly starting a reef tank while waiting for the fish to finish rotting isn't ideal. Inside/on the outside of the rock is the equivalent of dead/desiccated fish (in this case, dead mollusks, sponges, worms, bacteria, pods, etc.)

Lastly, marine pure is a biological media that can host nitrifying bacteria. It is confusing when people describe using a certain percentage of marine pure as an equivalent to live rock, but they are not aquascaping with it or putting it in their display tank. It is in it's own category, similar to ceramic media, bioballs, etc.

i know what curing is and why do it as i am NOT new to the hobby. with that said i repeat there is nothing on the rock live or dead. maybe i should clarify that it was soaked in bleach and dried PRIOR ( that is BEFORE) to being placed in a tub and going into the shed all those years ago so completely dead and devoid of life and death.

second i find it interesting that not one person has yet commented on how wierd this issue is and that i dont have any ammonia until i mix the fritz rpm. so here let me clarify:

1. rock is dead it was bleached and dried prior to storage and has been ruled out as culprit
2. water tested out of RODI unit is 0 for ammonia
3. water out of drinking water tap on rodi unit also reads 0 ammonia
4. rodi water in mixing container tests 0 for ammonia
5. rodi water in 4 cup mixing bowl tests 0 for ammonia
6. water straight out of the tap tests 0 ammonia ( just to be thorough i tested the tap water :p)
7. filters and membrane are new less than 2 weeks
8. tds going IN to rodi unit is 207
9. TDS coming OUT of unit is 0


i just got off the phone with fritz and explained everything i have here and htey to agree it is indeed a weird thing and are puzzled. they are looking into it to see if they can figure out what might be the issue and offer a solution ( fyi woman i spoke with said i shouldnt have to break down the rock and cure it with as long as it was setting and said there wouldnt be any die off or anything after 12 years.

anyway based on comments i have to say no one finds this to be a weird issue but me which is fine, i appreciate the "help".

right now my thinking is hte salt mix became contaminated somehow through the small hole i found in the bottom of the bag last night either at time of packaging or at some point between packaging and it arriving to me.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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right now my thinking is hte salt mix became contaminated somehow through the small hole i found in the bottom of the bag last night either at time of packaging or at some point between packaging and it arriving to me.
That contamination suggestion is certainly possible. Maybe your cat peed on it. I've had folks say their cat peed into their water reservoirs.

But it is not correct or even sensible for Fritz to claim that that rock sitting around for 12 years cannot have organic matter on it to degrade. That somehow dead organisms that were left on it and in pores when it was set aside will somehow have evaporated over the years. They will still be there. Dried organic crud, waiting to degrade.

This is commonly encountered. here's a thread from this forum a few months ago with a similar experience (not identical since they see nitrate and not ammonia):


from it:

I am starting a new tank using live rock that I have had for 10-20 years. The rock has been completely dry for several years. I mixed fresh salt water. I tested the water and it had 0 ppm nitrate. I placed the rock in the aquarium and measured the nitrates the following day. I measured 10 ppm nitrate. I would expect some ammonia or nitrite, but the tank has not been cycled yet so I would not expect any nitrates. Is it best to use the new rock?
 
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lordraptor1

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That contamination suggestion is certainly possible. Maybe your cat peed on it. I've had folks say their cat peed into their water reservoirs.

But it is not correct or even sensible for Fritz to claim that that rock sitting around for 12 years cannot have organic matter on it to degrade. That somehow dead organisms that were left on it and in pores when it was set aside will somehow have evaporated over the years. They will still be there. Dried organic crud, waiting to degrade.

