spike in ammonia and nitrites after water change

Discussion in 'New Hobbyists' started by newfishguy, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    QT
    Everything in the tank
    15 gallon
    Penguin 100 bio wheel
    Maxi-Jet 600 (160 gph)
    heater
    RO water
    Red Sea Salt
    1.025 sg
    temp - 80 degrees
    Cycled tank with a couple of shrimp. Tank cycled like it should. However, the Nitrates were still at 180 after Ammonia and Nitrites were 0. pH was also low at 7.4.
    I did a 15% water change yesterday to bring the Nitrates down. However, that has not done any good and my other levels have spiked.
    Ammonia - .25
    Nitrites - .25
    Nitrates - 180
    pH - 7.8
    Before I did the water change Ammonia and Nitrites were 0 and Nitrates were at 180 and pH was at 7.4.
    Why would a water change cause a spike in Ammonia and Nitrates. I added nothing but RO water with salt at 1.025.
  2. salty cheese

    salty cheese New Member

    How long did the tank cycle?
  3. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    It has been 23 days since I started the cycle.
    Originally Posted by Salty Cheese
    How long did the tank cycle?
  4. 92protruck

    92protruck New Member

    I had this issue. In researching this I found an article where several salt mixes were analyzed for various things. One thing that was discovered is that most of the salt mixes show .25 Ammonia. That Ammonia quickly dissipates when intoduced into a cycled tank. My salt mix also shows a trace of nitrite as well.
  5. soo high

    soo high New Member

    how many shrimp you put in? wait another week if it show the same stats do a 40 percent water change
    and you should clear every thing up
  6. salty cheese

    salty cheese New Member

    Originally Posted by 92ProTruck
    I had this issue. In researching this I found an article where several salt mixes were analyzed for various things. One thing that was discovered is that most of the salt mixes show .25 Ammonia. That Ammonia quickly dissipates when intoduced into a cycled tank. My salt mix also shows a trace of nitrite as well.
    Interesting :thinking:
    newfishguy
    Test you RO water and your salt mix separately for ammonia.
  7. pbienkiewi

    pbienkiewi New Member

    Before I did the water change Ammonia and Nitrites were 0 and Nitrates were at 180 and pH was at 7.4.
    Why would a water change cause a spike in Ammonia and Nitrates. I added nothing but RO water with salt at 1.025.
    When you changed your water did you stif up the sand bed ? how deep is the sand bed ?
    why is the Ph at 7.4 also ?
  8. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    I originally used a small piece of uncured lr and the ammonia did not spike. After that I believe I used three or four shrimp. The ammonia shot up really high.
    Originally Posted by SoO High
    how many shrimp you put in? wait another week if it show the same stats do a 40 percent water change
    and you should clear every thing up
  9. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    Very interesting. Well, it has been a couple of days and hasn't went back to 0. How long is quickly? Does your tank still show a trace of nitrite? I have not checked it today. When I check it Ill post the update.
    Originally Posted by 92ProTruck
    I had this issue. In researching this I found an article where several salt mixes were analyzed for various things. One thing that was discovered is that most of the salt mixes show .25 Ammonia. That Ammonia quickly dissipates when intoduced into a cycled tank. My salt mix also shows a trace of nitrite as well.
  10. carshark

    carshark New Member

    not to steal the thread here, but i had the same instance today.....except i used 5 gallons of premixed ocean water with a SG of 1.025(always ph 8.3, and all levels are always zero), then i needed to add RO water(also levels were zero) to get it down to 1.009, so i did a total of 14 gallons of a water change on my 75 FOWLR(also to mention i am in hyposalinity at the moment) when i added the water it did ruffle the sand about 6 square inches, but not deep just surface...
    before the change:
    nitrate-15ppm
    nitrite-0
    ammonia-0
    ph-7.8
    calc.-410
    after the water change
    nitrate-45
    nitrite-0
    ammonia-.15
    ph-8.0
    calc.-400
    my question WTF?? i understand that I have killed a lot of benefical bacteria, but how could a 14 gal. water change deplete it that much(water quality) :thinking:
    i just completed my testing about 15 minutes ago, and i did the water change about 1.5 hours ago....
  11. carshark

