Our 40-gal SW
tank with now 7 fish (3" puffer, 3" Emperor Angel, 2" dwarf Angel, 3x1.5" damsels, 2" clown) few snails, 2" crushed coral substrate, and several large dead corals for hiding places, has been pretty stable for > month now. We have a Fluval sump filter and two powerheads, and 2 fluorescent lights (white & blue) that we turn on ~ 3 hrs/day. Temp kept @ ~ 78, ph
stable @ 8.0, salinity stable @ ~ 1.23, ammonio zero, nitrites zero, but nitrates 5.0 ppm
(scale?). Fish all healthy & active; clown had one big bite out of a fin, but he's fine & it's growing out. I know we're a bit overcrowded, but can't help that - they all have names & personalities now.
Only problem is we keep getting brown algae on the dead corals, and have to take pieces out every couple of weeks to bleach it out in the sun. I'm a bit worried about the nitrates.
As I understand it with my limited knowledge, such a tank is a one-way cycle (no plants to consume the nitrates), and the only way to keep the nitrates down is regular water changes. No bacteria will consume nitrates. Do I have this right?
Any other way to regulate it? I'm thinking of getting some cured LR
, but think that would help filtration but not nitrates - right? Could we realistically introduce some kind of plants to consume the nitrates? Macro-algae?
Grateful for any advice. We are really enjoying this tank.