Ammonia spikes with new sand - please help!

superstarburza

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I need some help from smarter people than I.

I have a 29-gallon tank that I recently took all the gravel out of and put Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand (dry) into. I read both options of rinsing and not rinsing but determined that rinsing was the better option after some research. I rinsed the sand a lot, trying to make it so that it was not very cloudy when I set up the tank, I would say 6-7 times. Finally, I was able to get the water to a point of very low cloudiness. I put in the packet of "de-cloudy" stuff that was included and ran the filter for about a week. The water still looked a little cloudy, but I decided to test the water anyway. Nitrate, Nitrates, and PH are perfect, but the ammonia level was WAY too high. I purchased Ammonia-lock and tried that for a week, but still was getting bad ammonia levels. I rinsed the sand again several times and put fresh water in, ran the filter for a week, and was getting the same results. I eventually pulled all the ornaments out (driftwood, plastic plants, and rocks) and was going to test each in a bucket to see what was causing the spikes. I started with the sand, and sure enough, it is the sand. I tested the ammonia of some water before putting it in the tank, put it in with only the sand, then tested it again after a few hours. The ammonia was very dark green. I tried rinsing the sand again, 4 more times. At this point, I have rinsed the sand a dozen times. The water is still a little cloudy. Do I still need to continue to rinse? Will this help my ammonia problem?

My filter is a canister with foam/floss, nirta-zorb, established biofilter, and Seachem Purigen. I also run all my aquarium water through an RO system. I have a 60-gallon cichlid tank that is perfect, but this 29-gallon is making me feel so dumb! Help!

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Thanx.gif


(obviously, I have no fish in the tank yet, thankfully)
 

NannaLou

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I’m not expert enough to comment on the sand causing the ammonia spike, although it does surprise me, so I’ll be interested in the answers the other give.

Well done (sorry that sounds SO patronising) for not having any fish and getting the tank balanced first.

You could swap the plastic plants for easy to care for live plants, they absorb some of the ammonia for you.
 

Avel1896

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Hi :)
By changing the substrate you you made a new nitrogen cycle start.
So daily water change of 20% at same temp. as tank water.
Monitor ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
Wait patiently until they are zero.
 
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superstarburza

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So, in my tank, my current levels are nitrate-0, nitrite-0, ammonia- 2.5. I ran my filter for a week with the established bio-filter. Is my tank simply not cycled? (even after a week of cycling through my filter?) Is this what I am experiencing? How long does it take?

I have an established 60-gallon tank with perfect levels that I can take water from to increase the cycle. Would that help?
 

Avel1896

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Nitrogen cycle starts again. First stage is ammonia.
Yhere are NO beneficial bacterias in water, so no, it wouldn't help.
WaterchangeS until NH3 NO2 NO3 are zero, being around 3 weeks.
 

Slaphppy7

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So, in my tank, my current levels are nitrate-0, nitrite-0, ammonia- 2.5. I ran my filter for a week with the established bio-filter. Is my tank simply not cycled? (even after a week of cycling through my filter?) Is this what I am experiencing? How long does it take?

I have an established 60-gallon tank with perfect levels that I can take water from to increase the cycle. Would that help?
Water doesn't contain nitrifying bacteria, surfaces do....
 
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superstarburza

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OK, so in addition to the established bio-filters, I also have driftwood from established tanks. Shouldn't those surfaces help?

Also, I use an RO system for my tank water. How often should I be doing water changes to cycle this tank, in your opinion?
 

Avel1896

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Also, I use an RO system for my tank water. How often should I be doing water changes to cycle this tank, in your opinion?
20-25% every day until NH3 NO2 NO3 are zero, being around 3 weeks.
What pH GH KH ?
 

Naughts

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I don't think you need to do water changes, that is only for fish-in cycles to keep them alive.
Once cycled, you change all the water to remove nitrates before adding fish.

The ammo-lock is also unnecessary (possibly obstructive to cycling??) without fish.

 
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