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Old 10-16-2012, 10:41 PM   #1
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Breeding Clownfish/Nitrate Problem!

My boyfriend and I are doing research with the biology department at school trying to mate a pair of clownfish. Here lately, we cannot seem to keep our nitrates down. We check levels every Tuesday and Thursday and every time we check, everything is normal except nitrates (which stay anywhere from 30-60). We only have the two clowns, live rock, and live gravel in the 30 gallon tank. We do 8-10 (sometimes 12-14) gallon water changes if nitrates are above 10 or 15. We vacuum the gravel to get all the gunk from it, but nitrates are still super high. What can we do to reduce them? And what is causing this? Help?

Checked today around 12:30
pH: 8.1
ammonia: 0
nitrItes: 0
nitrAtes: 40

Checked again after 10 gallon water change around 3:00
pH: 8.1
ammonia: 0
nitrItes: 0
nitrAtes: 30
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Keep doing water changes. Also, I would switch to sand substrate. Much better. What filtration do you have??? You're probably over feeding. I feed my fish every three days.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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Are you using RODI water? How old is the tank? And overfeeding is a possibility if you don't have a CUC. Are you showing any algae in the tank?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Are you using RODI water? How old is the tank? And overfeeding is a possibility if you don't have a CUC, but that tends to raise phosphates faster than nitrates. Are you showing any algae in the tank?
+1 i bet this is the problem
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:34 PM   #5
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Get rid of the gravel. It doesn't work in saltwater well. Detritus settles within the gravel rocks and creates even more nitrates.

If $ is an issue, you can get pool filter sand or regular play sand. Rinse the sand like crazy before you add it to the tank.

If you go with live aragonite sand, don't rinse. Just add it all to your tank.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:37 PM   #6
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We've been doing these big water changes for about a month now. We have two hang-on Penguin 350's. We are not using RODI water because the biology department is funding our research. We mix our own and check the salinity about every 2 weeks just to make sure its where it needs to be. The tank is 9 months old... We do have a clean up crew; a few hermit crabs. I forget they're there because of all the rock. Haha. We are probably over feeding. In our research, we found that to get them ready to start breeding we need to feed them 2 times a day at the same time every day. So we put an automatic feeder on it so we wouldn't miss feeding them. But it's only feeding how much they eat. None is being wasted.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:48 PM   #7
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Well, the twin 350's could be part of your problem. How often are you cleaning them out? Any food/detritus build-up in those is just going to become a nitrate factory.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:57 PM   #8
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We clean them every two weeks.. We have a carbon bag and a biomax bag in each of them. All rated for a 50-70 gallon tank.
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26 Gallon Bowfront. Clownfish. Six-line wrasse. Coral Beauty. 2 Chromis. Cleaner Shrimp. 2 Emerald Crab. CUC. || 36 Gallon Bowfront. Snowflake Clownfish. Six-line. Watchman Goby. Harptail Blenny. 4 Chromis. Cleaner Shrimp. 4 Emerald Crabs. CUC. || 29 Gallon. Pair of Snow Onyx Clownfish. Watchman Goby. Pistol Shrimp. Small CUC.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:17 AM   #9
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We clean them every two weeks.. We have a carbon bag and a biomax bag in each of them. All rated for a 50-70 gallon tank.
I would increase cleaning these. I entirely clean out my canister filter every week. I'm thinking the gravel might be contributing too. Gravel is extremely difficult to get entirely clean, even if vacuumed well. The stuff that stays, rots and becomes nitrates.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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We'll start cleaning them more often then. How can we change the gravel to sand without stressing the fish?
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