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I looked into exactly what 'surfactants' are, at one point, but without a chemistry background just came away confused. I think it's more of an issue of how it'll affect the fish. You might try doing a couple of major water changes, and then running some chemical media like carbon for a while. I can't say for sure what exactly the risk is or if this will deal with it, but that's what I'd try if it were mine. Then introduce some fish to test.

Maybe someone else will have more specific info for you than I do.
 

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Surfactants are basically soap. Soap acts by lowering the surface tension of a fluid to pull apart dirt and grime.

I would do multiple 50% water changes to be safe. Specifically I would skim the surface of the water since the majority of these compounds float at the surface.

edit: Or yeah like Tim mentioned I would drain completely the first go around. Make sure you skim off the surface while doing this to make sure you get the majority of the surfactants drained out.
 

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You could wash dishes in it... :popcorn:
 

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I shouldn't be too concerned. At the levels you likely added surfactants will do very little to the water. Think of it like adding a small bit of dish soap. If you have a large tank - hardly impactful.
Most surfactants will cause suds Do you have any? if not - good sign there is little in there.
Most surfactants are water soluble so unlikely that skimming will work.
I would just change the water a few times and it should be OK
 

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I would go with the thought that there may not be a huge amount of damage done. At one point I did try to do a fishless cycle, using ammonia with surfactants and had some really strange results. Readings would bob and jerk around until I just quit trying the fishless cycle. I would guess it is not the best thing to have done but I saw no harm in my tank when i did finally get around to adding fish. As I felt I had some cycle started, I added fish slowly and just went the old school route on the cycle. No fish lost or detectable damage done.

I woul[/list]d go for extra water changes and not totall teardown and scrub.
 

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PfunMo said:
I would go for extra water changes and not totall teardown and scrub.
At this point, I'd agree. It's the only thing you can do right now. Do a couple of large water changes. Maybe run some chemical media of some sort in your filter for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks you guys!

I drained 100% before work and just refilled it when I got home. Will test in the AM once the temp stabilizes.

And like I said, this ammonia wasn't to cycle the tank, the filters were already established with CA cichlids, I just wanted to keep the bacteria fed while waiting on the trophs. Stupid me gets the wrong ammonia...

I just hope the "soap" didn't "clean" out my good bacteria...
 

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I just hope the "soap" didn't "clean" out my good bacteria...
If the ammonia level dropped, then it didn't. Did you test before you drained and filled? If you can get the right stuff before fish arrive, you could double check it by adding one last dose.
 
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