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Old 06-20-2016, 12:14 PM   #1
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High nitrates

Hey everyone i am dealing with some higher levels of nitrates then I would like. They seem to be holding around 10 lately and I am not sure why. I started a refugium about two weeks ago in a separate 10 gallon tank that feed my existing 50 gallon sump. I have a 4" sand bed and some chaeto in the fuge. I am running a protein skimmer and change my filter socks regularly. All other perimeters are good but the nitrates which have been high for about three weeks. Any ideas? I have a dosing pump that I am just setting up now and was going to start dosing two part when I get more corals but am afraid to add anything till I figure out this nitrate issue.


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Old 06-20-2016, 12:48 PM   #2
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10 is not that bad. Yes you want 0 but I know a lot of folks wish they could have 10. You can do it with frequent PWC`s. Make sure you check your PWC water by testing to make sure you are not adding it to your tank.
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Old 06-20-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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Yes I run a ro/di unit and know my water is at zero tds and nitrate. I am thinking of starting a vodka or vinegar dosing. Anyone have experience with this? I do water change but not large ones at least not compared to my system. I change about 20 gallons of water every two weeks the total system is I estimate 230 gallon.


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Old 06-21-2016, 11:46 AM   #4
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Hey everyone i am dealing with some higher levels of nitrates then I would like. They seem to be holding around 10 lately and I am not sure why. I started a refugium about two weeks ago in a separate 10 gallon tank that feed my existing 50 gallon sump. I have a 4" sand bed and some chaeto in the fuge. I am running a protein skimmer and change my filter socks regularly. All other perimeters are good but the nitrates which have been high for about three weeks. Any ideas? I have a dosing pump that I am just setting up now and was going to start dosing two part when I get more corals but am afraid to add anything till I figure out this nitrate issue.


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how long has the refugium been running?
If you are expecting de-nitrification from the deep sand bed type of action, know that it takes on average 12 weeks+ for the bacteria colonies to be established enough to make a noticeable difference.

10ppm really isn't bad at all and you run the risk of mucking things up if you start worrying about hitting ideal numbers.

give the refugium some time to work.
have you considered bio-pellets?
They have worked great for me, but I know some folks don't care for them.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:52 AM   #5
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Yes I run a ro/di unit and know my water is at zero tds and nitrate. I am thinking of starting a vodka or vinegar dosing. Anyone have experience with this? I do water change but not large ones at least not compared to my system. I change about 20 gallons of water every two weeks the total system is I estimate 230 gallon.


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increase the water change amount and frequency and that should take care of it.
you should be doing ~10%-20% weekly, at least in my opinion.
I guess if you went 25 gallons weekly, the nitrate wouldn't be an issue anymore
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Old 06-21-2016, 03:53 PM   #6
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I will start by doing some larger water changes but don't really want this to be the permanent fix since that will be a lot of water. I will wait for my refugium to start helping. I also have been doing lots of reading about bio pellets, and dosing carbon. I think I am going to try and start dosing vinegar. Looks to be the safest and effective way to control nitrates and phosphates as long as I can keep the ph in check.


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Old 06-21-2016, 04:26 PM   #7
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I will start by doing some larger water changes but don't really want this to be the permanent fix since that will be a lot of water. I will wait for my refugium to start helping. I also have been doing lots of reading about bio pellets, and dosing carbon. I think I am going to try and start dosing vinegar. Looks to be the safest and effective way to control nitrates and phosphates as long as I can keep the ph in check.


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fair enough, but I personally don't see how employing a method that requires regular dosing of an element and testing to ensure it's working is safer.
Using bio-pellets is pretty much a "set it and forget it" type of solution. Once the bacteria colonies get establishedin the pellets (about 10 days) it requires no more maintenance than replenishing them occasionally.
I've never been a fan of using additives or dosing things.

But that's me. I like fiddling with the hardware and get that as efficient as possible so I don't have to worry about water chemistry as much.
Actually tested all parameters last week for the first time in about 6 months and everything was pretty much good, >5ppm for nitrate and ~.10 for phosphate, thanks to bio-pellets, macro algea, small DSB, and bio-media that is perfect for de-nitrifying bacteria.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:22 PM   #8
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I agree with PB. Dosing is far from safer than something like bio pellets or gfo. They all have a slow ramp up period so you don't strip everything out of the water at once, but longer running media is much safer. I've tried dosing and never received benefits from it like I have canister run media.


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Old 06-21-2016, 07:40 PM   #9
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I run a full reef mainly SPS and I have gone the pellet route and I have found them to be excellent.

There is a myth in my opinion that tanks want 0 Nitrates and 0 phosphates running 0's in my opinion is detrimental however aim for 2ppm Nitrates and phosphate 0.015 will give for a more healthy system
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