Reef Tank AMMONIA SPIKE: How to Fix It

I woke up today and suspected something was wrong with my tank as a couple of snails were acting weird. I tested for ammonia and got a result of 1.0ppm. This is what I do in the event of an ammonia spike. Please ask any questions in the comments below.

Reef Tank AMMONIA SPIKE: How to Fix It sentiment_very_dissatisfied 0

Reef tank 5 years ago 6,099 views

I woke up today and suspected something was wrong with my tank as a couple of snails were acting weird. I tested for ammonia and got a result of 1.0ppm. This is what I do in the event of an ammonia spike. Please ask any questions in the comments below.

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Most popular comments
for Reef Tank AMMONIA SPIKE: How to Fix It

Big Joe 420
Big Joe 420 - 3 years ago
I did a 80% percent water change
Ashish Talegaonkar
Ashish Talegaonkar - 3 years ago
Hi Patrick's.. this is Ashish from India
I have blue damselfish fish and on his tail there is some red lines , even I checked emmonia it is perfect as per the testing chart so can you please help on this issue.
Black Doughnut
Black Doughnut - 3 years ago
Setting up a new tank. And my ammonia was high, along with everything else. Every thing was getting better.. but not my ammonia is. It back up to 1ppm. ? But everything my nitrate nitrite are 0ppm.
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 3 years ago
I would say give it time to go through the cycle. You should see the nitrate go up and the amonia go down at some stage. You might not see any nitrite as that can spike and drop very quick.
Danny's Fish
Danny's Fish - 3 years ago
Did all the fish survive the spike?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 3 years ago
Yep they sure did!
humberto sierra
humberto sierra - 4 years ago
im having several issues with amoniaaa any help pleasee i already lost one fish
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 4 years ago
Hi, sorry to hear that. How long is your tank set up? I would recommend a partial water change right away to reduce the ammonia. There are also products that can quickly reduce ammonia in an emergency if it has gone very high. What size is your tank and how many fish do you have?
Blazing Storm420
Blazing Storm420 - 4 years ago
hi i have a 20gallon tank and i have cycled my tank using fliter start for 10 days adding a little evertday and i now have a male Gourmai and 4 guppies,, and all of a sudden they have all been constantly gasping for air :( so i did a 20% water change and they were all still gasping so i adding 2 airstones but i still have the problem any help would be amazing im very stressed out about them and my guppies recently gave birth and im not sure if any fish are dead in the tank but i dont think there is, i just did a ph test and got a reading of 7.5 which is fine any help would be amazing thank you
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 4 years ago
Looks like you've done everything right so far with the water change and adding the airstone. Keep an eye on them over the next few days and do further water changes if needed. Have you tested for ammonia recently?
Jenesis 91
Jenesis 91 - 5 years ago
what should I do? i put dead rocks in my new tank. My ammonia is at 25 pm. And I have a 36 gal, with just one damsel in it . I've done 2 water changes within the last 2 weeks. but it's still at 25 pm. I don't want to get rid of my rocks .Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 4 years ago
Hey Jeremy, how is the tank going?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
That's great glad to hear it!
Jenesis 91
Jenesis 91 - 5 years ago
+Patrick's Dive and Reef thanks for getting back with me. My levels are good now. the water changes helped. great video!
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
+Jeremy Pratt Hi Jeremy, thanks for watching. I would continue with your weekly water changes and continue monitoring your ammonia. If after another two weeks it is still the same then perhaps try a different test kit or get you water tested in you local fish store. Your rocks are most likely fine, your tank sounds like it is still cycling. Just don't add any more fish until that ammonia is at 0. Sorry for the late reply, how has the tank been this past week?
jim loveslego
jim loveslego - 5 years ago
Hi im only a kid and im new to the hobby I have had my tank and all my permateters were good so i added clowns I have had the fish for 3 days my nitrates have spiked and my ammonia is at 0.2 have any reasons thank you
jim loveslego
jim loveslego - 5 years ago
Thanks Ill be doing water change tomorrow
:)
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
+jim loveslego OK great, go ahead with the water change of 10-20% and don't add any more fish for at least 3 to 4 weeks. This will give the bacteria in your tank time to grow so that they can break down any ammonia produced. Thanks for watching and welcome to the hobby! If you have any more questions just ask!
jim loveslego
jim loveslego - 5 years ago
3 weeks 
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
Hi Jim, it is common to get a spike of ammonia when you put new fish into a new tank, the same goes for nitrate as the ammonia is broken down. The fact that you have nitrate is good as this shows that the bacteria is there to break down ammonia. Nevertheless ammonia is still poisonous so you should do 10-20% water change and be careful not to over feed your tank. How long has your tank been set up?
Frank Medrano
Frank Medrano - 5 years ago
I'm new and in this and I have only 5 months with this tank and I have no other to remove anything, but I think I need to arrange all my live rocks again, that's Maybe my main problem.

Thanks again

10. comment for Reef Tank AMMONIA SPIKE: How to Fix It

Frank Medrano
Frank Medrano - 5 years ago
hi Patrick, I have similar problem with my reef tank and I did weekly water change for over a tow months and it help but didn't solve the problem. all parameter are fine except ammonia still over 0.5. all corrals still very weak and loose snail, hermit crab etc.. please advise.
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
hi Frank, the main thing to do is remove anything that is dead or dying, snails hermits etc. I would put them into a separate tank (my guys all came back when put in my quarantine tank). Be sure that you have enough flow going around your rocks especially at the back and corners, this is where detritus can build up and break down. What size is your tank? How many fish and how much do you feed?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
Good news, my ammonia has dropped to zero again with no fatalities. Still don't know what caused the spike but everything is back to normal now.
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
+leshjr It certainly could have been a cleaning product, my tank is in the kitchen so it could have happened...I'm glad it's all back to normal
Fishin Around with Leshjr
Fishin Around with Leshjr - 5 years ago
Good, at least your tank is back to normal. Ive heard of cleaning products being sprayed in the same room as a tank could raise the ammonia levels. maybe cleaning a counter top or an air freshener also.
jassimps
jassimps - 5 years ago
strange be interesting to see what the root cause is since your system in is 120 Gallons + right? Plus, are you still dosing the Red Sea NOPOX?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
+jassimps Yeah my display is 120 gallons + sump and refugium. Yeah I'm still dosing the NOPOX but I am down to 4ml a day now which brought my nitrate up to around 1ppm which is what I was aiming for. I'm about to do another water test now I'll let you guys know what the parameters are
Phil Maznyk
Phil Maznyk - 5 years ago
Any idea what caused the sudden spike? You mention you never lost any fish. Did you loose any snails ?
Phil Maznyk
Phil Maznyk - 5 years ago
+Patrick's Dive and Reef Well we know what causes Ammonia spikes now we just need to find out why and how.
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
+Under The Tide I don't think so. The bare patch at the front has been like that for months. I haven't moved any rocks around recently. It's possible that one of the conches could have disturbed a bad patch perhaps, they're always digging around in the sand
Phil Maznyk
Phil Maznyk - 5 years ago
+Patrick's Dive and Reef Hmmm is it possible your sand bed got disturbed and some hydrogen sulfide escaped?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
No idea! I lost no fish, lost no snails, lost nothing! I've been feeding the same as I always do so it's not that. It has happened before when my skimmer overflowed back into my tank but that didn't happen either... I'll keep a close eye for the next while and test for ammonia every morning. Have you had anything like this happen before?
Patrick's Dive and Reef
Patrick's Dive and Reef - 5 years ago
Any questions please ask!

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