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Old 05-07-2016, 11:49 AM   #1
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New to SW- Ammonia really high

I have had my tank set up some mid March. 75 gallon with Fluval canister, no sump but just ordered a DIY kit. No protein skimmer yet but will once I get the sump set up. Currently my Ammonia is extremely high. I have done may things to get it to drop & nothing is really working. Any suggestions I could try.
PH 7.8
Ammonia 8 (API kit)
Nitrite 0.5
Nitrate 5
Salinity 1.022
Phosphate 0
Alkalinity 9.9
Calcium 460
Magnesium 1350-1380
I did have a yellow tang & regal/hippo for a couple of weeks but lost them last weekend when everything crashed. Trying to get back up & running. My survivors are 2 OC clownfish, fire shrimp & some snails. I just added more live rock yesterday hoping to add some good bacteria to help break up the ammonia. The nitrite being registering is actually a good thing since it has been 0.

I am oh so open to any advice & suggestions. My LFS has been helpful but at this point beyond adding chemicals he is clueless what to try next. I don't want to mask a problem I want to solve the issue.


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Old 05-07-2016, 01:06 PM   #2
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Pretty simple answer. Your tank was never cycled. If it had been presented an ammonia source before the fish, a bacteria base would have been established and you wouldn't have seen any ammonia or nitrite readings.
With that said you will need to do water changes to keep the ammonia down as it is burning the gills and poisoning your livestock. Adding bottled bacteria could assist with this, but it's never been fully studied to be proven.
Also, once you have things settled do some steady research before adding new fish. The tangs you had in the system get huge and need lots of swimming room, aka 6 ft long tanks minimum. There are tangs that can work in this tank, such as kole and bristle tooth.


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Old 05-07-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Thank you. I did start with damsels as a LFS suggested & did have what I thought was cycled ammonia, nitrites & nitrates readings. But a last I am here now having to technically "starting over". I do have a bottle of bacteria & have add it once hence why I think I now I read nitrites again. I hope what I have survives but will continue with the course. Not surprised & was ultimately thinking this was what was going on. Frustrating when you try to do what you are given only to really be set back.

Yes I have been researching the different fish & did learn about the tang. I will see what I can put in next but not until I am over confident it's cycled completely. Looking into the bubble tip anemone & know a LFS who keeps them stocked.


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Old 05-07-2016, 06:41 PM   #4
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one of the best suggestions I can give since snyperhank gave you the best answer.
Never trust a pet store clerk as they will tell you things just to get you to buy stuff ,
be sure to keep up on daily water changes till you get through the cycle. If you have a qt tank I would move the fire shrimp till the cycles done as he is the most fragile invert.
be sure to clean that canister weekly as they are nitrate factory's.
things like this prove qt tanks are beneficial , they also serve to observe new fish to be sure they eat and are healthy , and if you have a sick fish ,
how much LR do you have it's best to have 1 1/2 lbs per gallon but in a tank your size for a good startup is around 40 lbs than build from there just be sure it's cured first,
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:11 PM   #5
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I have found out some are just in it to make a buck. I have found 2 great guys to talk to about this journey & these 2 have yet to mislead. The other guy I don't visit his shop anymore. I have added more live rock. Tested today and ammonia still high, nitrites are now 1, nitrates are about 30. PH down a little at 7.5 but from what I read keeping it in this lower end while the ammonia is high makes it not as toxic. I will be doing a partial water change. I have also add something called Nite Out 2 which says it's good to help for rapid ammonia & nitrite reduction as well as decreases toxicity. Seems since I add this the tank it is breaking my stalemate to cycle. I was only reading high ammonia & nitrates at 5. Now everything is reading.
I do have a small 15 gallon I can put the fire shrimp in & may even the 2 clowns. Also more brown algae. Thinks are starting to get moving. Again thanks everyone. You can only read so much until you have to reach out to those who know.


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Old 05-07-2016, 09:17 PM   #6
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Wanted to share 😋


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Old 05-08-2016, 12:26 AM   #7
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very nice tank I love the shipwreck , Just so you are aware with that little rock I wouldn't add more stock till you can build up your rock , as the rock is what all the beneficial bacteria builds up on , and it will become live over time and also color up.
once you get everything up and holding you could get white base rock add a piece once a week so the bacteria builds,
but as long as you take your time you will get great results,*
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:28 PM   #8
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I agree with more live rock. That is where all the bacteria will be growing to support your system and avoid what already happened in the tank. The goal is 1 lbs per gallon. You can get macro or base rock to save money, since 'live' is always more expensive. The bacteria will establish itself in the rock through the cycling process it is going through now anyway.
With that said, avoid the anemone. They are sensitive creatures that require stable and pristine conditions. This can take up to 6 months to start to occur in a saltwater tank. Along with that, they need intense lighting to survive, something that currently is not on your system.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:13 PM   #9
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So excited! My tank finally cycled & looks better. My clownfish, fire shrimp & even my snails are even acting happier!Click image for larger version

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Pre-WC
PH 7.8
Ammonia 2
Nitrite 1-2
Nitrate 80
Post WC about 15-20%
PH 7.8
Ammonia 2
Nitrite 1
Nitrate 40
So excited to have my ammonia down when it was up to 8. Will keep watching & do some more research to see what my next addition will be.


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Old 05-10-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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As long as you are showing ammonia, your tank is not cycled. Ammonia is incredibly toxic and it will end up damaging your fish and inverts respiratory systems
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