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Old 01-02-2004, 10:59 AM   #1
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High Nitrates and PO4

I have been battling with my nitrates for awhile now. and although I had 4 fish and several snails die (within the last two months) I suspected another potential problem.

When I set this tank up back in the summer I ordered 50 Lbs Of LR and set it right on the glass, then poured the 127LBS of southdown in and around the rock base. I figured i would do this so the rock didn't tumble while it settled through the sand over time.

So, I would say approx 30 LBS is below the sand line. I have been told that this would creat Dead spots.

I am wondering if this would or could be the problem with high nitrates. what do ya'll think? If so would it be a bad thing for me to start pulling Rock up out of the sand.

readings are as follows
01/01/04

PH--- 7.9
NO2-- 0
NO3-- 25
NH3-- 0.1
PO4-- 0.5 meg/L
Alk--- 2.0 meq/L
cal--- 350 ppm
sg--- 1.024 at 80 deg

the only inhabbitants are a colony of Yellow polyps
GSP's
small colony of Brown Xenia
huge black Sea Urchin
and two huge crabs

So what should I do? should I pull the rock up? Or just let it be?

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2004, 11:46 AM   #2
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A higher ph will normally help the battle against phosphates and inverts prefer it. 8.4 seems to work for me.

As for the nitrates,
What filtration do you have?
What size tank is it?
How deep is your sand bed?
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Old 01-02-2004, 12:26 PM   #3
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oh ya forgot to mention that iv'e had my lights out for a week to battle cyno. sorry.
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Old 01-02-2004, 01:04 PM   #4
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Turning off the lights to rid of cyano is really just a bandaid. The problem is the fuel. Once you turn the lights back on, the fuel will still be present.
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Old 01-02-2004, 01:23 PM   #5
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PH is low, this could be from having not enough circulation in the tank which could also explain part of the cyano problem.

It's tough to figure out what might be causing your phosphate and nitrate troubles without seeing your tank and how you maintain it. What do you use for source water? Using anything other than RO/DI can introduce both of these into your tank. How often you do water changes and other maintenance could also be a factor along with overfeeding, etc.

FWIW, I don't agree with the fact that having some of the LR buried would cause dead spots. With how a sandbed functions, the animals should still be moving in and around all of the liverock through the bed and where rock is, sand isn't.
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Old 01-02-2004, 01:38 PM   #6
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I have two maxijet 1200 one at each end, a skimer aqua-c, and a HOB with chempure, and phos-zorb in it. I am doing a 30-40 % water change today, with RO/DI which I just replaced all the cartridges in two days ago. the others were six months old.

I haven't buffered anything yet (i.e alk/cal/ph) should I buffer the PH a little with some baking soda?
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Old 01-02-2004, 02:13 PM   #7
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Pardon my question, I feel I should know already but I don't...what size is the tank?

Going a different route for a moment, I think your alkalinity is a little towards the bottom of the threshold. Where it is currently at may be allowing some of the natural acids in the tank to depress the PH a bit. Using a product like Seachem's reef builder should help it get up into the 3-5 meq/l range and raise the PH. I would then maintain by possibly dripping kalk now and then (according to your tests) which would also help precipitate out some of the phosphates.

As for your actual phosphate and nitrate problems, it may be due to not having enough activity in your sandbed resulting in a buildup of detritus and the resulting increase in phosphate and nitrate going back into the tank. Did you seed the bed with anything other than liverock?
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Old 01-02-2004, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
what size is the tank?
LOL sorry. it is a 50 Gallon tank 18x18x36

Quote:
Did you seed the bed with anything other than liverock?
Just a cup of LS from one source, and one from another

I have a few bristle worms, but not many

I also considered getting a small bag of LS to replace some that got sucked out over time from sucking cyno.
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Old 01-02-2004, 05:53 PM   #9
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I have been told that this would creat Dead spots.
It does just the opposite, it prevents dead spots and is considered to be the "proper" way to do it.

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oh ya forgot to mention that iv'e had my lights out for a week to battle cyno
That would help explain the depressed ph.
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should I buffer the PH a little with some baking soda?
No, baking soda raises the ph to high to quickly, the product hoops suggested is good, or 6 parts Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and 1 part Arm & Hammer Washing soda. Mix well and add one table spoon of the mix to RO, RO/DI or Distilled water per 25 gal of tank water to raise DKH 1.0.

Does your DSB create bubbles? It really sounds like a sandbed problem to me, the cyano and the nitrates and the PO4. I would hesitate to suggest removing it at this point, but without sandbed bashing...it might be time to renew/rejuvenate it.
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Old 01-02-2004, 08:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Does your DSB create bubbles?
Not for a couple months now

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but without sandbed bashing...it might be time to renew/rejuvenate it.
You mean by seeding it with some more live sand right?
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