    carshark New Member

  12. acekjd83

    acekjd83 New Member

    stop and ponder for just a second... usually, when you test your tank water, where do you get it? the surface, right? this is the water that usually remains thoroughly mixed, and exposed to the most oxygen and exposed surfaces, prime metabolic conditions for bacteria to break down the most waste possible.
    when you stir up the sand and settled detritus during a water change (which is almost unavoidable, unless you are adding it to the sump), you are stirring up water and waste that was previously settled, possibly buried, and thus not circulating. uncirculated water rapidly loses its dissolved oxygen, stopping the aerobic nitrogen breakdown of the bacteria, creating oxygen-deprived, waste-filled pockets in the sand. as these pockets are disturbed and released into the water column, immediate testing will reveal a "spike" in ammonia and nitrite, and probably just a "bump" in nitrates. this isnt bad, it just means that your sand is probably not being adequately stirred by currents and inverts. this is especially true in relatively new tanks without the mature populations of sand-dwelling critters that will burrow around and keep sand mixing. you might want to look into getting some snails or starfish (if you have enough room) to increase sand sifting to keep these water change spikes from occurring.
  13. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    Well, my tank is a qt and has no sand in it. However, it does have some very small pieces of lr in it that I could not scoop out. (I originally tried to cycle the tank with a small piece of uncured rock but that did not work). I also have some small pieces of shrimp in the tank that did not disintegrate. So, are you saying that by changing the water and causing some of this to get mixed up the ammonia and nitrites rose? What do I do now? Do I assume the tank is fine and can now add fish or do I wait until everything drops to 0 again?
    Originally Posted by acekjd83
    stop and ponder for just a second... usually, when you test your tank water, where do you get it? the surface, right? this is the water that usually remains thoroughly mixed, and exposed to the most oxygen and exposed surfaces, prime metabolic conditions for bacteria to break down the most waste possible.
    when you stir up the sand and settled detritus during a water change (which is almost unavoidable, unless you are adding it to the sump), you are stirring up water and waste that was previously settled, possibly buried, and thus not circulating. uncirculated water rapidly loses its dissolved oxygen, stopping the aerobic nitrogen breakdown of the bacteria, creating oxygen-deprived, waste-filled pockets in the sand. as these pockets are disturbed and released into the water column, immediate testing will reveal a "spike" in ammonia and nitrite, and probably just a "bump" in nitrates. this isnt bad, it just means that your sand is probably not being adequately stirred by currents and inverts. this is especially true in relatively new tanks without the mature populations of sand-dwelling critters that will burrow around and keep sand mixing. you might want to look into getting some snails or starfish (if you have enough room) to increase sand sifting to keep these water change spikes from occurring.
  14. carshark

    carshark New Member

    Originally Posted by acekjd83
    stop and ponder for just a second... usually, when you test your tank water, where do you get it? the surface, right? this is the water that usually remains thoroughly mixed, and exposed to the most oxygen and exposed surfaces, prime metabolic conditions for bacteria to break down the most waste possible.
    when you stir up the sand and settled detritus during a water change (which is almost unavoidable, unless you are adding it to the sump), you are stirring up water and waste that was previously settled, possibly buried, and thus not circulating. uncirculated water rapidly loses its dissolved oxygen, stopping the aerobic nitrogen breakdown of the bacteria, creating oxygen-deprived, waste-filled pockets in the sand. as these pockets are disturbed and released into the water column, immediate testing will reveal a "spike" in ammonia and nitrite, and probably just a "bump" in nitrates. this isnt bad, it just means that your sand is probably not being adequately stirred by currents and inverts. this is especially true in relatively new tanks without the mature populations of sand-dwelling critters that will burrow around and keep sand mixing. you might want to look into getting some snails or starfish (if you have enough room) to increase sand sifting to keep these water change spikes from occurring.

    yes this i understand, this is why i use an eyedropper and squeeze for fluid entry in the middle to lower in the tank...I am in the process of hyposalinity, it is my understanding that a lot of beneficial bacteria are killed during this process...as well as the life from my live rock, however i checked the levels before the water change, in my 5th day at 1.009 and those were my readings, i will check my levels again tonight or tomorrow morning to see if it subsided, but youre right i did not give the water adequate time to settle, and test properly....thanks for the jolt.. but as i said if i do test the water from the middle to bottom wouldnt i get a more accurate reading?
    oh and i have a 20.58x turnover rate...
  15. carshark

    carshark New Member

    Originally Posted by newfishguy
    Well, my tank is a qt and has no sand in it. However, it does have some very small pieces of lr in it that I could not scoop out. (I originally tried to cycle the tank with a small piece of uncured rock but that did not work). I also have some small pieces of shrimp in the tank that did not disintegrate. So, are you saying that by changing the water and causing some of this to get mixed up the ammonia and nitrites rose? What do I do now? Do I assume the tank is fine and can now add fish or do I wait until everything drops to 0 again?

    dont assume anything.. check your levels tomorrow, see where they are at.. do not add fish until they read 0 period, or at least nitrate is low and everything else is 0
  16. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    My levels are still the same. Should I wait it out until all levels are 0 again and then do another water change to bring down the nitrates?
    Originally Posted by carshark
    dont assume anything.. check your levels tomorrow, see where they are at.. do not add fish until they read 0 period, or at least nitrate is low and everything else is 0
  17. carshark

    carshark New Member

    Originally Posted by newfishguy
    My levels are still the same. Should I wait it out until all levels are 0 again and then do another water change to bring down the nitrates?
    Im sorry when was the last time you did a water change?
  18. newfishguy

    newfishguy New Member

    Sunday is when I did the water change. Should I wait a week to do another water change or should I wait until all readings are 0 again and then do a water change?
    Originally Posted by carshark
    Im sorry when was the last time you did a water change?
  19. carshark

    carshark New Member

    Originally Posted by newfishguy
    Sunday is when I did the water change. Should I wait a week to do another water change or should I wait until all readings are 0 again and then do a water change?
    Id wait until your tank finishes cycling, so yeah wait till it gets down to 0,do an H20 change wait a day then check your levels, after that you may add a fish..
  20. acekjd83

    acekjd83 New Member

    Originally Posted by newfishguy
    Well, my tank is a qt and has no sand in it. However, it does have some very small pieces of lr in it that I could not scoop out. (I originally tried to cycle the tank with a small piece of uncured rock but that did not work). I also have some small pieces of shrimp in the tank that did not disintegrate. So, are you saying that by changing the water and causing some of this to get mixed up the ammonia and nitrites rose? What do I do now? Do I assume the tank is fine and can now add fish or do I wait until everything drops to 0 again?
    if you dont have sand then where are the bacteria going to live? an absence of substrate means an absence of surface area. if you dont have anywhere for the bacteria to proliferate, then you wont HAVE a cycle... your nitrogen wastes dont break themselves down.

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