Oh no I don't think I was clear.
When the filter is on and running the water gets crystal clear. It's only when Jay decides he has to touch the filter that stuff comes out. Like he took the ammonia chips out and "recharged" them. At one point he added in new filters to seed them with the beneficial bacteria - when he pushed them down the water that came out was cloudy. It clears up after a few hours.
I had read that the ammonia lock can disrupt the cycle but we were so worried about the harm the ammonia could do to Mikey we used it.
Jay had used Prime but was getting frustrated because after he started using it things just kept getting worse. We had always used stress coat to condition the water. I hadn't realized that Prime locked up the ammonia and didn't remove it. That is what Ammonia lock does - how are they different? Or are they any different?
I think the ammonia is starting to come down - so now Jay is watching the Nitrites closely. We do have Nitrozorb packets - we used them before and it seemed to help. What do you think of those?
Ah, I see, yeah, then it's probably dust from the filter media. Or when he cleans the filter, he kicks up stuff that's been trapped inside? Since it's clearing up within hours, it's probably nothing to worry about--just make the filter media is being rinsed really well.
Hmm, the Ammo Lock does sound the same (I don't have any personal experience with that particular product, though) although I don't know what it actually converts the ammonia to. Does it say on the bottle by any chance? From talking to people who have tried it, though, they said it didn't work. I don't know how true that is.
You shouldn't use both Prime AND Stress Coat, it's usually best to pick one or the other. After all, you never know how the two chemicals might react. I can't see how the Prime would make things worse but you never know. According to the bottle, you can use higher doses if you're trying to fix an ammonia or nitrite spike, though (it neutralizes nitrites, too).
I've never used Nitra-Zorb but if it works, it works! Honestly, though, the best way to keep ammonia and nitrite down is just by doing a ton of water changes. So make sure you're changing the water every day.
By the way, do you know what caused the cycle to crash in the first place?