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Old 07-11-2016, 01:39 PM   #1
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Hello Nitrates - the fight begins

29g display
5-7g sump

So I am dealing with a bit of a nitrate spike. I'm sitting somewhere around 40ppm and would like to bring that down. Obviously water changes will bring that down but I would like to have something else helping. I have a reactor I originally bought for phosphate but my phosphate has been perfect and I've really only been running carbon in it. Would it be worth while to run GFO or Biopellets?

Which do you prefer and why?

I did start dosing Red Sea NO3:PO4-X to help bring down my levels. I am currently dosing 3ml per day.

My tank is primarily soft corals. I know I should have some sort of low nitrates to keep them happy. I'd like to stay around 1-5ppm of nitrates unless someone suggests a better place to stay.

With this situation is it best to stick with dosing the NO3-x or would switching to the biopellets be best? I understand with the dosing NO3-x I could wean off the amount I'm dosing and find my "chi" so to speak. However, with biopellets to they hit that sweet spot and stick to it or do they just keep eating all the nitrates?
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:01 PM   #2
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Biopellets require a specific biopellet reactor, which are awful to maintain and clean.

I'd consider using a large amount of Seachem's Matrix. Matrix is a biologic filter powerhouse. One liter of Matrix is equivalent to 170 liters of bioballs, and has over 700 square meters of surface area for bacterial growth. Matrix also has so much surface area, that anaerobic bacteria grow, which convert Nitrate into Nitrogen gas. Matrix alone probably won't reduce the nitrates to 1-5 PPM, but after getting the nitrates to that level, Matrix will definitely help to maintain them at a low level.

I'd also recommend attempting to convert your sump into a refugium, which not only reduces nitrates, but helps to maintain a high pH level.

Using Matrix, No3: Po4 - X, and converting to a refugium are definitely your best options at this point.

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Old 07-11-2016, 02:16 PM   #3
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Biopellets require a specific biopellet reactor, which are awful to maintain and clean.

I'd consider using a large amount of Seachem's Matrix. Matrix is a biologic filter powerhouse. One liter of Matrix is equivalent to 170 liters of bioballs, and has over 700 square meters of surface area for bacterial growth. Matrix also has so much surface area, that anaerobic bacteria grow, which convert Nitrate into Nitrogen gas. Matrix alone probably won't reduce the nitrates to 1-5 PPM, but after getting the nitrates to that level, Matrix will definitely help to maintain them at a low level.

I'd also recommend attempting to convert your sump into a refugium, which not only reduces nitrates, but helps to maintain a high pH level.

Using Matrix, No3: Po4 - X, and converting to a refugium are definitely your best options at this point.

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Sorry I forgot to specify that my sump does have a refugium section running chaeto and grape algae along with a 4in sand bed.

Could I get away with running matrix in the phosphate reactor?
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:19 PM   #4
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It depends how much flow you're getting in said phosphate reactor. If it's less than 50 GPH, you should try Matrix's sister product known as De-Nitrate. Also made by Seachem, De-Nitrate is another porous stone based media, but it is formulated to actually reduce nitrates specifically, rather than be used as a general filter media. De-Nitrate requires a flow rate of less than 50 GPH in order to work effectively. Otherwise, Matrix is always a good choice for filter media. If you have a flow rate of over 50 GPH in the reactor, go with Matrix. (Keep in mind both of these products are pretty inexpensive and never have to be replaced, just washed in clean salt water)

Also, for No3: Po4 - X to be most effective, you should get the Matrix/De-Nitrate as soon as possible, and get bacteria growing on it as soon as possible as well. No3: Po4 - X is a fuel/food for bacteria, and is pretty ineffective if you don't have a large amount of anaerobic bacteria.

Also, forgot to say, but No3: Po4 - X NEEDS a properly functioning protein skimmer to be present in the tank, otherwise you can encounter large bacterial blooms, excess detritus, and high levels of dissolved organics.

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Old 07-11-2016, 03:32 PM   #5
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It depends how much flow you're getting in said phosphate reactor. If it's less than 50 GPH, you should try Matrix's sister product known as De-Nitrate. Also made by Seachem, De-Nitrate is another porous stone based media, but it is formulated to actually reduce nitrates specifically, rather than be used as a general filter media. De-Nitrate requires a flow rate of less than 50 GPH in order to work effectively. Otherwise, Matrix is always a good choice for filter media. If you have a flow rate of over 50 GPH in the reactor, go with Matrix. (Keep in mind both of these products are pretty inexpensive and never have to be replaced, just washed in clean salt water)

Also, for No3: Po4 - X to be most effective, you should get the Matrix/De-Nitrate as soon as possible, and get bacteria growing on it as soon as possible as well. No3: Po4 - X is a fuel/food for bacteria, and is pretty ineffective if you don't have a large amount of anaerobic bacteria.

Also, forgot to say, but No3: Po4 - X NEEDS a properly functioning protein skimmer to be present in the tank, otherwise you can encounter large bacterial blooms, excess detritus, and high levels of dissolved organics.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is the reactor I am running. It comes with a 96GPH pump with a valve I can use to slow down the flow.

I am running the Eshopps psk75 skimmer. Should be perfectly fine for my situation.

So with my situation it would probably seem best to run de-nitrate. Given I can hit the point of flow required.

But like I said earlier, I would still want a portion of nitrates for my corals. So whatever would be best to keep me in the low ppm rather then where I am currently.
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Old 07-11-2016, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hi there i'm not sure if you have a protein skimmer but if you don't Will cause you problems .
With bio pellets you need to run the out let of the reactor as close as possible to your intake of protein skimmer also with nopox They advise to run the protein skimmer wet.
Also with soft corals you can easily go to a maximum of 25 No3 with out causing The soft corals any problems 1 to 5 in my opinion is the ideal spot for SPSs so even if you got it down to between 10 to 20 would be a good spot for soft good.


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Old 07-11-2016, 06:13 PM   #7
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What is the maintenance like on the system? Large water changes can manage those nitrate levels easily.


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Old 07-11-2016, 06:30 PM   #8
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Usually doing 10% every week or biweekly

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Old 07-11-2016, 08:50 PM   #9
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A 50% water change will give you nitrate levels of 20. Using the KIS effect you will have better results. No need to put more things on your system as things sound like they are going just fine and simply need a larger water change than usual. It could be something to do monthly if reducing feeding doesn't help any.


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Old 07-11-2016, 10:15 PM   #10
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Yea that will probably be a new habit to start. Do at least one 50% water change per month. Either way I still went ahead and threw in some denitrate in the reactor and did my regular dosing of the no po3x.

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