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Stability and high ammonia

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  • Stability and high ammonia


    I have been doing a fishless cycle for about 2 weeks. The ammonia level has risen steadily during these 2 weeks due to the dead material on the rocks (the rocks in the tank are not live rock, but dried up pieces of what used to be live rock).

    Worried about the continual rise in ammonia and wanting to speed up the cycling process, I commenced the usage of Stability 2 days ago. At the time when Stability was commenced, the ammonia level was about 3mg/L. Now, 2 days later, the ammonia is still about 2~3mg/L.

    Is it normal for ammonia levels to decrease so slowly even with 2x overdosing of Stability? How long do you think it will take for my ammonia level to come down if I continue dosing with Stability? Note: I have 1L of Matrix in my filter, which should be more than enough for a 75L tank.

    Is there harm to the Stability bacteria if the ammonia levels become extremely high (e.g. 4~8 mg/L)?

    Also, I'm currently using Reef Buffer to maintain a pH of 8.3. However, the pK of Reef Buffer is 8.6, so does it mean that unlike Marine Buffer, an accidental overdose will cause the pH to rise to 8.6?

    Thank you!!

  • #2
    Re: Stability and high ammonia

    Thanks for the question. Since you only started dosing Stability just two days ago, we recommend that you continue with the daily dosing of Stability. The length of the cycling process can vary from instance to instance. Some people can cycle with Stability in a few days; others, a week; and yet others, two weeks. The bacteria in Stability will be able to handle the ammonia levels you mentioned. If you want, you can always perform daily water changes to help initially lower the ammonia levels (keep in mind that you will want to do your daily dosing of Stability after your water changes).

    To answer your other question: yes, there is the potential to reach a pH of 8.6 when using Reef Buffer. However, in a reef system with a higher organic load, there will inevitably always be acids that will drive the pK and pH down; so, you will probably end up somewhere around 8.3 or 8.4 (which is why we designed the pK of Reef Buffer to be 8.6). When using Marine Buffer, you will not be able to go over a pH of 8.3.


    • #3
      Re: Stability and high ammonia

      Thank you for your reply

      Day 4 now and NH3 stil lingering around 2~3 mgl/L. I hope Stability will eventually bring the parameters to acceptable values!!

      When searching for a buffer in my LFS, I was actually looking for Marine Buffer as it has a nice pK of 8.3, but being in New Zealand, it's hard to find Seachem products, let alone have a wide product selection (my LFS did not stock Marine Buffer)! Guess I'll just have to be careful with the Reef Buffer and not overdose.

      Just a thought and going off tangent, it would be nice if aquarists on the "other" side of the world like myself could order Seachem products online directly from Seachem itself, saves for having to rely on what the LFS ordered in :)


      • #4
        Re: Stability and high ammonia

        Stability will definitely be able to lower these values with a little time. Again, like Tech Support DD said, each tank is different, so the time it takes to cycle will vary. You can add Prime every 48 hours during this process to keep your ammonia detoxified in order for your biological filter to remove it. Of course, water changes are also an option. I'm sorry that you are having trouble finding the Marine Buffer. Although we do not sell direct, if you will PM us with your location, we may be able to assist you in finding a LFS that carries it. We look forward to your reply!


        • #5
          Re: Stability and high ammonia

          PM'ed :)

          Ok another question. I've just "inherited" some rock that is actually "live". In order to keep the rock alive, I've put it into my tank despite the high NH3 readings of 2~3mg/L. I'm currently overdosing Prime (about 3x) to help detoxify NH3, NO2- and what not in my tank lest organisms on the live rock be adversely affected. I've decided to dose Prime instead of doing water changes because salt mix in New Zealand is very expensive (at least 3 times the average US prices!).

          How high can I let the NH3 get before Prime will no longer cope and water changes must be done in order to maintain the live rock?

          Thank you!
          Last edited by marine_mini; 09-02-2009, 20:23.


          • #6
            Re: Stability and high ammonia

            One dose of Prime can work to detoxify an ammonia level of 0.8mg/L. Of course, you will want to continue dosing it regularly, as it only works for up to 48 hours. As you know, there are many reasons to perform regular water changes, with ammonia being just one. We of course would recommend still performing regular water changes!
            Last edited by Tech Support EH; 09-03-2009, 10:18.