Jump to content
dnez

Help: Accidentally overdosed ammonia during cycle

Recommended Posts

dnez

Hello guys,

 

So late last night, as so many bad stories, I started my tank cycle. I want to do what I can to prevent fish or inverts from getting hurt so I opted for a fishless cycle with bio-spira and ammonia. I purchased Ace's janitor ammoni. No surfactants and did the bubble test, looks good. I was having trouble finding the conversion online for ML of ammonia to gallons of water. I found a conversion of 15ML for a 30 gallon. So I figured I'd start at a third of that 5ml, test levels and titrate to get up to 4ppm. Well right from the start I was off the charts. My gut told me to just start with 1ml of ammonia and titrate to get to 4ppm but of course I didn't listen and here I am. 

 

So last night

Ammonia: of the charts >8 ppm

Nitrite: .25 ppm

 

this morning, about 10 hours later (attached img)

 

Ammonia: of the charts >8 ppm

Nitrite: ~1-2 ppm

Nitrate: 20 ppm

 

I'll check the 3 levels again in 12 hours. Prepping freshwater to make more salteater. I imagine I'll need to do a huge water change, maybe 50% or more to get ammonia down to a measurable level? It looks like the bacteria is doing their thing I just don't know if those numbers of ammonia will end up stalling cycle (read differing opinions) and even if not, concerned about the potential side effects of so much ammonia in tank. 

 

Anyone been through this?  I'm so annoyed, with myself. I've been pretty deliberate in my approach to this and usually err on the side of caution. But last night was stupid and I should've listen to that voice telling me what I should've done. But of course hindsight is 20/20 so I have to deal with the reality.

 

I have a Biocube 32, ~30lbs of reefcleaners dryrock, 20lbs of caribsea arg-alive, RO/DI water from my brand new filter and Instan-Ocean salt (non-reef). Since I'm just cycling I'm only running heater, pump, powerhead and lights (I know there's different schools of thoughts on lights vs no-lights during cycle - I was leaning towards lights on but with all this ammonia maybe I should got back to dark). Any other info useful? I feel like I'm missing something here. 

 

Thanks so much in advance. 

IMG_1353.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
RIP Sebastian

There's nothing in the tank, so I don't think it will hurt anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

@dnez

Nitrification bacteria are slow to multiply.  They feed on ammonia.

 

Help me to understand what is your concern?

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

I'm worried about an algae outbreak. The room I have the tank in has room darkening curtains can, only one window (that doesn't get a ton of sun) which is on the same wall as the tank except far end so it's not getting much light. But this I worry may sabotage all my placement strategy :(

Share this post


Link to post
patback

Ammonia does not feed algae. Also, algae should not hinder placement. 

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

First, welcome to NR and the marine aquarium hobby.  It fascinates me even after 45 years.

 

Second, on every hobby forum that I have been on, there are conflicting opinions on every subject.

 

Third, you can not stop algae in your marine tank.  Coral is 50% algae.  Coral zooanthelia using photosynthesis feed coral the animal in a symbiotic relationship.  Every coral reef in the wild would be algae dominated if it were not for herbivores.  I suggest you emulate nature.  When algae becomes visible, get some janitors.

 

This tank has been set up for 25 years.

image.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Sudbsea I'm just worried having that much ammonia will have ill effects down the road or stall my cycle. It seems like it'll take the nitrifying bacteria a long time to go through all that ammonia. I'm new so maybe I'm overreacting (I really hope that's the case) but I want to take any precautions that I can. 

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

You are overreacting.

 

why would ammonia, as a food for bacteria, not be processed by living biomass as bacteria

population grows to consume food.

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

I have conducted controlled experiments with 10 fold the concentration that you measured.  No worries, bacteria control everything that happens in our reef ecosystem.

 

Bacteria are the microbial overlords that maintain our reef tanks.  Just ask the Martian invaders in “War of the Worlds”.  

