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Ammonia Spike Information


Aug 3, 2007
Hello, everything I have been reading on here about ammonia spiking in the cycle is followed by the Nitrites and Nitrates. What I needed to find out was how long the Ammonia spike should last? I have a fluval 304 canister and a protein skimmer in use, 8 damsels(yup I know i have to catch them lol). I have about 2in of sand(1/2 is live). I have not added the live rock as of yet. Is my best recourse at this time to add the live rock or to do partial water changes or both? I didnt want to add the rock till I chase down those fast little fish and because I didnt know if the spike would hurt it but I will do whatever I need to for the tank. I also read in one of the posts that I might turn off the skimmer for now as well? Anyway, I have used ammonia reducer and Bacteria supplements and the ammonia still seems to be high - for about 7 days now so I want to be more proactive on helping even if its the opposite of patience I need.. Thanks for any input!!
I would do a water change and add your live rock(only if it's cured) to the tank. The water change will help the ammonia from getting too high and the live rock will help speed up the nitrogen cycle. An ammonia spike should only last a week or two. In order to see what is going on you will need to see what your nitrite and nitrate levels are. If you start to see you nitrite levels rise than you know that you have bacteria starting to convert the ammonia to nitrite and then you should see the nitrate levels go up. It can take an aquarium 1-3 months to completely cycle but live rock and live sand should help speed it up.
Thanks marinebio guy, this is exactly the info I was looking for. Just one thing, what is the difference between the "cured" live rock and not-- will the LFS list the 2 different kinds or just list it as live rock and I have to be aware of what to look for?
Most places sell "cured" live rock. The difference is if the live rock is collected from the "wild" it has all kinds of stuff growing on it (algae, sponges, worms, etc.) most of the stuff will die in the home aquarium which will cause a large ammonia spike. Cured live rock is when the store or importer holds it in a tank for a while until everything that is going to die dies and then sells it. The advantage is that you do not have all that stuff dying in your tank.
Great!, I just finished a 1/3 water change and I will be looking for the live rock later today. From what I have read I guess 30-60lbs is the range I think. I did read that someone had "glued" there rock together. What kind of glue would be used on something like this that wouldnt hurt the tank mates? Is it really needed?
IF you are going to glue AND you never want it to separate Gorilla Glue is the the best answer I have found. Epoxy putty will eventually unstick from one side and be the devil to get off on the other without removing the rock from the tank. Stupid glue won't work at all for rock but is sometimes helpful for initially encouraging soft coral frags to attach (if you can get the glue only where you want it and not on sensitive parts of the coral or completely covering your fingers - makes for shiney nail polish though).

Gorilla Glue will cure underwater if absolutely necessary but it will produce a skim that you will need to remove and be careful that it does not stick to your glass or acrylic. It expands slightly and is messy but really holds just about anything when a clean seam is not needed. I have used it in several tanks (including my octopus tank) with no problems for the live stock (added well after the glue cured). I wish I had known about it when I started my LR wall for the 4' tank. It would have been much better for the LR and would have taken me 1 day instead of 2 weeks to complete. It dries in about 4 hours. BE SURE TO PUT A LARGE PLASTIC GARBAGE BAG - DOUBLED - under your work area, it won't come off tables and furniture either.
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