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Old 10-20-2006, 12:45 AM   #1
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Is 5ppm NO3 too much, or am I just being anal?

I am struggling to find the source of my last few ppm of NO3. I use RO/DI SW (Kent or Oceanic Salt) from my LFS for PWC's it tests clean. I use jugs of distilled water from the store for my top-offs. My feedings are down to every other day of pellet food. Maybe a little Mysis once a week, a few small pieces of raw uncooked shrimp for the aneomne and Serpent Star once a month. I have stopped adding the filter feeder food figuring the 2 Feather Dusters could get enough from the water column as is.

I put my Protein skimmer on a full cleanout schedule of once every month, and clean out the screens on my PH's every other PWC.

I am at a loss here, I am not overstocked, but I can't think of where the NO3 could be coming from. All of my animals seem happy, including the anemone (which I think of as the canary in the mine shaft) for my aquarium.

So, am I fighting a futile effort without a a Fuge or DSB to get my NO3 to 0?

Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:49 AM   #2
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I think so. Remember that nitrate is a result from the breakdown of ammonia (the pellet you are feeding your fish, corals, and the waste they are extracting). Unless you have active processes taking the nitrate out (like a fuge) a little is going to be there. I think 5 ppm is just fine. Rumor has it that you can acheive 0 ppm nitrate, but I don't believe it.

Seriously, just about everyone has some nitrate. It causes problems only when it gets too high, and keeping it at 5-10 ppm or below is perfect in my opinion.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:53 AM   #3
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Oh, and just wanted to add that overall, nitrate kits are very very iffy. I am surprised your kit just doesn't say "less than 5". So for all you know (maybe, I'm just speculating here) you could be around 1 or 2 ppm.
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Old 10-20-2006, 10:57 AM   #4
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I agree on the iffyness of NO3 kits, the Red Sea and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals one both havve readings for 5.0 and 2.5ppm, the AP is hard to distinguish b/w the 2.5 and 5 heck it is even hard to tell 0 on there. The Red Sea is easier to tell between 0 and 2.5, but 2.5 to 5 is iffy. Why can't they just make a probe that says you have 3.2ppm NO3?

The good news is that my NH3/NH4 and NO2 tests are firmly on 0.

I hated doing titrations in Analytical Chem 101 and I hate doing them now.

Glad to see this kind of response from a mod, at least someone I presume has allot of experience, or else why would you be a mod. Hopefully some of the other helpful gurus will respond about the same.

Appreciate the help. I'll keep striving for that mythological 0ppm LOL.
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Old 10-20-2006, 11:03 AM   #5
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I also agree with DT that if you had 5ppm you are sitting just fine. You dont know how many people wish they were right where you are right now. It sounds like from your post that you are doing every thing right. Keep up the good work.
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Old 10-20-2006, 02:25 PM   #6
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Lol, thanks Finatic. I'm not an expert by any means at all. Actually, I'm only about 3 years into my sw addiction. But, I cannot get NO3 below 20 no matter how hard I try, so I'm very envious of you!

Great job on the tank.
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Old 10-20-2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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Great, thanks for the feedback.

Now I can make my life REAL interesting and try to start up a Discuss tank. Just kidding, then I'll have to quit my job to make sure the pH doesn't stray by .1 points or the temp by a degree.


However, I am trying to decide where to go next, Aggressive SW with a Puffer or Lion, or go in the Ciclid direction. Saw a gorgeous Ciclid tank at the LFS I frequent. The bonus with Ciclid is I don't have to wipe out my wallet on all the LR to go with 55 gal Ciclid tank and there are some that are as colorful as SW fish.

We'll see, Christmas is coming and Santa may have to buy himself a new tank set-up.
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:49 PM   #8
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You said you clean the “screens” on your ph. If you are talking about sponge prefilters I have heard of them causing nitrate issues. I have two of these in my tank and I try to rinse them out every few days.
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devilishturtles
Lol, thanks Finatic. I'm not an expert by any means at all. Actually, I'm only about 3 years into my sw addiction. But, I cannot get NO3 below 20 no matter how hard I try, so I'm very envious of you!

Great job on the tank.
I had an issue with my nitrates being that high and then I changed test kits and it showed less than 5ppm. I was really thrown off then so I took it to the LFS and used a different test kit and it showed 5ppm. So if your nitrates are at the same level no matter what you try, try a different test kit! It could be an old kit.
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