This is commonly encountered. here's a thread from this forum a few months ago with a similar experience (not identical since they see nitrate and not ammonia):


from it:

I am starting a new tank using live rock that I have had for 10-20 years. The rock has been completely dry for several years. I mixed fresh salt water. I tested the water and it had 0 ppm nitrate. I placed the rock in the aquarium and measured the nitrates the following day. I measured 10 ppm nitrate. I would expect some ammonia or nitrite, but the tank has not been cycled yet so I would not expect any nitrates. Is it best to use the new rock?

well i can rule out my cat peed on it because i dont even own a cat LOL, and i can also rule out my dog peed on it as well because my dogs go outside and furthermore dogs couldnt even get to the salt box to have an accident on it and if ( for the sake of argument they did manage to pull off that feat) the box would also have visible signs it was peed on.

something else you may wish to look at is you keep touting curing my rock which i see your point and i have read that article but i have to again say the rock is NOT the problem.

let me clarify:

IF the rock was the culprit after being dry for 12+ years it would NOT be off the chart for ammonia in 12 hours it is NOT possible, i have talked to several reef shops as well as some of the online retailers and they have all stated i would see some ammonia if their was some decropsis but it certainly wouldnt be maxxed on a test kit within 12 hours ( fyi i can watch the test kit physically change during the 5 minute wait and it goes through all the colors on the chart ending at 8PPM after 5 minutes.

this also does not explain why there is some nitrite showing on the test kits either as there is no living bacteria present to convert ammonia to nitrite so clearly there is somethign weird going on and im just trying to figure out what could be the issue ( fyi fritz is also curious and is looking into the issue as well).

hopefully between myself and fritz we can figure out what is going on and find a solution that might be helpful to others in the future.

right now im leaning to salt mix contaminated at some point ( not necessarily at the factory) and the woman i spoke with at fritz said it is possible. i did find some dead ants in the bottom of the rpm box and found some floating ants in the tank today so maybe some ants got into the salt mix.

at this point i just know what i have tested and what i have ruled out. i can also say that i gave away a chunk of leftover rock to a local to set up a pico tank and he is not seeing the same ammonia issue as i am only differents is he went and bought IO from petco. this again does not rule out salt mix but could theoretically point to rodi but he lives 2 doors down so his water is same as mine which would then point to rodi unit itself but since ammonia out of rodi unit is showing 0 on test kit that rules that out.

im just perplexed and trying to figure out cause and constantly saying cure live rock or beating the dead horse about curing the live rock is really getting us nowhere.

sorry but is curing the rock your only thought or opinion? if so fine i saw it, considered it, and ruled it out.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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If the dead rock life is not the issue, it is not hard to list all other possible issue:

1. There is a dead something like a mouse or earthworm amidst the jumble of rocks. Or part of a ham sandwich that your kid threw into the tank. Read of a case where a spouse poured bleach in a tank, a kid dropped an ice cream cone in another. Folks at parties have been seen dumping drinks into them.

2. Cats or dogs or squirrels peed on the rock when it was outside (that's still sort of a rock issue)

3. The salt was contaminated badly (very unusual to see more than 0.2 ppm ammonia in a salt mix as it is not an ingredient that might be over dosed to the batch, but rather comes as an impurity in ingredients like magnesium chloride).

4. Source water was heavily contaminated with ammonia. I've had this happen to me when my DI was depleting and I didn't realize it. Chloramine in tap water gives ammonia to the DI. The DI binds it until the DI started to deplete, then when other cations like sodium come along, they bump off the ammonia, and the ammonia in the effluent can be way higher then the source fresh water. I had a batch of limewater (kalkwasser) that stank of ammonia for this reason.

5. The storage containers or aquarium were dirty. Containers from Home Depot may have birds pooping in them before you get it.

Cannot think of any other possibility to explain substantial ammonia.
 
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lordraptor1

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If the dead rock life is not the issue, it is not hard to list all other possible issue:

1. There is a dead something like a mouse or earthworm amidst the jumble of rocks. Or part of a ham sandwich that your kid threw into the tank. Read of a case where a spouse poured bleach in a tank, a kid dropped an ice cream cone in another. Folks at parties have been seen dumping drinks into them.

2. Cats or dogs or squirrels peed on the rock when it was outside (that's still sort of a rock issue)

3. The salt was contaminated badly (very unusual to see more than 0.2 ppm ammonia in a salt mix as it is not an ingredient that might be over dosed to the batch, but rather comes as an impurity in ingredients like magnesium chloride).

4. Source water was heavily contaminated with ammonia. I've had this happen to me when my DI was depleting and I didn't realize it. Chloramine in tap water gives ammonia to the DI. The DI binds it until the DI started to deplete, then when other cations like sodium come along, they bump off the ammonia, and the ammonia in the effluent can be way higher then the source fresh water. I had a batch of limewater (kalkwasser) that stank of ammonia for this reason.

