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Old 04-17-2010, 06:39 PM   #101
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Ammonia comes from something decomposing and not having enough bacteria to convert it from ammonia to nitrites (and eventually nitrates). The obvious answer could be that a fish died and you can't find it. Ammonia can also come about when people stir up their sand beds and release a bunch of nasties that had previously been locked up in the sand. With how new your tank is, I doubt that's your case.

Another possibility... but there's no way to tell if it's the case... is that you're actually seeing an ammonia spike from some of your beneficial bacteria dieing off. When you got the tank and it was supposedly cycled, if it was truly cycled you would've had a LOT of beneficial bacteria in it because the bioload was so high. Once your fish started dieing, and your bioload dropped drastically, all that bacteria didn't have enough to "eat" anymore. So now that you're fish bioload dropped, your bacterial population will drop. And amazingly... dieing bacteria will cause a shift in water parameters just like anything else will. I'd once read that the bacteria bioload in a tank is actually larger than your fish bioload. (Think I read that in Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". I think.)

Not sure if that's what's going on in your case, but it's just another possibility.

You can add additives (Seachem's Prime, Amquel, etc) that bind up the ammonia into non-toxic compounds, but your test kits will still show ammonia because of how it interacts with the new compounds. You just have to trust it's doing its job. But water changes are the easiest and safest thing to do - especially on a 10g.

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Originally Posted by BonnieC View Post
And lastly...dang, if my ammonia can jump that fast (1 is deadly, right?) is there anypoint in keeping a 10g tank? ...
In my opinion, for someone just starting out in the hobby... no. A 10g reef is just not a easy way into this hobby.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:42 PM   #102
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I just reread your post. Phosphate are 5? Like 5.0 ppm?

Have you tested your "new" saltwater you're putting in that tank for phosphates? That number is sooooo high, I can't fathom where all of that could be coming from if your source water is clean. Overfeeding doesn't seem like it would generate that much. Just for reference, folks normally try to keep their phosphates undetectable, but at least below 0.03 ppm.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:43 PM   #103
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Is the bacteria in the water column or in the rock and sand? To get the nitrates and phosphates down, Ive done some pretty big water changes. Just thinking maybe I'm pulling out the good bacteria.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:46 PM   #104
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Nope. Very little of the bacteria is in the water. It's mostly everywhere BUT the water.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:48 PM   #105
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Yeah, the phosphates are really that high. The day before yesterday it was off the charts.

When I took the water into the store (the good one) to have it tested, they checked it. I hadn't been checking that because the test didnt come in my kit. But I bought a separate one so I could test.

They told me high phosphates could come from overfeeding or light being on too long. Ive only been feeding every other day since all this started so I would imagine it was that high from the beginning.

They also gave me some BellaPhos which I put into one of those filter bag things and placed it into the tank yesterday after a really big water change.


ETA: No phosphates in the store water Im using. I tested it. Everything looks great in their water.


Also, just did another huge water change. The fish are still alive so can't see anything that died. How odd. The ammonia has been the one thing under control. Maybe I did the test wrong somehow. I'll wait a while and repeat.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:37 PM   #106
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Tank is looking better today. And Bubba the turbo snail seems to have recovered and is back on the glass, woot!

Salinity=1.025 (just added a tiny bit of frshwater to drop it back down)
temp=76.5
ammonia=0 (I must have done something wrong)
Nitrate=20 (woohooo)
Nitrite=0
PH=8.0

Phosphates are now between 2 and 5 (they WERE off the charts). How toxic is the phosphates? Justtrying to decide if I should keep doing huge water changes or back it off and go lighter now.
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:49 PM   #107
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Blimey I've just read all 11 pages of this thread,what a trip you've had.The main thing i would suggest is to keep doing your 10% water changes,marine fish keeping is a hard slog but once you've got to grips with it all it's an amazing hobby,as for your turbo snail the last time mine hid for a while it laid a load of eggs and now I have about 40 of them all ranging from about 2mm to about 8mm in size.

just keep at it you'll be amazed at what will appear in your tank in a few months
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:33 PM   #108
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P03 is bad because it causes excess algae growth ie:hairalgae and in the beginning diatoms and slime algae,... So yes continue with the PWC's. I was thinking that you did the ammonia test incorrectly yesterday, but it's behind you so it looks great...
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:53 PM   #109
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Isnt it wierd I have yet to see any algae? The only thing I see is the brown stuff under the sand through the glass. That's diatoms right? Nothing on top of the sand or glass. Maybe Bubba the snail is just a piggy.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:18 AM   #110
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Or maybe your lights ar not that strong.
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