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Old 01-10-2005, 06:57 PM   #1
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nitrate?

hello i have a few questiions about nitrate my tank is about 1 year old and all fish look great. i just had a baby and time has been slim to none.
my nitrates are about 40 ppms . i know thats bad. i now have a little more time to care for my tank. i have seen a big change in my ph its way low i check it last night night it was about 7.4 (very bad) but my fish look great. even sea starts are ok. i did a a 10% water change last night too i see no change in nitrate or ph. i am going to do another water change in a day or two. will that hurt my bio filter.

my question is does nitrates effect your ph if it gets to high?
thanks
michael
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: nitrate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaker82
my question is does nitrates effect your ph if it gets to high?
Actually the nutrient in the system (DOC) will eventually wear down on the pH as the water becomes more acid from wastes affecting the alkalinity. Water changes are your best option but you'll need to do a few good sized ones (15-20% ea) over the next week or so. If pH continues to be an issue after the nitrates have abated, you''ll need to check the alk of the water and be sure the tank is getting the proper gas exchange.

Be sure to prepare the SW in advance (24hrs) so it's properly dissolved and well aerated. Be sure to match temp and salinity correctly.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:57 PM   #3
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i use distilled water for my water changes now . is that ok i am getting a ro di unit when i get my taxes.
i have used tap befor too. i know the tap nitrates are 20ppms
as for alk. i have bought test strips and its says its fine what should it be at?
steve you say it could be the nutrients in the system. by that do you mean uneaten food . if so i feed them only what they eat in a few min. i dont over feed. but! i do have hermits and snails and slowly i see the hermits killing each other and the snail. i try to get out the dead ones but i cant get them all out could that be whats effecting my ph as well.
how o i stop them from killing each other. my light i dont think put out enough light to have alot of alage so i guess what my 4 sea stars dont eat they eat i dont know.

thanks
michael
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaker82
i use distilled water for my water changes now . is that ok i am getting a ro di unit when i get my taxes.
Distilled is fine as long as it's not via the copper tubing method. Most aren't these days so I wouldn't worry unless the inverts look "off".

Quote:
i have used tap befor too. i know the tap nitrates are 20ppms
8O 20ppm? Ouch!
As long as you use the tap water it's going to be an issue. I would also test it for copper & PO4. Is this processed wter from a municipal plant or well water?

Quote:
as for alk. i have bought test strips and its says its fine what should it be at?
Unfortunately strips are woefully inaccurate. What range is "fine"? They are usually low - med - high. Each still doesn't mean much but you'd want med-high.


Quote:
steve you say it could be the nutrients in the system. by that do you mean uneaten food . if so i feed them only what they eat in a few min. i dont over feed.
Nutrient does not just mean uneaten foods. It whatever dissolved or solid organic matter that freely inhabits the system. Animal waste is just as much a nutrient as the foods you feed. Flake, meats, liq foods, fish/animal waste and so on contribute to the load on the tank. Each affecting the acidity of the water including animal respiration and ambient CO2.

Quote:
but! i do have hermits and snails and slowly i see the hermits killing each other and the snail. i try to get out the dead ones but i cant get them all out could that be whats effecting my ph as well.
Anything left in the system that rots creates ammonia and affects the acidity of the water and lowers pH.

Quote:
how o i stop them from killing each other.
No such thing as a guiltless hermit. They will all prey on snails if opportunity presents itself. The least likely are true reef scarlets and zebra's.

Quote:
my light i dont think put out enough light to have alot of alage so i guess what my 4 sea stars dont eat they eat i dont know.
Lighting can be a strong contributor but usually nutrient and water source are your main issues. I would rely soley on the distilled water until the RO/DI comes. With the tap water you have at hand, your problems will only get worse no matter what you do. Stars are surface cleaners only. They will not consume macro algaes and only select species will consume larger particulate matter. Brittle, serpent, Bahaman and the like.

How is the tanks filtration set up and what is your regular maintenance?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:08 PM   #5
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i have a wet dry system and a t-tech power filter that sets on top of my tank.
in line with my wey dry i have a 25 watt uv ster.
and my maintenance is 10% every week maybe even 15% about 10 gallon water changes i and i check all water levels to make shure their fine. also i will be buying a hqi lighting with pc very soon maybe next week. will that help water my water quality or harm it?
thanks michael
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:50 PM   #6
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I'd say your biggest issue is the tap water source. Even if you use it occassionally it will be a problem. I think once that's dealt with you should see improvements in tank water quality. Just be sure any mechanical filtration is being cleaned at least weekly in SW. Also try to feed sparingly every second day, not daily.

