Any Saltwater fish people? I cant get ammonia to go away.


TheFishGuy

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As some of you may know, A couple months ago I got a saltwater aquarium, 20 gallons, added sand, and a mix of dry and live rock. Waited a month, expecting that the ammonia released from decomposing organisms on the dry rock to get cycled out, and be ready for fish and coral. I added my first fish, even though ammonia was pretty bad, long story behind that but no I didn't buy a fish knowing my ammonia was all the way up at 0.25 ppm.

It is a clownfish, did fine, is still doing fine, but my ammonia tests are still coming out at 0.25! I would have expected it would be cycled in more than 8 weeks, wait it is 9 weeks now, coming up on 10, so yeah, Only 1 fish, small hob filter, no protein skimmer, but still, seems like something must be up, Any Ideas of what it could be, or do saltwater tanks now take longer than 10 weeks to cycle?

No, I don't plan on stocking it much, just want to do another clownfish, some nerite snail, a bit of nice macroalgae, but I don't feel comfortable doing any of that until I figure what is going on with it.
 
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Normally they will cycle similar to others. I once had a tank with a high nitrite level for several months but I used old rocks and dead corals that had been around and were likely not the cleanest despite my rinse. How clean was your rock and sand, you mention decomposing organisms?

Have you tried checking the test on clean salt water? Depending on the test, such as the API, sometimes it is hard to tell when there is a bit of color and .25 is one step above zero on my kit. I always hold the sample on the white background of my API test to read the color. You could also have your pet store use their test to double check your results.

Another option would be an inoculation of filter debris from a healthy tank, might help things along-another benefit of a good Local Fish Store if you have one.
 

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Normally they will cycle similar to others. I once had a tank with a high nitrite level for several months but I used old rocks and dead corals that had been around and were likely not the cleanest despite my rinse. How clean was your rock and sand, you mention decomposing organisms?

Have you tried checking the test on clean salt water? Depending on the test, such as the API, sometimes it is hard to tell when there is a bit of color and .25 is one step above zero on my kit. I always hold the sample on the white background of my API test to read the color. You could also have your pet store use their test to double check your results.

Another option would be an inoculation of filter debris from a healthy tank, might help things along-another benefit of a good Local Fish Store if you have one.
The decomposing organisms were just the little bit of stuff left on the dry rock,

Inwill try clean tap water to see what is in it,

and yeah, it is api, the one with a yellow for zero, a diluted yellow for 0.25 and so on.

The lfs actually will be getting API aqua spin soon, which is like the physically best testing there is, no human error, no errors at all! I will Have them test it when I go in next.

Never thought about the filter debris thing, will ask them about it :)

Thanks for the ideas!
 
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Apparently your live rock hasn't cycled fully even if it looks good on the outside there can be al kinds or organisms inside . water change water change and more water changes and much like here if your local store has any plants get those into the aquarium even if only for a while. you can always remove them latter. Activated carbon can help in a separate filter. they also have ammonia chips but i have never used them.
One other thing you can do is to use the water you plan to dispose of for the water change and use it to rinse off the live rock
 

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Apparently your live rock hasn't cycled fully even if it looks good on the outside there can be al kinds or organisms inside . water change water change and more water changes and much like here if your local store has any plants get those into the aquarium even if only for a while. you can always remove them latter. Activated carbon can help in a separate filter. they also have ammonia chips but i have never used them.
One other thing you can do is to use the water you plan to dispose of for the water change and use it to rinse off the live rock
Plants? Last time I checked the only saltwater “plants” were macroalage and seaweed, I will look into activated carbon, but I am not so much a fan of putting more things in, also as far as rinsing off the live rock, why would I need to do that? The only thing that would accomplish is getting a little sand that accumulated on it off?

Sorry If I am just totally missing something here :)
 

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Plants? Last time I checked the only saltwater “plants” were macroalage and seaweed, I will look into activated carbon, but I am not so much a fan of putting more things in, also as far as rinsing off the live rock, why would I need to do that? The only thing that would accomplish is getting a little sand that accumulated on it off?

Sorry If I am just totally missing something here :)
The live rock is chock full of minute organisms, that will die when exposed to air like sponges, inverts that are sensitive to poor water quality, and if your dry rock is just live rock that was left out of the water for awhile, it as well have a lot of dead organic material inside the rock as GBBUDD said. Rinsing the rock in a bucket of tank water will get the dead organics out of the middle of the rock. Agree with him water changes, and more water changes, see if your lfs has chaetomorphea, it is a macroalgae that grows quickly and will help suck up nutrients, just stick it in.the tank. It shouldn’t take that long to cycle your tank, but adding the fish for before the tank was fully cycled probably extended it.

API test kits while good enough for ponds, not as good accurate enough for me for salt tanks....I use salifert and lamotte test kits in my salt tanks. Also, I assume you are just using your tap water for water changes, which is fine for your current set up, but if you are go8ng to get serious and start keeping more sensitive corals and fish, inverts in the future it would be a good idea to first invest in an ro/di system for water top off and water changes.
 
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TheFishGuy

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The live rock is chock full of minute organisms, that will die when exposed to air like sponges, inverts that are sensitive to poor water quality, and if your dry rock is just live rock that was left out of the water for awhile, it as well have a lot of dead organic material inside the rock as GBBUDD said. Rinsing the rock in a bucket of tank water will get the dead organics out of the middle of the rock. Agree with him water changes, and more water changes, see if your lfs has chaetomorphea, it is a macroalgae that grows quickly and will help suck up nutrients, just stick it in.the tank. It shouldn’t take that long to cycle your tank, but adding the fish for before the tank was fully cycled probably extended it.

