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Old 01-13-2015, 03:32 PM   #1
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High Ammonia levels!!

55 Gallon Tank
40lbs LR
CC bottom
2 clowns
1 Yellow tang
1 Trigger
1 Spotty back
1 blenny
8 snails
3 hermits
1 emerald crab
1 peppermint shrimp
1 Starfish

My tank has been running for about 4 months now (2 months with fish) and all of a sudden the PH dropped and the ammonia spiked! My nitrites and nitrates are both zero. I may have been over feeding but have been underfeeding for the last 4 days.
What could be causing this and how can I fix it?
Thanks in advance
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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Have you done anything recently to your tank? Moved rock work? Noticed a big old turbo snail missing? The amonia is coming from a source that is too much decay for your bacteria to break down. What kind of filtration are you running?
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:52 PM   #3
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I have an Aqueon over the back rated for 75g and also a canister filter below.
I recently added the Trigger about a week ago. and the tang and spotty back 2 weeks before that....(too soon?). I also rearranged the rock recently as well.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:02 PM   #4
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Triggers eat eat and poop! Lots of waste there.

Moving rock around can cause mini cycles. Basically you had living algae on spots of the rock that are now in the dark and it dies off. The die off can cause amonia to spike.

Do a big water change (15 gallons or so) to remove some of it and let the tank settle down for a while. Don't move things around. Oh, and clean out your canister filter. If you were over feeding it's probably sucked in a bunch of food and poop that is decaying in there.

IMO (only an opinion) you're pretty maxed out if not over for a 55. Don't add more fish for a while. I had a 55 for years and found 5 fish was usually the tanks comfort zone as far as bioload.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
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Ill give that a shot! Thank you
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Also, ive been using distilled water thus far. For cost and convenience id like to use my tap water. How can I find out if my tap is safe to use? Or how would you recommend performing a water change?
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:17 PM   #7
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You can get a TDS (total desolved solids) meter that can test your water. As a reefer one of our first choices is what water source to use. I think it's been proven over the years that Reverse Osmosis water is the best for your tank. It removed most of the unwated stuff from your water so your coral can thrive. Some chose to use tap with additives or letting it rest to let the clorine evaporate. This isn't the best choice as it will lead to algae in the futuer and could cause issues for your inhabitants. You're fighting your new tank right now and things seem to be going off course. My advice would be to either invest now in an RO maker or buy RO from the store. You could get 15 gallons for probably under $9 I'd assume.

I have no idea where you're from so I have no idea what's in your city water so you'll have to make that call.

Sorry, to try and help you I snooped to see if you have posted pictures of your tank. I notice that less than 2 months ago you posted that your tank was just water and salt so I'll assume that you went from nothing to what you listed above in under 2 months. This is really fast for saltwater. Taking a tank from empty to capacity in 2 months is a real shock to the system, amonia isn't surprising and I'm willing to bet you see an algea outbreak soon. Been there, its exciting to get going.

My advice, take it slow now. Water change water change and more waterchanges until you get your parameters in check and let it settle in.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:18 PM   #8
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Update: I drained about 15 gallons and replaced it with "Real pacific ocean water". I also bought a new canister filter rated for 65 gallons. And added some ammo lock.

The water is $11.00 for 5 gallons which seems pricey to me so I think investing in the materials to do it myself is my next step.
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