View Full Version : Cleaning ammonia with Surfactant

12/30/2016, 08:06 PM
Hopefully this is an okay place to put this question. So I've been cycling my tank with cleaning ammonia. The ammonia was detectable, added around 8 mL to the tank to start. 2-3 weeks later I tested and it was lower than the first week. Now its been 4-5 week and I tested again today and it was zero. So I added 6 mL to the tank and as I put the bottle of ammonia down I looked on the back and realized it had surfactant in it (Was adding more to see if it was zero my morning). My mom is swearing up and down its the same bottle we used 6 years ago to cycle the tank the first time. (Its a seahorse tank, never had any problems) So now I'm stuck with what to do because reading it seems like the tank needs to be drained, rinsed and reset, but if my mom is right and it is the same bottle.....I'm just at a lose so any help would be great!


12/30/2016, 09:48 PM
I would run carbon for 3 days and try to use Ammonium Chloride instead of Ammonium Hydroxide. Besides the additional chemical properties of an ammonia product with additives, Ammonia hydroxide will bring your pH too low and cause you to lose alkalinity as well as your bacteria population. There are ammonium chloride products as well as bacterial cultures available for "fishless" cycling available. Just google search it as i'm not sure if posting any links would be a violation of the TOS. :)

01/06/2017, 01:30 AM
+1 on ammonium chloride, but not for the reason mentioned. Ammonium hydroxide will not lower pH - it is a strong base after all. It will raise the pH, perhaps to an excessively high level depending on how much you use. Ammonium chloride is safer to handle and will not change the pH much.

I agree with the suggestion to use carbon. You might also consider a few 25% water changes. I seriously doubt that 14 mL of ammonia in a 75 gallon tank is going to be catastrophic.

01/08/2017, 08:54 PM
The surfactant should probably be visible on the surface of the tank as a thin film (a little surfactant goes a long way because of it's surface activity). You might be able to just skim it off the surface. That being said, if you are churning the water up and running carbon it should go away.