HELP!! Huge random ammonia spike. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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HELP!! Huge random ammonia spike.

I know, I just posted about this title right?

So. Fishless cycle. 5 gallon bucket nothing but water eheim 2213. I have been adding ammonia for 5-6 weeks now. Ammonia spiked, then went to zero. Then nitrite spiked. I have been monitoring and have added ammonia 1-2ml ammonia every 3-4 days to keep ammonia bacteria alive. Once ammonia went zero I stopped measuring it.

Yesterday, I measure nitrite and it is zeroed out. decided to measure all params. Measured ammonia and it is off the scale?! Measure nitrate and it too is off the scale. That I expected since I did no water change but I did not expect any ammonia as it has been 5 days since my last ammonia top off. I added some prime to see if it would change the ammonia reading at all and it didn't.

My plan is to do a full water change. Rechange that water again to flush out the filter water and then measure all params. If my double water change zeros everything out or close to it, I will add one ml of ammonia, test in 1 hour, then will test all params every 12 hours thereafter to see what happens.

This is all happening in my garage in FL so the temp has fluctuated a bit. From 80 F down to 40 F but has mostly been in the upper 70s. I am kind of worried something happened to the ammonia bacteria.


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 06:32 PM
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Hey

I actually just read this article today from "aquariumadvice.com"

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community

I don't think you are in any dire straits Read From H) down and I think you will find your answers there
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attackturtle View Post
I know, I just posted about this title right?

So. Fishless cycle. 5 gallon bucket nothing but water eheim 2213. I have been adding ammonia for 5-6 weeks now. Ammonia spiked, then went to zero. Then nitrite spiked. I have been monitoring and have added ammonia 1-2ml ammonia every 3-4 days to keep ammonia bacteria alive. Once ammonia went zero I stopped measuring it.

Yesterday, I measure nitrite and it is zeroed out. decided to measure all params. Measured ammonia and it is off the scale?! Measure nitrate and it too is off the scale. That I expected since I did no water change but I did not expect any ammonia as it has been 5 days since my last ammonia top off. I added some prime to see if it would change the ammonia reading at all and it didn't.

My plan is to do a full water change. Rechange that water again to flush out the filter water and then measure all params. If my double water change zeros everything out or close to it, I will add one ml of ammonia, test in 1 hour, then will test all params every 12 hours thereafter to see what happens.

This is all happening in my garage in FL so the temp has fluctuated a bit. From 80 F down to 40 F but has mostly been in the upper 70s. I am kind of worried something happened to the ammonia bacteria.
Prime doesn't get rid of ammonia it changes the chemical makeup by binding molecules to make it less toxic for a period of time. I don't remember the exact process at the moment. I believe an ammonia test will show both the free (toxic) and bound (less toxic) ammonia.
It sounds to me 1 of 2 things are happening.
1. you are adding to much ammonia for the size of the colony of bacteria
2. you do not have enough bio media to support a large enough colony to convert the amount of ammonia.

both equate to the same thing, you do not have enough bacteria to convert all of the ammonia to nitrate.




Dan

Last edited by Dman911; 03-23-2017 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Im an idiot
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wading_in View Post
Hey

I actually just read this article today from "aquariumadvice.com"

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community

I don't think you are in any dire straits Read From H) down and I think you will find your answers there
H is at the start. Im week 5/6. I had my ammonia spike and drop and just finished my nitrite spike and drop. It is a second ammonia spike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
Prime doesn't get rid of ammonia it changes the chemical makeup by binding molecules to make it less toxic for a period of time. I don't remember the exact process at the moment. I believe an ammonia test will show both the free (toxic) and bound (less toxic) ammonia.
It sounds to me 1 of 2 things are happening.
1. you are adding to much ammonia for the size of the colony of bacteria
2. you do not have enough bio media to support a large enough colony to convert the amount of ammonia.

both equate to the same thing, you do not have enough bacteria to convert all of the ammonia to nitrate.


Dan

Something bad happened. I changed the water and added enough to register between 1-2ppm 24 hours ago. As of now, no change so it looks like something killed my ammonia fixing bacteria while my nitrite fixing bacteria were growing. Very strange. The only variable other than adding ammonia was temperature. I don't think I added too much ammonia. We had a hard freeze a couple weeks ago. It didn't freeze in my garage but Im sure it was in the 40's so I expect that did it.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 11:39 AM
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H is at the start. Im week 5/6. I had my ammonia spike and drop and just finished my nitrite spike and drop. It is a second ammonia spike.





Something bad happened. I changed the water and added enough to register between 1-2ppm 24 hours ago. As of now, no change so it looks like something killed my ammonia fixing bacteria while my nitrite fixing bacteria were growing. Very strange. The only variable other than adding ammonia was temperature. I don't think I added too much ammonia. We had a hard freeze a couple weeks ago. It didn't freeze in my garage but Im sure it was in the 40's so I expect that did it.
That would be very odd if only the bacteria responsible for converting ammonia was affected. I would check you test kit to make sure it reading correct as its possible your test kit is faulty. Only thing I can think of.

Dan
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 02:49 PM
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I'm curious- why are you cycling a bucket?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
That would be very odd if only the bacteria responsible for converting ammonia was affected. I would check you test kit to make sure it reading correct as its possible your test kit is faulty. Only thing I can think of.

Dan
Brand new kit and I recently fish-less cycled another tank (without any issues) so the process is still fresh in my mind. The only unaccounted variable is temperature. I guess I picture bacteria going dormant but not dieing from cold temperatures but I'm no scientist.

Quote:
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I'm curious- why are you cycling a bucket?
I am dry starting a 20 gallon but wanted my filter up and ready when I decide to flood it.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 12:40 AM
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there was a thread/experiment last summer where they were pushing the ammount of ammonia you could dose and have converted in 24 hours (it started as a comparison of filter medias) but as the test progressed they were adding 30-40 ppm of ammonia daily and found that once nitrates got off the charts from no water change it would stunt/inhibit the ammonia and nitrite processing bacteria. That is what i would guess happened to you

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-...t-seachem.html is the thread if you're interested in a decent read


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Update. After another 5 weeks, I am surprised to say I am still slow to process ammonia. 2 days are needed instead of the 12 hour goal to process 1-2 ppm. Throughout my "2nd" fishless cycle, I have had zero nitrite and slowly increasing nitrate confirming whatever happened to my bacteria only happened to my ammonia converting bacteria. Bizarre.

Im moving the filter to my 20 gallon tank inside my house and will continue the fishless cycle until ammonia leaves after 12 - 24 hours.

I suspect my issues were temperature fluctuation related. The nitrate levels in the 5 gallon bucket I was doing the fishless cycle in never went over 40ppm this round. I doubt they got offscale the first round but wasnt measuring often.


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