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Old 04-07-2004, 10:42 PM   #1
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High Nitrate Help

I'm new to this hobby and have been using this site to educate myself as much as possible. I have a 75 gallon tank with a wet/dry filter and a 304 fluval with bio and carbon filtration. I have approx 50 lbs of live rock. 3 to 4 inchs of crushed coral and crushed shell substrate. 7 small fish a few inverts and tons of snails and hermit crab and a few soft corals. I bought the tank used, it had been set up for aprox 1 year and I have had it now for about 5 weeks. My problem is high nitrate levels. All other levels are good. I have done water change after water change, cleaned the canister filter twice, but nothing seems to help. the nitrate levels stay between 50 & 100 mg/l.

I have read here that the bio balls in the wet/dry are nitrate factories and was wondering if I could remove the balls and add some live rock to my sump. Would I also need to install a small light on the sump for the live rock Would debris from the rock harm my pump

Thanks in Advance

8) Chris
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:49 PM   #2
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I would add more LR to the main tank try to get at least 1.5lbs/gal. 100lbs would be good. You could also add to the sump, without lighting there would be no coralline algae growth, but the bacteria will be fine. Once you get the LR in place remove the bio-balls from the sump and any filter floss or other mechanical filtration. You may want to remove over time to avoid an ammonia spike. Be sure you've got good flow through the LR and the LR will take care of the biofiltration, let the hermits and other cleaners take care of the mechanical filtration. Unless cleaned often, floss and filter pads trap waste and you are really just pushing water through a dirty pad. Switching to a deep sand bed could also help with nitrates but would be a pain. Also make sure your freshwater source is nitrate free, be it tapwater or RO/DI. HTH
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:26 PM   #3
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You could also add to the sump, without lighting there would be no coralline algae growth, but the bacteria will be fine.
I have seen other people suggest putting LR in the sump in stead of bioballs. I must object. What a silly waste of LR. Put it in the main tank where it will be effective at reducing nitrate and enhance the fish's environment. Placing LR in a high oxygen environment like a wet/dry would do much the same thing as bioballs. I don't get it.

I agree with everything else jackdp wrote. You need lots of LR. Consider siphoning out the CC and replacing it with aragonite sand.
The only other way to reduce nitrate in your current setup is with LARGE regular water changes to dilute the nitrate concentration. This is temporary and only marginally effective.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick reply guys.

Should I just remove the bio balls and run the wet/dry and protein skimmer without them after adding the live rock to my main tank?

Do you suggest replacing all mechanical media with bio media for the canister filter?
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:48 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick reply guys.

Should I just remove the bio balls and run the wet/dry and protein skimmer without them after adding the live rock to my main tank?

Do you suggest replacing all mechanical media with bio media for the canister filter?
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75 Gallon

1- Rose Bulb Anemone
1- Sebae Anemone
1- Curly-Cue Anemone
1- Longspine Urchin, Black
1- Blue Tuxedo Urchin
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1- Six-Line Wrasse
1- Scooter Blennie
1- Green Mandarin (Male)
4- Percula Clownfish
3- Blue/Green Reef Chromis
Green Striped Mushrooms
Green Starburst Polyps
Zoanthus, Colony Polyps
Snails & Crabs
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Old 04-08-2004, 02:37 AM   #6
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High Nitrate..

No one else has suggested this...but if you could encourage some plant growth in the sump or tank, it may help keep the nitrates under control.

Nitrate is removed by a chemical process that occurs without oxygen present. In an aquarium, it is hard to create areas without oxygen. The theory is that low oxygen regions occur deep in the sand bed, or deep within the centre of LR.

That's why the DSB with LR type of system is so popular at the moment.

BTW...the LR that I can get from my LFS looks like it's only useful purpose would be in a sump! It's ridiculous that they have the nerve to sell it as LR! A more accurate description would be "Rock that once was in an ocean".
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Old 04-08-2004, 12:27 PM   #7
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encourage some plant growth in the sump or tank, it may help keep the nitrates under control.
i agree throw some macro algae in your sump, and stick a cheap plant light on it. macro algae lives off of nitrates.
also watch how often you feed your tank. if you over feed the rotting food will only add to your nitrate problem.
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Old 04-08-2004, 12:48 PM   #8
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The CC is the nitrate trap in your tank. Its not the cause...but its what is holding them. CC filtration capabilities are almost zero. It would actually be better for you to go bare bottom than cc. Next best would be a shallow sand bed...Best would be a DSB (this is a highly debated point..you will get differing opinions). Almost everyone will agree that CC is the worst substrate you can have in a tank.

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Old 04-10-2004, 02:10 PM   #9
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You said you have been doing a lot of water changes. That is the best solution. What is your source water? If you are using tap water or well water, it may already contain a high nitrate level. Try going to your LFS and buying RO/DI water there to use for your changes. That should make a huge difference. Let us know how things go...Lando
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