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Old 01-21-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Nitrate Factory

So after further research, I am looking to modify my canister filter. I am in the process of converting my 120 Gallon FOWLR to a reef. I have an Aqua C remora PS, Emp 400 Hang on back and Marineland C 350 and about 50 LBs of live rock. I know I need more live rock but is costs an arm and a leg. I do about a 20-25% water change every two weeks and can not get my nitrate below 20 ppm. It is about a 3 year old tank. The canister has filter floss, filter foam, carbon bags, bio balls and ceramic media. I know the canister has to be the reason why I have any nitrates but I do not have enough live rock for proper biological filtration. What is your expert opinion on what to change in the canister? Would it be ok to remove all the bio balls at once and replace with Live rock rubble i have had in my tank all along?
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:24 PM   #2
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That will help but all that crap/stuff that gets collected there has to somewhere. If you don't have a skimmer, good sized CUC, etc.. It's all just going to settle somewhere else and become nitrates. So you need to address those things as well. As well as possibly some macro to consume some of the nitrates.

The can filter is making the nitrates, it's the stuff it collects. When the filter is gone something else is going to collect.. If not what's listed above then it will be the low flow areas of your tank.

If your My Tanks is correct I'd look to over feeding , type of food and PWC frequency maybe
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:40 PM   #3
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Don't remove all the bioballs at once should you repalce it with LR rubble. You're bioballs are coated with the beneficial bacteria and you don't want to remove too much at once. So if you replace it, do it in thirds.

As the Captain said, look to cut down on feeding.

Have you thought about adding a sump. You can put the skimmer and heater(s) there as well as some macro algae that will eat the nitrates.
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:11 AM   #4
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In the future I will definitely have a sump. It is just hard to look at all the money you spent on the existing filters and then just throw them away. I wish I knew half the stuff when I started that I do now. Capt Ahab I do have an Aqua C Remora pro protein skimmer. How should I modify my canister to lower my nitrates?
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:38 AM   #5
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clean it weekly, get rid of the sponges... either help, both even more
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:06 PM   #6
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Why are you running carbon?
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:22 PM   #7
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I use carbon for chemical filtration. I add trace elements and calcium/iodine supplements to counteract the effects of the carbon and protein skimming.
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:24 PM   #8
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Are the filter floss and filter foam both considered "sponges." Do i need to get rid of both and what should I replace them with?
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:33 PM   #9
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Ideally nothing.. Your skimmer would pick off your DOC's, the LR add biological room and the can provide extra flow.

IMO You'd be better off increasing your cleaning regiment and that same time as removing some of the sponge/floss over time and see how it works out for you. Just removing the place stuff gets collected without addressing why there is so much there won't get you where you want to be either.

Your carbon will help with the DOC removal too. Nothing wrong with running carbon.

Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine - Feature Article: Granular Activated Carbon, Part 1: Modeling of Operational Parameters for Dissolved Organic Carbon Removal from Marine Aquaria
Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine - Feature Article: Granular Activated Carbon, Part 2: Modeling of Operational Parameters for Dissolved Organic Carbon Removal from Marine Aquaria
Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine - Feature Article: Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and the Reef Aquarium: an Initial Survey, Part II
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:09 PM   #10
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Are you testing your Calcium and Iodine levels?
Rule # 2. Don't add anything you don't for first.
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