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Thank you all. I feel a bit better. I've just read so many stories about rookie mistakes made when setting up a tank that read their heads as the tank matures. Granted a lot of what I've read related to that had to do with phosphates not ammonia. There's one or two stories I've read of people who have trouble keeping their green algae under control.  Now of course you don't know the full stories but I image I'm not the only new person who was worried about making this or that mistake. Also, a subconscious influence might be that my local fish store has a coral tank lousy with green hair algae and I just really, really want to avoid that look. I know I can't fully avoid it and it's part and parcel to the hobby but I just don't want it to be a thing that takes over. 

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Subsea, Would you recommend a large water change now tontry and lower Ammonia or just let it run its corse and let the bacteria grow and do their thing and wait to do WC when Ammonia and Nitrite are 0?

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

It is a normal thing to go thru a progression of differrent algae’s.  Just as any Gardner, maintain your garden by controlling weeds.  You are the Master Gardner, hire janitors to control weeds.  In the early development of your tank, you are it’s best Janitor.

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

No water changes necessary for nitrogen part of cycle.  If you used sterile everything, there should be no phosphates in your tank,   In that event, I see no need for any water change, unless it was coupled with vacuuming detritus from bottom of tank.

 

It would help if you started a Tank journal.  Describe your long range vision for your tank.  In that manner, comments can be focused on your specific concerns.  There are many differrent ways to maintain reef tanks successfully.  I use natural systems that are minimalisticly operated.  Just call me a “Laissez Faire” reefkeeper.

Share this post


Link to post
patback
25 minutes ago, Subsea said:

After skimming through this, I'm confused as to why you linked it to me.... I'm well aware of how the nitrogen cycle works. His problem is ammonia with next to no nitrites and 0 nitrates. Algae is not his concern right now. When nitrates start showing high, he should do a water change like anyone else.  No?

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea
13 minutes ago, dnez said:

Subsea, Would you recommend a large water change now tontry and lower Ammonia or just let it run its corse and let the bacteria grow and do their thing and wait to do WC when Ammonia and Nitrite are 0?

Nitrification bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite to nitrate.  

 

De- nitrification bacteria convert nitrate to free nitrogen gas as a true nutrient export mechanism.  

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea
20 minutes ago, patback said:

After skimming through this, I'm confused as to why you linked it to me.... I'm well aware of how the nitrogen cycle works. His problem is ammonia with next to no nitrites and 0 nitrates. Algae is not his concern right now. When nitrates start showing high, he should do a water change like anyone else.  No?

I linked it to you, when you said, “ammonia does not feed algae”.  The link shows macro growth directly from ammonia so that everyone can read the science.

 

Depending on how tank is stocked, ornamental macro in tank or utilitarian macro in refugium could be used to recycle nitrate into macro biomass.

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Thank you. This was helpful info. Appreciate everyone taking time to respond and share their insight.

Hoping one day I can pay if forward with a newbie. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Clown79

I wouldn't worry. The worst thing in this hobby is over eacting and over stressing. 

 

it will process but ammonia above 5ppm will take longer to process.

 

You can do a waterchange to reduce the level and then just let it process as normal.

 

ammonia will not cause algae bit be prepped- algae is part of a reef tank. It's natural. 

a sterile tank is not a healthy tank.

 

if you want to avoid a lot of algae- don't run lights during cycling. It's A waste and aids in algae.

keep nutrients low.

 

when your cycle is done, do a decent sized waterchange.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Man, those nitrifying bacteria are industrious little guys. It's really impressive how efficient they are. My last test ammonia looks like it dropped a bit. Still somewhere between 1 - 2ppm but before it was dark green ink on the API kit, so def a marked improvement. 

 

I can't wait until things stabilized. I guess while I wait I can plan my cleanup crew for when my tank is ready for inhabitants, yay.

