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Old 07-17-2016, 09:16 PM   #1
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Help with Ammonia

I started my first saltwater tank March 15 this year. Had some initial issues with cycling but had my ammonia spike to 8 on 4-30. It came down to 0.25 on 4-10 & has been there ever since.
Current levels
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrites 0
Nitrates run 5-10
Salinity 1.023-1.024
PH 8-8.2
Temp ~ 80
All fish are doing great & everyone survived our week vacation eating all the brown algae that was trying to explode. I have 2 clownfish, mandarin, flame angel, 4 blue chromis, purple fire fish, fire shrimp, had 2 emerald crabs but do think only 1 is living ( debatable if one died or shed), blue & red hermits, and snails- mostly turbo. I do have an issue with snails dying & not sure if dye from tipping over & just can't get back up or something else. Right now maybe lack of algae as my tank is pretty clean compared to when I went on vacation.
My big question is- I know I want my ammonia to be 0, but I consistently read 0.25. Very thing is doing great even when I add something new. Any thoughts on what could be causing this & how to finally get it to 0? I do question my test but my freshwater tank reads 0. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I have a 75 gallon
Fluval canister filter
In tank protein skimmer
I do have a sump I have to put together but my tank is not drilled & we are planning to move out of state. So the sump maybe on hold until we move & can properly drill the tank if not upgrade.

Again thank you for any suggestions for this newbie 😊


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Old 07-17-2016, 10:08 PM   #2
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In response to your ammonia dilemma, I have a few suggestions/questions that might help out. First of all, your tank is still relatively young (approximately 4 months old) so your tank might still be undergoing some mini cycles as a way of coping with the larger number of fish you have. Also, you did not specify your water change schedule or the type of water you use to perform your water changes. In order to have a thriving saltwater tank, it is imperative that you use RODI water when performing water changes. Likewise, I would highly suggest performing water changes a bit more consecutively until you manage to lower the level of ammonia in your system. As for your snails, they might be dying since your tank is newer and there isn't enough algae for them to eat. Most likely the ammonia is too much stress on them, since they cannot usually tolerate any ammonia in their water.

Some things that could possibly help:
-get your water tested by your local fish store, since your test kit might be harder to read or not as accurate as there's is.
-try feeding your fish less (don't overfeed) so that there are less organics in the water that might break down into ammonia.
-try ammonia reducing products like Zeovit if you are interested in achieving a low nutrient system.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:17 PM   #3
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I figured that much about the snails. Yes pretty new tank & know it will take time to fully cycle & adjust. I typically do water change every weekend about 15 gallons. A lot of work emptying using 5 gallon Home Depot buckets 😂. Tomorrow will be my water change as this weekend was too crazy to get it done. I use well water. I have had my water tested & it tested fine to use per my LFS. I have thought about RODI system but haven't wanted to spend the money yet.
Much appreciate the suggestions & will keep working on getting it to drop.


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Old 07-17-2016, 10:32 PM   #4
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Well it seems like you're doing everything right, so just keep up the good work and your ammonia issue should solve itself in no time.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:43 PM   #5
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I would suggest a 25% change to drop your ammonia since it's only .25 ,
If I remember correct didn't you only have a very small amount of rock .
rock holds the bb takes over the ammonia. from what you are describing the amount of fish along with all your inverts over take the little bb you have in your tank ,
this is the most probable cause for the ammonia .
also be sure your test kit is good
If your depending on the fish shop for reading sometimes there off
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:28 AM   #6
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Api makes a great saltwater testing kit. I use their freshwater kit for my tank and it's fantastic. Much better than the little strip they usually use at the lfs. It costs about $25 -$30 but it's worth it because it lasts quite a while.

And by your level of nitrites I would guess that your cycle stalled. If you have ammonia but no nitrites. It doesn't look like its getting converted over.

I don't know if they have this for marine fish/this works on both fresh and marine but seachem makes a product called stability that helps jumpstart the bacteria in the tank. If it works for both or you find the marine equivalent it might be a boost to help get the ammonia down. I also use this in my freshwater tank and it helped get my cycling problems under control. I was even able to switch tanks and everything.

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Old 07-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #7
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I don't know if they have this for marine fish/this works on both fresh and marine but seachem makes a product called stability that helps jumpstart the bacteria in the tank.
Agreed. Stability won't instantly cycle your tank, but it did speed up the cycling of mine by several weeks.

The API test kit is very handy, certainly better than paper strips, but danged if it isn't hard to see the differences between some of the colors on their chart.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:53 PM   #8
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Yes it is a pain to try and differentiate between colors but I'll take my judgement call over those stick things.

Sometimes I wonder if having all the tests on one strip causes the different chemicals to leech into the water youre testing and it interferes with the accuracy.

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Old 07-19-2016, 11:13 PM   #9
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I have used Nite Out 2 when I was stalled for cycling. Worked great & got my tank moving on. I have gotten more live rock since my last post. I plan on getting some more but my LFS recently had a bad ick breakout when the regular fish guy was on vacation. They are still recovering & don't have a lot of stock & kind of leary right now to get anything from there. I want to visit anothe LFS but it is about an hour away. Just trying to make time for the trip with summer activities are in full swing.

Before I get the additional live rock, would it be wise to dose again with the Nite Out 2 or even something else? Maybe help balance the cycle a little more. Just a though, you guys got me thinking now. 😂could be good or bad 😂


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