API test kits while good enough for ponds, not as good accurate enough for me for salt tanks....I use salifert and lamotte test kits in my salt tanks. Also, I assume you are just using your tap water for water changes, which is fine for your current set up, but if you are go8ng to get serious and start keeping more sensitive corals and fish, inverts in the future it would be a good idea to first invest in an ro/di system for water top off and water changes.
I see now, I will rinse them off at the next water change ( honestly probably today ) The dry rock is just live rock not kept in water, so yup, it does have lots of little things on it.

I know the lfs has one type of macro, and if it isn't that type, I will just get some off of algae barn.

Probably not in my fish budget of things right now to upgrade my test kit ( I have to pay for all my fish stuff, and all of my pond stuff excluding rocks :) ) But I will when I am not trying to pay for all the expenses of starting up a pond of the size I just did.

As for RODI, I know it makes literally everyone cringe that yes I use tap water, some dinos, and other effects, But of course when I am looking to upgrade stuff, I will invest, although I am not a fan of how much water they seem to waste, I guess it is still worth it.
 
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Play it up fish guy!!!! start a go fund me page you never know ...
 

TheFishGuy

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Play it up fish guy!!!! start a go fund me page you never know ...


I don't really want to feel like I am "stealing" money from people, but that is a good idea, I will think it over, but again wouldn't that just be "stealing" money, cause I have the means to earn it, just more slowly.......
 
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The way i see the go fund me Scenario ANYONE CAN START A GO FUND ME PAGE FOR ANY REASON WHAT SO EVER I MAY BE WRONG but look they have go fund me pages to bail out criminals today actual hard core criminals . i know ig send you a buck or two long before i went to that other site. i maybe wrong but what do you have to loose be honest and say exactly what its for someone may bite . but you should ask your folks . i forgot you are still a bit young
 

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The way i see the go fund me Scenario ANYONE CAN START A GO FUND ME PAGE FOR ANY REASON WHAT SO EVER I MAY BE WRONG but look they have go fund me pages to bail out criminals today actual hard core criminals . i know ig send you a buck or two long before i went to that other site. i maybe wrong but what do you have to loose be honest and say exactly what its for someone may bite . but you should ask your folks . i forgot you are still a bit young
Does make sense, as long as you are honest, then it's good, but yup I would definitely have to ask the parentals, I am very a bit young :)

Thanks for the suggestion!
 
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Does make sense, as long as you are honest, then it's good, but yup I would definitely have to ask the parentals, I am very a bit young :)

Thanks for the suggestion!
TheFishGuy,

Feel free to message or ask me any questions regarding saltwater tanks. I've been in the saltwater/reef aquarium hobby for 35 years.
 

TheFishGuy

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@TheFishGuy I know this is a stupid question.....but are you using a saltwater testing kit?
Welllll it kinda depends, for calcium, alkalinity and magnesium I am using salifert, for the thing this question was based off of...... yea no I am just using my freshwater master from api.

I did only recently decide to invest in the alkalinity calcium and magnesium ones, and if I were still having problems then I would definitely invest in some more accurate tests,

But after quite some time, big filtration upgrade, tank upgrade ( its rimless and low iron now ) big lighting upgrade, and big flow upgrade, I am successfully keeping a variety of lps and softy’s, my most prized coral currently being a small bubble colony :)

And I decided that fish aren’t really my thing as far as saltwater goes, so I still only have my clownfish, which did recently kill a coral form hosting it while it was too small, so we will see if he even gets to last in there much longer. ( and tank maintenance is wayyy easier with a light fish load).

AD21A93A-1778-45CA-86E0-12B494D0A4A0.jpeg


this is the best pictureI have rn, looks really blue cause my phone hates taking pictures of my tank, and there is some algae, but now that it has completed its mini cycle from moving tanks everybody is happy. :)
 

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The salt tank is looking good, won’t be long you’ll be moving to sps and clams, etc.
 
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That's why I switched to a planted tank the reef a are going with such blue lights its just not attractive in the living room. But I do miss the diversity of all that can be had in a salt set up,
 
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That's why I switched to a planted tank the reef a are going with such blue lights its just not attractive in the living room. But I do miss the diversity of all that can be had in a salt set up,

I’m old school, my upcoming 75 reef will use metal halides;) Not a big fan of the blue LEDs
 

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I used to use halides years and years ago, think I still have some laying around somewhere. When I set up my most recent tank (220 gal. In wall) years back I went with leds, personally like the way they can ramp up and down slowly Plus can adjust their look to the eye and intensity.

Im more old school in my calcium, mag and alk dosing, using a kalk stirrer and just two part dosing to make up any difference that the kale doesn’t keep up with.
 
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@Jhn I hear you. I’ve had many tanks from 15 to 450 gallon with different types of filtration, lighting, etc. over the years.

I prefer the halides because I’m a Acroporaholic and IME you just get better growth and color from the Acros with halides. My last tank, a 92 corner bow front, used LEDs and I just couldn’t get the color and growth I’ve had from Acros as I did in my current and past tanks with MH.

I won’t deny the flexibility and cost effectiveness of LEDs, they are good lights. Like everything else in this hobby, there’s a hundred ways to do it right and a billion ways to do it wrong:LOL:
 
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Jhn

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@griss that is true with how many ways to do really anything successfully related to salt tanks or ponds. Like you I have had many set ups and had to break them down for various reasons, I remember starting in the hobby when you were told to keep everything as sterile as possible, dead coral skeletons for decor, crushed coral over a UGF......

years ago, I had 70 g hex tank that had halides over it and the sps I kept grew like crazy And colored up well. I will say with the leds (wasn’t sure about them)I have now as long as I place the acros correctly in the tank, the seem to be growing well and show some great colors. Recently in the past year converted the tank from a Fowlr tank to a sps reef tank again, as some of my time has freed up to get a little more back into the reef side of the hobby.
 

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