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  1. #1
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    I am a little bit confused about my Ammonia readings. For the last 3 or 4 days I have seen my Ammonia readings go up from 0 to between 0.6 to 1.2.
    Since I brought home my fish (4) from the LFS last Thursday, I have been taking readings everyday to closely monitor my parameters. The funny thing about it is I am not seeing a commesurate increase in my Nitrite and Nitrate readings.
    Params before I put the 4 fish in Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 2.
    Todays params: Ammonia 0.6 - 1.2, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 7. The Nitrate level went up to 7 Sunday and hasn't budged since. Other tank params SG 1.025, PH 8.4, Alkalinity 11.2 dkh, Magnesium 1320, Calcium 460. Wouldn't Nitrite and Nitrate level rise up commesurately with the Ammonia spike? This spike was gradual since Sunday. I have no missing or dead fish or inverts. All fish, inverts and corals seem to be thriving. Any ideas? I just don't want to go through the nightmare that I just went through again.:b13:

  2. #2
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    adding the four fish at once is likely the cause of the ammonia spike, tangs create a lot of waste. the ammonia spike will likely be followed by a nitrite spike if not already then in another few days or so followed by an increase in nitrates. this is going to be tough on the fish and you'll need to keep a real close eye on the parameters as well as the health of the fish in your tank.

    the only thing i can suggest is to lower the bioload in your tank. our closed systems can only handle so much and time is needed for the biofilter to catch up after every addition.

    good luck
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


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  3. #3
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    a4twenty
    How will this affect my corals? Which stage is the deadliest to the fish and corals, the high Nitrite or the high Nitrate stage? Will doing a 25% water change do me any good at this time or should I just let it cycle through?:b13:

  4. #4
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    ammonia and nitrite are going to be the biggest problem for the tank inhabitants, both are toxic ( ammonia more so ). nitrates can become a problem but at much higher levels than the other two.

    you can try doing the water change but as i've explained before, they aren't very effective in larger systems. doing a 25% WC will only reduce these levels by 25% but that'll be better than doing nothing. as i said above the best thing to do would be lower the bioload and add the fish back gradually, allowing the biofilter to catch up between additions.

    HTH
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  5. #5
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    a4twenty
    I added the 4 fish last Thursday and like I said my Nitrates went up from 2 to 7 by Sunday. Yesterday my Nitrates were 7 today my Nitrates were back down to 2, Nitrites still 0, but Ammonia is at 1.2. I have just now done a 40 gallon water change. If indeed I am going through some sort of mini cycle then wouldn't my Nitrites have gone up even for a day or so? Also with my Nitrates going back down to 2, shouldn't the Ammonia show a reduction? I tend to believe that there is something else in the tank that is making my Ammonia stay up. Even when I was cycling my time the first time, after I dropped the 6 cocktail shrimp in, the Ammonia reached 1.6 in 2 days but after I took it out on the 3rd day my Ammonia reading was down to 0 in 2 days. Even with the fish still there producing the waste, the readings should have started going down gradually instead of rising. Can you think of anything else that could possibly be spiking just the Ammonia? Also, maybe worth mentioning that I have 3 very small patches of what appears to be red algae on the sand and I have noticed that every 2 days there is a very light film of what appears to be green algae on the front glass which I promptly clean off with a Mag Float. I will probably scoop up the patch of sand where the red algae or whatever it is seems to have formed because I have a lot of sand anyways. I am also of the opinion that not having a fuge right now is hurting my cause. I will probably talk to the LFS today about building me another sump like the Model F in Melev's Reef forums. After looking at a lot of sump setups it looks like this sump which the other LFS sold me is of a very poor design. I will not be buying from him anymore on my new build, which will most definitely have a fuge.

  6. #6
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    the NH3 will continue to rise until the bacteria catches up, then the NO2 will rise until that bacteria catches up, just like a normal cycle. hopefully the NH3 has already started to fall. you wont see a direct link between NH3 levels and NO3, they are processed by different bacteria and each will take time to multiply after excess nutrients are present.


    you should get your fuge going again, great for nutrient export.

    the red algae is likely cyannobacteria, caused by low O2 and excess nutrients ( PO4 ), run a a PO4 remover.

    can you post current picture of your sump, maybe we can change it around a bit.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  7. #7
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    a4twenty
    I would dearly love to have a fuge right now. Photos of the sump are in the same album. If there is any way I can remodel this sump to have a fuge in it I would gladly do it. Any money I can save is very good right now because I estimate it would take close to 10K to put the new tank. My problem right now is that my space in between the 2 posts in my tank stand is 18 1/2". Current sump is 48" L x 15" W x 16" H. I would love to convert this sump to something identical to Model F in Melev's Reef DIY Fuges but I think if I put a plug in the bulkhead of the return end of the sump and drill a hole in the (http://www.melevsreef.com/acrylics/sumps/f/sump_f.html) centre section to use as a return I will not have enough clearance to put a 90 degree elbow to clear the 18 1/2". Of course it would mean moving the baffle in the first section to make it larger so the Skimmer can sit in there and making the fuge section in the old return section. How long does it take for the silicone to cure and be safe to put back? Would I be able to get away with just running on the closed loop system for a day and a half? Could I use Acrylic for the baffles and fuge divider? Would it stick to glass well? Is there a supplier for the parts I need in the GTA area? Is it doable? Sorry to pepper you with all these questions.
    http://photobucket.com/manster

  8. #8
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    a4twenty
    Good news. As I started doing the tests today, the 3rd bottle on the Salifert Ammonia test kit ran out. I bought another test kit and my Ammonia is now reading between .1 and .3 and I did it twice. Maybe because the reagent was getting used up it had gone bad.
    I would still like to try and get a fuge going as per my previous post so any
    ideas or suggestions would be really helpful. Were you able to take a look at the link for Melev's Reef on the Model F sump? Is it doable from my current sump and are the materials I need readily available locally?

  9. #9
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
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    ahhh, old model 'F', now where have i seen that before :b2:



    actually mine is more of a model 'G' but not much difference.

    great news about the test kit.

    i can't see where your return pump is in the pics...... but from the description it's in the left compartment. it's external??

    what about removing the glass top, move the skimmer to the right section and use the middle as the fuge.

    return <---- fuge <---- skimmer


    yes everything you would need to redo the sump is locally available and yes ~ 24hrs would probably be enough time for the silicone to cure. also silicone will not seal to acrylic permanently but in a sump it works just fine.
    `

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor


    My Gallery

  10. #10
    Senior Member manster's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ammonia Question

    a4twenty
    How would I prevent the sand from the fuge from going back to the first section? Also, where would I put the baffles to trap the bubbles in, before the fuge or after the fuge? If you look at the picture of my sump you will see that I don't even have a double baffle and the baffles are cut very low so I can't really run a very good water height on the sump. Do you have a drawing that shows what you are suggesting looks like after?

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