 

NH3/4 2 ppm (looks like inbetween 1 & 2)

NO2 2 ppm

NO3 160 ppm

HR pH 8

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

While I do not get my janitors there, John Mahoney at ReefCleans has good information on appropriate janitors aka  CUC, clean up crew.

https://www.reefcleaners.org/nuisance-algae-id-guide

 

Russ Kronwetter at Gulf Coast EcoSystems wrote the Bible on desirable macro algae (seaweed).

https://www.marineplantbook.com/

 

leave hermit crabs off the desirable member list for cuc.  Hermits, eventually, will eat snails.

Share this post


Link to post
dnez

Thanks subsea. 

 

I got my rock from reefcleaners and did sent me a follow up email regarding the CUC" so I will defiantly give this a read. 

 

I want to approach picking CUC like I would the other fish and get stuff that I find interesting too watch or see interact where possible. I defiantly want a Pom Pom crab for example. With regard to shrimp I'm drawn to the symbiosis of a yellow watchman and Randall's shrimp. I understand those pistol shrimps are really good at turning over sand which could be good or bad depending on your tank. And I want to read more info on how they interact with other inverts, like a Pom Pom for example. I saw that you tube video of a pistol knocking out another shrimp and would prefer to mitigate that sort of stuff from where possible. 

 

Also like the sexy shrimp. Sounds like they'll pinch of prices of zoa's which I would like one or two of. Harlequin shrimp are cool but if rather not keep starfish as food.

 

The snails seems to be one of the more important part of your CUC, so those are more utilitarian than aesthetic to me. Although the Ninja Star Astrea are cool looking.  

 

I think my first purchase though is going to be copepods from AlgeaBarn. I'd like to cultivate pods and phytoplankton if possible. We'll see.

 

Then there's stuff like featherdusters, tuxedo or spiny urchins and brittlestars but I think I need a way more established system for those guys so that's even further down the line. Getting my first actual fish and first coral seems so far away right now, qbut definitely something to look forward to. 

Share this post


Link to post
Subsea

Kudos to you for being proactive with research.  No matter what direction, you will need Snails next.  Yes to pods from AlgaeBarn at anytime.  Once you add copepods, you should be feeding flake food even without fish.    At this point in your system, you should have an end vision to guide you in the next selection of live stock.  Hodge podge is not good.

 

PSS.  JOHN Turlock, PHD Marine Biologist, clarified the big picture for me with his book, The Natural Reef Aquarium.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
xthunt
5 hours ago, dnez said:

Man, those nitrifying bacteria are industrious little guys. It's really impressive how efficient they are. My last test ammonia looks like it dropped a bit. Still somewhere between 1 - 2ppm but before it was dark green ink on the API kit, so def a marked improvement. 

 

I can't wait until things stabilized. I guess while I wait I can plan my cleanup crew for when my tank is ready for inhabitants, yay.

 

NH3/4 2 ppm (looks like inbetween 1 & 2)

NO2 2 ppm

NO3 160 ppm

HR pH 8

 

 

Bio Spira is no joke ?

Share this post


Link to post
banasophia
5 hours ago, Subsea said:

While I do not get my janitors there, John Mahoney at ReefCleans has good information on appropriate janitors aka  CUC, clean up crew.

https://www.reefcleaners.org/nuisance-algae-id-guide

 

Russ Kronwetter at Gulf Coast EcoSystems wrote the Bible on desirable macro algae (seaweed).

https://www.marineplantbook.com/

 

leave hermit crabs off the desirable member list for cuc.  Hermits, eventually, will eat snails.

Yes, having just set up my tank a couple of months ago, I can highly recommend John Mahoney and Reef Cleaners from recent experience. One of the options was custom cleanup crew, so I selected that and described my setup and thoughts on what I would want in my tank and he sent me his recommendations, which seem to have been spot on. Snails only, by the way, and they seem to get the job done. I also added some Tisbe pods to my tank in the beginning, before adding any fish that could eat them, to allow them to get established. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...