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Old 10-16-2007, 06:55 PM   #1
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I'm starting to lose my mind

I have a 75 gallon fowlr with hopes of turning it into the reef over the next few months.

I have 60 pounds of live sand, 90 pounds of live rock, a seaclone 150, and an emperor 400 with 2 100 mil purigen cartridges, some live rock ruble, and 2 premade(for the emperor) carbon cartridges running currently.

I cycled the tank for six weeks and all levels were at zero so i added 2 nemo clowns, a sixline wrasse, and 3 turbo snails

Two weeks later; water parameters still good, I added a yellow tang and a hippo tang.

Soon after i have a massive ammonia spike that i can not get under control. My ammonia readings are off the chart- like over 7.5 ppm
I did a 25 gallon water change on thursday night, a 30 gallon change sunday, and another 20 gallon change last night. I just checked my ammonia level and it is still high with out a change at all.

My source water is tap water which is testing a 0 ppm ammonia, i test my batch of saltwater last night and it was also 0 ppm ammonia. I dont know what to do? I have literally replaced all the water in my tank with no relief. All this fish seem fine, everything seems fine and I dont know what to do.

I was wondering if cigarette smoke or dog hair could do this? Oh before i forget i have been using API's Ammo lock to detoxify the ammonia levels in my tank - I am not sure wheter or not anyone else has used this product or if it could be the source of my abnormal ammonia readings.

Thanks, Any help will be greatly appreciated

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Old 10-16-2007, 07:18 PM   #2
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I would take the water to your LFS and double check your results. It`s hard to believe that your source water does not have ammonia. Ammonia is a big additive to tap water at most water plants. I know because I work for one. I would try RO/DI water to see if there is a change. The two tangs at the end was a pretty large bioload change to your tank.


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Old 10-16-2007, 07:23 PM   #3
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How did you cycle your tank? Was it by adding the LR and curing it in the tank?
Did you test for ammonia, nitrite and Nitrate during the 6 week cycle and see each climb, peak and then fall?

Take a sample to a lfs and have them check. It could be an old test kit, but I admit to ignorance of the effect of the Ammo lock on your reading. I doubt it has any effect.
What test kit are you using?
What are the other water parameters?

If the fish are surviving more than a day of 7.5 ammo reading I think your test kit is way off.

The general rule I learned was not to add more than 1 nes fish per month in a new tank. It also doesn't sound like you are doing a QT on the new livestock. As prone to Ich as the hippo tang is I would QT it for a month before adding it to the main tank.
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:39 PM   #4
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Ph and ALK are normal, but everything else is high - The test kits are just 1 month old , and I used the same ammonia tests to test my tap and my batches of new sw which both tested as no ammonia. I believe they are surviving the spike because of ammo lock but I dont understand why it wont go down even the slightest bit. (Red Sea Test Kit)

I cycled with the live rock and everything spiked and came back down before i added anything to the tank. I realized i overstocked, but i cant go backwards now and am doing my best to get this system under control before i start to lose fish(fingers crossed as everything seems ok right now) My question is how in the world can I do all these water changes and it makes not the slightest dent in the level of ammonia in my tank. I have another 18 gallons to change out tonight - but it doesnt seem to be working at all
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:41 AM   #5
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What are your actual test readings? Please post the numbers for all tests you do.
pH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, Al, CA, Mg and any other tests you have on hand.

Try a different test kit.
From the Salifert test kit....
"Ammonia and ammonium should be rapidly converted by aerobic nitrification into nitrite and then nitrate and finally into nitrogen gas. If this does not happen then either the aquarium is not fully matured or there is a problem with the tank's biological system, which can be caused by an excessive biological loading being placed on the system."

Either the ammol ock is not working, or there is a problem with the test kit, or your tank is producing more ammonia than can be handled by the system (excessive bioload), or the ammo lock is causing the high reading.

If your ammonia is really at 7+ the fish would not survive very long.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:19 PM   #6
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I googled ammonia and reached your post. I have been having the same problem the past 2 weeks....but I have a freshwater tank..also 75 gal. my pH was low and then I tested the ammonia and it was starting to increase. at that time it was only 1-2 ppm. then I started to use ammo lock and it spiked to 8ppm. my tap water also read 0ppm. my fish as yours are are fine. I took a sample to the lfs and they got the same readings. I have been doing water changes 2-3 times a week and still no drop in ammonia. I just ordered a kit from seachem that tests for free ammonia in addition to the non toxic form. I believe since my fish are all fine that the ammolock is skewing the test. in addition I thought my filter was failing so I bought a new one, this one with biologic capabilities. I am hoping to get an answer with my new test kit once it comes in. are your fish still ok? hey do you live in Ct? maybe it's something in the water???
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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Yes i believe ammolock is skewing my tests as well. My fish are all still fine and I have been to the lfs who have told me that my ammonia readings are accurate.
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