5. The storage containers or aquarium were dirty. Containers from Home Depot may have birds pooping in them before you get it.

Cannot think of any other possibility to explain substantial ammonia.

ok so you are saying some form of critter got into a SEALED tube and did their business on the rock, thats good to know critters have become evolved enought ot open and close sealed containers. no? ok well tehn guess it must be the bird poop in the bucket that was thoroughly rinsed and cleaned before using ( clearly you are not capable of reading comments fully but whatever, at this point i have to question your ability to be rational as you still keep touting it is the rock ( which it isnt). and NO it is NOT the mixing tub ( AGAIN IT WAS THOROUGHLY CLEANED BEFORE MIXING) RODI in container tests 0 it is when salt mix is added and mixed up ammonia goes wonky. i took 2 samples to petco today 1 rodi no salt out of the mixing container, and 1 mixed with the fritz and they got the same results ( although SLIGHTLY lower) using their test strips so at this point i am more sure it is a contaminated salt mix with it having ammonia, nitrites and absolutley NO bacteria.
 

Thespammailaccount

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ok so you are saying some form of critter got into a SEALED tube and did their business on the rock, thats good to know critters have become evolved enought ot open and close sealed containers. no? ok well tehn guess it must be the bird poop in the bucket that was thoroughly rinsed and cleaned before using ( clearly you are not capable of reading comments fully but whatever, at this point i have to question your ability to be rational as you still keep touting it is the rock ( which it isnt). and NO it is NOT the mixing tub ( AGAIN IT WAS THOROUGHLY CLEANED BEFORE MIXING) RODI in container tests 0 it is when salt mix is added and mixed up ammonia goes wonky. i took 2 samples to petco today 1 rodi no salt out of the mixing container, and 1 mixed with the fritz and they got the same results ( although SLIGHTLY lower) using their test strips so at this point i am more sure it is a contaminated salt mix with it having ammonia, nitrites and absolutley NO bacteria.
First of all you did not mention the rock being cured prior to storage until much later. Second you have not mentioned that the tub the rocks were in were sealed until now. Third Randy who I believe is a chemist has offered several possible reasons one including the salt mixture and possible contamination/impurity.

Perhaps what happened is a rat got into the salt mix (via the hole in the bag) peed all over the salt then decided to go chill in the tub of rocks (have you checked if there is a hole in the tub holding the rocks you have not yet confirmed) and died in a hole in one of the rocks; therefore, the ammonia you are finding in the saltwater is the rat pee and the ammonia you are finding in the tank is the dead rat in the tank. However if the salt manufacturer refunds you the cost of the salt then you now have salt to change out all the water in the tank which you did state you needed to do; therefore, mission accomplished.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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ok so you are saying some form of critter got into a SEALED tube and did their business on the rock, thats good to know critters have become evolved enought ot open and close sealed containers. no? ok well tehn guess it must be the bird poop in the bucket that was thoroughly rinsed and cleaned before using ( clearly you are not capable of reading comments fully but whatever, at this point i have to question your ability to be rational as you still keep touting it is the rock ( which it isnt). and NO it is NOT the mixing tub ( AGAIN IT WAS THOROUGHLY CLEANED BEFORE MIXING) RODI in container tests 0 it is when salt mix is added and mixed up ammonia goes wonky. i took 2 samples to petco today 1 rodi no salt out of the mixing container, and 1 mixed with the fritz and they got the same results ( although SLIGHTLY lower) using their test strips so at this point i am more sure it is a contaminated salt mix with it having ammonia, nitrites and absolutley NO bacteria.
You need to relax and treat people better if you want help. If you just want to troll, go elsewhere.

I listed all reasonable possibilities, and you just belittle them. That is how science works. Understand all the options and select the one(s) that seem most likely. Doesn't mean every option IS the explanation. Might not be any of them, if I missed some.

Your history of fighting me on chemical issues extends to other threads, and I won't let this one go that way.

You have convinced yourself it is the salt, and so I suggest you follow that up as best you are able.
 
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