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post #1 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
ammonia spike

So I woke up this morning read to go and get a goby and pistol pair! Not happening.... for some reason I have an ammonia spike!!!! My last test was 3 days ago today, and it read 0. Today I wake up to find my ammonia at .25... I ascribe this to a water change I did yesterday... it was about 10% and I used RO water.... thing is, I have been using distilled from the beginning and switched to RO for the water change. Does this sound like a legit reason? I did not kick up any debris at all when changing water and I let the salt dissolve the entire night before with in a large bucket with a power head, and I added prime like I normally do before adding new water. I added some snails recenty, but from what I can see they are alive. If anything a nassarius snail could have died under the sand? Idk what to do lol.
ph 7.8 to 7.9 ( cant seem to raise it much without a buffer)
nitirite 0
nitrate 0-5 (slight change/was 0)
alk 12 (has been)
calcium- 350 (last test 3 days ago) if i dose for calcium, wont this help my dkh lower?
spec. grav. 1.024 ( was 1.022/ raised with water change)
temp 79 to 80

I have used an additive one time and one time only. Last night I added a little ph buffer and that was it.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
Did a new calcium test, and it came in at 400.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
I have been using prime from day one..... I thought I was doing something good by using it, but apparently all it is doing is breaking down ammonia and my tank will go through a cycle still? I am confused about this. I was told I have no reason to use it if I am using RO water (I am now). If i stil using it will my tank begin to cycle all over again?
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 04:28 PM
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{shaking head side to side, puzzled, confused, and bewildered}

Ok, lets talk calcium first. Your calcium increased as a result of the water change. The pH buffer added additional carbonates, bicarbonates, and borate salts that help maintain alkalinity. Calcium is also useful in maintaining the alkalintiy. An alkalinity reading of 12 DKH is not a bad thing, and adding calcium will normally help to maintain this level, provided you do not have problems with phosphate or magnesium.

For now, the important thing to know is this... continue testing alkalintiy and calcium. Add the buffer as necessary to maintain alkalinity. Add a calcium supplement to maintain calcium, such as Calcium Chloride, commonly sold as Kent Marine Liquid Calcium. In the rare event that calcium is high and alkalniity is low, you need a water change to balance the buffering ions, such as magnesium and borate. More often than not, the normal water changes you do will prevent this from occuring.

On the subject of Prime, I have used Prime on many aquariums and have never found it to interfeer with the cycle. I think it is more likely that your buffer caused a temprary pH spike, killing off some bacteria and causing an ammonia spike. Why would you add a buffer when alkalintiy is already at the maximum desired level??? (Just curious) The take away from this is simple.... never add anything to your tank unless you have a reason to be adding it. Alkalinity and calcium are simple to maintain, but testing is a necessity and understanding the test results even more important.

Give it a few days and everything will settle down. No big deal. Glad it happened now, rather than later.-)
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
Thanks for the help... you always seem to come through haha. I added the PH buffer thinking it would RAISE PH........ but it just helps keep it steady? I was told on reef central to stop using the Prime. What do you recommend? I think I will go with what you say over others.They said I have no reason to use it if I am using RO water. So I need to just watch calcium and alkalinity, like I have been, but don't add anything unless tests are way off? Once again..... thank you for being as tactful as possible lol!
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-09-2009, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mullinsd2 View Post
So I need to just watch calcium and alkalinity, like I have been, but don't add anything unless tests are way off? Once again..... thank you for being as tactful as possible lol!
Kind of. Your calcium and alkalinity will slowly drop. The goal is to find a nice dosage to add that keeps the levels steady. I add Calcium daily and Buffer 2x weekly, in small doses to maintain the levels steady. It takes some adjustment period to find the correct amounts.

I see no reason to use Prime if you are using RO. But I don't think it caused your problem.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-10-2009, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
Okay, thank you. I will stop using prime unless I have an outrageously high ammonia reading.
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