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Old 01-11-2013, 02:39 AM   #1
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Just need some opinions

This is going to be very long but I want to provide as much info as possible. I just adopted an aquarium that my parents started about 6 years ago but have neglected the last two. I've been researching these topics a lot lately but would like some advise to my specific situation. When I started taking care of it about 3 weeks ago first thing I did was change/clean the filter and did a 20% water change. My dad, excited someone was paying attention to the tank goes out and buys a GSP coral frag (because it looked cool). So I did some research and decided I would try to grow the coral, my lighting is adequate so I ordered a power head and a test kit to check my water parameters. Surprisingly everything was fine except my nitrate. Nitrates were off the chart (my kit went to 160 ppm) My big question is what is the best way for me to lower the nitrates particularly before the coral dies... also any other advise is welcome

Info about the tank:
75G
protein skimmer (don't know brand)
Magnum 350 filter (please don't tell me to get a sump and refugium I'm a broke college kid making do with what I got)
Approximately 35lbs of live rock.
Livestock: Maroon clownfish, 2 chromis, 2 damsels, 6 line wrasse, 2 blue hermit crabs, 4 large snails (don't know specific species)
salinity is at 1.022
I keep the temp at 80
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:48 AM   #2
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Dont think theres much you can do beside a big water change (50%) until nitrate lowers down a bit
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:51 AM   #3
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How often can I do a 50% water change?
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:18 AM   #4
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What light is it? Do a PWC change once and then do about 20% every week until nitrates get pretty low. Then you can just do 10%. That's what I would do... Don't know how the GSP is going to fair with such high nitrates and if you use tap water, that's even worse (high phosphates).
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:39 AM   #5
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I have 2 65w actinic bulbs, 2 65k 10k daylight bulbs as well as a 40w bulb (not sure what type) I've been keeping them on a minimum of 12 hours a day. The coral seems to be doing fine so far. About 50% of the polyps were open the first few days it was in the tank, then a day after I added the power head it's been fully opening up, about 13 days now.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:40 AM   #6
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Oh and I don't use tap water. I buy my water from a trusted LFS.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #7
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You have what's called OTS (Old Tank Syndrome).... Nitrates are so high (& toxic) that if you dropped a new fish in there, it would probably go belly up within a few hours. The fish that are in there have just slowly gotten used to the poor conditions. The LAST thing you want to do is a very large water change!!!! You need to do small water changes a little more frequently to bring the condtions down slowly..... a large, rapid change could easily kill many of your fish. Luckily, most of the fish you have listed are pretty hardy and aren't high waste producers for a tank that size.... If I were taking that over, I'd probably do 5% pwc's 3 times a week for 2 or 3 weeks, then 10% for a few weeks, etc. Remember, the conditions didn't get bad overnight, so they can't be brought back down quickly.......

As far as the GSP, they are near impossible to kill, so it may be OK, but I certanly wouldn't add anything else. It's going to be difficult to do, but you're going to need to look your Dad in the eye and say "Is this your tank or mine....??"

As far as the lights, the specifications may be OK for corals (sounds like a 4 bulb T5HO), but I guarantee if the tank has OTS, your lights have been neglected as well..... for a Fish-only system, the lights really aren't critical, but for corals, fluorescent bulbs slowly shift color spectum with age, so annual bulb replacement is required.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phranque View Post
You have what's called OTS (Old Tank Syndrome).... Nitrates are so high (& toxic) that if you dropped a new fish in there, it would probably go belly up within a few hours. The fish that are in there have just slowly gotten used to the poor conditions. The LAST thing you want to do is a very large water change!!!! You need to do small water changes a little more frequently to bring the condtions down slowly..... a large, rapid change could easily kill many of your fish. Luckily, most of the fish you have listed are pretty hardy and aren't high waste producers for a tank that size.... If I were taking that over, I'd probably do 5% pwc's 3 times a week for 2 or 3 weeks, then 10% for a few weeks, etc. Remember, the conditions didn't get bad overnight, so they can't be brought back down quickly.......

As far as the GSP, they are near impossible to kill, so it may be OK, but I certanly wouldn't add anything else. It's going to be difficult to do, but you're going to need to look your Dad in the eye and say "Is this your tank or mine....??"

As far as the lights, the specifications may be OK for corals (sounds like a 4 bulb T5HO), but I guarantee if the tank has OTS, your lights have been neglected as well..... for a Fish-only system, the lights really aren't critical, but for corals, fluorescent bulbs slowly shift color spectum with age, so annual bulb replacement is required.
Old tank syndrome is hard to deal with and in many cases its not possible to deal with without killing off your livestock.

Water changes will work to lower free nitrate but it will do nothing for the nitrates, phosphates and other toxins involved. If you have a deep sandbed your sand could be harboring deadly hydrogen sulfide gas which will kill everything if released, and is very harmful to humans.

Besides waterchanges, a 100% sandbed change is a must after 2 years neglect. The catch .22 is that disturbing your current sandbed could nuke the tank. Nitrates are only a small part of the problem here.

Some pics and more info will help us help you get this tank back to health.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #9
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How much rock is in the tank? Have you cleaned out the canister filter thoroughly? It's very possible it's just the canister.
I know lots of people with 6 year old reef tanks that don't have nitrate problems.
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