The lighting will not harm water quality but if nutrient is high, it will further fuel nuisance algaes. I would hold off on the MH addition until you have the water quality under control. It will be much easier on you and the tank. If the tank is FO, there not much issue with the new lights at all unless the fish start acting skiddish. If you have any LR or coral of any kind, be sure to "light acclimate" the tank to the new intensity.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-16-2005, 09:02 PM   #7
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Steve, first let me say thank you so very much for al lthe helpful information you have given me. I really appreciate it. :P

Now, I have just a few more questions, Currently I feed everyday as stated above. You reccomend feeding ever other day. My fish now seem extremely hungry when I feed them. What can I expect after feeding every other day and will it hurt them in any way?

Also, You mention above to acclamate my live rock to a new lighted environament. I have 40lbs of live rock currently in my tank and no coral at all. Do you have a reccomended method of acclamation? And, how often should you rinse pre-filters in a wet/dry filter?

FYI - I have completed a 10% water change 3 times since the last post and have not noticed any significant change in water quality. Any ideas to further this along.
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Old 01-16-2005, 09:24 PM   #8
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mbaker82,

What kind of substrate do you have? The reason I ask is that I am having the same issue with nitrates although my PH is fine. My tank is 14 months old and I use RO water and have done regular pwc, but I have never been able to get the nitrates down to 0.

I am hoping I may have found the source of my wows. First I use the bio media in my CPR and have never cleaned it. This week I finally did this. Also, when doing my pwc I never thoughly vacuumed the cc substrate because early on someone advised me not to. So today at the advice of my LFS guy I removed some rock work to open up the bottom of my tank and did a 1/3 pwc vacuuming the substrate. I could not believe how disgustingly dirty it was.

Fortunately my fish and inverts did not show any visible signs of stress despite the high nitrate reading 40+, but now just 4 hours after doing this and putting it back together everything already looks better. Tomorrow I will change out my canister filter.

My plan is to do this every other month assuming it brings down my nitrates and they do not spike sooner.

Obviously if you have a DSB this would not apply.

HTH,
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbaker
Now, I have just a few more questions, Currently I feed everyday as stated above. You reccomend feeding ever other day. My fish now seem extremely hungry when I feed them. What can I expect after feeding every other day and will it hurt them in any way?
You won't hurt the fish at all. They become accustom to you feeding and will give you that "I'm starving" business no matter how often you fed them. You'd get the same reaction if you fed them three times a day. They really only need to be fed every second day and depending on any herbavor fish (tangs, angels and such), some veggie type foods in a feeding clip for constant grazing. Feed enough each time that the fish are satiated but not bursting. Try adding smaller portions of a normal feeding amount over 5-10 min. That way most of the food will be consumed rather than falling to the substrate.

Quote:
Also, You mention above to acclamate my live rock to a new lighted environament. I have 40lbs of live rock currently in my tank and no coral at all. Do you have a reccomended method of acclamation?
When greatly increasing the intensity of light, the biggest concern is bleaching and heat. Coral is usually impacted the greatest but LR can easily be as well. Typically on the higher areas of the rock you wll begin to see large white patch's. This is an indication of bleaching (in regards to lighting).

The easiest way to avoid that is acclimating the tank. This can be beneficial to rock, coral and the fish. With MH, the easiest method is to leave your photoperiod as normal and shade the light. By placing a few layers of screen door material (from HD) between the light and the tank you can effectively match the current light intensity. Over a few weeks you simpley remove a layer every week or so until all the layers have been removed and the light is at full strength. This allows the animals in the tank to gradually adjust rather than full impact from the get go.


Quote:
And, how often should you rinse pre-filters in a wet/dry filter?
Any filter material should be rinsed weekly in SW as a general guideline. It really depends on how quickly it gets dirty. The goal is to prevent detritus build up and further contributions towards water quality problems.

Quote:
FYI - I have completed a 10% water change 3 times since the last post and have not noticed any significant change in water quality. Any ideas to further this along.
Using tap or distilled? What size tank, your profile says 48 gal FW?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:53 AM   #10
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nitrates

Howdy....

I built and added a de-nitrator to my tank.

Over 1 month it has reduced my nitrates to a point where I can't read them in my test kit.

Cost next to nothing to build.....100% worth it.

I am striving to have a tank with 0 water changes.

lg
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