Can an ammonia spike kill my filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Can an ammonia spike kill my filter?

Ive been adding a few cups of aquasoil to my tank each day in preparation for replanting it. Then I got impatient 2 days ago and tipped the lot in. As expected ammonia spiked 12 hours later, but it went off the chart; > 10mg/L according to my test kit. Since then I've done a couple of 70% water changes, and it is coming down.

I'm worried now that I killed the bacteria in my filter and have to go through a full cycle. Is this possible? Fish and shrimp are still active and ph is low.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 12:33 PM
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When pH is low, depending how low, most to nearly all ammonia is in non toxic form.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 01:12 PM
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I think the nitrifying bacteria will be OK, but it will be a good idea to monitor the situation. Good on the prompt removal, keep it up. If you are suspicious that the nitrifying bacteria need to be replaced or supplemented look for a product with Nitrospira species of bacteria. When they are first added to the water it would be best if the ammonia is as low as possible (so another big water change) then give them a day or two (read the label) to get attached to things before doing another water change.

Had the bacteria been keeping up with your small additions of soil?

The 'non toxic' aspect of ammonium is not that it really is non toxic, but that fish can exclude charged particles from their cells. Ammonium is NH4+, a charged molecule. I have no idea if bacteria can do the same, but I would suspect they can.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah the small soil additions didn't cause a blip on the radar. PH is 6.7. I'll change water again after work, then see if the tank can start to reduce it on its own.
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