Yes, that's what I did.
I could not can not figure out where my ammonia spike is coming from. I was not seeing expected results following repeated water changes. Got to wondering if my filter elements had picked up whatever that was leaching ammonia into the tank. I did not want to throw away my old elements as they contain a good bit of whatever bacteria colony I have left. So, I saved them.
Yesterday everyone pointed out that I should have my old elements installed so...the old ones are now back in.
Ok, I see. If that's the case, it's possible that overnight you lost quite a bit of your BB colony. To clean the filter, you merely needed to swish your media around in a bucket of old tank water and rinse out the filter. Then just replace the old media and you're good to go.
What's done is done, though. Have you doubled up on dosing with prime yet to nullify the harmful effects of ammonia?
Tank 1: 20gal Long Planted Freshwater - 1 Crowntail Betta + 8 Oto Cats + 1 Horned Nerite Snail + 2 Orange Rabbit Snail + 5 Amano Shrimp
Tank 2: 75gal Planted Freshwater - 6 Serpaes + 1 Black Phantom + 3 Golden Wonder Killies + 1 Opaline Gourami + 2 Striped Raphael Cat + 4 SAEs + 5 Assassin Snails
Tank 3: 10gal Planted Brackish Water - 4 Nerite Snails
Tank 4: 10gal Planted Freshwater - 5 Rabbit Snails + RCS
My 75 Gal Journal
My Snail Breeding Journal
Update from 1/17
Arrived home last evening and tested my ammonia level and I believe it was unchanged from that morning, slightly less than 1.0.
I did an 80% water change and retested three hours later and found 0.25ppm. I also found nitrites at 0 and nitrates at 5.
I tested again this morning and found Ammonia 0.25ppm/Nitrites 0/ Nitrates 5 identical to last night.
As I have not yet seen any indication of the ammonia level going down on its own I have to believe that I have managed to trash my bacteria colony. I will continue checking and see what happens.